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CBS New York looks back on parents' quest -- and the chaos involved -- to get a Cabbage Patch Kid doll for Christmas

CBS New York looks back at the 1983 Cabbage Patch Kid Christmas craze
CBS New York looks back at the 1983 Cabbage Patch Kid Christmas craze 02:44

NEW YORK -- A Christmas craze for the history books was born out of a cabbage patch 40 years ago.

CBS New York's Vanessa Murdock takes us back in time to 1983 for a look at what parents went through to make sure a Cabbage Patch Kid doll landed under the tree.

The excitement was palpable as hundreds waited in line to get their hands on the it toy that Christmas. A tower of them teases through locked doors. Some people said they had waited since midnight.

When the lock on the store turned, the crush of the crowd became brutal and some tears even flowed.

The battle to claim a Cabbage Patch Kid raged on inside. Some left victorious, some empty handed.

"I just got a real good punch from someone, too. This is ridiculous," one person said.

FLASHBACK4 new toys inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Ken not included.

Scenes like that unfolded across the country. Moms, dads, grandparents were driven by the fear of disappointing their little loved ones and not witnessing the joy on Christmas morning.

"Literally a mob running through the store," Murdock's mother, Christine, said.

Christine Murdock remembers one crazy morning in '83.

"When those doors open, we had to run like a marathon, as fast as we could to get to the shelves and we had to grab whatever doll we could get," she said.

Vanessa Murdock still has "Pauline." She'll be in her family as long as Murdock has a say.

The Cabbage Patch Kid doll was not the only hot toy to generate a Christmas craze. Tickle Me Elmo flew off store shelves in 1996.

"Her Christmas would have been destroyed if there wasn't a Tickle Me Elmo under the tree," said Anne Renaud of Tenafly, New Jersey.

Renaud used her connections to get one and can still remember the expression on daughter's face.

"It took her breath away," Renaud said.

The most recent craze was LOL Surprise Dolls in 2017.

"People always ask what makes a craze? What makes the hot toy? If I knew I'd be a millionaire, but really the kids decide," said Adrienne Appell, toy trend specialist for the Toy Association.

Appell said the Cabbage Patch craze of 1983 is less likely to occur in Christmas future for three reasons.

"There's more availability, kids are used to things being more tailored for them, and toymakers are responding across the board to kind of cater to all those kids," Appell said.

And now, there are so many different ways to get your hands on the "It" toy that there's no need to line up with mob.

Vanessa Murdock asked her mother if she would ever go through that again to get a toy for her grandchildren.

"Probably, I would," she said with a laugh.

Anything to save Christmas.

Appell said this year's hot toy is the Squishmallow, but finding it on store shelves should not be a problem.

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