Crazy Obsession: Don't Call My Cabbage Patch a D-O-L-L

Joe and Pat Prosey have 5,000 Cabbage Patch Kids they take on play dates.

ByABC News
March 1, 2012, 4:44 PM

March 2, 2012— -- Kevin, a cheery, curled-top boy, extends an invitation to his friend by cell phone, "I'd love to have you come over and play."

For most children that play date at Magic Crystal Valley in Maryland would be a dream come true: riding a miniature train, a motorized swing and even a hot-air balloon that sweeps them 30 feet in the air.

But Kevin, and his hundreds of friends from around the country, are Cabbage Patch Kids, and their "parents" are humans who are obsessed with the ugly, but cuddly dolls that hit the market by storm in 1983.

Pat and Joe Prosey own 5,000 and they consider them their own children, even though the 64-year-olds have a real-life grown daughter.

"They are kids. We don't use the word D-O-L-L -- they might hear," said Joe, a former shipyard worker who built this special playground for other enthusiasts.

They are collectors, but say it really isn't about the money, but an obsession with their "babies."

The Proseys and several other Americans with odd passions will be profiled in a TLC series, "My Crazy Obsession!" The television show airs March 7 at 10 p.m. EST.

One woman can't live without objects in pink; another has 2,000 wings to suit her endless personalities. A man named Ron lives in his own oval office and loves all things presidential.

So far, the Proseys have spent $2,000 on their luxury playground. And since 1994, they have operated an "adoption center" for Cabbage Patch originals. "It's a 24-hour job, seven days a week," said Joe Prosey.

"We don't say how much money we have into the collection," said Pat Prosey. "We have over 5,000 dolls [originals now sell for $190 a piece]. We have a 6,000-foot building -- do the math."

The obsession all began with Pat Prosey, a former paint store technician, who had loved baby dolls as a girl. "Mother said one day I would probably collect some type of doll when I was older," she said.

The soft dolls with the wrinkled faces were created by Xavier Roberts, a 21-year-old art student from Georgia, who adopted a German technique for sculpture with his mother's quilting skills, according to his the Cabbage Patch Kids website.

His concept -- adoptable "Little People" -- was developed in 1976. Each doll was different and came with a double-barreled name and a birth certificate.

By the end of 1981, the Cabbage Patch doll had made the cover of Newsweek magazine, and he had sold nearly 3 million kids. By 1990, 65 million had been "adopted," according to his web site.

Pat Prosey got her first Cabbage Patch Meg in 1985 for $50. "She was kind of cute and when I got her got her home, Joe thought I had lost my mind," she said.

But soon, she found a boy, named Kevin, and today he is the spokesman for what has become their personal Cabbage Patch empire.

After Meg and Kevin, came the "preemies" and the ones with freckles. "They went from freckles to teeth to glasses and toothbrushes, and before you know it, our whole house in Baltimore was filled with Cabbage Patch Kids," said Pat Prosey.