Below: Tiny Tears (in blue) an American Character
Co. doll produced starting in
1950 with molded or rooted hair, a doll that "cried
real tears" either a rubber body or
later all vinyl doll, highly collectible with a value
today of $65 - $225.
Betsy Wetsy shown with layette, produced 1954-
1962 by Ideal came in 13 1/2", 14", 16" and 20",
featured either molded or rooted curly wool hair.
Starting price was around $8.00 and the value
today runs from $300 - $625.
today runs from $300 - $625.
For our mother it was her talent and ability with sewing that provided beautiful wardrobes for each new doll under the tree. She remembered growing up during the Depression when there never were any new dolls for her. When she was 12 years old her young uncles went together to buy her the one and only doll of her childhood. So it was important to our mother that no matter what, her four daughters would find new dolls under the Christmas tree every year. She must have stayed up late night after night secretly sewing complete wardrobes for each of her daughters new dolls. Of course the dolls were delivered by Santa Claus so mom never did get her due praise for all her hard work. We simply believed that Mrs. Claus and the elves sewed all those tiny precious layettes for baby dolls or evening gowns for those we called "high heel dolls".
These pretty little dolls were actually "Little Miss
Revlon" dolls created by the
Revlon Company to get little baby boomer girls
acquainted with the Revlon brand
name early. "Miss Revlon" in 15", 18", 20" and
22" sizes, and "Little Miss Revlon"
in the 10 1/2" size was Ideal's first grown up
woman doll, sometimes called a
teenage doll, and created some controversy,
produced from 1956 -1959 (eclipsed by
Barbie the following year) she had a new 'magic
touch' vinyl body, rooted saran
hair and a swivel waist. She was the best selling
doll in 1956.
In the fall we sisters were often asked to donate one of our dolls to the needy children. My grandmother would take them and with her senior friends rehabilitate the dolls and other toys for needy children at Christmas. So we never really accumulated a lot of dolls since so many of our old dolls went to the poor.
The 1950s-60s saw many new doll lines come into existence. We were the baby boomers and there were millions of us - millions of little girls arms outstretched ready to hug a new dolly.
Ginny doll, Shirley Temple doll and Bride doll.
Ginny doll, a favorite of little girls from the late 1940s
through the 1950s is still made today.
She was produced by the Vogue Doll Co. originally, an
8 " doll with a hard plastic body and
head. She originally sold for $1.98 and was unique in
that she had separate outfits available,
selling from $1.00 - $2.98.
Shirley Temple dolls had a series that ran from 1958-
1963 by Ideal. The doll was available in 12", 15", 17", and
19" sizes, with rooted hair and a molded vinyl body.
Originally she sold for $9- $15
but today those dolls are valued between $175 - $550.
The Bride Doll - there were many bride dolls produced in
the 1950s, most were just called
bride doll. I'm sure many baby boomer little girls
dreamed of finding a bride doll under the Christmas tree.
When I was grown and on my own away from home, nothing brought back those Christmas memories as much as the scent of a new doll, vinyl was new back in the 50s - so yes there were times when I would wander into a toy store in the 1970s just to inhale the new doll scent. Unfortunately, dolls today all seem to look alike and lack imagination. But you can still find many examples of our old childhood playmates still available to bring home - if you know where to look! Maybe in Santa's bag!
Top, Patty Playpal, produced 1959 -1961
by Ideal and reissued in the 1980s. She stood 35" tall,
the size of a 3 year old child and had a vinyl blow molded body and rooted saran hair. She originally sold for $29 which must have come very dear for my mother to purchase for me.Today the doll is valued from $350-$500.
Center, this unusual doll was one of the first
dolls I remember receiving for Christmas.
This is a photo found on the internet but she is exactly
as I remember her when I was 5 years old. I later discovered she was called 'Magic Lips" by Ideal and was produced only from 1955-1956. She was 23" tall,
with a vinyl head and limbs and an oil cloth body, and rooted saran hair. She had a mouth that opened and closed when you pushed on her back and she said "mama."
She originally sold for $14.98 and today is valued at $200.
Bottom, Lotus Blossom doll (Dollikin) by Uneeda was an unusual doll produced from 1957-1962. An 18" doll with a hard vinyl body, limbs and head, she was fully jointed, had a twist waist, jointed elbows, wrists, knees and ankles. One doll of my older sister's that I truly coveted at one time!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays! And I hope you find what you are looking for under your tree! Peace, Maureen