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14″, 20″ and 25″ Toni Doll by American Character (1958-59)

 American Character  Comments Off on 14″, 20″ and 25″ Toni Doll by American Character (1958-59)
Jan 282016
 
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American Character‘s Toni doll in 14″, 20″ and 25″ sizes is almost identical to their Sweet Sue Sophisticate. The two dolls were made using the same molds, but with slightly different face paint. Toni most often has painted lashes at the outer corner of each eye, while Sweet Sue Sophisticate has painted lashes below each eye. It should be noted that while this is the identifying feature, it is not a hard and fast rule. The company most likely used whatever dolls were on hand to fill their orders. Toni was marketed as a tie-in to the Toni home permanent made by the Gillette Co., and came in 14″, 20″ and 25″ sizes. Each doll was packaged with a Toni Playwave Kit consisting of a comb, brush, curlers and play-wave solution in squeeze bottle.

Toni Ballerina is a different doll, similar to Sweet Sue with Flexible Foot.

See also: 10″ Toni Doll10″ Toni Outfits

Body Construction
Toni is a walking doll, all vinyl and jointed at the neck, shoulders, waist and hips. Her shoulders are flange jointed, allowing them to move backward and forward only, held close to her body. Her waist and neck joints rotate, but do not tilt like Sweet Sue Sophisticate. Her rooted hair is good quality and was made in blonde, red and brunette shades. It is most often styled in a curly bob with bangs but varied occasionally according to the outfit she was dressed in. She has blue sleep eyes with brush lashes. A flirty-eyed version was also available, with the added feature of strung shoulder joints, allowing for greater posability.

Markings
The 14″ version of Toni is completely unmarked. The 20″ version has “AMERICAN © CHARACTER” in a circle on her back. The 25″ size has “AME. CHARACTER DOLL COR./©” on the back of her neck.

Clothing
Toni was sold wearing outfits which were different from those of Sweet Sue Sophisticate. The larger sizes of Toni did not have as many outfits as their 10″ sister, but were available in a nice assortment of day, evening and bridal wear.
A stretch lace teddy identical to the one worn by the 10″ doll has been found in 20″ size; however, it is not known whether the larger size Toni was ever sold as a basic doll wearing it, or whether it was underwear for another outfit.

The earliest version of American Beauty is a ball gown with black bodice and full skirt of deep pink nylon tricot over taffeta; matching pink stole; combination marquisette slip and panties; hose; silver shoes with rhinestones; rhinestone or pearl earrings and pin. This doll’s hair is in a curly updo. All sizes. See photo above. A later version, available only in 20″ size, is a pale pink gown with a three-tiered lace skirt; pearl necklace and tiara. This doll has flirty eyes.

The earliest version of Bride is a short-sleeved wedding gown with lace bodice and two wide bands of lace on the tulle skirt; hooped petticoat; rounded satin cap with pearl edging and fingertip tulle veil; bouquet; lace-edged taffeta panties; hose; white shoes with rhinestones; solitaire ring; pearl earrings. All sizes. See photo above. (American Character’s Betsy McCall had an identical bridal outfit.) A later version, available in 20″ size only, is a long sleeved lace gown with micropleated underskirt.

Country Club is a sheer white blouse with elbow-length sleeves and big bow at neckline; multi-gored skirt has alternating panels of plain black and black-and-white checks; black beret; black shoes. This doll has a side-part hairstyle. All sizes. See photo above.

Dinner Date is a taffeta dress with dropped waist, bubble skirt accented with a velvet bow, attached stole; pillbox hat with tulle; evening bag. All sizes. Most commonly found in blue, but color variations exist. See brown version above. 10″ Toni has a similar outfit.

Love in Bloom is a strapless party dress with stole, held in place by a wide belt. All sizes. See illustration below (from the Toni doll booklet.)

Romance with Mink Stole is a pale pink satin sheath dress with side slits with velvet ribbon accents; brown real mink stole; string of pearls; pearl earrings; pink shoes. 14″ and 20″ sizes only. See illustration above. 10″ Toni has a similar outfit.

Sunday Best is a pale pink nylon blouse with a wide shawl collar and three rhinestones down the front of the bodice; skirt with cummerbund; hat of pale pink braid; purse. 20″ size only. 10″ Toni has a similar outfit.

Town and Country is a black and white striped taffeta dress, lined in red; long red and black felt vest with snap closure; matching hat; matching hatbox; black heels with rhinestone accents. 14″ and 20″ sizes only.

Packaging
Toni was packaged in a box similar to that of the 10″ version, with 50’s graphics in pink and blue.

10″ Toni Doll Outfits by American Character

 American Character  Comments Off on 10″ Toni Doll Outfits by American Character
Dec 302015
 
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See also: 10″ Toni Doll by American Character

1958 catalog photo of 10″ American Character Toni doll outfits.

The numbers below refer to the catalog photo above.

  1. Cheerleader is a green felt skirt with Toni written in white across the front; long-sleeved white knit top; green and white cap.
  2. Collegiate is an aqua corduroy skirt with white felt curved patch pockets; a white knit top with three-quarter sleeves; blue sash. See photo below. In 1960 this outfit was renamed Co-Ed. A later version of Collegiate is a sleeveless dress with red and white horizontal stripes on the bodice, black dropped waistband, white pleated skirt; black headband; red heels.

    Collegiate outfit for American Character’s 10″ Toni doll.

  3. TV Time is a black velveteen halter-top jumpsuit with elastic around at the waistline; short sleeved housecoat with rounded front hem.
  4. Surburbanite is a white vinyl coat with three red toggle closures; red corduroy hood; jumpsuit with red short sleeved bodice and red cordoroy pants; shoes. This outfit also came in a green variation. See photos below.

    Suburbanite outfit by American Character for their 10″ Toni doll.


    10″ Toni’s Suburbanite outfit has a one piece pantsuit under the coat. At right, the green toggle version of the coat with beige hood.

  5. Coat and Hat is a beige felt coat with two large pockets; red straw hat; white hankie with red edging; hose; red shoes. See photo below. The 1959 version is a black felt coat with white collar, cuffs and pockets; matching hat; black purse and heels.

  6. Sunday Stroll is a dress with black satin skirt, white bodice trimmed with silver glitter; blue felt coat with black velvet trim; black velvet hat with blue ribbon; hose; black shoes.

  7. Tea Time is a coral taffeta short-sleeved dress with white bands at neckline and sleeves and black braid near hem; wide black belt with coral ribbon tie; natural straw hat with black band; hose; black shoes.
  8. Charleston is a yellow and black checked dress; yellow sheer jacket.

  9. High Society is a dress with black velvet bodice, black and white taffeta bubble skirt, and white taffeta cowl collar; black velvet hair ribbon with flowers; hose; black heels. The 1959 version is also a bubble dress, but in pale pink taffeta with lace overlay.

  10. Stewardess is a short-sleeved blue cotton dress with white trim at the neck and sleeve edges, metal pin; matching hat with pin; black belt; black purse; black shoes.

    Stewardess outfit for 10″ Toni by American Character has matching metal “wings” pins on the dress and hat.

  11. Romance With Mink Stole is a pale pink satin gown with side slits, accented with rose velveteen bows; brown real mink stole; long string of pearls; hose; shoes. See photo below.

    Romance with Mink Stole for 10″ Toni doll, mint in box.
    Photo courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

  12. Dinner Date is a blue taffeta dress with bubble skirt, cowl collar, large velvet bow at dropped waistline; brown real mink hat and muff; black heels with rhinestones. The fabric of the dress tends to fade to lavender. See photo below. The larger Toni dolls have a similar outfit.

  13. Bride is a white satin wedding gown with attached stole and tiers of tulle accented with bows; cap headpiece with long tulle veil; bouquet; hose; white shoes. See photo below.

  14. Cocktails is a dress with pale pink satin skirt, black velvet bodice, black lace overskirt, attached pink tulle stole; hose; black shoes. See photo below.

    Cocktails outfit by American Character for 10″ Toni doll.
    Photo courtesy of Franklin Lim-Liao.

  15. Bon Soir is a full-length nightie; lace-trimmed negligee; shoes with rhinestones. The 1959 version has a flowered negligee.
  16. Cha Cha is a black dress with full skirt, sheer white puffy embroidered sleeves and large bow at neckline, black headband with red accent, red heels. See photo below.

Additional outfits, probably from 1959 or 1960:

  • American Beauty is a gown with silver brocade bodice, two-tier deep pink nylon tricot skirt; matching nylon stole.

    Toni’s American Beauty outfit.
    Photo courtesy of Sandi Duncan.

  • At the Beach is a red sleeveless top with white trim; pedal pushers; fringed hat; bag; red heels.
  • Brunch Time is a black velveteen strapless jumpsuit; nylon print jacket with orange taffeta lining; hairband; black heels.
  • Shopping Time is a pale yellow dress with brown lace trim on bodice and skirt; brown straw hat; brown elastic strap heels with rhinestone accent.
  • Sunday Best is a long sleeved pale pink dress with satin collar and wide satin band at hem; pink straw hat. The larger Toni dolls have a similar outfit.
  • Tea Time is a short sleeved white cotton dress with narrow blue horizontal stripes, black loop trim; red straw hat; black belt; blue purse; heels.
  • (Name Unknown) – black velveteen pants; white long sleeved blouse with rhinestones and lace on front; rose ribbon sash at waist.



Learn More:

cover
American Character Dolls
by Judith Izen
Find it on eBay.
cover
Dolls & Accessories of the 1950s
by Dian Zillner
Find it on eBay.
cover
The Doll & Teddy Bear Department
edited by Thomas W. Holland
Find it on eBay.

Copyright 1999-2015 by Zendelle Bouchard

10″ Toni Doll by American Character (1958-60)

 American Character  Comments Off on 10″ Toni Doll by American Character (1958-60)
Dec 102015
 
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See also: 10″ Toni Outfits

Dark brunette American Character 10″ Toni doll.

American Character‘s 10″ Toni is a wonderfully-made doll with a sweet expression. She is slightly smaller than many of the similar-sized dolls made by other companies. The Toni name was licensed from Gillette and the doll was used as a tie-in to their Toni home permanent. A Toni Playwave Kit, used to style the doll’s hair, was sold separately. Toni was also sold in 14″, 20″ and 25″ sizes.

Body Construction
Most Toni dolls are all vinyl. The earlier versions were strung, while the later, and more common type has flanged joints. A few dolls have been found with vinyl heads and hard plastic bodies, and it is speculated that this is the earliest version since they also have the strung joints. Toni is jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips only. She has rooted hair, in platinum, golden blonde, red or dark brunette, styled in a curly bob with bangs. Two metal barrettes hold her hair in place. She has sleep eyes with molded lashes, and painted lashes at the corner of each eye. Tiny Toni has no paint on her nails, and no earring holes.

American Character Toni is marked in the middle of her back.
Photo courtesy of Franklin Lim-Liao.

Markings
She is marked “AMER. CHAR. DOLL CORP 1958” in a circle on the back of her head, and “AMERICAN CHARACTER 1958” with a copyright symbol, on her lower back.

Clothing
The 10″ Toni doll’s original outfit is an off-white, one-piece strapless stretch lace teddy, with a frill of pink tulle at the hem. She also wears white plastic heels with a molded bow across the instep.

Toni had numerous separate boxed outfits available. See the Toni Outfits page for a complete list. Her clothing is not tagged. Some of the outfits were also available on the larger size Tonis, but with variations.

Packaging
Toni was packaged in a box with graphics evoking ’50’s modern style. Interestingly, the doll is pictured on the box with earrings, although she had none.

Toni could also be purchased in a box set with the playwave kit and accessories, wearing her “Bon Soir” outfit. See the brochure illustration below.



Learn More:

cover
American Character Dolls
by Judith Izen
Find it on eBay.
cover
Dolls & Accessories of the 1950s
by Dian Zillner
Find it on eBay.
cover
The Doll & Teddy Bear Department
edited by Thomas W. Holland
Find it on eBay.

Copyright 1999-2015 by Zendelle Bouchard

Sweet Sue with Flexible Foot / Toni Ballerina Doll

 American Character  Comments Off on Sweet Sue with Flexible Foot / Toni Ballerina Doll
Dec 032015
 
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American Character’s Sweet Sue with Flexible Foot has the same face as their Sweet Sue Sophisticate doll.

This version of American Character‘s Sweet Sue doll, described in their brochure as a “sub-teen,” bridges the gap between the hard plastic little girl version, and the mature all-vinyl Sweet Sue Sophisticate. Her jointed ankles enable her to wear medium heels, flats or toe shoes, although collectors should be aware that leaving the feet flexed into the highest position often causes them to split.

20″ Sweet Sue with Flexible Foot in Collegiate outfit.

Body Construction
Flexible Foot Sweet Sue is a walking doll with rigid vinyl torso, legs and arms, with a softer vinyl head and hard plastic feet. She is jointed at the neck, shoulders, waist, hips and ankles. Her arms are flange jointed and positioned very close to her body, with palms facing inward. The waist and neck joints are articulated to allow them to tilt as well as rotate. The most significant feature about this doll is her “sub-teen” bustline, much less developed than Sweet Sue Sophisticate.

She was made in 14″, 20″ and 25″ sizes, and is a walker. Her rooted hair, pulled back into a curly bob with bangs, is most often auburn, but is found in other shades as well. She has blue sleep eyes with brush lashes, and painted lashes underneath each eye. Her fingernails are polished to a light pink; her toenails are unpolished.

Toni Ballerina has the same sub-teen bustline and jointed ankles, but her hair is pulled into a bun at the back of her head, with wisps of hair framing her face.

Sweet Sue with Flexible Foot doll in American Beauty.

Markings
The 25″ size has “AME. CHARACTER DOLL COR./©” on the back of her neck. The 14″ and 20″ dolls are completely unmarked.

Clothing
Flexible Foot Sweet Sue was available in a variety of outfits. Each doll came with a round plastic case carrying a black leotard, black satin ballet slippers, black vinyl flats and an extra pair of heels. Toni Ballerina carries the same accessory case, but without the “Sweet Sue” name across the front.

Her accessory case includes a black cotton leotard and 3 pairs of shoes. Click here to see the contents of the accessory case.

  • Bride is a white satin wedding gown with nylon tricot puffed sleeve treatment and ruching all around the middle of the skirt. Underneath she wears a full hoop petticoat, medium white heels, white taffeta panties, nylon hose. She wears pearl drop earrings, and 20″ and 25″ sizes also came with a rhinestone engagement ring. Click here to see a rare variation. Note the doll has the Toni face paint and a bridal gown made from the Cocktail dress pattern. Photo courtesy of Nancy McKee.
  • Collegiate is a white nylon blouse with pale blue polka dots and a large bow at the neckline; aqua accordian-pleated cotton skirt; white nylon taffeta slip with tulle ruffle at hemline; white taffeta panties; hose; black medium heels with rhinestone accent; velvet ribbon headband. See photo above. This outfit was also available in a red version.
  • Lindy Hop is a print blouse with felt jumper; petticoat; panties; hose; black medium heels with rhinestone accent.
  • Sunday Best is sheer white nylon dress, shading to blue at the hem, with puffed sleeves, two or three rows of white embroidery in a paisley pattern at hem, wide sash at waist; blue underdress; blue straw hat with flower; white medium heels with rhinestone accent or mary jane shoes with floral decoration; white taffeta panties; nylon hose or ankle socks.

    14″ Sweet Sue with Flexible Foot in Sunday Best outfit.
    Photo courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

  • Birthday Party is a sheer white nylon dress with pink and blue embroidery, with the name “Sweet Sue” embroidered into the pattern; attached satin sash; fancy taffeta slip; white medium heels with rhinestones; white taffeta panties and nylon hose.
  • American Beauty is a full skirted ballgown of pale pink nylon, shading to deep pink at the hem. The dress is actually in two pieces with the bodice of the dress attached to the petticoat, and a separate skirt of gathered flounces that ties with a ribbon in the back. Under all she wears a hoop skirt. She has a nylon tricot stole attached at the front of the bodice that goes over her shoulders and is held in place with satin ribbon. White taffeta panties and nylon hose. See photo above.
  • As Toni Ballerina, she wears a pale pink ballet tutu with floral accent, and ballet slippers. See below.

Toni Ballerina doll illustration from an American Character booklet.



Learn More:

cover
American Character Dolls
by Judith Izen
Find it on eBay.
cover
Dolls & Accessories of the 1950s
by Dian Zillner
Find it on eBay.
cover
The Doll & Teddy Bear Department
edited by Thomas W. Holland
Find it on eBay.

Copyright 1997-2015 by Zendelle Bouchard

Sweet Sue Sophisticate (1957-58)

 American Character  Comments Off on Sweet Sue Sophisticate (1957-58)
Nov 302015
 
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20″ Sweet Sue Sophisticate doll by American Character wearing “Romance”
Photo courtesy of eBay seller dreamalong.

American Character‘s Sweet Sue Sophisticate was introduced in 1957. A year later, the company began marketing the Sophisticate doll with different outfits and slightly different face paint under the Toni name. Toni most often has painted lashes at the outer corner of each eye, while Sweet Sue Sophisticate has painted lashes below each eye. It should be noted that while this is the identifying feature, it is not a hard and fast rule. Dolls have been found with Sweet Sue Sophisticate face paint in Toni outfits and boxes.

Another doll with the same face as Sweet Sue Sophisticate, but with jointed ankles and a smaller bustline, was sold as Sweet Sue with Flexible Foot.

The 20″ version of Sweet Sue Sophisticate was also made in an unmarked version and sold to Dee an Cee, a Canadian doll company, who dressed her and marketed her as Sweet Sue Teen Age Doll.

Sweet Sue Sophisticate’s “Romance” outfit features a full length evening coat.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller dreamalong.

Body Construction
Sweet Sue Sophisticate is a walking doll, 14″ or 20″ tall and all vinyl. She is jointed at the neck, shoulders, waist and hips. Her shoulders are flange jointed and only move forward and back, close to her body. The neck and waist joints are articulated to allow them to tilt as well as rotate. Her rooted hair is good quality and was made in blonde, red and brunette shades. It is most often styled in a curly bob with bangs but the Romance doll has a short bubblecut hairstyle (see photo above). She has blue sleep eyes with brush lashes, and pierced ears with pearl drop earrings.

Sweet Sue Sophisticate in “Cocktails” outfit.

Markings
The 14″ version of Sweet Sue Sophisticate is completely unmarked. The 20″ version has “AMERICAN © CHARACTER” in a circle on her back.

14″ Sweet Sue Sophisticate in “Tea Time.”

Clothing
Sweet Sue Sophisticate was sold in a variety of glamorous outfits. Underneath them all, she wears taffeta panties, a strapless stretch lace bra and nylon hose. Her elastic-strap heels are accented with two rhinestones.

  • High Society is a taffeta bubble dress with cap sleeves edged in lace and jeweled decoration at bodice; matching hat; black heels. Available in black, pale blue and deep blue, possibly other colors.
  • Bride is a white satin wedding gown with a knee-length skirt of rounded panels over full-length tiers of nylon tricot ruffles, matching ruffles on the neckline and long sleeves; hooped petticoat; pointed satin bridal cap trimmed in pearls with fingertip veil; bouquet; white shoes.
  • Cocktails is a dress of Chantilly lace over white satin, with attached chiffon stole. Also includes black lace-trimmed petticoat, black shoes. It was available in 14″ and 20″ sizes. See photo of black lace version above. See the red lace version here. The 10″ version of Toni has a similar outfit.
  • Romance is a ball gown with silver lamé bodice and two-tiered nylon tricot skirt; long hooded satin coat with silver lamé lining; petticoat; purse; rhinestone ring; shoes. Available in pink or blue versions. See photos above and below.
  • Tea Time is a short-sleeved dress with satin bodice and cotton two-tiered accordian pleated skirt. See rose version above. See blue version below.
  • Town and Country is a black and white tweed skirt and jacket with teal waistband and collar. This is the hardest outfit to find.

Packaging
Sweet Sue Sophisticate’s box is shown in the photo below. All dolls came with a wrist tag with a pink and black poodle illustration, that touted her as “your grown up doll.”



Learn More:

cover
American Character Dolls
by Judith Izen
Find it on eBay.
cover
Dolls & Accessories of the 1950s
by Dian Zillner
Find it on eBay.
cover
The Doll & Teddy Bear Department
edited by Thomas W. Holland
Find it on eBay.

Copyright Zendelle Bouchard 1999-2015