Deluxe Reading, based in Elizabeth, NJ, was a major doll manufacturer active from the late fifties into the mid-seventies. The company was variously known as Deluxe, Deluxe Reading, Deluxe Toy Creations, Deluxe Premium Corp., Deluxe Topper, Topper Toys and Topper Corp. Many of their dolls were sold through grocery stores in boxes with colorful graphics. Some dolls that were marketed by Deluxe Reading were identical to dolls sold by other companies, including Arrow and Allied.
Baby Brite by Deluxe Reading
Suzy Cute is a 7″ baby with extra outfits and accessories, including a crib and playpen. 13″ Baby Brite (pictured above) will raise her arms to be picked up when you press the button in her tummy. Baby Magic nurses, cries and pouts. Tickles is a battery operated 20″ baby who laughs and cries. Baby Boo is another of Deluxe’s battery powered crying babies. 19″ Baby Catch-a-Ball wears metal bracelets that attract her magnetic ball. She has an unusual expression with tongue sticking out. Little Miss Fussyis a drink and wet doll that will whine until her diaper is changed. Several other mechanical babies were made in the late sixties.
Little Miss Fashion Doll, despite her name, is a little girl doll sold with four complete outfits, including a snow suit, pajama set, cowgirl costume and party dress. Suzy Smart is 24″ tall and is a battery operated talking doll with jointed knees. She came in a set with school desk and blackboard. Deluxe Beauty Parlor Doll is the same doll, without the talking mechanism. Suzy Homemaker is 22″ tall and had accessories including an ironing board and iron, and refrigerator. Some items were child size rather than doll size. 8″ Penny Brite was one of Deluxe’s biggest sellers. She came in a plastic case and had numerous extra outfits, as well as play sets and a car. Smarty Pants(pictured above) is a battery powered talker.
Deluxe’s 30″ high heeled glamour dolls include Darling Debbie, Sweet Rosemary, Sweet Ann and Betty the Beautiful Bride. These dolls have stuffed vinyl bodies and wear long fancy gowns. Bonnie Bride is an unusual doll who can “walk” down the aisle (on her rolling stand) and even throw the bouquet. 21″ Candy Fashion (pictured above) is one of Deluxe’s most beloved dolls. She was sold in a set with three dress forms and extra outfits. Candy has been reproduced by Charisma, but the new version is only 18″ tall. Deluxe Fashion Parade is another doll with extra outfits. She was available in 19″ and 25″ sizes. Gail of the West is a cowgirl doll. The Rags to Riches doll comes with both a “rich girl” and “poor girl” outfit. Pam and an unnamed Ballerina/Skater are two more of their high heeled glamour dolls.
Dawn in her first issue box.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Visit Lisa’s eBay store.
6.5″ Dawn was a big success in the early seventies, and was widely imitated. Her most common friends are Glori, Angie, Dale, Jessica and Longlocks. Dawn’s male friends include Gary, Van and Ron. They were sold in regular and dancing versions. There was a series of Model Agency friends and another series of Majorette friends. Dawn has many extra outfits and playsets, even a car. One problem for collectors is the “blue knees” these dolls get due to a chemical reaction between the vinyl of their legs and the metal joint inside. Dawn and some of her friends were reissued by Checkerboard Toys for a few years beginning in the late 1990s.
The Go-Gos are 6.5″ character dolls with vinyl limbs wired for posability. The include Private Ida (a detective), Brenda Brush (an artist) and Cool Cat (a folk singer with guitar). Eight different dolls were made.
Copyright Zendelle Bouchard 1997-2012