Feb 132013
 
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Remco is one of the best known toy and doll companies of the vintage era. Their slogan “Every boy wants a Remco toy…and so do girls!” was widely advertised in television commercials. Some of their best known dolls are the Littlechap Family, Heidi and Jan, and the Finger Dings.

There is very little information available about the company itself. Founded by Sol Robbins, Remco was prolific during the 60s and early 70s, but the company invested a lot of money developing dolls that didn’t sell well. Remco filed for bankruptcy in 1971 and was acquired by Azrak-Hamway International, Inc., a toy company, a few years later. In 1997, Jakks Pacific acquired Remco from Azrak-Hamway International.

Most Remco dolls are well marked, aiding in identification. Click on a photo to view a larger version.


Among collectors, Remco is especially well-known for the Littlechap Family, a family of four fashion dolls with very well-made outfits. They are a little larger than Mattel’s Barbie, so they can’t wear her clothes. The scan at far left is from the 1963 Sears catalog. Judy Littlechap photo courtesy of eBay seller franklin2000.

Remco made two different types of dolls of the Beatles. The Mascot, dated 1964, is 30″ tall and all cloth. Visit the Beatles Mascot page for more information.
The other Beatles dolls Remco made are a set of 4 vinyl figures about 4.5″ tall. Each doll has the same body but the heads are different. They are dated 1964 as well. A set of dolls of the Dave Clark Five was also produced. Ringo photos courtesy of eBay seller art-in-mind.

As well as the pop group dolls, Remco made TV characters in doll form too. Pictured at far left are Uncle Fester, Lurch and Morticia from The Addams Family. Near left are Grandpa and Lilly from The Munsters. While the pop groups have unique heads on the same body, these characters have unique bodies too. Photos courtesy of eBay seller art-in-mind.


_outback (7K)
5″ Heidi and her “Japanese playmate” Jan were very popular in the mid-sixties. They came packaged in plastic pocketbook cases, and had many outfits and playsets. Besides the more common version that waves “Hi” when you push a button in her belly, there were also Winking and Growing versions of Heidi. A black version was made as well. Other dolls in the Pocketbook series include Heidi’s siblings Hildy, Herby and Billy; and friends Pip and Spunky. Jan was one of the few Asian-American play dolls available in the 1960s. Bar-B-Que play set photo courtesy of eBay seller dreamalong.


Outfit for TV Jones doll by Remco TV Jones is a vinyl dog fashion doll. Like Heidi and Jan, he came packaged in a plastic case that was meant to look like a portable television set. He had four extra outfits that were sold separately. 1966. Photo at far left courtesy of eBay seller franklin2000.

For cat loving kids, TV Jones has a kitty companion named Pussy Meow. She has four extra outfits too, including a Schoolgirl Outfit, Secret Agent Outfit and Evening Gown. 1966.

Remco also made Mr. & Mrs. Mouse and their twins Elly and Andy. There was a plastic house for the family and playhouse for the twins. Other animal dolls Remco made are Hana Hippo, Ellie Elephant and Patsy Panda. They are hard to find.

Remco’s 1967 Little Orphan Annie rag doll measures 16″ tall. She seems to have been the only all-cloth doll they made. Photo courtesy of eBay seller king-auctions.

Baby Sister Grow a Tooth came out in 1969. She is 15″ tall and has a “Magic Bottle” and pacifier. Photo courtesy of Martin Auction Co.


_daisy (4K) _rose (4K) Finger Dings are 5.5″ finger puppets, introduced in 1969. They have a vinyl head, arms and torso without legs. They wear a sort of a leotard with an open back, and you put your fingers inside the leotard legs to make the dolls walk, dance, skate, etc. Besides the regular line of Finger Dings, there were also Finger Ding Animals and Flower Kids. Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.
_spunky (5K) _kitty (5K)

Jumpsy doll by Remco Jumpsy doll by Remco Jumpsy is a mechanical doll who jumps rope. She is 15″ tall with a hard vinyl head and hard plastic body. Her hands are shaped to grip her jump rope (actually a long thin spring fitted to plastic handles). When her arms come down, she hops a bit and skips over the rope. Jumpsy has rooted blonde hair and wild looking painted blue eyes with spiky painted lashes. She wears a two piece blue playsuit. The shorts are not removable.

Remco produced 3 members of the ’60s pop group The Monkees as dolls, with the same construction as the Finger Dings. Dolls in the likenesses of Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith have been found in plain cardboard boxes, indicating that these were probably sold through mail order rather than in stores. (Peter Tork, the fourth member of the Monkees, had quit the band by this time.) Davy’s name is misspelled “Davey” on the boxes. Davy and Mickey were also sold packaged together as Clever Finger Dolls with no mention of their names or the Monkees name. 3 dolls photo courtesy of eBay seller franklin2000. Clever Finger Dolls photo courtesy of eBay seller king-auctions.

Adventure Boy had the same contruction as the Finger Dings and the Monkees dolls. The dolls were sold in play sets including the Spacecraft pictured at left, Snowmobile and Motorcycle. He dates to 1970. Photo courtesy of eBay seller art-in-mind.

The song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” was a huge hit in the early 1970s. It began as a jingle for Coca-Cola and was then recorded for commercial release with the references to Coke removed. The multicultural theme of the song was something new at the time. Remco introduced their 18″ singing doll Mimi in 1973, capitalizing on the song’s popularity. She could sing it in six different languages and had an outfit for each language. Pictured above are her German, Israeli and Polish outfits. She also had Spanish, Scottish and Italian fashions. A black version of Mimi was also available. Photos courtesy of eBay seller art-in-mind.

A series of McDonaldland characters was produced in 1976. They included Ronald McDonald, the Grimace, the Hamburglar, Mayor McCheese, Captain Crook, the Professor and Officer Big Mac. The dolls ranged from about 6″ to 8″ tall. The Grimace is plush with vinyl feet; the rest of the characters are posable vinyl with fabric costumes. A McDonaldland Playset was also available. Photo courtesy of eBay seller den268.

Baby This ‘n That came out in the late ’70s. She is a mechanical doll who moves her arms when you squeeze her toes. She comes with accessories to hold such as a spoon and straw. A new version was offered in 1990 as Sweet Baby This ‘n That. Photo courtesy of Martin Auction Co.

Remco’s I Dream of Jeannie doll came out in 1977. She was a tie-in to the animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera, not the original show starring Barbara Eden. As such, she would be considered a character doll rather than a celebrity doll. She is 6.5″ tall and has her own fashions which were sold separately. She can also wear Dawn sized clothing. Photos courtesy of eBay seller franklin2000.

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was an animated children’s television series produced by comedian Bill Cosby. In 1985, Remco made dolls of four of the characters from the show: Fat Albert, Little Bill, Greg (pictured) and Hank. They have vinyl heads and cloth bodies and are 21″ tall. Photos courtesy of eBay seller den268.

The Baby Sitter’s Club dolls were produced in 1991. They were licensed from the best selling series of chapter books by Ann M. Martin. Each baby sitter doll was 9″ tall and sold together with a 4″ little girl doll. The sets were Kristy & Karen, Claudia & Jenny, Stacey & Charlotte, and Jessi & Becca. There was also a Deluxe Gift Set with all eight dolls. A couple of years later, the four baby sitters were produced by Kenner in 11″ and 18″ sizes. Photos courtesy of eBay seller den268.

Other Remco dolls include:

  • Snugglebun – baby doll came with a lamp table with light up bottle warmer (1965)
  • Baby Walk Alone – mechanical walking doll, about 15″ tall (1966)
  • Tippy Tumbles a somersaulting doll that was a big hit; she was reissued by Ideal in 1977 (1968)
  • Bottle Babies – small vinyl dolls in clear plastic bottles (1967)
  • Ragmop – Cloth head and torso with vinyl limbs (1968)
  • Growing Sally has a torso that lengthens to make her taller. She comes with “little girl” wig and outfit and “grown up” wig and outfit. Extra clothing sets were available. There was a black version made. (1968)
  • Kewpie licensed from Cameo (1968)
  • Tumbling Tomboyaction oriented doll who came with a remote control go-cart (1969)
  • Baby Know-It-All in her Feeding Chair and Magic Slate – show her pictures on her Magic Slate and she reacts to them (1969)
  • Bunny Baby “A Tricky Whistle Doll” whose movements are activated by the sound of the whistle. She rides a Bunny Swing. (1969)
  • My Three Sons Triplets – 3 vinyl drink and wet babies, painted eyes and molded hair, tied into CBS TV series starring Fred MacMurray (circa 1969)
  • Li’l Baby Polly Puff comes with inflatable nursery furniture (1970)
  • Li’l Winking Herby Hippy, a 16″ doll with a winking mechanism
  • Sweet April, a crying baby doll with lots of extra outfits and furniture (1971)
  • Dune Buggy Baby has a plastic remote control dune buggy which you can decorate with stickers (1971)
  • Baby Laugh a Lot – very strange laughing doll. Sounds like something out of a creepy horror film. (1971)
  • Laurie Partridge, character played by Susan Dey on The Partridge Family, is 18″ tall with a teenage body and long straight brown hair. A good likeness, although the doll’s head is oversized compared to her body. (1973)
  • Look ‘n Love Dolly – Mechanical baby urns and nods her head (1978)
  • Hello Dolly – this 12″ talking doll came with a phone that plugged into her side – when you talk on the phone, her lips move and she “talks” along with you (1978)
  • Proud Family – Father, Mother and Baby. Mother can go through various stages of pregnancy (which the box refers to as “motherhood”) (1978)
  • Giggly Jigglies – “The Happiest Dolls in the World” 10″ tall, soft body with vinyl head/ molded hair “No batteries required” but what do they do? There was a pogo stick for them sold separately (1979)
  • Baby Cry & Dry – Drinks, wets, then cries and kicks her legs until you change her. Just like a real baby! 13.5″ long, rooted blonde hair in loose curls. Watch the TV commercial on YouTube. (1979)
  • Rainbow – a fashion doll who came with her own “Electronic Fashion Computer” to help you pick out her outfits (1979)
  • Pretty Penny Chatterbox – pull her braid and she says something. Her upper body is vinyl and her lower body is cloth. She sits in a stuffed chair. (1988)
  • Splashy and Her Floating Vanity – a bathtime fun doll

Copyright 2006-2013 by Zendelle Bouchard

Oct 162011
 
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Here’s something interesting I found last week. I don’t know much about him, but his guitar-shaped cardboard tag indicates he was made by Remco in 1964. He is missing the little booklet which came with him which featured photos of the Beatles. I think the term “mascot” means that he was sold as a decorative item for older kids, not a plaything for the little ones. He represents a generic Beatle rather than one of the individual members of the group. He looks most like Paul McCartney or George Harrison.

He is about 30″ tall and made of fabric and felt, with faux fur hair. Besides the guitar and booklet that he came with, he has no tags or other markings on him. His hands are like paws, with four felt fingers that look more like claws! Elastic straps on his hands enable him to hold the guitar. He seems to be a fairly rare item. The small Beatles dolls with vinyl heads made by Remco are a lot easier to find.

Beatles Official Mascot Doll by Remco