Dolls by Remco

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Feb 132013

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.

Dune Buggy Baby, dated 1972, is an 11″ doll with long blonde hair who comes with her own dune buggy, operated with a wired remote controller. See pictures of her here.

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 2006-2014 by Zendelle Bouchard

Jan 232013

Reliable Toy Co. of Canada had a long history in the doll business beginning in 1920. They made composition, hard plastic and vinyl dolls, including some knockoffs of popular American models. The company was more recently sold to Allied Plastic Products of Toronto and in 1995 doll production was discontinued.

Here are just a few of the many, many dolls made by Reliable over the years. Their dolls are generally well marked. Click on the small photo to see a larger version.

A variety of compo dolls were made including babies, toddlers, children and characters. Some were all composition and some had cloth bodies.

Shirley Temple
Reliable had the Canadian license to sell composition Shirley Temple dolls in the 1930s. Some appear to have been made using the Ideal molds, or perhaps they were made by Ideal and sold nude to Reliable, where they were dressed. The clothing has Reliable tags, but the dolls are just marked Shirley Temple. They were made in a variety of sizes.

This 20″ girl doll may be Sally Ann or Gloria. She has a composition shoulder head and limbs with a cloth body, tin sleep eyes, blonde mohair wig and open mouth with teeth.

Baby Bubbles doll by Reliable of Canada Baby Bubbles was made in a few different versions. In addition to the one pictured, who has a compo head, arms and legs on a cloth body and sleep eyes, there was also one with painted eyes and cloth legs. In the 1950s, there was a vinyl Baby Bubbles made. Photo courtesy of Cathy Chase.

12″ tall with bent baby legs, all composition, made with blue painted eyes or sleep eyes, brown molded hair, closed mouth. The name was also used for later vinyl dolls.

Wettums is an all compo drink and wet baby, open mouth nurser. Visit the Wettums page for more info.

Koweeka (Smilie)
14″ composition Eskimo doll with painted brown eyes and molded hair, wears a white and black faux fur outfit with boots. Interesting box has an arctic design on the lid featuring an igloo. The same doll was also used by Clicquot Club as an advertising premium.

Maggie Muggins was a character in a popular children’s TV and radio show, created by Mary Grannan. The doll was produced in 1947 and is 14″ tall, all composition, with red mohair wig in braids, and painted freckles.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller hug*a*pug.

_kewptype (2K) Standing dolls are 8″ tall, jointed only at the shoulders, with large side-glancing eyes and mohair wig. May be dressed as a girl, in Indian costume, or military uniform

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police doll wears his official uniform. Go to the Mountie page for more info.

Hard Plastic
Dress Me Doll
7.5″ tall, hard plastic with wig of various colors, jointed at neck and shoulders only, sleep eyes, molded shoes, sold nude in plastic bag. Probably made in other sizes as well.

Another Ideal doll licensed by Reliable to sell in Canada. She is unmarked, but otherwise closely resembles the Ideal Toni.

Saucy Walker
Yet another Ideal license, she is marked Reliable, but otherwise resembles the Ideal version, including her flirty eyes. They also made Saucy with a vinyl head and hard plastic body.

Susie Stepps
This walking girl doll is all hard plastic, jointed at neck, shoulders and hips, with sleep eyes and synthetic wig. She has an open mouth with teeth and tongue and was made in several sizes.

Licenses from Ideal continued with Bonnie Braids, Betsy Wetsy and Patty Sue Playmate (Patti Playpal).

Sally Ann
17″ toddler doll with flexible, all-vinyl body jointed only at the neck, sleep eyes, curly strawberry blonde hair pulled back from her face. She wears a royal blue taffeta dress with attached apron in coordinating checked fabric, trimmed with lace, socks and white mary janes.

Scottish Lassie
16″ blonde doll with vinyl head, plastic body, sleep eyes, wears a Scottish ensemble including lace-trimmed white blouse, dark jacket, plaid kilt and scarf, tam with plaid trim, red socks, mary jane shoes. A ribbon attached to the jacket proclaims her a Souvenir of Canada.

Sleeping Beauty
This is a 10″ all-vinyl Little Miss Revlon type glamour doll. She has dark blond hair in curls with bangs, and wears a pale purple gown with darker bodice.

Miss Canada (1960)
Miss Canada is an 18″ vinyl glamour doll with curly auburn hair and a lacy sleeveless dress. She is jointed at the hips, shoulders and neck, and is marked “RELIABLE (in script)/CANADA” on her body.

Bride (1960)
This doll is 17″ tall and has a one-piece Rigidsol body with vinyl head. Her brown eyes match her short brown hair and set her apart from the blue-eyed pack. She is marked “RELIABLE” on her head and “H-17” on her back.

Copyright 2006-2013 by Zendelle Bouchard

Jan 212013
Vintage Honey doll by Effanbee

Effanbee’s hard plastic Honey doll in one of her many day dresses.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller luving_dolls

Honey was Effanbee’s flagship doll during the brief hard plastic era. She was sold in many variations, under a few different names and in numerous outfits. Honey is one of the classic dolls of the 1950s.

Beginning in 1949, Honey was offered in 13.5,” 16″ and 18″ sizes. She was sometimes called Honey Girl during this early period. These dolls are all hard plastic, jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips. They have sleep eyes with brush lashes, and mohair wigs.

1950 Effanbee Honey Majorette doll

Effanbee’s Honey as a Majorette.
Scan from the 1950 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog.

In 1950, a 21″ size composition (not hard plastic) Honey was sold with flirty eyes and a human hair wig.

1950 composition Honey doll by Effanbee

This is the 21″ all composition version of Honey. She has flirty eyes and a human hair wig.
Scan from the 1950 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog.

In 1951, the Tintair Doll was introduced. This is Honey with platinum blonde Dynel hair meant to be “tinted” with special redhead and brunette hair coloring. The smallest size doll was now 14″ tall. All Honey dolls had synthetic hair after this point. The Saran Yarns Company used Honey in their ads promoting the many uses of their Saran fiber.

There was also a special series of 18″ Honey dolls in 1951 with couture outfits by the famous Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli.

In 1952, the Honey Walker doll was introduced. She has a walking mechanism which also turns her head, but is otherwise identical to the regular Honey. Both versions were produced through 1957.

In 1952, Honey portrayed both Cinderella and Prince Charming. He is the only male doll made using the Honey mold.


14″ Honey as Prince Charming, the companion to Cinderella.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller luving_dolls

In 1954, 15″ Honey was offered in a carrying case or steamer trunk with extra outfits.

Honey got jointed knees and ankles in 1956. This doll is 20″ tall. The harder to find 15″ doll has jointed ankles, but not knees. She could wear high heels or ballerina shoes in addition to her regular flat Mary Janes and majorette boots. Honey sold in high heels was called Junior Miss, a Doll with Glamour.

In the last year of Honey’s production, 1957, she was offered as Honey Ballerina. She has vinyl arms which may or may not be jointed at the elbows.

Hard plastic Honey doll by Effanbee

Effanbee’s hard plastic Honey doll was sold in a variety of long gowns. Her hat may not be original.

See also:

Copyright 2013 by Zendelle Bouchard

Jan 162013

Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls, Inc. is best known for their 4.5″ to 7″ bisque (and later, hard plastic) dolls, mostly of storybook characters, dressed in an endless variety of outfits and sold in polka dot boxes from the ’30s through the ’50s. But the company sold lots of other dolls, and this page is about them.

For details on the storybook dolls, see the Nancy Ann Storybook dolls page and the Nancy Ann Storybook series page.

_baby1 (1K) _aobaby (4K) The babies are some of the earliest dolls sold by the company. They were purchased from other companies and dressed by Nancy Ann. Many were made in Japan. These painted bisque babies are 3.5″ and 4.5″ tall.

_pink1 (3K) _pink2 (3K) After having great success with the Storybook Dolls for a number of years, in 1952, Nancy Ann branched out to other types of dolls with the Style Show series. These dolls are 18″ tall, all hard plastic with stunning outfits. These dolls are unmarked and difficult to identify unless wearing a documented outfit. They were only produced for a few years.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller luving_dolls

_red1 (4K) _yellow1 (2K) _face (4K) In 1953, the 8″ hard plastic toddler, Muffie, was introduced. She was similar to Vogue’s very popular Ginny doll. Muffie’s head was made of vinyl beginning in 1957 and she was produced into the 1960s. She had an extensive selection of extra outfits available.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

_basic1 (4K) _basic2 (5K) Debbie was a slightly larger version of Muffie at 10.5″ tall. She was a hard plastic walking doll. Some Debbies were made with vinyl heads as well.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.
_basic3 (4K) _debbie3902 (6K)
_green1 (2K) _mnafull (2K) _lmna1 (4K) _tagged (3K) 10.5″ Miss Nancy Ann was the company’s answer to Ideal’s popular Little Miss Revlon. An 8″ Little Miss Nancy Ann was also made. These dolls are all vinyl with mature figures and high heeled feet. They had extra boxed outfits available. For more information, go to the Miss Nancy Ann and Little Miss Nancy Ann pages.

In the late fifties, Miss Abbott became ill with cancer and the company struggled to keep up production. She died in 1964, and her partner, Mr. Rowland, who was also ill, was unable to keep the company afloat. Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls closed its doors in 1965. The assets of the company were sold to Albert Bourla, who produced a series of Muffie Around the World dolls in 1967. Aline, a low-quality Barbie-type doll, and her little sister Missie were produced during the ’70s. Mr. Bourla owned the company for nearly forty years before selling it (on eBay!) to the current owners, Claudette Buehler and Delene Budd. The company has undergone a renaissance with a new sculpt by Dianna Effner in the tradition of the original Storybook dolls.

Copyright 2004-2013 by Zendelle Bouchard.

Jan 162013
Six Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls

Clockwise from top left— Goose Girl, Dainty Dolly Pink and Blue, See-Saw Marjorie Daw, Flossie Came From Dublin Town, Over The Hills To Grandma’s House, and There Was a Maiden Bright and Gay.
Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

This page is about the small bisque and hard plastic Storybook character dolls produced by Nancy Ann Dressed Dolls and Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls, Inc. from 1936 through the 1950s. For info about the company’s other dolls, go to the Muffie, Style Show and Other Dolls by Nancy Ann page.

Nancy Ann Abbott (real name Rowena Haskin) was born in 1901 in California and worked as an actress and dress designer in Hollywood before opening a book lending shop in San Francisco in 1935. In her shop, she also offered dolls for sale that she dressed herself in the evenings. Prior to this, dolls had been just a hobby, but when they proved popular, she was inspired to leave the bookshop to start her own doll company, Nancy Ann Dressed Dolls. In 1937, Les Rowland joined her firm as a partner, bringing to it his financial and selling skills, and they were off and running.

The first dolls were made in Japan and dressed here. Later on, the company had its own production facility. The first dolls made in the USA were marked “Judy Ann”. By the mid-40s, the company was called Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls.

Nancy Ann Storybook Doll marked

Early Nancy Ann Storybook Doll marked “JUDY ANN” wearing her original dress.

Nancy Ann Storybook character dolls only came in a few variations of size and body construction; instead they are identified by the outfit they are wearing, and many of the outfits look very similar. A doll without her original box or wrist tag can be very difficult to identify. Most of the dolls were produced as Caucasian girls; boys and African-American girls are much less common. The same molds were used for both genders and races.

Body Construction
The Storybook dolls were produced in bisque from 1936 to 1948, when they changed to hard plastic. They are mostly 5.5″ tall, but can range from 4.5″ to 7″ tall. They may or may not be jointed at the hips or neck; all dolls are jointed at the shoulders. Most dolls have glued-on mohair wigs; a very few dolls have painted hair. Many of the hard plastic dolls have sleep eyes, but all the bisque dolls and some hard plastic have painted eyes. For more information see the Nancy Ann Dolls website.

Vintage Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls

Clockwise from top left: Here I am Little Joan, To Market To Market,
I’m Going A-Milking, Little Betty Blue, He Loves Me He Loves Me Not and Mistress Mary.
Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Most dolls are marked on their back, but the markings may be faint if the mold had been used for a long period of time. A variety of marks were used. Most of the marks include the words “Story Book” but some of the earlier dolls are marked “Made in Japan” or “Judy Ann.” For more information see the Nancy Ann Dolls website.

Most Storybook dolls were produced as part of a series. Go to the Series List for individual doll photos.

Six Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls

From the Dolls of the Month Series – Clockwise from top left: A Shower Girl for April, A Very Independent Lady for July, A November Lass To Cheer, A Breezy Girl and Arch To Worship Me Thru March,
A February Fairy Girl For Ice and Snow, A Rosebud Girl to Love me Thru the June Days .
Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Most dolls were packaged in white boxes with large pink, red, silver or blue polka dots. Some of the earlier boxes had different backgrounds or graphics. The hard plastic dolls have “Nancy Ann Storybook Doll” written in between the dots. Beginning in 1941, each doll had a gold foil wrist tag bearing her name. Prior to that, gold stickers were attached to the doll’s outfit.

Copyright 2006-2013 by Zendelle Bouchard