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.

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
 
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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.

Composition
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.

Babykins
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.

Toni
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.

Vinyl
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

Nov 052012
 
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Swingtime doll by Jolly Toys

Swingtime doll by Jolly Toys.

Photo courtesy of King Auctions. Check out their eBay listings.

Little information is available on this company. They made a variety of vinyl dolls, including high-heeled glamour dolls, babies and toddlers, starting about 1960, and continuing into the ’70s. The company apparently had some business arrangement with Nasco as well as Jolly, as dolls marked “Kaysam” have been found in Jolly and Nasco boxes.

Click on a small photo to view a larger version.

Swingtime (pictured above) is a 16″ vinyl toddler with rooted brown hair wearing an eyelet dress. She comes packaged in a 26″ tall red and yellow plastic swing set.

Glamour doll by Kaysam Kaysam glamour dolls were made in 15″, 20″ and 24″ sizes. They have a unique face that is easily recognizable once you have seen a few of them, with a long neck. They have a slim body which is more like Mattel’s Barbie than like other glamour dolls their size. Learn more about the doll pictured at left here. Photo courtesy of Sheryl Schmidt.

Hello Dolly (1964) is a 20″ high-heeled adult figured glamour doll. She has variegated strawberry blonde hair, and wears a long slim gown with a design of flocked glitter on the front panel, and a feathered headband. She is meant to look as Carol Channing did in the Broadway show; but it is not a portrait of the star. A regular doll from the line was used, marked 1961. There was also a Barbie-sized version of this doll, but she was made by Allied-Grand.
Doll in blue taffeta dress by Jolly Toys The glamour dolls marketed under the Jolly Toys name look more like Ideal’s Revlon doll and other late fifties high heeled dolls. Learn more about this doll here.

Vintage Judy baby doll by Kaysam Judy is an 11″ all vinyl bent leg baby doll. 1963.

Vintage Jean doll by Kaysam Jean is an 11.5″ toddler, who appears to have been made with the same head as Judy. 1963.

Robin is a toddler doll with straight platinum blonde hair with bangs. She wears a white jumper with red, white and blue striped blouse, white socks and red shoes. Her box is red, white and blue striped to match.

Vintage Kaysam 16 inch Nurse doll Vintage Kaysam 16 Vintage Kaysam 16 This 16″ Nurse came packaged in a gift set with a nurse’s bag, hypodermic needle (way out of scale) and bandaids, plus a cocktail dress and stole with corsage. The same doll was also sold in a different gift set wearing a pants outfit. 1963.

Cutie-Pie is another platinum blonde toddler.

Jinx is a knockoff of Vogue’s Brikette doll. She is 21″ tall with carrot red or black hair and a watermelon smile.

Swiss Miss and Swiss Lad dolls by Jolly Toys Swiss Miss and Swiss Lad dolls hang tag by Jolly Toys Swiss Miss and Swiss Lad were made as advertising tie-ins to Swiss Miss Cocoa. They are each 14″ tall. Swiss Miss is marked “Jolly Toys Inc. 1962″. A cloth Swiss Miss doll was produced in 1978, but probably by a different company. Photos courtesy of eBay seller myoldkentuckyhome.

Pride is a 6.5″ (Dawn-sized) fashion doll with long straight hair, who came packaged with an outfit. Packages containing two outfits (no doll) were also sold separately.

Grandma is 20″ tall, with a high-heeled glamour body, but an older lady’s face with gray hair. She has been found in Jolly marked boxes as well as Royal boxes, with the name Grannykins. These companies may have been related. A very rare Grandpa doll was made as well. For more info, go to the Grandma page.

Nikki is 12″ tall, platinum blonde and has an unusual expression with a puckered mouth. She looks like she is about to say something. She was sold in various outfits and hairstyles.

Golden Book Dolls is a series of dolls representing characters from Little Golden Books, each doll was packaged together with a book. Heidi is 14″ tall with blonde hair and a Swiss style outfit similar to that worn by Swiss Miss but with golden lacing on the front of the vest, and her blue skirt is a plain, not print fabric. Other dolls in the series were Hansel and Gretel (sold separately), Cinderella, Nurse Nancy, Little Red Riding Hood and My Dolly and Me.

12″ Bride doll has dark brunette hair and has painted side-glancing eyes. She somewhat resembles Horsman’s Mary Poppins doll. She wears a satin and lace dress and carries a white rose bouquet. Her head piece has white flowers and a tulle veil.

Small Stuff is an unusual 14″ girl doll with big pouty cheeks, a tiny red mouth, and blonde or brunette hair rooted on the top of her head only. The rest of her “hair” is just painted on. She wears a red and white print dress with a white bib, trimmed with white lace and black rickrack. She wears black stockings and shoes and has a straw hat with red ribbon. She probably came in other outfits as well. Both black and white versions of Small Stuff were made. Marked 1960.

Ricki has wild orange hair in two braids, a big goofy smile and freckles. I suspect she is meant to resemble Pippi Longstocking. She wears a strange outfit that is half plain white fabric, and half red-and-white check (stitched together down the middle).

Miss Renee is a 19″ glamour doll marked 14R, similar to Ideal’s Revlon Doll. A 10.5″ version was also sold to compete with Little Miss Revlon.

Raggedy Ann ventriloquist dummy by Jolly Toys Raggedy Ann ventriloquist dummy by Jolly Toys Raggedy Ann and Andy Ventriloquist dummies were made in 1973. They are 29″ tall and have plastic shoulder heads and hands with foam rubber bodies. There is a pull string at the back of the neck to make the movable jaw open and close.
Photos courtesy of Paul Muhlbach. Check out his eBay listings.

Wonder Skin Baby Doll was advertised in 1947.

The company also made a 24″ black girl doll with frosted hair; an “Eskimo” doll dressed in fur; a 24″ glamour doll with blue hair; 30″ and larger companion dolls; and an infant knockoff of American Character’s Baby Dear.



Copyright 1997-2014 by Zendelle Bouchard.

Oct 272012
 
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Hasbro was started in Rhode Island in the 1920s by two brothers, Henry and Helal Hassenfeld, under the name Hassenfeld Brothers. They began making toys in the 1940s, and had their first big hit in 1952 with Mr. Potato Head. They branched out into dolls beginning in 1964 with G.I. Joe, although he was always called an “action figure” since the company figured boys wouldn’t play with a “doll.” The company officially changed its name to Hasbro in 1968.

Click on a photo to see a larger version.

Cutie Clothes by Hasbro As early as 1958, Hasbro stuck its toe into the doll market waters with Cutie Clothes, a series of clothing kits to dress 8″ to 10.5″ glamour dolls. Go to the Cutie Clothes page for more information.

GI Joe Adventure Team figure by Hasbro The G.I. Joe series of action figures has been continuously produced in one form or another since 1964. Originally representing fighting men of the various branches of the U.S. Armed Services, it has been expanded over the years to included some celebrities and fantasy figures. Pictured at left is a 12″ figure from the 1970’s Adventure Team series. Photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.

Little Miss No Name from 1965 is a 15″ pathetic girl doll dressed in rags, complete with plastic tear on her cheek. She was part of the mid-sixties fad for big-eyed waifs.

Peteena Poodle doll by Hasbro Peteena is an 11″ poodle fashion doll with additional outfits. Visit the Peteena page for all the details.

Dolly Darlings by Hasbro Dolly Darlings made from 1965-67 are 4″ dolls with molded hair. They came packaged in round plastic hatbox-type cases with accessories. A couple of years later, Dolly Darlings had rooted hair and were packaged in cardboard boxes with cello fronts or on bubble cards. Many different dolls were issued. Four different play rooms were also sold. Photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.

The Flying Nun is a Dolly Darling dressed to represent Sally Field’s character Sister Bertrille from the popular 1960’s TV show.

That Kid! from 1967 is an unusual 21.5″ mechanical boy doll with a slingshot.

Flower Darlings (1968) are 3.5″ tall, came inside plastic flower pins. These dolls have the same head molds as Dolly Darlings but with smaller bodies.

Storykins (1969). These dolls were knockoffs of Mattel’s Liddle Kiddles, and represented characters from fairy tales including Snow white, Rumplestilskin and Cinderella. They came packaged with furniture and accessories. 2″ to 3.5″ tall.

World of Love dolls by Hasbro World of Love dolls by Hasbro World of Love dolls were made in 1971-72. With names like Love, Flower and Peace, these dolls embodied the best qualities of the youth culture of the late sixties and early seventies. They are 9″ tall and had many extra outfits, a carrying case and a few playsets. There are five girl dolls plus Adam, a boy with molded hair.

Miss Breck is an advertising doll for Breck Shampoo made from the same mold as World of Love.

Candy Babies dolls by Hasbro Candy Babies have vinyl heads and hands, and cloth bodies filled with foam and plastic pellets. They were advertising tie-ins to popular candies including Good ‘n Plenty and Baby Ruth.

Leggy Kate doll by Hasbro Leggy doll outfit by Hasbro Leggy (1973) These 10″ dolls are easy to identify. Most of their length is legs! Four different dolls were made. Photos courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.
Aimee doll by Hasbro Aimée is an 18″ doll with extra available hairpieces and fashions. Visit the Aimée page to learn more.

Sweet Cookie doll by Hasbro Sweet Cookie doll by Hasbro Sweet Cookie (1972) is an 18″ girl doll. She came in black or white versions with cooking accessories.

Romper Room Softies – 10″ cloth dolls tied in with the children’s TV show.

Flutter-byes – 1973 – Tiny 1.5″ dolls with wild colored hair and wings. They look like little flying trolls.

Farrah Fawcett doll from the Charlie's Angels series by Hasbro Charlie's Angels doll clothing by Hasbro Charlie’s Angels first produced in 1977 are 8.5″ dolls representing the three main characters from the TV show. Extra fashions were sold. Photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.

Video doll from the Jem Series by Hasbro Rio doll from the Jem Series by Hasbro Hasbro’s Jem line of 12″ dolls, produced from 1985 to 1987, were created to tie in with an animated children’s television series. The show, which ran from ’85 to ’88, had an interesting rock and roll/science fiction storyline with many characters. Pictured at left are Video, a minor character in the series, and Rio, the boyfriend of main character Jerrica Benton and her rock star alter ego Jem. Video photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings. Rio photo courtesy of King Auctions. Check out their eBay listings.

Maxie doll by Hasbro Maxie is a 11.5″ Barbie type fashion doll representing a high school girl with friends, a boyfriend and high school-themed playsets. She was sold from 1988 to 1990. Like Jem, Maxie was also made into a cartoon show, called “Maxie’s World.” Photo courtesy of King Auctions. Check out their eBay listings.

C.O.P.S. 'n Crooks action figure by Hasbro C.O.P.S. 'n Crooks action figure by Hasbro C.O.P.S. ‘n Crooks is a series of futuristic cops-and-robbers themed action figures. They were made in late ’80s, and, like Jem and Maxie, also tied in to a cartoon series. (Am I sensing a theme here?)

Hasbro has always focused more on their toys and games than their dolls (with the exception of G.I. Joe), and their acquisitions of Playskool, Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley, Kenner and Tonka in the 1980s and ’90s continued that trend. Today they are the largest toy company in the world. Hasbro is currently selling a new version of Kenner’s Blythe doll from the 1970s. Integrity Toys began making a new line of Jem dolls for adult collectors in 2012.

See also:


Copyright 2006-2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Oct 122012
 
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No history of vintage dolls could be written without Horsman. A native of New York City, E. I. Horsman began retailing toys and novelties imported from Germany in the mid-1800s. As the new century dawned, his company began producing its own cloth and composition dolls.
Click on a photo to see a larger version.

Babyland Rag Topsy doll by Horsman Babyland Rag Topsy doll by Horsman The Babyland Rag series of dolls ranged from 11″ to 30″ tall. They have hand painted faces and mitten style hands. Most of them, like this black doll called Topsy, are 14″ tall. They first appeared in Horsman’s 1893 catalog and were produced for over 30 years.
Babyland Rag Topsy Turvy doll by Horsman Babyland Rag Topsy Turvy doll by Horsman Babyland Rag Topsy Turvy doll by Horsman The Babyland Rag Topsy-Turvy doll has two heads – a white doll called Betty, and the black doll, Topsy. The long skirt hides the head on the opposite end.
Babyland Rag lithographed girl doll by Horsman Babyland Rag lithographed boy doll by Horsman In 1907, Horsman began offering Babyland Rag dolls with lifelike lithographed faces. Another style with a three-dimensional molded face was outsourced to Albert Bruckner, a New Jersey dollmaker. Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Composition Campbell Kid doll by Horsman Composition Campbell Kid doll by Horsman The composition Campbell Kid dolls, adapted from illustrations by Grace Drayton, were a huge seller for Horsman. The black doll is the earlier version from the 1910’s and ’20s with cloth body and compo hands. The white doll is the 1940s all-compo version. Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Horsman Jackie Coogan composition doll Horsman Jackie Coogan composition doll Jackie Coogan was a child actor of the 1920s who starred in the film “The Kid” with Charlie Chaplin. Horsman made two different versions of him in composition. This version has Jackie’s well known pageboy hair style, the other one has just a standard head that was also used for other dolls.

Composition Baby Dimples by Horsman Baby Dimples was a big seller for Horsman starting in 1927. She is a bent-leg baby with a composition head and limbs, and cloth body. There was also a version with a celluloid head imported from Germany. A straight-leg all composition toddler version called simply Dimples.

Dolly Rosebudy by Horsman Dolly Rosebud by Horsman Dolly Rosebud, introduced in 1928, has a composition shoulder head and limbs, with a cloth torso and a human hair wig. She was made in multiple sizes from 14″ to 24″. This doll’s dress is tagged “HORSMAN DOLL MF’D in U.S.A.”

Flirty-eyed composition baby doll by Horsman Babies have always been a huge part of Horsman’s lineup. This flirty-eyed baby, advertised in the 1942 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog, has eyes that move from side to side as well as open and close.

Horsman Baby dolls in 1950 Montgomery Ward catalog These babies, advertised in the 1950 Montgomery Ward catalog, have hard plastic heads and softer vinyl bodies.

1950s Horsman Gold Medal Boy doll 1950s Horsman Gold Medal Boy doll Horsman used the name Gold Medal multiple times over the years. This Gold Medal Boy, also called Fairy Skin Boy was sold in the 1950s. He has a one piece body jointed only at the neck. There was a corresponding girl doll as well.
1950s Horsman Cindy glamour doll 1950s Horsman Cindy glamour doll High-heeled Cindy was a major part of Horsman’s lineup in the late fifties. She was available as a 15″ or 18″ doll with a stuffed vinyl body, jointed only at the neck and shoulders, with ball-jointed elbows; and as a 21″ doll with a rigid vinyl body, jointed at the hips as well. She was sold in various costumes, including as a bride and as a ballerina. She was also sold under other names including Bright Star.
See also:

Vintage 10" Cindy glamour doll by Horsman There was a 10″ version of Cindy as well, similar to Ideal’s Little Miss Revlon doll. She was available in a variety of outfits and trunk sets.
Family Trio set of dolls by Horsman Horsman’s Family Trio Set includes a glamorous mother doll with two children. Read more about them on the Family Trio page.
Horsman Jackie doll Horsman’s Jackie was sold in the early ’60s to capitalize on the popularity of first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Go to the Horsman Jackie page to learn more about her. Photo courtesy of John Medeiros.

Horsman Peggy Ann doll 1963 This doll in the 1963 Sears Toy book is unnamed, but she appears to be Horsman’s Peggy Ann, a vinyl sub-teen girl doll with a sweet smile. She was sold for several years, often in sets like this with extra outfits.
Miss Top Knot doll by Horsman This is Miss Top Knot from 1964. Read more about her here. Photo courtesy of Charlene Blank.

One of Horsman’s most popular vinyl dolls is Poor Pitiful Pearl, a homely doll who wears a floral dress with a bright red patch on the front, and a matching red head scarf. Originally produced by the Brookglad Corp. in the ’50s, Horsman began making Pearl in late 1963 in 18″ and later 11″ size, and brought her back again in the 1970s.

Action Bed by Horsman from the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks Action Bed by Horsman from the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks This Action Bed toy was a tie-in to the Disney film “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” released in 1972. It includes a 6.5″ doll representing the character played by Angela Lansbury in the movie. A hard to find item, it is also sought after by Disney collectors. Photos courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.

Horsman began making ventriloquist dolls in the 1970s, and continued with its successful lines of play dolls. In the 1980s, the company struggled, but eventually found renewed success by focusing on niche markets and adding collector dolls to its lineup. Several of Horsman’s early composition dolls were reissued in vinyl versions. The new millennium brough new challenges, and today, the company now known as Horsman Ltd., manufactures fashion dolls for collectors exclusively.

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard