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Ideal's Hard Plastic Dolls

Magic Skin Baby, introduced in 1940, has a hard plastic head on a stuffed latex body, called "magic skin." These bodies have mostly discolored and deteriorated over the years. Magic Skin Baby was made in four sizes, jointed at the neck and shoulders only.

Plassie doll by Ideal Plassie doll by Ideal Plassie doll by Ideal

Plassie, made in the mid-forties, has a hard plastic head on a compo shoulder plate, with compo limbs and a cloth body. Her hands have curled fingers. The shoulder plate allows her head to tilt realistically. A second version of Plassie replaced the compo limbs with ones made of magic skin. Another version from the fifties has vinyl limbs (pictured at left) and there was an all hard plastic version as well.

Sparkle Plenty was Ideal's first hard plastic comic strip character doll, introduced in 1947. She was from the Dick Tracy strip by Chester Gould, and was a big success. Sparkle is a baby doll with hard plastic head, long yellow yarn hair and magic skin body. She was made in four sizes from 14" to 20".

Baby Coos got her name from the cooing sound she makes when you squeeze her leg. She has a hard plastic head and magic skin body. She was sold from the late '40s into the early '50s. Baby Coos is often confused with Plassie and Magic Skin Baby. Several versions were made, including a life-size doll, and one with a mohair wig. Brother Coos was Baby Coos dressed as a boy. In the late fifties, Baby Coos was reintroduced in a vinyl version.

Toni doll by Ideal

Toni was the biggest selling doll in the late forties and early fifties. See the Toni page for more details.

Howdy Doody is a ventriloquist doll with a hard plastic head and movable jaw. His body is cloth, some have vinyl hands. A tie-in to the popular kids' show from the 1950s, Howdy was also made in a talking version and a vinyl head version without the moving jaw.

Saucy Walker doll by Ideal

Saucy Walker is an all hard plastic walking doll with flirty sleep eyes. She was made in 16" (pictured at left) and 22" sizes and sold in a variety of dresses. She was very popular and was made from 1951 to 1955. There were many knockoffs of Saucy Walker made, these will not have the Ideal marking. In 1955 a vinyl head version of Saucy was made.

Posie is a hard plastic doll with bendable knees. A vinyl head version was made as well.

Tickletoes and Baby Beautiful are large babies with hard plastic heads. They may have magic skin, vinyl or hard plastic limbs on a cloth body, with mohair or synthetic wigs. Early '50s.

8.5" Boopsie, 11" Baby Mine and Thrift Kit Dolls were budget-priced dolls. They are all hard plastic and have unusual side-glancing sleep eyes. They were sold wearing a diaper. Kits by Bucilla could be purchased to make outfits for the Thrift Kit Dolls.

Betsy Wetsy returned in 1954 with a hard plastic head and vinyl body. She could still drink, wet and cry, but now she had a runny nose as well. Some dolls have molded hair and some have a caracul wig. Other versions of Betsy can be found on the Composition and Vinyl pages. The hard plastic Betsys were made through 1957.

Sources for this page include:

  • "Collector's Guide to Ideal Dolls, 3rd edition" by Judith Izen

Copyright 2007-2009 by Zendelle Bouchard.

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