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Ideal's Vinyl Dolls

Individual doll pages:

Other notable Ideal vinyl dolls: (Click on a small photo to view a larger version.)

Betsy McCall doll by Ideal

Betsy McCall by Ideal was the first three-dimensional version of the popular paper doll from McCall's magazine. She is 14" tall, with the hard plastic Toni body and a soft vinyl head with glued-on dark brunette wig. Betsy went on to be made by other companies in later years.
Photo courtesy of Nancy McKee.

Harriet Hubbard Ayer, sold in 1953, has a vinyl head and arms on a hard plastic body. Her long fingernails are an identifying feature. She promoted cosmetics play and came with makeup that could be applied and removed.

Howdy Doody doll by Ideal

Howdy Doody is a ventriloquist doll, a tie-in to the popular kids' show from the 1950s. Howdy is most commonly found with a hard plastic head and movable jaw, but he was also made in a talking version and a vinyl head version with a cloth body (shown at left) without the moving jaw.

Saralee advertised as a "Negro" doll, was the first baby doll made to look like a real African-American child. Prior to this, black dolls were either made by coloring a white doll brown, or with stereotypically exaggerated features. Several other dolls in the series were planned, but Saralee was the only one produced.

Bonnie Braids was a comic character baby doll from the Dick Tracy strip. She has a vinyl head with blonde painted hair and two saran pigtails. The first version of Bonnie, sold in 1951, had only one tooth. A later version had three teeth and was a toddler rather than a baby doll. Two other comic strip babies, Joan Palooka and Mysterious Yokum, were also produced in the fifties.

17 inch vinyl Shirley Temple doll by Ideal

Shirley Temple was issued in vinyl in the late fifties, to capitalize on the popularity of Shirley's television show. Dolls were made in 12", 15", 17" and 19" sizes. Some of the larger dolls had flirty eyes, and the 19" doll was also made in a walking version with a different head mold. The 12" tall had a huge wardrobe of extra outfits. The '50s Shirley Temple dolls wear '50s style clothing, not outfits like she wore in her films. A 36" Shirley Temple Playpal was made in 1960 and is highly sought after by collectors. In the 1970s, Shirley was reissued again.

Saucy Walker is best known as a hard plastic walking doll with flirty sleep eyes, but she was also made with a vinyl head and hard plastic body in several sizes in 1955-56, and as a blow-molded vinyl 28" or 32" doll in 1960-61.

Baby Coos, best known as a hard plastic doll, was reintroduced in a vinyl version in the late fifties.

Patti Playpal and her family are life-sized dolls made of lightweight blow molded vinyl, beginning in 1959. Patti was the size of a three year old girl; her brother Peter was the size of a four year old. Little sisters Penny represented a two year old and Suzie a one year old. Twins Johnny and Bonnie were the size of three month old babies. These dolls were sculpted by Neil Estern, then a struggling artist, who went on to become one of America's most famous sculptors. They are some of the most beautiful and realistic dolls ever made. View Play Pal items on eBay!

Miss Ideal, Terry Twist, Lori Martin and Daddy's Girl are other large sized dolls designed by Mr. Estern.

Kissy has a unique feature: when you pull her arms together, this 22.5" doll puckers her lips to give you a kiss. A 16" Tiny Kissy was also made.

Thumbelina doll by IdealThumbelina doll by Ideal

Thumbelina was Ideal's biggest selling baby doll of the 1960s. She is a mechanical doll that wriggles when you wind a knob in her back. Several different sizes and variations were made, and she had extra outfits and accessories as well. Thumbelina was reissued in the 1980's, but didn't have the wriggling feature. View Thumbelina items on eBay!

Mitzi was Ideal's first attempt to compete with Mattel's Barbie doll. She is a slim teen vinyl fashion doll and is 11.75" tall. Her original outfit is a purple two-piece swimsuit.

Liz, pictured below, was also sold by Montgomery Ward under the name Carol Brent. She is a larger 15" fashion doll with sexy side glancing eyes. She has very beautiful hands. Jackie is a similar doll with sleep eyes.

Liz doll by Ideal Liz doll by Ideal Liz doll by Ideal Liz doll by Ideal

Tammy - with this doll, Ideal finally found fashion doll success and she competed with Barbie for a few years. Tammy differed from Barbie in that she had an entire family, including Mom, Dad, sister Pepper and brother Ted. Other family and friends were added later. Tammy also differed in that she was more of a sweet and innocent girl, not busty and glamorous like Barbie. The dolls originally had non-bendable arms and legs, but in 1964, Posin' Tammy and Pepper were introduced. Grown Up Tammy, introduced in 1965, has a slimmer figure to match her new friend Misty. Black versions of Tammy are rare and highly sought after. Outfits for Tammy and her family are well made and have lots of interesting accessories. View Tammy family items on eBay!

Tammy doll by Ideal Tammy's family dolls by Ideal Posin' Misty doll by Ideal Outfits for Tammy doll by Ideal Outfits for Tammy doll by Ideal
(L to R: Basic Tammy; Tammy's family; Posin' Misty; some of Tammy's many outfits)

Samantha, made from the Misty molds, was a tie-in to the Bewitched television show. She wears a sparkly red gown and matching hat, and carries a broom.

Comic Heroines include Mera, Queen of Atlantis; Batgirl; Super Girl and Wonder Woman. They were also made from the Misty molds and are highly sought after by comic collectors as well as doll collectors.

Tearie Dearie was a 9" drink-wet baby who cried real tears and blew bubbles too. She was a fashionable baby, with several extra outfits.

Pebbles Flintstone doll by Ideal

Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm were baby dolls from the Flintstones tv cartoon. They were made in several sizes.

Giggles, made in 18" white and black versions, and as a 15" baby, was another Neil Estern doll. She giggles when you pull her hands together. Late sixties.

Flatsy is a fun, flat, posable vinyl doll. She was made in Mini, Medium and Fashion sizes in several different characters. Reproductions were made in the 1990s by another company.

Beautiful Crissy was a huge seller for Ideal in the early '70s. She is an 18" pre-teen vinyl fashion doll with hair that "grows" from a hole in the middle of her head. The earliest dolls have hair that reaches the floor; the hair on later versions is about knee length. When you get tired of Crissy's long hair, just turn the knob on her back to shorten it again. The dolls were well made and the hair can be lengthened and shortened over and over again. Crissy was made as a white doll with red hair, and in an African-American version with black hair. She was so popular that many friends and family members were introduced for her, all with the growing hair feature. These included her little cousins Velvet and Cinnamon, and friends Tressy, Kerry, Brandi, Mia, Cricket, Tara and Dina. Variations of the dolls were made with different play features, like the Movin' Groovin' dolls who have twist waists. Baby Crissy is a 24" doll who also has growing hair. View Crissy family items on eBay!

Kerry doll by Ideal Movin' Groovin' Crissy and Tressy dolls by Ideal Movin' Groovin' Velvet doll by Ideal Mia doll by Ideal Movin' Groovin' Cricket doll by Ideal
L to R: Kerry; Movin' Groovin' Tressy and Crissy; Movin' Groovin' Velvet; Mia; Movin' Groovin' Cricket

Magic Hair Crissy, is a slimmer, more grown up version, 19" tall. She doesn't have the growing hair, but instead has changeable hair pieces that attach to her head with velcro.

Harmony is a 21" mechanical, musical doll with long straight hair. She comes with a guitar and amplifier with changeable records. The amplifier plugs into her back and enables her to strum her guitar and bob her head while the music plays. Her three extra outfits each came with a record.

Tiffany Taylor has a very unusual feature. Her special rotating scalp is rooted with half blonde hair and half brunette. To instantly change her look, just turn her scalp around. She is 19" tall, has the same body as Magic Hair Crissy, and was produced in both white and black versions. A smaller 11" version also had the rotating scalp feature - the white doll is called Tuesday Taylor and the black doll is Taylor Jones. Both sizes of dolls had extra outfits.

Jody is a 9" slim teen doll who was sold in a variety of turn-of-the-century style outfits. She was sold individually or with her playsets: a General Store, Victorian Parlor and Country Kitchen. Some Jody boxes call her "An Old Fashioned Doll" while others describe her as "The Country Girl Doll." She was sold in 1974-75 in both white and black versions.

Joey Stivic was Archie Bunker's grandson from the '70s TV show "All in the Family." Joey is an anatomically correct drink-and-wet 14" baby.

Tippy Tumbles and Timmy Tumbles are tumbling dolls who function with the aid of a battery pack which attaches by a cord to the side of the doll's leg. Tippy's battery pack is shaped like a purse; Timmy's is like a toolbox. White and black versions, 1977.

Dorothy Hamill is the Olympic skating star in an 11.5" doll version. She had six outfits that could be purchased separately.

Sources for this page include:

  • "Collector's Guide to Ideal Dolls, 3rd edition" by Judith Izen
  • "Collector's Guide to Dolls of the 1960s & 1970s" by Cindy Sabulis

Copyright 2007-2013 by Zendelle Bouchard.

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