This version of American Character‘s Sweet Sue doll, described in their brochure as a “sub-teen,” bridges the gap between the hard plastic little girl version, and the mature all-vinyl Sweet Sue Sophisticate. Her jointed ankles enable her to wear medium heels, flats or toe shoes, although collectors should be aware that leaving the feet flexed into the highest position often causes them to split.
Flexible Foot Sweet Sue is a walking doll with rigid vinyl torso, legs and arms, with a softer vinyl head and hard plastic feet. She is jointed at the neck, shoulders, waist, hips and ankles. Her arms are flange jointed and positioned very close to her body, with palms facing inward. The waist and neck joints are articulated to allow them to tilt as well as rotate. The most significant feature about this doll is her “sub-teen” bustline, much less developed than Sweet Sue Sophisticate.
She was made in 14″, 20″ and 25″ sizes, and is a walker. Her rooted hair, pulled back into a curly bob with bangs, is most often auburn, but is found in other shades as well. She has blue sleep eyes with brush lashes, and painted lashes underneath each eye. Her fingernails are polished to a light pink; her toenails are unpolished.
Toni Ballerina has the same sub-teen bustline and jointed ankles, but her hair is pulled into a bun at the back of her head, with wisps of hair framing her face.
The 25″ size has “AME. CHARACTER DOLL COR./©” on the back of her neck. The 14″ and 20″ dolls are completely unmarked.
Flexible Foot Sweet Sue was available in a variety of outfits. Each doll came with a round plastic case carrying a black leotard, black satin ballet slippers, black vinyl flats and an extra pair of heels. Toni Ballerina carries the same accessory case, but without the “Sweet Sue” name across the front.
- Bride is a white satin wedding gown with nylon tricot puffed sleeve treatment and ruching all around the middle of the skirt. Underneath she wears a full hoop petticoat, medium white heels, white taffeta panties, nylon hose. She wears pearl drop earrings, and 20″ and 25″ sizes also came with a rhinestone engagement ring. Click here to see a rare variation. Note the doll has the Toni face paint and a bridal gown made from the Cocktail dress pattern. Photo courtesy of Nancy McKee.
- Collegiate is a white nylon blouse with pale blue polka dots and a large bow at the neckline; aqua accordian-pleated cotton skirt; white nylon taffeta slip with tulle ruffle at hemline; white taffeta panties; hose; black medium heels with rhinestone accent; velvet ribbon headband. See photo above. This outfit was also available in a red version.
- Lindy Hop is a print blouse with felt jumper; petticoat; panties; hose; black medium heels with rhinestone accent.
- Sunday Best is sheer white nylon dress, shading to blue at the hem, with puffed sleeves, two or three rows of white embroidery in a paisley pattern at hem, wide sash at waist; blue underdress; blue straw hat with flower; white medium heels with rhinestone accent or mary jane shoes with floral decoration; white taffeta panties; nylon hose or ankle socks.
- Birthday Party is a sheer white nylon dress with pink and blue embroidery, with the name “Sweet Sue” embroidered into the pattern; attached satin sash; fancy taffeta slip; white medium heels with rhinestones; white taffeta panties and nylon hose.
- American Beauty is a full skirted ballgown of pale pink nylon, shading to deep pink at the hem. The dress is actually in two pieces with the bodice of the dress attached to the petticoat, and a separate skirt of gathered flounces that ties with a ribbon in the back. Under all she wears a hoop skirt. She has a nylon tricot stole attached at the front of the bodice that goes over her shoulders and is held in place with satin ribbon. White taffeta panties and nylon hose. See photo above.
- As Toni Ballerina, she wears a pale pink ballet tutu with floral accent, and ballet slippers. See below.
American Character Dolls
by Judith Izen
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Dolls & Accessories of the 1950s
by Dian Zillner
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The Doll & Teddy Bear Department
edited by Thomas W. Holland
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