In the 1950s and ’60s, Cameo began making Kewpie and some of their other characters in vinyl, but also licensed other companies to manufacture them. This makes identification difficult, unless the original packaging is present, as they may be marked with the Cameo name while actually made by other manufacturers. Cameo closed in 1969, but founder Joseph Kallus retained his copyrights and continued to license them to various other firms.
Cameo made variations of the standard Kewpie dolls as well: Kewpie Gal has chin length molded hair; Ragsy Kewpie has a body molded in color and is jointed only at the neck. Scootles was reproduced in vinyl beginning in 1964.
Pinkie was made as a vinyl toddler with rooted hair in the 1950s. She was a completely different doll than the composition doll with the same name.
Margie was another name recycled by Cameo, also for a completely different doll than the compo one. The vinyl version was a 17″ girl with rooted hair and multiple joints.
Peanut is a bent-leg baby doll with molded hair that was sold in the Sears catalog as an unnamed doll. She appeared in the 1954 catalog alone; then in 1958 was sold together with a small Kewpie.
Miss Peep is a baby doll sold in the late fifties and through the sixties, and was another hit for Cameo. She is all vinyl with inset plastic eyes. A black version (see below) was made as well as the more common white doll. Most versions have unusual joints at the hip and shoulder that allow the arms and legs to rotate completely as well as move back and forth. A version with regular flange joints was also made. The design for Miss Peep was evidently licensed to another company after Cameo closed, as she was advertised under the name Baby Wendy at least as late as 1973.
Other vinyl babies include Dyp-a-Babe, a drink and wet doll; and Baby Mine, who has beautiful large side-glancing painted eyes (a sleep eyed version was also sold).
Comic characters made in vinyl include Felix the Cat and Popeye.
Vinyl dolls are generally marked “CAMEO” on the back of their heads, and sometimes on their bodies as well.
Copyright 2006-2015 by Zendelle Bouchard