The Goodyear Service Pin used in our logo is courtesy Jerry Bell. The pin belonged to his dad, Adolphus. R. Bell.

13 January, 2011

Brenda and Her Life-Size Doll

Christmas at 7 Wingfoot Trail. The doll's name was Tam, and she is wearing Brenda's coat that was made for Brenda by her mom.
(Brenda Tomlin Family Collection)

These dolls were 'life-size,' could walk, and
we could have one that looked like us!

Excerpts from Life-sized dolls are 'Ideal' collectibles
By Linda Rosenkrantz, Copley News Service

"In the late '50s and early '60s, there was a rage for life-size, or "companion," dolls. No longer did kids have to content themselves just holding, feeding and diapering their baby dolls or dressing their normal-size little-girl dolls. Now they were able to play with peer-like pals, big enough to take a walk with and face eye-to-eye, as they sat across from each other at tea parties.

These dolls even could sit unassisted in toy pedal cars, and pretend to push smaller dolls in baby buggies. The most well-known of these was Patti Playpal, first made in 1959 by the Ideal Toy Corporation. Ideal was a company that had had its beginnings in 1903, when a man named Morris Michtom and his wife began producing stuffed bears -- which they called Teddy Bears after President Theodore Roosevelt -- above their candy store in Brooklyn.

The child-size vinyl dolls came along when Ideal was seeking a fresh novelty to spike sagging sales. Made with realistic vinyl heads with rooted hair, the Play Pal Family dolls, which were sculpted by Neil Estern, had sleep eyes that opened and closed, and hard vinyl bodies jointed at the shoulders, wrists and hips. The original Patti doll, modeled after a 3-year-old child, was 35 inches tall, and came with curly or straight saran hair (most commonly blonde), bangs and a blue or red-and-white checked dress with pinafore. Sister Penny represented a 2-year-old, was 32 inches high, had rooted curly blonde or brown hair and blue eyes, wore an organdy dress and vinyl shoes, and was made for only one year.

Others in the series were Suzy, a 28-inch 1-year-old, and Johnny and Bonnie, 3-month-old baby siblings, also produced for just one year. The particularly lifelike, freckle-faced, 38-inch Peter, who was introduced in 1960, was aimed at kids of both genders, and came with such outfits as schoolboy short pants and cap, knee socks, collarless jacket and bow tie..."

35-inch Patti Playpal, 1959, $350 (original price $30)
Bonnie Play Pal, 1959, $275
Penny Play Pal, 1959, $300
38-inch Peter Play Pal walker, 1960-61, $900
30-inch Miss Ideal, 1961, $475
38-inch Lori Martin, 1961, $800.
36-inch Shirley Temple doll, $1,400 to $1,500.

Linda Rosenkrantz edited Auction magazine and authored nine books, including 'My Life as a List.'"

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