Poor Pitiful Pearl

See, I promised my next post would be on an actual doll, and here I am, actually delivering!  (For once.)

This is Poor Pitiful Pearl, a Horsman doll from 1963.  I’d seen photos of her, but hadn’t been terribly interested until I saw one in person at the Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s traveling exhibit at the history museum back in January of 2017.  Unfortunately, for some reason I didn’t get any photos of her at the time, possibly because she was still in her box, so I figured she wasn’t going to photograph very well.  You can see a (rather distant) photo of what her box looked like on DollReference.com’s Horsman 1960s-1970s page.  (Which also starts with a close-up of her face.)  Like many of the other unusual ’60s dolls of this sort I’ve been interested in getting — Little Miss No Name and Susie Sad Eyes (though she’s actually early ’70s), primarily — I’d found her price tag a bit off-putting.  But eventually I found this one on a Red Tag sale at Ruby Lane. 🙂

As you can see, she has one serious flaw:  her eyes have paled to a blue far more pale than they originally were, making it look a bit as though she’s gone blind.  (As if she didn’t have enough problems already!)  However, her hair is in good shape for a doll this old (there are a few snarls in the back, as you’ll see, and a bit of a musty smell, but nothing major), and look how crisp her face paint is!  She did lose her kerchief at some point, but I can replace that when I get a chance with just any old bit of red cloth. ;P

Ah, but I’ve skipped over the details about just who Pearl is.  She was designed by William Steig, a cartoonist (who often published in the New Yorker) and author, whose children’s book Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was one I had as a child, and whose much later children’s book, Shrek!, was the basis of the Dreamworks movie.  (Fortunately for him, he passed away long before Shrek 3.  Didn’t quite see release of the second one either, which is sad, but maybe he’d already seen it as a work in progress.)  As far as I can tell (which is not, I admit, very far), Steig created Pearl specifically for the original 1958 doll by Brookglad; both versions of her were released with a little booklet illustrated by him.  I found a series of photos (scans?) of the 1958 booklet in this blog post from 2009, along with some lovely photos of the Brookglad doll, which appears essentially identical to the Horsman doll (I read somewhere that Horsman bought out Brookglad, so that’s not surprising) except for having a less colorful face-up and longer hair.  There was also a 1976 doll released by Tristar, which (from the DollReference.com photo) seems to have a very much identical face, but a rather different body.

Right, so now that I’ve dispensed with the history, on with the rest of the doll photos! 🙂

She has the pudgiest legs I have ever seen on a doll.  Ever. 🙂  I think they’re absolutely adorable.  The nylons help, of course.

As you can see, her hair’s a bit frizzled in the back, but not bad.  Nowhere near as bad as the average 1980s doll’s hair.

I love that her dress is fastened with a button.  I wish doll manufacturers still used buttons (or at least snaps) instead of crummy velcro.

I should have gotten a side-by-side photo of her with some other doll for scale.  She’s about 12″ tall (most of the ones I see online seem to be the 17″ version), so putting her side-by-side with a Barbie would be quite the jarring contrast!  Another child-like doll would probably be a better comparison.  Not quite sure what doll, though.  Most of the others are too tall or too short.  Maybe go a bit older/newer and use the red-headed Patsy replica.  In terms of body-type, Patsy and other dolls of that type would be the best match.  (Maybe when the doll exhibit comes down in July, I can bring in Pearl and a few other dolls to photograph side-by-side with that Scootles on loan for the exhibit.  A slight abuse of power(?), maybe, but what an incredible chance!)

It’s a weird and awesome feeling, though, adding dolls like Pearl to my collection, considering that they’re older than I am.  My collection of dolls older than I am is really growing lately.  (I’ve gotten two others that, like Pearl, I first saw in person at that traveling museum exhibit.  But I haven’t photographed either of the other two yet.)  I should make a gallery in my Google Photos drive to show them all.  (Of course, Pearl has her own album already, and all these photos link there.)  Oooh, now that I think about it, I still haven’t photographed the one that’s probably oldest…I need to remedy that situation…


Such a Sweet Little Smile!

*cough*  Somehow this ended up taking me until late Thursday night to write, even though on Monday I said it would probably be up on Tuesday… *cough*

Okay, so what we have here is a very special doll that I had the privilege to meet at work.  He (she?) is on loan to the museum for the duration of our doll exhibit, and I was so thrilled to get to see this doll that I couldn’t help taking a few pictures, and I wanted to share them with you.  Of course, since I wasn’t expecting this loan to suddenly come in, I didn’t have my camera with me, and had to use my phone.  (If I hadn’t been forced to replace my flip phone, I’d have had to use the museum’s camera, which would have resulted in better pictures.  Realistically, I should have thought to use the museum’s camera regardless of the availability of my phone’s camera.  Sorry about that.)

So, in summary, this is another of those rare posts that is centered on a doll I don’t own.  (Though one of my dolls also cameos in the post…)

This is Scootles, a composition doll manufactured by Cameo, and designed by Rose O’Neill, best known as the creator of the Kewpie doll.  The museum’s collection has a 22″ (ish) Scootles, which I already thought was cute, but this one is all kinds of adorable, above and beyond the big one in the museum’s collection.  (It doesn’t help the case of the museum’s Scootles that s/he has glass eyes, and one of them is horribly crazed while the other is still in good condition.)

That sweet little face! 😀  He’s got a few paint issues on his face, but the composition is in perfect condition, and barely even has any crazing.  Or she does.  I don’t know if Scootles has an official gender, but the doll has always looked like a little boy to me.  (The woman who actually owns this doll has also always thought of him as a boy.)  I’ve seen people refer to Scootles as a girl, though, so I have no idea what the majority consensus is, or if there even is a majority consensus.

I don’t know when Cameo stopped making Scootles dolls:  the only year I’ve ever seen mentioned regarding the date of Cameo Scootles dolls is 1925.  I don’t know if that means that Scootles failed to recapture the popularity of his Kewpie cousins and was only made for a year, or if there just isn’t any information as to when production stopped.

We were short on display space for Scootles, so we had to take my blonde Snow White type out of the vitrine and put Scootles in her place.  (She’d been there for comparison to the African-American one, but I think the presence of a white doll in an exhibit on African-American dolls tended to confuse the visitors anyway…)  We couldn’t put Scootles on a stand, though, because we didn’t have any capable of holding his super-chubby waist.

Speaking of my two Snow White types, I’ve decided to name the blonde one Cindy, because she makes me think of Cinderella, but I’m still not sure what to name this one.  I suppose I could call her Minerva (or some diminutive thereof) because I think she was made by a company called Minerva, but somehow that feels a little weird.  (Any suggestions?)

A 3/4 angle, because.  The doll behind them is a Madame Hendren baby doll, btw, composition head and cloth body.  Pretty cute, but there’s a bad crack in the composition of her face.  (Isn’t there always?)

And one last angle, badly diminished by reflections on the vitrine.  😦

Anyway, given that African-American versions of dolls were always made in smaller quantities back then (which hasn’t actually changed, but hopefully these days the percentages are closer together) and that Scootles dolls are rather rare to begin with, I wanted to share these photos, since so many people will never have the opportunity even to see an African-American Scootles.  (And pretty much all of us will never have the chance to actually own one.  But at least I’ve seen one!  😀  Even held him in my hands.  That was really cool, if a little nerve-wracking.)

I’m hoping to get back into the habit of posting at least once in between each Blind Box Monday…but I can’t guarantee it’s going to happen with any regularity.  My life (especially in terms of my house) is pretty messy right now.  Makes it hard to take pictures.  But now that I think about it, I think I have some photos sitting around that I haven’t posted yet..

Liberty of London and Kimport

Before I get to the actual post, I have to apologize, twice.  First, I apologize for my prolonged silence.  It’s been crazy here (I’m doing both April CampNaNo and April A-to-Z on my other blog) and I’ve been having worse trouble sleeping than ever.  Plus I have real trouble getting photos taken.  None of that excuses my silence; I just wanted to explain.  And second, I apologize for how late this post is, because I promised it would come immediately after my Wonder Woman Nendoroid post, and yet here it is almost a month later, and I’m only just now posting it.

Thing is, if I’d gone on my intended schedule at that time, I’d have ended up posting this on the 17th, and I didn’t want to post this guy’s photo on St. Patrick’s Day…

Yup. 🙂  This is a Liberty of London doll.  The dolls were made by a pair of sisters, using fabric from the department store of the same name, and often selling the dolls through them as well.  (At least, I think that was what the story behind these dolls was…)  The dolls were made from the 1930s to the 1960s, if I recall correctly.  (They did coronation sets both for Queen Elizabeth and her father.  The QEII set is pretty common (and massive), but her father’s set is more rare.) Continue reading

1990s onward

We’re starting with one I was actually tempted to put in the 1980s…

Anyone else out there who’s my age probably doesn’t need me to tell them I’ve named this doll “Darla.”

For those who do need me to tell them that, let me explain:  this doll’s costume is almost identical to one worn by the henchwoman (and fashion model) Darla in 1981’s The Great Muppet Caper.  I really, really wanted to find a photograph of the actress in the dress, or at least a convenient YouTube clip showing the scene in question, but none of the clips seemed to be the right scene (even though it’s really funny, with Diana Rigg mocking three high fashion dresses (which her character had designed)) and I couldn’t find any photos of it, either.  (Irritatingly, there were lots of photos and clips from later in the scene, after the three henchmodels left and Miss Piggy came in.  Which, I suppose, is not surprising, now that I think about it.)

Anyway, Darla here is a CED doll, designed by Laura Meisner and Doug James, and was probably released sometime between 2003 and 2006.  Officially, her name is Colin Elia Dehan, and she’s supposed to be an African-American of Nigerian heritage, but she’s totally Darla, which makes her African-English.  (Um, probably.  Carla, Marla and Darla didn’t have much in the way of dialog, so maybe they’re not English?  (I mean, nationality didn’t seem to mean much in that movie; Charles Grodin didn’t put on an English accent, despite playing Diana Rigg’s brother.)) Continue reading

1980s, Part Two

Apologies in advance, but this is actually a pretty short-on-content post.  I should have traded out one of these two with Orange Blossom so Part One would have been lesser, and this would have been greater, making them (more or less) on even footing.  But I wanted to roughly follow chronology, so this happened.

This is Iris, from the very short-lived Rose Petal Place line by Kenner.  It was only around in 1984, but I’m pretty sure I had one as a kid.  (I’m not sure which, though…probably either Rose-Petal or Lily Fair.  Nah, it had to be Rose-Petal.  She’s the only one who gives me a “familiar vibe” when I look at the pictures.  (Speaking of those pictures, make sure to visit that link and scroll down to the pictures of the dolls who were announced but never mass-produced.  I would love to have some of those!))

She has a sweet little face, and I love her iris-hat.  (I do love irises…)  That dress of hers is problematic, though:  the elastic is old and giving way, so it likes to droop down towards her waist.  Admittedly, this is not a doll who was sculpted with breasts, so it’s not like it’s revealing anything, but it still looks bad on general principles when it does that.  (Actually, if they had given them breasts, that would probably go a long way to stopping the dress from drooping.)

Continue reading

1980s, Part One

We’re starting the 1980s right at the beginning with a doll released in 1980:

No, I don’t have one in box. This image is from the Strong Museum of Play. Click for link.

I wanted to include that photo so that everyone could see exactly how Mattel decided to title the doll.  (Not to mention the text under the title!)

Now this one, I do own. 😀  And just as the box promised, she is beautiful. 🙂 Continue reading

1970s, Part Two

As with yesterday’s (supposed to be Wednesday’s *sigh*) post, we’ve got one certainty and one question mark on here.  But the question mark here is less questionable. 😛

First, though, the certainty.  Or rather, certainties:

Meet the Happy Family.  (Most of it, anyway.)  Mattel’s Sunshine Family (often called a “hippie” line, which I don’t think is actually the right word for them at all, more like “folksy”) was produced from 1974-1978, and instead of making them in two ethnicities (a practice they hadn’t yet adopted for Barbie, either) they gave the Sunshine family a set of friends named Happy.

You might think that a pair of boxed dolls from the 1970s would be expensive, but between the fact that the box is in kind of crap shape and the Sunshine/Happy Family dolls are a little creepy to most people, they weren’t expensive at all.  (Personally, I still find the Sunshine Family creepy around the edges, but I quite like the Happy Family.  I have no idea why they’re more palatable in a different color scheme — goodness knows, they didn’t use different facial molds! — but they absolutely are.) Continue reading