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…