Saturday, February 17, 2018

2 dolls on etsy

I placed two dolls for sale on etsy two weeks ago.  They are both not removed from box, but there is box wear.  Here they are:
1997 Galoob Together in Paris Anya
1997 Galoob Czar Nicholas

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine-themed Barbie clothing not as common as you think

Bend leg Skipper in #1945 Hearts N Flowers
and Cool Tops Skipper in Fashion Starter #721-6
admire the child's bracelet that Tuli-Chan
(in her original gown) is holding.
Teen Skipper loved hearts!
Here are Extreme Green in a Teen Time outfit,
while Florida Vacation and Totally YoYo
both wear Teen Scene summer outfits.
Barbie loved the heart print
from her 1984 Loving You Gown
that she had it reused in the 1990s,
with Pretty Hearts and Freundschafts.
Outfits for romance-loving dolls:
Loving You Barbie and Sweet Roses PJ
in their original gowns

Cleo made a number of Barbie Valentine
children's cards over the years.
On the right is Sweet Roses PJ modeling
#4812 Romantic Valentine,
while on the left Loving You Barbie
wears the similar unnamed Fashion Fun #7503.

I wanted to write an article with photos about Barbie and Valentine's Day, and the research has been tougher than I expected.  With a few exceptions, Barbie and her family and friends haven't had a lot of Valentine or heart-themed clothing.  Since the heart is such a universal symbol, you'd think there would be more merchandise.

The exceptions:
The 1980s Heart Family:  Although some of the original outfits have hearts on them, I looked through their separately sold outfits and they have very few, if any, hearts on them!
Some 1990s special edition Barbies: 1991 Pretty Hearts, 1993 Secret Hearts Barbie and Ken, 1995 Bob Mackie Queen of Hearts, 1996 Pretty Hearts, 1996 Valentine Sweetheart, 1997 Target Valentine Romance, 1997 Valentine Fun and 1999 Target Valentine Style.  I don't recall anything specific before that, and I don't know about the merchandise sold in 2000 and after.
Teen Skipper in the late 1990s had a number of outfits with hearts on them.  I will show you three of them in a photo.

I think the most romantic year for Barbie had to be 1984.  That was the year of Loving You Barbie and Sweet Roses PJ, plus I will show the dolls redressed in two of the ball gowns for that year.

Some comments:
1967 #1845 Hearts N Flowers came in two versions: a bright green background and a white background.  It's actually a loud school outfit, as it came with books.  It has a fake jumper that's all one piece, a jacket, boots and socks and a cap that will remind you of the Beatles.
1974 Curl Tuli-Chan was sold only in Japan.  Like other Quick Curl dolls,  her limbs fall off very easily.  Her hair is black with red streaks, and the streaks are the wires.  Her hair is very, very stiff, and unlike the rest of the doll, is so strong it could withstand a tornado.
1984 had a number of beautiful dolls, including Loving You Barbie and Sweet Roses PJ.  PJ, a rare brunette, has the poofiest dress Mattel has ever made.  The layers of the gown are supposed to represent petals and each satin petal is lined with a stiff netting.
1984 Loving You Barbie's outfit would reappear in the 1990s.  Mattel must have had a lot of the heart print netting left over.  The fabric would be used in the 1991 Pretty Hearts Barbie, which was renamed Freundschafts (Friendship) Barbie in 1992 in Germany.
1984 #4812 Romantic Valentine is the first (maybe only) Barbie gown that was a separately sold outfit that mentioned Valentine's Day.  It is skin-tight and hard to get over Barbie's hips and breasts.  My advice:  pull up the pink underlining all the way first, over her breasts, and then pull up the separate lace outer section.  There are many similar looking strapless gowns with lace on the top during this time period.
The Cleo Barbie Valentines for 1989 are one of many Barbie greeting cards that have been made over the decades.  I don't think a list has ever been created of greeting cards.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

I've compared some sports theme dolls

The full title of the playset is #7420 Olympic Gymnast Set for Barbie and PJ.
No, I don't understand the spinner either.
SunSet Malibu/Gold Medal PJ in her original swimsuit,
Free Moving PJ in #7424 Regatta on the Sea
and Ballerina Barbie in #9658 Mix N Match Set

This article is about two different but related topics:  three similar gym outfits, and the PJ Gymnast Set.

The first half pictures three outfits that are easy to confuse.  The 1975 Gold Medal Gymnast PJ original outfit, 1975's #7424 Regatta on the Sea, and 1976's #9658 Mix N Match Set.  The photo shows Gymnast PJ in part of her original outfit, Free Moving Barbie in Regatta and Ballerina Barbie in Mix N Match.  I don't own the gymnast bodysuit, just the Olympic swimsuits.  The difference is that the bodysuit has a high collar but the swimsuits have a regular open collar.  I also don't own the bikini pants to Mix N Match, so Barbie is wearing the yellow slacks from Regatta.

The second half features the PJ Olympic Gymnast Set.  You could get this set with or without PJ; I have the one without.  It is one of a few PJ gift sets sold over the years.  The front of the box is a photo of PJ performing and the back of the box shows some of the poses you could supposedly do.  I don't have the spinner thing, so I cannot tell you about it, but I do have the gauntlets (I guess that's what they are called) to hold the doll on the bar.

You have to put the gauntlets on the doll first, then slide them over the bar, then hang the bar on the towers.  It's almost impossible to put a doll in the gauntlets if you place them on the bar and tower first.  Getting the bar to slide between the gauntlets is difficult and you will have to forcibly bend the doll's thumbs or hands to complete the job.  The SunSet Malibu and Free Moving dolls of 1975 have different arm and hand arrangements and neither type of doll is easy to get onto the bar.  I also tried the 1976 Ballerina Barbie and her hands and arms don't allow the bar to slide in at all.

I couldn't get either a Free Moving or Malibu doll to do all of the poses on the box back; the dolls are simply too stiff, even with bendable legs and soft vinyl arms to get into position.  So I am demonstrating what I WAS able to do with the dolls.

Maybe the dolls were flexible enough to do these pose
in 1975, but they aren't now.
Hanging upside down is a good way
to straighten your back and clear your head
Barbie prepares to hang from her legs.
Next step is the hardest:
Sliding the horizontal bar past the hands.
PJ looks ready to do chin-ups!
I guess the horizontal bar could also be used as a dumbbell?

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Halloween costumes through the decades

Although advertised as Western Barbie, the accessories don't resemble the doll's outfit.
The 1965 large size Skipper costume
is much longer than the shorter dress.
I believe this was a toddler girl's costume.

Note the non-PC "flame retarded" wording on the box.
I think this Barbie Bride outfit mask is a little creepy.
I think it looks like one of the Gabors!

The cuffs and bolo tie will fit an adult,
but not the rest of the Western Dress-Up Set.

A pink version of the Homecoming Queen Skipper gown.

The microphone is a nice touch for a beauty queen set.

I own six Barbie and Skipper Halloween costumes, two from the 1960s, one from the 1970s, Ione from the 1980s and two from the 1990s.  I bought one new at the store; the rest were purchased at garage sales or antique shows.
The first two were based on Skipper's Silk N Fancy dress, with extra gold trim on the bodice.  The trim is referred to as "Sparkle Velvet."  These were made by Collegeville Costumes/Collegeville Flag & Manufacturing Co. of Collegeville, PA.  It's the large, size 12-14 (whatever that means), for which I have the box and mask, and then the other dress that I suppose is a small.  The box is dated 1964, but I assume it was for sale in 1965.  Note that the Skipper mask wears a headband.
The next costume, also made by Collegeville, is on a hanger rather than in a box.  The wedding dress says "Barbie Bride," dated 1977, I assume for the 1978 market.   This was sold in conjunction with the 1978 Beautiful Bride Barbie.  The back is soft white vinyl while the front is rayon.  The dress has browned with age and I tried cleaning it but nothing removed the faded color.
Number three is one of the first items I purchased as an adult collector.  I was at a garage sale and found a box of accessories known as Western Barbie Dress Up Kit by H-G Industries Inc. of Long Beach, NY.  The box is dated 1981, the year Western Barbie was sold, but I suppose the items were sold in 1982.  The box was missing the cowboy hat and vest, but I have the bolo tie, chaps, belt and cuffs.
My first 1990s item is another Skipper outfit.  I bought this item new at Woolworth's.  It is all soft vinyl and you could probably lose 10 pounds while sweating when wearing it.  It's called "Teen Fun Skipper" made by Hasbro for Ben Cooper.  (How did Mattel's competitor Hasbro end up with the rights to a Skipper item?) . The hanger says "Tiny-Tot/(3-5)" but I don't know if that the size or recommended age.  It came with a molded mask and was probably one of the last outfits sold with a mask before stores stopped selling them.  The dress is Barbie pink and pictured on it is a 1989 Homecoming Queen Skipper in a pink version of her gown.
Last was another garage sale purchase called "Barbie Beauty Queen."  One of the tags on the satin cape is a 1990s Barbie clothing tag and the other says it was made by Arco Toys (a 1980s and 1990s subsidiary of Mattel).  It also came with a hairbow, brush and comb.  The thing with the fuzzball on it is a fake microphone with an on/off switch, but I don't know how to open it or make it work.  The tiara says "Mattel, Inc., 1996," so I assume it was sold in 1997.
There is a word on the Collegeville costumes which is now politically incorrect.  Today outfits would say "flame retardant."

Friday, September 22, 2017

Little known about Maddie Mod doll history

The brunette on the left is Princess Grace
and the blonde is an actual Maddie Mod.
Maddie Mod was sold
in many different styles of swimsuits.
I have found a lot of information about the Mego Corp., and a lot of photos of Maddie Mod dolls and outfits.  But I've found almost nothing about the history of the doll.
The earliest Maddies have the following written on their backs:
© 1968/PRINCESS GRACE DOLL/HONG KONG.  She's also got HONG KONG written on the nape of her neck.  I'm assuming the dolls were introduced to the public in 1969.
I don't know if Princess Grace was a subsidiary of Mego, or a separate company that Mego bought out about 1970.  I HAVE read that the doll was named after Madeline Abrams, the wife of David Abrams, the founder of Mego.
I don't know when the doll's marking changed, but at some point her back began saying:
©  MEGOCORP. MCMLXX/HONG KONG, and there is nothing on her neck.
My sisters and I received Maddies for Christmas 1970 (and we always liked the clothes for her more than the dolls).
The book Collectible Doll Fashions: 1970s, by Carmen Varrichio, copyright 2003 Schiffer Publishing, shows Maddie outfits sold from 1970 to 1977.  The 1976 and 1977 clothing packaging, although still saying "Maddie Mod" on the front, has a company called Summit Industries Limited as its manufacturer/distributor.  Another piece of trivia: in 1971 Maddie had a boyfriend named Richie with his own line of clothing, although I've never seen either the doll or outfits.
There are some NRFB outfits that I can now find by googling that are dated 1967, I assume for the 1968 market.  Were her outfits sold before she was?
Maddie had her own competitors.  Some of them were: Marcie Mod by A&H Doll Manufacturing Corp., Maxi Mod by Shillman, Mini Mod by Totsy, and Missy Mod by Edico Productions.

Princess Grace, on the right, has an arch to her feet
and she is definitely high-heeled.
Maddie Mod, on the left, has flat feet that are slanted just a little.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Patsy Cline doll?

I was at a garage sale yesterday and the seller told me about two dolls she had received as a child in the 1970s.  One was a Patsy Cline doll and the other was a male country singer whose name she could not remember off the top of her head.
I have seen umpteen Dolly Parton and Marie Osmond dolls from that time period, but have never heard of a Patsy Cline doll.  I don't know if Patsy and her male counterpart were fashion dolls or bigger dolls.  I know there was a Patsy doll in the 1940s and 1950s, but that's not what the woman was talking about.  Have any of you seen a Patsy Cline doll from the 1960s or 1970s?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Willows in the 1970s, part 3

Rarely do you ever see the front panels of the Live Action House.
Only the living room section had a correct front.
The indoors of the bedroom and kitchen do not match the layout on the other side.
Close-up of the front of the Live Action House
Barbie's Pool Party was the first
of Barbie's many swimming pools.

This is the end of my long-running project to photograph dolls, houses and playsets by decade in a street-like setting.  Today it is for the 1970s.

In these photos are the following:

Dolls and outfits:
1971 Live Action Barbie in #3401 Fringe Benefits
1971 Live Action Ken in #1439 Suede Scene
1971 Live Action PJ in #3408 Super Scarf
1972 Pose N Play Skipper in #3295 Turn Abouts
1972 Pose N Play Tiff in #3372 Fun Runners
1972 SunSet Malibu PJ in #3468 Oh Boy Corduroy
1972 Walk Lively Ken in #3378 Western Winner
1974 Malibu Barbie in Best Buy #7813 (the polka dot outfit)
1973 Quick Curl Barbie in 1974 #7424 Regatta on the Sea
1975 Barbie Babysits baby boy (also known as Little Sweets or Mrs. Jones' baby) in his original outfit
1975 SunSet Malibu PJ in #7724 Bright N Gay for Holiday Play
1976 Deluxe Quick Curl Barbie in #7424 Regatta on the Sea
1976 Deluxe Quick Curl PJ in #9664 Sears Vacation Outfit

House and playsets:
1.  Live Action House from 1971
2.  Skipper's Swing-A-Rounder Gym from 1972.
3.  Barbie Garden Patio from 1973.
3.  Barbie's Pool Party from 1974
5.  Barbie's Ten Speeder from 1975

Here is some information about the house.  The exterior is yellow wood with red awnings (second version of the house, with different construction pieces).  The interior has a bedroom and balcony with AstroTurf upstairs, a living room with a shuffleboard and pond outside, and a kitchen with a swing and more AstroTurf outside. 

The first version of the house, sold in 1970, was called the Lively Livin' House, and each piece was separate and took a while to put together.  (I had this house as a girl, which is why I know this, but that house is long gone.)  The Live Action House was the second version with some panels and connecting pieces combined, and could be put together much more quickly, but it is not as sturdy.  (I purchased this as an adult collector.)  The third version, in 1973, was called Barbie's Surprise House and was the Live Action House plus some ivy seeds that could be planted to grow in small containers.

The front panel to the living room is the only one correct.  The back wall of the kitchen should actually be on the front wall.  Neither the front wall of the bedroom or the kitchen show the interiors correctly.  I'd love to be able to get several houses and completely rearrange the panels!

The pool holds about four gallons of water and remains to this day the most realistic looking of all of Barbie's swimming pools.

The garden patio wall was made of very thin molded plastic.  My sister Barb had it and the wall cracked apart in numerous places.  The accessories, though, would last a nuclear attack!

I love the swing set.  The regular swing, the teeter totter and the trapeze swing all look very realistic.  You're supposed to be able to insert the thumbs of the Living and Pose N Play dolls into the slots on the seat of the trapeze swing to make the doll flip, but the thumbs do not stay in the holes.  The funky spinner on the pole does not work either.  You sit a doll on the sit and instead of following the swirl, the chair goes straight down.

Thanks always to my sister Joan for letting me use her front yard and house.

Even more rarely do you see the back of the Live Action house.
From left to right are Ken, PJ., P.J., Barbie against the house and Barbie on the pool deck.

The pool holds up to four gallons of water.
It would have taken up too much time to fill it entirely.
Left to right are PJ, Barbie, PJ, PJ and Barbie.

Here is the pool as seen from overhead.
Obviously it's not big enough for swimming, much less diving!