Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Barbie, Ken, Skipper and Francie competitors through the decades, an introduction

The current Polly is made
by Creative Kids/Midwood Brands
and sold at Family Dollar.

Like the massive research I’ve done in the past on doll series, I am now doing some on Barbie competitors, often called clones.  Some clones look like Barbie, Ken, Skipper, Francie or even Midge or Skooter, but many others bear little or no resemblance to them.

There are actually two sets of “clones”:  the ones the same height and shape as Barbie and her family, the others often an inch taller and somewhat stockier.  I’ve divided the first set of dolls by name; the second set by decade.

If I’ve written “et al” after a doll’s name, it means she or he has numerous friends whom I am not listing.

Here is what I am NOT including, as they are projects for other collectors:
  • Tutti/Stacie or Kelly/Shelly/Chelsea competitors
  • Action figures that are also 1/6 scale
  • The original Bild Lilli doll, because she predates all of these other dolls.  Her history and the actual products have been written about elsewhere.
  • Barbie acquaintances made by Mattel itself, such as celebrities or Disney dolls or fantasy characters
  • Anime’ Takara and Bandai dolls et al for the Japan market
  • Fashion dolls designed for adult collectors, such as the Robert Tonner dolls
Some notes:
  • Betsy Teen by Uneeda/Empire and Petsy Teen are not the same doll.
  • Cherie by Totsy and Cherie Petite are not the same doll.
  • Suzette by Uneeda and Suzette by Delamar are not the same doll.
  • Polly by Valentine and Polly (sometimes called Polly Walker) by Jilmar look very much alike.  Since Polly Walker appeared right after Polly was discontinued, I have to wonder if either Valentine changed its name or Jilmar just bought the rights and molds to her.  Creative Kids currently has a doll named Polly also.

Please note that the photos shown with the upcoming lists do not correspond with the dates of the articles.  All of these pictured dolls were sold in 2016 or 2017.

This list is far from complete.  I am sure there are hundreds of others out there, so if you know of any, please tell me!  If you know the manufacturers of the ones I left blank, please tell me!

Besides Google and ebay, I used the following resources:

  • Collectible Doll Fashions: 1970s, by Carmen Varicchio, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2003
  • Collectors’ Guide to Dolls of the 1960s and 1970s, vol. II, by Cindy Sabulis, Collector Books, 2004
  • Girls’ Toys of the Seventies & Eighties/Toy Pages from the Legendary Sears, Roebuck & Co. Christmas Wishbooks, by Thomas W. Holland, the Windmill Group Inc., 2002
  • Modern Collector’s Dolls, Second Series, by Patricia R. Smith, Collector Books, 1975
  • Modern Collector’s Dolls, Fifth Series, by Patricia R. Smith, Collector Books, 1984
  • Modern Collector’s Dolls, Sixth Series, by Patricia R. Smith, Collector Books, 1994
  • Skipper, Barbie Doll’s Little Sister, by Trina Cottingham, Scott Arend and Karla Hemingway, Collector Books, 2011.
  • Teen Dolls/An Identification and Value Guide, by Patricia R. Smith, Collector Books, 1977

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