Thursday, February 25, 2010

Moments in Black Doll History: Chatty Cathy and Other Mattel Talkers

Chatty Cathy, original 1960s black pageboy version, and reproduced Ashton Drake 2004 version

Next to Barbie, Chatty Cathy remains one of Mattel's most popular dolls.  Chatty Cathy doll enthusiasts might argue that she is more popular. 

Only two black versions were made in limited quantities.  One has two side ponytails with bangs.  The other has a pageboy hairstyle.  The black versions command top dollar on the secondary market, but the one with the two side ponytails is the rarest and most desired. 

In 2004, Ashton Drake nicely reproduced a 19-inch, battery-operated, pullstring African American Chatty Cathy (shown on the right in the first image).  Their online price was $99.99 but advertised as $79.99 in print ads or if ordered by phone.  I believe the online price was eventually corrected to match that of the print ad and the white version.   

Other companies also reproduced this popular 1960s doll.

Danbury Mint's 2004 version (shown above on the cover of their flyer) is also a battery-operated, pullstring talker.  Their version, however, is porcelain, stands only 17-1/2-inches, and retailed for $129. 

Prior to that, in 2001, Mattel replicated an even smaller, 14-inch vinyl version (with decals for eyes!).  This one recites fewer phrases than the original 1960s doll. 

L-R Ashton-Drake's reproduced Chatty Cathy, three original Chatty Babies, 1960s Chatty Cathy with pageboy, and a dyed 1960s Chatty Cathy (wigged to look like the rare, two-ponytail, black version)

Three other popular talkers by Mattel include Chatty Baby (shown above), Drowsy, and the elusive black version of Baby Small-Talk, pictured below.  My Drowsy is stored away with other play line dolls as is the reproduction Chatty Cathy with decaled eyes (what was Mattel thinking?) 

Baby Small-Talk by Mattel, 1968-1969 says eight different phrases in an infant-like voice

Tip:  To keep vintage pull string talkers vocal, pull their strings from time to time.




  1. Since I will probably never aquire a real ventage Chatty Cathy I'm proud to say I am owner of both AD & DM reproduction Chatty Cathy's!! I remember the doll as a child but never was given one!

  2. I remember her as a child, too. My cousin had the a white blonde Chatty Cathy. I remember playing with her doll, but didn't own one. I don't think I asked for one.


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