Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book-Featured Dolls by Tonner - Part 2


Deena, Effie, and Lorelle "Dreamettes Back-up Singers" by Tonner Doll Company
Dolls by Robert Tonner and Effanbee (now a Tonner-owned company) made several appearances in Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion (Book 2). These include on pages 132-133 the 16in/40.64cm "Dreamettes Back-up Singers," Deena, Effie, and Lorelle, inspired by the Dreamworks/Paramount film based on the hit Broadway Musical, Dreamgirls. The dolls are not portraits of the actresses who played the roles in the movie but are just as lovely and in, Effie's case, just as curvaceous.

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Ready to Wear Esmé, Basic Russell Williams #1, Russell Williams and "Dinner with Russell" Esmé
 

In Book 2, Ready To Wear Esme and first-issue Russell Williams appear on page 133.  For those who are not familiar with the Tyler Wentworth and Matt O'Neill series of dolls, Esmé is Russell's girlfriend.   She is friend of and model for Tyler (a fashion designer) while Russell is best friend of Tyler's boyfriend, Matt

Russell's photograph was shared by Ruth Manning.  He makes an additional appearance on page 388 in a close-up photograph with Dinner with Russell, Esmé, the latter photograph courtesy of Manya Elliott.

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The petite 10in/25.4cm Basic Dottie and Fashion Plate Dottie are featured on pages 134-135.  Dottie is from the Tinny Kitty collection.  Basic Dottie also enjoys a redress on page 369 in Book 2 where she shares her ability to wear Barbie Fashion Avenue fashions (minus the shoes).

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The doll that would be my favorite Tonner doll for quite some time (and still is among my favorites), the lovely and very tall (22in/55.88cm) American Models Basic African American appears on page 135 in Book 2.  The doll has a striking resemblance to my late brother who coincidentally passed away in 2007, the year of her release.  I named my doll Rihanna and also featured her on pages 369 and 370 dressed in authentic American Model fashions.  A close-up image of Rihanna on page 384 in Book 2 illustrates her undeniably gorgeous face.  (Ronald I still miss you, and yes, I am still collecting dolls.)

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Effanbee Dolls under the Tonner doll-company umbrella:  Baby Button Nose Basically Emilee (center) , holds Wee Patsy; Patsy Rosebud and Patsy Birthday Best stand on the back, to the left and right of Basically Emilee.  Patsyette Sweet Surprise and Patsyette Lil' Rose stand on the front, to the left and right of Basically Emilee
The dolls in the image above, featured on pages 159 and 161-162 in Book 2, were not sculpted by Tonner, but were manufactured by a company Tonner acquired in 2002, Effanbee Doll Company.  The center doll, Baby Button Nose "Basically Emilee," was sculpted by Ann Timmerman.  Patsy Rosebud and Patsy Birthday Best share the same sculpt, which might also be attributed to Timmerman. Patsyette Sweet Surprise and Patsyette Lil' Rose are 9in/22.86cm Timmerman-appearing sculpts.  Wee Patsy and Patsyette Beach Time Basic appear to use the original Effanee sculpts.   

Toni Sunday Best was produced in a limited edition of 500 by Effanbee (a Tonner-owned co.)
Images and information on two additional non-Tonner sculpted dolls appear on pages 163-164 of Book 2, School Picture Day Libbie (sculpted by Ann Timmerman) from 2007 and Toni Sunday Best from 2006.  These two dolls were also Effanbee manufactured, Libbie as an original sculpt and Toni as a reproduction of the original 1949 doll.  It should be noted, however, that Tonner's Toni is the first African American doll to use this sculpt, as Ideal Toy Corp. (the original manufacturer of the Toni doll) never made a dark skinned version.

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Tiny Friends of Tiny Betsy McCall, L-R:  2002 Betsy McCall Convention Dru, Party Pink Dru, and Classic Stripes Dru; 14-inch Sitting Pretty Dru stands in back.
Dolls featured in Book 2 on pages 216-218 include:  Classic Stripes Dru, Party Pink Dru, and the 2002 Betsy McCall Convention Dru.  Because I did not attend the convention and was forced to buy the doll on the secondary market, I spent mega bucks to acquire the first dark-skinned friend of the Betsy McCall, (Convention Dru).  This 8-in/20.32cm doll is an exact replica (except for complexion) of the 1957 hard plastic bent-knee (articulated), Betsy McCall made by American Character.

As I shared in the introduction of Chapter 4, which covers modern manufactured and collectible dolls from 1960s-present, "Baby Boomers may remember Betsy McCall paper dolls that were published in McCall's Magazine beginning in 1951 through (at least) 1970.  Neither the paper doll nor the three-dimensional Betsy McCall characters had a black friend until 2002, thanks to Robert Tonner's 2002 Betsy McCall Convention Dru.  Later, in 2004, 14in/35.56cm Basic Dru debuted."  The 14-inch doll is another first-ever dark skinned doll by Robert Tonner.  Sitting Pretty Dru in the 14 inch size (shown in the above image), also from 2004, appears in Book 2.  Unlike the first 14-inch doll (whose name was interestingly spelled D-r-e-w), Sitting Pretty Dru has jointed knees.
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Front: Beachcomber and Overall Comfort Georgia with Design Studio Carin (back); all are redressed.
Also in Book 2, on pages 217-218 are Mary Englebreit's 10in/25.4.cm Beachcomber and Overall Comfort Georgia from 2001 and 2002, respectively.  Georgia is friend to Ann Estelle.  In their first appearance in book 2, the dolls wear their original outfits (not shown here).  In a subsequent appearance as a redressed doll, one of the girls is illustrated on page 365 of Book 2.  Both Georgias appear in Book 3 on pages 40 and 174. 

Also on page 217 of Book 2 are two illustrations of the lovely 21in/53.34cm Design Studio Carin wearing her orignal clothes and dressed in Gloria Ann's "Perfectly Suited" fashion.  Carin makes one additional appearance, redressed on page 366 of Book 2.  She also "blogs" on pages 76 and 212 in Book 3. 

More about the bloggers in part 3.


This blog series is not yet complete, and I am wowed by the amount of Tonner dolls I own.  I am impressed because the dolls covered in this series do not include every dark skinned doll manufactured by this talented doll-designing, doll-companies-owning mogul! 

So stay tuned for the conclusion, part 3, which will discuss Tonner dolls included in Book 3.  These particular dolls utilized me as their facilitator to blog their experiences as dolls in my personal collection.

In the meantime, here are more links to enjoy:
Effanbee Doll Company
Ideal's Toni
American Character's Betsy McCall


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