Saturday, February 25, 2012

I'll Stop the Boat If You Make Some Like Mine!

Miss America Tonya by Kenner 1991

Kenner's Miss America Talent Show Tonya has a box date of 1991. The doll is part of a five-doll set manufactured by Kenner with the Miss America Pageant Organization's blessings. The other dolls are Blair (a blond), Raquel (a brunette), Devon (another blond), and Justine (yet another blond).


The other dolls in the Miss America series are illustrated on the back of Tonya's box along with an image of Miss America for 1991, Marjorie Vincent.

The back of the box has a small image of Marjorie Vincent who won the Miss America title for 1991, becoming the fourth African American to hold it (the third to win it with Vanessa Williams relinquishing her title in 1984).

According to the back of the box, "Tonya dreams of being Miss America, but what she loves is animals and singing.  What better talent number for her than singing a piece from the Broadway musical "Cats"!"  Unfortunately, the doll's performance was delayed. 

Like Barbie, the doll stands 11-1/2 inches, but in my opinion, that is where the similarity ceases. Mattel, however, did not think so.

When Kenner began importing its "Miss America" line of dolls into the United States, Mattel asked U.S. Customs to detain them. Kenner and the Miss America Organization responded by suing Mattel and United States Customs in federal court. (Read full text here.)

At issue in this [1991] case is whether two of Kenner's five "Miss America" dolls infringe on the copyright of Mattel's "Barbie" doll under the applicable portions of the Copyright Act. Mattel possesses a copyright in the unpainted head sculpture of Toy No. 9720, the "Super Star Barbie," which has been registered in the United States Copyright Office and with the United States Customs Service ("Customs"). This unpainted head sculpture is used on eleven and one-half inch fashion dolls. Kenner's "Miss America" dolls are all eleven and one-half inch fashion dolls and the question is whether two of the heads on the five dolls are designed from the same mold as that used to make Mattel's "Super Star Barbie." For purposes of the alleged copyright infringement, only the "Tonya" and "Devon" heads are at issue.

The above excerpt and additional text regarding Miss America Organization/Kenner v Mattel can be read here

As evidenced by my ownership of Tonya, the dolls were made (and Tonya did perform her talent act), but if memory serves me correctly, Kenner did not recover any losses as a result of the US Customs' delayed dolls.  A snippet of the case results can be read here.

I was trying to locate Mego's Diana Ross when I reconnected with Tonya and her "case."

dbg

Follow my Dolls for Sale blog

Share/Bookmark

7 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I remember the case well and as a matter of fact, Mr Liberta was my boss for several year! Wow! Brought back memories. Great post:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a small world. I hope your memories were pleasant, Chynadoll.

      dbg

      Delete
  2. Interesting..the Big M doesn't like any doll that may even be close to the Babs on the scene. I'm glad they let them go. She's cute and I don't remember seeing these dolls anywhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad they were manufactured, too, Dollz4moi.

      dbg

      Delete
  3. Thanks for sharing the history of these Miss America dolls. It was interesting to see big, bad Mattel using lawsuits to deter competition even before MGA came out with the Bratz.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Limbe Dolls. They've been involved in a few others according to this incomplete list (scroll down to lawsuits) (which does not include the case cited here.)

      dbg

      Delete
  4. Thanks for the info. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!