Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Love Child

Diana Ross dolls by Mego 1977, Ideal 1969, and Mattel 2003

Mego's Diana Ross, head shot
As indicated in yesterday's post, I finally found Mego's Diana Ross doll (far left in the above image), my least favorite of the three Diana Ross dolls in my collection.  I knew with patience and moving around enough dolls, I would find her.

My 1977 Mego doll was purchased on the secondary market during the 1990s a few years after I began collecting black dolls.  I had only seen a black and white image of this doll in Myla Perkins' book, Black Dolls: An Identification and Value Guide 1820 - 1991 (Collector Books, 1993).  The doll was immediately placed on my doll wish list.

The only other Diana Ross doll made prior to Mego's was Ideal's 1969 doll (center doll in the first image).  The Ideal doll uses the Crissy body.  Their doll is not an exact portrait of Diana, but between the two, theirs was my favorite.  The Mego doll looks mean and doesn't resemble Diana Ross at all to me. But I wanted it back in the day, so I bought it, sight unseen! 

The Mackie doll from 2003 by Mattel is my favorite; it looks most like Diana.  I purchased two of these.  At one time I owned two of the Ideal version.  The first one was redressed  by her former owner/seller in a silver gown accented with pink feathers.  I gave that one a weave, and eventually sold it after upgrading to one pictured above in the original orange gown accented with orange marabou feathers.

My first Diana Ross doll by Ideal was given a weave after she arrived.
Known for her singing career with Motown as the lead singer for the Supremes, Diana Ross eventually launched a solo singing career. Acting roles followed.  Films include Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany, The Wiz, Out of Darkness, and Double Platinum.  I have always enjoyed her singing over her acting, not that she is poor at the latter, but her singing is far better in my opinion. 

In my 1968 eighth grade gym class, the PE instructor, Ms. Mayes, failed at teaching my first course of sex education using a Diana Ross and the Supremes song.  Why she even wanted to do this is still a mystery to me.  Sex education was not part of the approved curriculum.  Seated in our white gym suits, white socks, and white canvas sneakers, we had to write an essay (or a few words for me) on the meaning of the 1968 song, "Love Child."  (What? I thought.)  "What do you think it means?" is what I probably asked a friend before writing my own opinion. 

What I wrote is as elusive as Mego's Diana Ross was, but whatever I scribbled in the allotted time had nothing to do with a young, unmarried girl, born out of wedlock, feeling stigmatized because of it, now experiencing pressure from a love interest to engage in premarital sex.  My answer also did not state what the girl eventually said, "No... but I'll always love you."  At 13, sexually naive, a product of married parents, I could not connect those dots; "Love Child" was just a song to me.

Now that I have located my Mego Diana Ross, I am content.  The doll was where I thought it was originally; I kept overlooking it, or as my mother would have charged, I "half looked."  The doll was positioned where I couldn't readily see it (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)

In the process of finding this doll, I also conducted a mini inventory by documenting the names and locations of the found dolls before dusting them off and returning them to their display/storage areas.  If I forget the location of one of the 50 or so dolls that I frantically moved around trying to find Diana, I can refer to the "Where they are" tab of my Excel doll inventory workbook.

Read the lyrics of "Love Child" below:

"Love Child"

Tenement slum

You think that I don't feel love
But what I feel for you is real love
In other's eyes I see reflected
A hurt, scorned, rejected

Love child, never meant to be
Love child, born in poverty
Love child, never meant to be
Love child, take a look at me

I started my life in an old, cold run down tenement slum
My father left, he never even married mom
I shared the guilt my mama knew
So afraid that others knew I had no name

This love we're contemplating
Is worth the pain of waiting
We'll only end up hating
The child we maybe creating

Love child, never meant to be
Love child, (scorned by) society
Love child, always second best
Love child, different from the rest

Mm, baby (hold on, hold on, just a little bit)
Mm, baby (hold on, hold on, just a little bit)
I started school, in a worn, torn, dress that somebody threw out
I knew the way it felt, to always live in doubt
To be without the simple things
So afraid my friends would see the guilt in me

Don't think that I don't need you
Don't think I don't wanna please you
No child of mine 'll be bearing
The name of shame I've been wearing

Love child, love child, never quite as good
Afraid, ashamed, misunderstood

But I'll always love you
I'll always love you
I'll always love you
I'll always love you
I'll always love you
I'll always love you

Below, see Diana Ross and the Supremes Sing "Love Child" on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1969 (with new Supreme, Cindy Birdsong, who replaced Florence Ballard).


See Diana passionately sing "Love Song" years later and interact with the audience below.



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8 comments:

  1. Congrats on finding Mego's kind of Diana Ross doppleganger. You're right, that the Mego doll bears very little resemblance to Miss Ross. But she is a lovely doll, on her own merits.

    Thank you for posting the pictures AND the videos of the real Diana performing! To this day, she is still an original.

    LOL, "half looked" sounds like something MY mom would have said.

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  2. I'm in the minority, I suppose ;-) I prefer the Mego likeness although the Mattel version has the size better. The Mego version has darker, fiercer eyes.

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  3. I never knew there was a Diana Ross doll made of the Crissy body. None of the Crissy books and websites have EVER mentioned her.

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    1. Hi Skippercollector,

      Ideal's Diana Ross doll is not recognized or acknowledged by Crissy collectors because the doll does not have a grow-hair mechanism. She does, however, use the same body. Beth Gunther (now Beth-Ellen Colvin) shares information about a prototype and the manufactured version of the Diana Ross doll on her website. So technically, a Crissy enthusiast, has recognized the doll. But the doll has not been included (to my knowledge) in bound Crissy-family doll literature.

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    2. Hi,

      This is Beth. There was a reason why I couldn't put the this doll in my Crissy book. I was only allowed so many pages by my publisher. There was no room for her; I had to make sure that I squeezed as much Crissy info into it as I could. So after the book went to press, I enlarged upon my website and added her as well as other dolls who use the Crissy body to my site. Thanks dbg for including a hotlink to my Diana prototype page.

      Beth Colvin

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    3. Hi Beth,

      Thanks for the explanation as to why the Diana Ross prototype was not included in your Crissy book. I have first-hand experience with publishers placing restrictions on how many words, images, and pages a book can contain.

      It wonderful that you've included the additional Crissy doll/body information on your website.


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  4. Back in the 70's I bought two of the Mego Ross dolls, one for my friend, and they had hair down to their butts like Mahogany and were smaller like Barbie. I paid $11.98 each at the time. My friend destroyed mine by pulling the head off and broke the tabs that held her head up on her neck. I was so angry that I threw her away, but now I regret it because I have not been able to find that exact model anyplace. The ones on ebay don't look anything like her. If anyone knows where I can buy that doll please let me know @ bigboycty@aol.com

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  5. The Mego version of Diana Ross shows up on eBay from time to time. That avenue or from another collector are your best bets in finding one today. Here is a link to an eBay search for Mego Diana Ross There are a few listings... someone even has the box-only listed at this time.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!