Thursday, April 26, 2012

Black Patti Playpal and Playpal-Types

Patti Playpal and Playpal-Types by Black Doll Enthusiast
Patti Playpal and Playpal-Types, a photo by Black Doll Enthusiast on Flickr.


In 1981, Ideal Toys released the first-ever, 35-inch doll given the name Patti Playpal.  A life-size doll that can wear child-size clothing and "walk with you," Patti Playpal was quite popular in her 1959-60s heyday.  Children enjoyed dressing the doll, combing her closely rooted hair, and using her as an inanimate companion.  I secretly longed for one as a child, but for some odd reason, according to my mother, I never asked for one.

As an adult collector, I have made up for this childhood void.  I own more than 10 Playpals today.  Three are authentic Patti Playpals.  The others were manufactured during the 1960s and 1970s by other companies and are considered Playpal types.

Prior to Ideal's black Patti Playpal, other companies such as Allied Eastern, Horsman, Uneeda, among others made Patti Playpal types, inspired by Ideal's 1959-released doll.  Due to licensing and trademarks, none of the others were named Patti.

In approximately 2003, Ashton Drake began reproducing the Caucasian version of Ideal's Patti Playpal dolls.   Several members of the Playpal family were included in their reproduced dolls.  Frustrated over the absence of a black version, I emailed Ashton-Drake requesting its manufacture.  Others joined me in the "We need an AA Patti Playpal" email campaign.  Finally, in 2006, Ashton-Drake (CollectiblesToday.com) used the original head and body sculpts of Ideal's 1959 Patti Playpal and created the first-ever African American version to use these molds.  My AD doll is shown in a solo image below along with an additional comparison head shot of Ideal's version with the Ashton Drake doll. 


Ashton Drake's Reproduction of the 1959 Patti Playpal
Ashton Drake's 2006 African American Patti Playpal uses the 1959 head and body molds.  Her complexion is lighter than the 1981 Ideal doll; their bodies and head sculpts are different, too.  This doll is made of very heavy weight vinyl. 



1981 Ideal and 2006 Ashton Drake Patti Playpal Dolls
Ideal's Patti Playpal has a Hersey-brown complexion while Ashton Drake's version has caramel coloring.  The ideal doll has stationary eyes.  The AD doll has sleep eyes.
 

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14 comments:

  1. I really like these dolls. I had a walking doll as a kid. Thanks for taking me back down memory lane.

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    1. Hi Georgia Girl,

      These dolls were and still are fun. I have enjoyed dressing some of mine in clothing that my daughter wore when she was 2 that I saved, as well as shopping for children's clothing for them. This was when I was "into" frequently redressing dolls of this size. That's an old pastime that I no longer indulge in.

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  2. I had two or three of these "walk with me" dolls when I was small. They were wonderful pals.

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  3. On the christmas of 1962, I was 11 years of age,
    I receiveda black version of Ideal's Patty Playpal.
    Only myself andone of my friends had the Ideal doll.
    My friends was white and mine was black.
    She had the red and white checkerd dress and
    white pinafore. All my other friends had the playpal
    types. There wereabout six or seven of us baby boomers.

    I am seriously trying to find a picture somewhere from that time with me and that doll for documentation. My original doll was given to my neice when she was about six or seven, she is now in her late forties. I have seen at least two come up for auction on EBAY and went way over my budget. Recenly I saw a third, it had sleep eyes. It was a sleeper and did not sell for that much. I forgot about the auction and did not get to bid. I was upset with myself for sometime. All the doll books state The first black Pattyst doll was 1981, but I know I had one in 1962.

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    1. Dear Anonymous - thank you for your informative comment. Should you find the picture of yourself with your "Ideal" 1962 black Patti Playpal, I would love to see it.

      You are correct, none of the books written by Playpal or Ideal doll enthusiasts have documented a black Patti Playpal prior to 1981. This is not to say one was not created. Again, I would love to see your picture if you find it.

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  4. I think I have a real black(African American)Patti playpal from the 1960's. We call her Greta and she belonged to my grandmother who named her and collected a number of these gigantic dolls from the 60's.

    I believe her to had been made around 1965-1968 when there was a big push to create more Black versions of established characters of dolls for equality (like the black version of the Francie doll by mattel 1967.

    She is made exactly like the white patti's but with black hair brown eyes and a darker cherry red lip color. If this perhaps is a knock off, she is a very well made one but I do not think so.

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  5. I have a real black(African American)Patti playpal from the 1960's. We call her Greta and she belonged to my grandmother who named her and collected a number of these gigantic dolls from the 60's.

    I believe her to had been made around 1965-1968 when there was a big push to create more Black versions of established characters of dolls for equality (like the black version of the Francie doll by mattel 1967.

    She is made exactly like the white patti's but with black hair brown eyes and a darker cherry red lip color. Her eyes do open and close too. If this perhaps is a knock off, she is a very well made one but I do not think so.

    I do not intend on selling her because all my grandmothers others were sold or broke 25 years ago but I would like to know how much these big girls are worth. I just saw on ebay my -or my sister's which was my grandmothers' in it's original green dress, mine was nude from goodwill I found at 3- crissy doll was going for $245 dollars and in a trashed up condition

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    1. Hi Moxie,

      I do not provide free doll appraisals. Vintage to modern black dolls have been assessed a value in my first and second books based on current market trends. My suggestion to you is to take your doll to a local doll appraiser or antique appraiser who has knowledge in dolls. Good luck!

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  6. I have an allied eastern black 35 inch doll I was told that it was only in one year 1953 I would love to find out what she is worth

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    1. Hi Melissa - I apologize for not answering your question sooner. Please read the text under the "What's the Value, Where to Sell?" tab of this blog, here.

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  7. Hello,
    Where can I find The 1981 African American Patty PlayPal?

    Thank you,
    Dennine

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    1. The 1981 Patti Playpal by Ideal Toy Corp. shows up from time to time on eBay. Good luck in your search.

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  8. Hi, my friend would like to sell her gently played with patty playpal, it is similar to your doll above but has a blue dress vs the pink. It is from the early 60s. Would you be interested or should I try and sell for her on ebay? It is in near mint condition as she was a very careful child.

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    1. Hi Jo,

      I am not interested in purchasing another Patty Playpal type. I would suggest trying eBay. Good luck!

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!