Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rosemary Rock Flowers

In 1971, the Rock Flowers were Mattel's answer to Topper's popular diminutive Dawn and friends fashion dolls.  Originally debuting as a trio:  Lilac, Rosemary, and Heather, the Rock Flowers were later joined by other dolls including one male, Doug.  Rosemary is the featured doll here.


My first accidental encounter with Rosemary was several years ago through an eBay purchase wherein the seller described the doll as friend of Dawn, Dale.  In the auction images I recognized her dress as an authentic Dawn dress, but did not realize she was not Dale until she arrived with her ©Mattel Inc. 1970 head mark.  Her bendy arms and legs interested me as did her head sculpt which reminded me of a mini 1970s Christie. 

It would be a while before I tracked down Rosemary's true identity as a Rock Flower.  After doing so, I added a never removed from box version to my collection.

Rosemary of the Rock Flowers
The boxed doll has a copyright year of 1970.  She wears red sunglasses and a paisley print double-knit dress with hot pink fringed sleeves and handkerchief hemline.   Rosemary and the other dolls were sold with a posing stand and a 45 rpm record containing two "bubble gum" songs.  Their stands were designed to place over a short-spindled record player to allow them to "spin and twirl" while their records played.

The back of Rosemary's box nicely illustrates the fashions available for the dolls.  




In addition to dolls and extra boxed fashions, a Whitman paper doll book (shown above) was licensed by Mattel, ©1972.  Rosemary seems to be the center of attention on the cover.

The three-dimensional dolls and their extra branded products were on the market from 1971-1974.



Interestingly, the 1970s Rock Flowers singing group:  Ardie Tillman (African American), Rindy Dunn (blonde), and Debra Clinger (brunette) were part of the dolls' marketing strategy.  After releasing two LPs and several singles, the group faded away as quickly as Mattel's doll.

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15 comments:

  1. She's cute. She does have that Christie vibe. Thanks for the info.

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  2. I don't remember the Rock Flowers from my childhood but I enjoyed learning their history. Thanks!

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  3. Hello from Spain, thanks for this information. I did not know Rosemary. Keep in touch

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  4. I like their fashions! They are rocking out. Yep, I remember my mother wearing her clothes like these and sometimes she would wear her power afro wig with the pick glued in.

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  5. You're welcome, ladies.

    Muff - your mother sounds so cool!

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  6. Wow! I have never seen her before. She is quite pretty. She looks like a mini Julia. Mattel doesn't let a doll go un challenaged.

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    1. Right, Ms. Leo: Mattel has never wanted to be outdone in the doll arena.

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  7. Wow, what a blast from the past! I actually had the Rock Flowers when I was very little and I probably would have never thought of them again if I didn't view this post. I wish I could hear the recording again just for a laugh. That 70's music was "totally groovy". LOL

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    1. So glad this brought back fond memories for you, Hugs.

      This Youtube commericial will probably give you an additional blast from the past, which leads off with the girl group the Rock Flowers:

      Click here.

      By the way, this post inspired me to fashion a dress for my original Rosemary. Who seemed to be saying, "You know I would never wear a Dawn dress! Why have you kept me in it for nearly 20 years?"

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  8. I love Rosemary! I have her, along with some Black Dawn dolls, in my Kaleidoscope house. I even have a picture on Flickr. Thanks for sharing this information with other collectors. :)

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  9. Hi Tiffany!

    Thank for the visit and comment.

    I love your kaleidoscope house! Thanks for sharing the link.

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  10. I had Rosemary, Lilac, and Heather back in 1970 or 1971. I wanted all three Rock Flowers. (I had a Julia doll back in the late 60s, so I guess Rosemary was probably the second black doll I had.) I was playing with the Rock Flowers at my grandmother's one day, all the Rock Flowers dolls with their little carrying case and frustrating, impossibly tiny shoes, and my grandmother saw Rosemary. She was angry. Why do you have THAT doll? she wanted to know. I think I just said I Like Her and that was that. Event over, grandmother found something else to do and I didn't worry about it, but I collected it in memory. I knew my grandmother was kinda prejudiced and from a narrow-minded white farming community (my mother had warned me they were backward in her old home town), but it surprised me, even as an 11-year-old, that an adult would act so weird. About a doll. My mother wasn't weird like that, she didn't think twice about my wanting a black doll. (I have no idea why my mother turned out differently---it's as if she willed herself into being. It amazes me even today.)

    But that odd little episode from so many years ago, with a grandmother who pretty much loved everything I did, and who spoiled me constantly, just tells me: small as they can be, dolls are powerful. A tiny doll threatened my grandmother, and she wasn't doing anything but just laying on the rug!

    Anyway, great to see one of the Rock Flowers again---the sweet but controversial one, Rosemary.

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    1. Yes, dolls are powerful.

      Adults really need to be careful about the things they say and emotions they express to and around children, who are so impressionable. Their expressions and attitudes are powerful and can influence a child's thought pattern and behavior.

      Your mother was a blessing to you and you have no doubt turned out to be a blessing to the world. I'm glad you continued to enjoy your Rosemary and the other Rock Flowers, and even more delighted your mother allowed you to own the doll.

      Yesterday when I began reading your comments to older blog posts with astonishment because of your insight into this race thing and based on your description of yourself, I wondered, "Who is this woman?"

      You are remarkable. Keep reading, keep commenting.

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    2. Thank you so much for encouraging me! I hoped my comments would not be unwelcome here---inasmuch as the commenters seem to be people who have been following you for some time, so you have a relationship with them, and none yet with me!

      I'm just a born in 1959 kid that was always a bookworm and a freethinker, I guess, but I tend to be old-fashioned in many of my ways---my grandparents looked after me while mom worked during the day, and then when my mother remarried when I was six, she married a man 17 years older than she---practically a product of Victorians---born under "mysterious circumstances" in 1918 (we think his mom may have been giving "soldier's aid" to some lonely doughboy, to be honest---it is truly a family mystery). He was raised by his Victorian-era grandmother while HIS mother worked as a maid and tried to maintain respectability. So I was always around people much older than myself, listening to them, absorbing their culture, rather than little kids. I really didn't miss other children, either. I liked the quiet and relative predictability of adults. So I was an only child who loved to read, and I loved my stuffed animals and my dolls. Not baby dolls---I wasn't attracted to them, ever---but I loved my Tammys and Barbie family.

      So here I am, and I love your blog and the thoughts and ideas people bring. Thank you for letting mine in too!

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    3. Thanks you for sharing a bit of information about yourself, Eklectic1. I appreciate your willingness to share.

      I welcome all comments, even when opinions differ from mine.

      Your enjoyment of my blog pleases me.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!