Monday, May 31, 2010

Dr. Ralph Bunche and Eleanor Roosevelt Observe The First True ColoredDoll - Jet Magazine, November 8, 1951

I found this promotional picture of the 1951 Saralee doll by Ideal thanks to a fellow doll enthusiast. Thanks again, Bonnie and thank you, vieilles_annonces, for sharing your library of Jet and Ebony magazines on flickr.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Awesome Dolls II

(A portion of) Souvenir Poster from the 17th International Black Doll Show and Sale, 2004

I just read a very nice article by Fern Gillespie on the upcoming International Black Doll Show and Sale that will be held this Saturday, May 29, 2010, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

Reading the article brought back memories of my first two pilgrimages to the Mecca of black doll shows. The first was in 2004 where I had the opportunity to meet and greet with doll collectors I had met in cyberspace and with whom I had networked on a frequent basis via the Internet for several years. It was a pleasure to finally connect their three-dimensional faces with their emails. Seeing so many delightful black dolls, the exhibitors (many of whom were artists) behind the dolls was also a delight. Lunch at Reading Terminal and dinner at the Hard Rock CafΓ© with fellow collectors was a blast!

I returned in 2005 to the International Black Doll Show as a collector (in 2004, I was an exhibitor/lecturer/book signer, so I didn't get to enjoy the show as much as I did in 2005). In 2005 I met artists Goldie Wilson, Lorna Paris (I saw her in '04, but didn't really have the opportunity to meet her), Jean Simmons, Lorna Miller-Sands, and Laura Tuzio Ross. I attended Miller-Sands breakfast in 2005. I still cherish the OOAK souvenir doll pin by Lorna.

Thanks Fran for your wonderful article, which helped conjure up the above pleasant memories.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vogue.It's Black Barbie Video

I agree with Vogue Italia, "It's been three decades since Black Barbie strutted her way into the lives of young girls and she's still turning heads."

Read more and view a Black Barbie video here.


L-R Reproduction Black Barbie and the original 1980 Black Barbie

Friday, May 21, 2010

From one Doll Lover to Another

Throughout the past 15 or more years (who's counting the years of friendship when it's so treasured), I have enjoyed the best long-distance friendship with a fellow doll lover. Dolls brought us together. We can laugh and talk on the phone for hours at a time about dolls, family, work, current events, as well as vent our frustrations. 

For each major holiday and on our birthdays we exchange gifts. I am constantly trying to pick up clues as to which dolls she has added to her collection so I won't duplicate these when I buy dolls for her. She does the same thing. During one of our recent conversation, she asked, "Didn't someone on the list [my doll discussion list] give you a Madame Alexander Happy Birthday doll?" I said, "No. I only have two. The one I purchased several years ago and the one you gave me last year." Of course I knew she was up to something.

Last night when I opened my birthday package from her (a day early... I couldn't wait), one of the dolls was Madame Alexander Happy Birthday Wendy from 2005 along with another doll that I have expressed interest in. I love them! A third doll, which is a duplicate of a doll I already own, was included in the package. The duplicate doll wears a custom made dress and matching hat! Love her and her Debra R. original outfit, too!

I've concluded that doll lovers make the best friends, confidantes, and gift givers.

Thank you Debra R. for being such a dear friend, for always being an ear when I need one, and for allowing me to be the same for you!

Love ya' girl!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Adventurous Child's Play

It's a tradition in this household to photograph children when they open birthday and Christmas presents.  The tradition was carried out as usual on Christmas Day 2007.  Here my grandson is showing the photographer (me) the reproduced flocked hair AA GI Joe action figure he received.  I purchased two that year.  One for myself and one for him. 

This morning as I searched for physical therapy exercise instructions that I used a couple of years ago to help mend a torn rotator cuff, I found a stack of pictures that contained hard copies of the Christmas 2007 photos.  The thought immediately entered my mind that while my figure is still in mint condition, never removed from box, with Kung Fu grip and flocked hair intact, I'm sure my grandson's has probably either been discarded or otherwise abandoned.  I also recalled a call from my daughter only a day or two after Christmas 2007 informing me that, if touched, the figure's hair would shed and that "these must not be made for kids."  Of course I knew that Grandson's adventurous child's play would probably be too much for Adventure Team GI Joe with Kung Fu Grip to withstand, but I took the risk anyway. 


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Malcolm!

May 19, 1925 - February 21, 1965

To keep this post doll (action figure) related, I have included the above image of the 1994 Malcolm X figure by Olmec Toys, which is part of my collection of celebrity/portrait dolls, and historical figures.  I waited too long to buy this one, by Jailbreak Toys.  It is now sold out.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ashton Drake's First Lady of Style

First Lady of Style, Michelle Obama by Ashton-Drake (images from their flyer)

Ashton-Drake Galleries' First Lady of Style Collection is a tribute to First Lady Michelle Obama.    The collection includes:

  • "Sophisticated Style," a 16-inch, ball-jointed, vinyl Michelle Obama doll with 14-points of articulation.  Doll is dressed in a glittering black gown inspired by the dress the First Lady wore as she greeted guests to the Govenor's Ball.
  • Additional costumes and accessories will follow the doll's presentation.  These are fashioned after ensembles worn by the First Lady.
  • With each issue (doll and separately issued fashions) buyers will receive a collector's card that includes details about the ensemble and a hand-numbered certificate of authencity.
The cost of the doll is $129.99, payable in 5 monthly installments.  The additional fashions will cost $59.99 each, also available in monthly installments (2). 

Preferred clients have or will be receiving the introduction letter, flyer, and a reservation form to fill out and return to reserve the entire collection.  The opportunity to cancel the subscription is available at any time by notifying Ashton-Drake.  Items in the collection can be returned for up to one year after receipt for a full refund including shipping and service charges.

The doll is not available at the Ashton-Drake website (

For additional information, Call Ashton-Drake, 1-877-268-6638, refer to item number 913648, The First Lady of Style Collection for additional information or to request a reservation card/brochure.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Heart Warmer

FAO Schwarz Classic Baby Emma

I went to Toys R Us yesterday, specifically looking for So In Style Julian.

The FAO Schwarz doll/teddy/shopping bag display is at the store's entrance. I immediately noticed the 30% off sign on the FAO Schwarz Classic Baby Doll display.  There were several Kiri and Lily dolls left, but only two Emma's. I asked an associate if the 30% was off the current price of $19.99 (the original retail was $34.99). She confirmed this. I immediately grabbed my heart-warming, 14-inch, all-vinyl chocolate drop before proceeding to my Julian search.

Julian was nowhere to be found on the TRU shelves. After paying $13 and change for Emma, I had another associate check the database for Julian. He's not in their system. It may be well into the summer before he arrives.  I'll wait it out.  In the meantime, Emma is a nice stand-in, even though I will probably give her to my niece for her July birthday.  

In two decades of doll collecting, I've learned a few things.

  • Exercise patience.
  • Eventually, doll prices will fall (if they do not sell out first).
  • Doll collecting can be a gamble.
  • But it often "saves" to wait.
  • Always buy what you like... what you can afford... and most importantly what warms your heart.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Super Sale

Prices are slashed and reduced even further after items are carted.  Check it out here.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Diahann Carroll as Julia Paper Doll Books and Boxed Sets

Top-Bottom, Left-Right:  Julia Paper Dolls book #4472 Artcraft/Saalfield 1968-1969; Julia Dress-up Kit Colorforms boxed set 1969; Diahann Carroll as Julia Paper Doll and Julia Paper Dolls boxed sets (both numbered 6055:150) by Saalfield 1970

Paper dolls of black entertainers and celebrities emerged in America during the late 1960s. One of the most popular 1960s black celebrity paper dolls, produced in several different book and boxed sets was fashioned after actress, Diahann Carroll's role as Julia (based on her 1968-1971 television show of the same name).

Julia paper dolls (known to me) were published as books and boxed sets by Saalfield and Artcraft (a division of Saalfield) from 1968-1973.  Colorforms/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (1969) produced the Julia dress-up kit (shown in the first image).   The Colorforms set only includes Julia while the Saalfield/Artcraft books and boxed sets include four paper dolls and fashions for each:  Julia, her son Corey, his neighbor-friend Earl; and Earl's mom, Marie. 

It appears that Saalfield was the first publisher (1968) followed by their subdivision Artcraft, who later republished earlier Saalfield versions.  Even Saalfield republished their own paper dolls during the same year (1968) but presented these in different packaging.  The first image shows two boxed Saalfield paper dolls, #6055:150, wherein the paper dolls and fashions are identical, but the box graphics differ... a clever way to increase profits from the same merchandise.

Julia paper doll book #1335 by Saalfield 1968, photograph courtesy of Ruth Manning

Saalfield's #1335 Julia paper doll book from 1968 was republished with the same title, same cover, same dolls, and same fashions in 1973 by Artcraft as paper doll book #4435. 

Diahann Carroll as Julia boxed set by Saalfield #6055, 1968 Photograph courtesy of Ruth Manning

Another 1968 Diahann Carroll as Julia boxed paper doll set by Saalfield, #6055, illustrates Julia (headshot) wearing a red turtleneck, a smaller headshot of Marie holding a bouquet of flowers, head-to-torso shots of Earl (wearing a green plaid shirt), and Corey (wearing a red, yellow, and white striped shirt, holding a baseball).   (This description preceded my acquisition of the above image.) Are the paper dolls and fashions the same in this set as the other Saalfield boxed sets?   Probably with perhaps some slight differences. 

Artcraft's Diahann Carroll as Julia paper doll book #5140, first published in 1968, has a final copyright date of 1971.  Photograph courtesy of Ruth Manning

Please share your knowledge of other Julia/Diahann Carroll as Julia paper dolls that are not referenced here.  Thank you in advance.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Whose Design is This?

The design and drastically reduced price of this Tonner Doll Fashion Trunk are the reasons it was purchased a few years ago.  It retailed for around $60.  I cannot remember the reduced price, but I remember the shipping was more than the trunk.  After cleaning my doll room this weekend and rediscovering this trunk, I decided to use it to store my American Model doll's fashions in it. 

Nearly three years ago, I noticed this Neiman Marcus-tagged, cloth handbag that has the same design as the trunk.  Formerly my mother's, she gave the purse to me after seeing me eye it in her closet.  "You want it?" she asked.  "Yes," I replied. 

The colors are vibrant.  The silhouetted, tan-to-dark-skinned models have closed eyes or wear sunglasses.  They stride with an air of confidence.  The material used for the trunk is blue satin; black cotton is used for the handbag, but the design is the same.

I am using the trunk now, have yet to use the handbag, but I am curious to know the designer. 


Goodbye to a Legendary Star

Lena Horne
June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

A mother's touch is as precious as an angel's touch. Happy Mother's Day... touch and be touched.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Phylicia Rashad Paper Doll

Classic TV Moms Paper Dolls

Classic TV mom, "Claire Huxtable" played by the lovely actress, Phylicia Rashad, is included in Tom Tierney's Classic TV Moms paper doll book, published by Dover Publications.  The book is available directly from the publisher or from for $9.99. 

Classic TV Moms Paper Dolls


Thursday, May 6, 2010

What is That? Answer

This image contains the two items that were in yesterday's image -- a soaking two-piece doll outfit that had become very dusty.  I removed it from its owner, hand washed, and allowed it to air dry.  

The outfit belongs to Anthony...

... a portrait doll of Anthony Mark Hankins, that is.  His artist-given name is "Soul Anthony," from 2002 by Daddy's (Daddy's Long Legs).

Anthony looks so fresh and so clean now in his white cotton tunic and pants.  If he could, I'm sure he would express his gratitude.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What is That?

Viewing this image, the curious mind might ask, "What is that?"  I'll answer this question tomorrow or as soon as possible.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

2010 New York Black Doll & Art Show

New York Black Doll and Art Show
Their third event promises to be spectacular! will meld the worlds of black dolls with that of black art.

Mark the day, date, time, and place:
Saturday, July 10, 2010, from 11 AM to 6 PM
The Riverside Church, South Hall
490 Riverside Drive
New York, New York 10027

For more information (collectors, exhibitors, and others), please visit their website.