Saturday, October 30, 2010

What Are You Doing with a Leroy Paper Doll?

Gene Anthony Ray as Leroy Johnson in Fame

My daughter asked this question after noticing my most recent paper doll acquisition, which was on my printer tray at the time.  It had been behind my keyboard as a reminder to enter it on my doll inventory spreadsheet.  After my 4-year-old grandson requested the use of my computer to go to ("Hurry up, Granny," he urged, after I had forgotten his earlier request), I moved the paper doll to a safer location, the printer tray, prior to entering the URL for NickJr in my browser.

Gene Anthony Ray ((May 24, 1962 – November 14, 2003) was one of the original cast members in the 1980 movie Fame and went on to star in the TV series of the same name (1982 – 1987).  Remember him here

The paper doll, according to the seller, was originally printed in a 1980s Swedish publication (Hemmets Journal).  It is precut with Swedish text on back of the doll as well as on the oh-so-80s clothing. 

What are you doing with a Leroy paper doll?  I never answered this question because I knew it was really my daughter's affirmation that she recognized who the paper doll represents. 

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Chance/Challenge to Win a Doll

Are you a blogger?  Are you interested in entering a blogging contest to win... a doll?  If you answered yes to either of these two questions, like I did, you might be interested in writing a blog about a Franklin Mint collectible doll, like I did.  The blog with the most comments will win a Franklin Mint doll.

Again, if you're a blogger, visit the Franklin Mint website and browse their collectible dolls inventory.  If you see a doll that incites the written word, contact Elizabeth Quach for the full details of the contest.

Now, if you're not interested in winning and would like to help me win, click here, read my blog and post your comments on that blog (not this one) between now and November 8, 2010, 10 a.m. EST.  Thanks for your support and good luck should you choose to enter the contest! 

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Franklin Mint's Heirloom Doll, Michelle Obama First Lady of Style

Photograph courtesy of Mr. Paul Knoll of The Franklin Mint

With November just around the corner, I am looking forward to receiving Franklin Mint's featured Heirloom Doll, Michelle Obama First Lady of Style, a beautiful vinyl, 16-inch doll that, based on the prototype images, really looks like our country’s First Lady.

After learning last month about the doll's planned release, I wanted to be one of the first ones to claim ownership. Delighted that Franklin Mint's Easy Pay is offered (three monthly installments with the use of a debit or credit card), I immediately preordered.

It has been three weeks since my preorder. In anticipation of my doll's arrival, I recently browsed Franklin Mint's website and was very surprised to discover collectible dolls by Madame Alexander and Mattel. In addition to Michelle Obama First Lady of Style, other vinyl, 16-inch collectible dolls are currently available.

Having purchased fashions made for past 16-inch Franklin Mint collectible dolls (Jackie Kennedy and Princess Diana), the planned additional fashions for Michelle Obama First Lady of Style are on my wish list. Based on my first-hand appreciation of the heirloom quality of Franklin Mint's products, I expect the same quality for my preordered doll and wish-listed fashions.

If all goes as intended, my doll will arrive in mid-to-late November 2010. Have you ordered or do you plan to order Franklin Mint's Michelle Obama First Lady of Style?  Based on the images of the doll in this blog and in my previous blog, do you agree that the doll really looks like our first lady?

Please share your thoughts by posting a comment and feel free to share the link to this blog with others who might be interested in learning about and/or adding this lovely doll to their collection.  Thanks!


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Sunday, October 24, 2010


Have you ever enabled yourself to add a doll to your collection?

After reading the blog about my GI Joe collection, yesterday a fellow doll enthusiast-member of my online doll discussion group posed the question:  How many AA GI Janes were made?  I gave a rough estimate of two and deferred the question to another member whose answer was also two:  The US Army Helicopter Pilot that I already own and the GI Jane Vietnam Nurse

Roxanne features her two redressed and wigged Janes in her blog, Not-So-Plain Janes.  As illustrated in her images, the nurse has a different face sculpt than the helicopter pilot.  Recalling this, I thought, "I need her," and off to eBay I went last night to browse.  Voila!  I found a loose one there with a current bid amount of only $4.  That was very promising because the auction was scheduled to end a few hours later.  Before placing a bid (I rarely bid early), after dinner I decided to rest a while.  I had been up since 5 a.m., had early voted, picked up mail from my PO Box, and had done some grocery shopping. 

When I woke up at 9:30 p.m., an hour and 14 minutes after the auction ended, I shrugged off the loss (after a few seconds of disappointment) as that one not being meant for me. 

Curious, this morning I wanted to know how much the loose Jane nurse sold for.  I opened the marked as unread email from eBay:  Don't Miss Out On Item GI Joe/GI Jane Loose Figure and followed the link to eBay.  Wouldn't you know it, there was only one bidder.  In my best Estelle Rolle voice, I thought:
D#$%, D#$%, D#$%, James!  I could have had the loose one for a little over $4. 

Licking my wounds of loss, while on eBay, I proceeded to search for another AA Jane nurse using various search phrases.  Guess what?  I found one and won it today!  This one is never removed from box and wears a different uniform than the loose one, which leads me to know that not only was the loose one loose, it was also redressed.  So all is well that ends well, but I do know this:  as much as I love to blog and as much as I blog, I do not... I repeat, do not need to repeatedly blog-enable myself.

By the way, so far I have discovered there were three (possibly more?) AA GI Janes:  The US Army Helicopter Pilot, the Vietnam Nurse, and 82nd Airbone. The 82nd Airborne and Helicopter Pilot appear to share the same head sculpt, so I don't think I need the 82nd. 


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Friday, October 22, 2010

A Toy for Boys but Girls Like It. Too: GI Joe

My Tuskegee Airmen blog prompted me to photograph the rest of my GI Joes.  This was done over a week ago.  Before returning them to their shelves, I wanted to blog-document each one.  Since I need to return that section of the room to some form of order, I decided to use this free time to complete the documentation of my meager Hasbro GI Joe and "lone" Jane collection.  They are included here in circa-date or box-date order:

According to my son's question when I acquired this, my first GI Joe, circa 1990s, "What are you doing with Heavy Duty?"  This is, therefore, to the best of my knowledge, 6-inch GI Joe Heavy Duty, purchased loose.

Hall of Fame GI Joe Stalker, 1991

GI Joe Action Sailor Masterpiece Edition, 1996; original reproduction GI Joe Sailor is housed in a heavy cardboard, book-like display box, includes the deluxe book, GI Joe the Story Behind the Legend by GI Joe creator, Don Levine, with John Michlig (GI Joe Action Sailor is book's cover image).

GI Joe Action Soldier Masterpiece Edition, 1996; original reproduction GI Joe Soldier is also housed in a heavy cardboard, book-like display box, includes same book mentioned above but has cover image of
GI Joe Action Soldier.

The quite homely, GI Joe Classic Collection GI Jane US Army Helicopter Pilot, 1997

GI Joe Classic Collection Navy Aviation Fuel Handler "Grape," known as "the Grapes" because of their purple shirts, 1997.

GI Joe Classic Collection General Colin L. Powell, Historical Commanders Edition, Fourth in a Series, 1998

Adventure Team GI Joe with Kung Fu Grip, GI Joe Adventurer, 2006 has flocked hair (which sheds!).

GI Joe the Rise of the Cobra Heavy Duty, 4-inch figure from the movie of the same name, 2009,

and finally...

GI Joe The Rise of the Cobra Wallace "Ripcord" Weems based on the character from the movie of the same name, 2009.  The figure does resemble Marlon Wayans, who played the character, Wallace Weems in the movie.


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Swappin' Styles Frustration

Swappin' Styles Fashionista Barbie and Target Exclusive Barbie

I picked these two dolls up at Target this week, Artsy Fashionista Swappin' Styles and Target Exclusive Barbie.  Excited... I just knew I would have fun truly swapping heads because I prefer the facial screening of the Target Exclusive (TE) doll over Artsy's.

Swappin' Styles head-removal illustration

After deboxing the dolls, I immediately noticed the hollow plastic feel of TE's legs.  The hair is unevenly cut in the back and is not of the best quality.   Next, I tested Artsy's swapping head mechanism, which works and is a clever idea.  The entire head/neck/and breast plate pop off when the button on the back is pressed. Since there were no additional heads "sold separately" for her (as indicated on the back of the box), TE's head will have to do for now. 

Using the traditional method of doll head popping, I popped both heads off from above the neck and immediately noted the different neck connectors. I thought this might pose a problem; but after I pushed TE's head down snugly onto Artsy's neck, the new head ceased its initial side-to-side motion. 

Attempting to pose Artsy with her newly designed knees did "pose" a problem.  The knee joints are very loose and the doll requires support to stand.   When the lower legs are held, as illustrated in the above image, Artsy's torso falls backward and her knees bend!  Tsk, tsk, tsk:  Mattel's attempt to create a kneecap succeeded; however, unless my doll is defective, the doll's stability and pose-ability are compromised.

Final Result:  Artsy with TE's head; TE with Artsy's head

In addition to her loose knee joints, in the process of swapping heads, Artsy's headband and necklace broke.  I tossed the necklace and used a quilting pin to attach the headband to Artsy's new head.  After encountering these minor frustrating flaws, the head swap was a success (shown above).  Next up:  a fashion makeover or at least new shoes for Artsy.  I dislike her molded plastic, mock-fringe boots. Give me real fringe or nothing at all!

Artsy's boots... look so, plastic

Thank goodness Swappin' Heads Artsy was discounted to $7 at Target this week, but I'm left to wonder:  What do the people do who really play with these dolls... you know, Mattel's Barbie pink-box target market?  Do they become as frustrated as I became when flaws of this nature are encountered or do little girls just consider these dolls disposable and toss them aside (like I did the broken necklace) when the dolls fail to meet expectations?

What do you think?


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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fabulous Fashions! An Inexpensive Doll Fix

As a paper doll enthusiast as well as three-dimensional doll enthusiast, I have wanted to add the Fabulous Fashion (Barbie Paper Doll Book) to my collection for several months.  It arrived yesterday.  The book includes Barbie, Theresa, and Nikki and over 150 outfits and accessories that each doll can share.

Teresa and Nikki paper dolls

I was quite amazed to find that this is truly a paper doll book with a spine width of nearly one-half inch to accommodate 64 pages of heavy card stock with colorful illustrations printed on one side of each.
Laura B.'s five-star review prompted me to order the book along with another doll-related book.  The other book did not wow me, but this inexpensive, $8.99 paper doll book did.  Published by Golden Books in 2008, it provides a very inexpensive doll fix. 


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Monday, October 18, 2010

Pocket Pals!

A dear friend (Ruth Manning) met doll artist, Ping Lau, at a recently held doll show where this adorable Pocket Pal was purchased for me. 

An artist who creates a diverse doll line, Ping shared a group picture of additional Pocket Pals after I complimented her today on these delightful tiny treasures.  As illustrated in Ping's photograph, there is a Pocket Pal for everyone

Pocket Pals by Ping Lau, Photograph courtesy of Ping Lau

Nestled snugly in their colorful cloth pockets, Ping's Pocket Pals measure approximately 4-1/2 inches, have doe suede faces, synthetic hair, and hand-painted features.  Designed to be worn as a doll pin, a large safety pin is sewn to the back of the pouch.  The back also bears the artist's signature and year.  These completely handmade, one of a kind babies or pets are affordably priced at only $12 plus shipping. 

If interested in purchasing one or several (think gifts, think Christmas), email Ping or better yet, browse her website.  

Thanks again "Dear Friend."  I love surprises, especially when they are doll related.


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Friday, October 15, 2010

New Article at and Upcoming Show

Please follow this link to read an article I recently shared with 

Thank you, again, to the parents and grandparents who allowed me to profile their "little collectors" for the article.


The International Black Doll and Gift Show will be held next month (November 13 - 14, 2010) in Atlanta, GA.  Additional information about the show is available at the above link or here.  According to one renowned doll artist with whom I recently spoke, "Sharon Alexander's shows are first class!"


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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

GI Joe Tuskegee Airmen

Through a fellow doll enthusiast, I recently discovered that the inside box flap of the 1997 Classic GI Joe Tuskegee Fighter Pilot mentions Tuskegee Airman, Charles B. Hall.  Phyllis (the doll enthusiast) informed that Charles B. Hall (who retired from the Air Force at the rank of Major) was born in Brazil, Indiana and was honored with a monument that stands in front of their town hall.  The monument dedication took place in August 2009.  Phyllis mentioned that the GI Joe Fighter Pilot represents Major Hall and told me where to look on the box to find his name.

1997 GI Joe Classic Collection Tuskegee Fighter Pilot (WWII Forces Collection GI Joe Limited Edition)

1997 GI Joe Classic Collection Tuskegee Bomber Pilot (WWII Forces Collection GI Joe Limited Edition)

This afternoon, I retrieved my two GI Joe Tuskegee Airmen (Fighter Pilot and Bomber Pilot) from their display shelf.  I read their separate histories on the inside flaps of the boxes. In short, the text describes the battles they fought at home [discrimination and resistance to their service in the Air Corps] and their achievements during World War II. 

The final paragraph of the Classic GI Joe Tuskegee Fighter Pilot's flap reads:

In July of 1943, Lt. Charles B. Hall of the 99th became the first black fighter pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft.  The 332nd had another distinction that won the hearts of bomber crews:  they never lost a bomber to enemy fighters.  The success of the Tuskegee Experiment [Army Air Corps program that created The Tuskegee Airmen fighter squadron] was an important victory in these Americans' struggle for acceptance.  On June 1, 1949, Congress integrated U.S. armed forces throughout the world.
So while, the box does not state specifically that the Fighter Pilot represents Major Hall, I was delighted to learn that it mentions him.

This just in (3/2/14):  Phyllis Schlatter shared the following photo of the monument that was dedicated to Charles B. Hall in Brazil, Indiana.  As mentioned above, the dedication took place in August 2009.

Monument in Brazil, Indiana in honor of Tuskegee Airman, Major Charles B. Hall
The monument reads:

Major Charles B. Hall
08-25-1920 to 11-22-1971

Brazil native and World War II Hero, Mr. Hall became a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Mr. Hall was one of the first 43 African American pilots assigned to combat duty with the 99th Pursuit Squadron 332d Fighter Group (the Red Tails). On July 2, 1943 Lt. Hall earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for shooting down a German Focke-Wulf 190 during a mission over [Panelleria, Tunisia, North Africa].  In doing so, he became the first African-American pilot to earn official credit for destroying an enemy airplane in the Second World War.  After retiring as a Major in the Air Force, he resided in Oklahoma City until his death in 1971.

The airplane above is a replica of the P-40 flown by Major Hall in 1943.

Links of Interest:
Tuskegee Fighter Pilot
Tuskegee B-25 Bomber Pilot
Collector's version of Tuskegee Airman B25 Pilot
Biography of [Major,] Charles B. Hall
Honored, Sunday, August 23, 2009 Brazil Times (includes image of Charles B. Hall Monument)


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Long Awaited Paper Doll Book +Confession

Approximatey two years ago, I began a diligent online search for the Crissy and Velvet Paper Dolls book by Whitman, © 1971.  Finally, I found an unpunched book complete with intact "Change-a-Hairdo-Wheel" at a price I was willing to pay.  I cannot count the amount of times I was outbid on eBay for this paper doll book or the amount of times I gasped at a seller's hopeful astronomical price.

The unpunched, psychedelic-colored mini-to-maxi length fashions are so reminiscent of 1970s attire.  As I flipped through the pages of my new find, the knee-length vest worn over a turtleneck sweater with bell-bottom pants, knee-high lace-up boots, poncho; and oversized, round, rose-tinted shades or "nodders" (as we used to call them) enhanced my visual trip back down memory lane.

It feels good to remove a long sought-after item from my wish list and to have paid a few dollars less than the maximum I was willing to pay.

This paper doll book complements my collection of three-dimensional Crissy family dolls.  Most can be seen and read about here.

Confession:  I left this blog in draft mode with intentions to publish later.  This paragraph and the text that follows is an edit to the original draft.  After photographing the paper doll book, entering the information about its purchase on my Excel spreadsheet, and finally placing the book in the file cabinet where my other paper doll books are stored, I saw the edge of a paper doll book that looks identical to this one!  Guess what?  I already had the Crissy and Velvet Paper Dolls book!  The first one was purchased in August, only two months ago!  I reopened my Excel spread sheet, filtered the columns, and found the entry for the original book, which is almost identical to what I wrote about the second one:

Image of filtered Excel 2010 Doll Inventory spreadsheet

Obviously after receiving the first book, I did not flip through its colorful pages.  I did not take a trip back down memory lane.  I must have only documented the purchase and stored it.  This duplicate purchase is irrefutable proof that I need to slow my buying roll/role and that my long-term memory is better than my short-term memory.

Has this ever happened to you... I mean, have you ever unintentionally duplicated a doll purchase?


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Monday, October 11, 2010

Just Send the Doll, Please.

For 12-14 weeks, I have received weekly postcards notifying that the production of Ashton-Drake's Sophisticated Style Michelle Obama doll has been delayed.  I ordered the doll this past May and began receiving the postcards in approximately mid-July. The post cards assure that shipping will be in 12-14 weeks.

The only thing that I am certain of at this point is the waste of time, postage, and card stock it takes to send these weekly notifications and that AD's 12-14 weeks seem perpetual.  I am also certain the post cards will continue.

Keep the postcards AD; just send the doll, please.

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

(Inspired by) The Color Orange

The black catsuit and orange wet-look mini skirt worn by Mod Paris inspired me to photograph her and several other dolls that wear one of fall's most vibrant colors:  orange and various shades of it.

Grand Entrance Paris (2001) and Mod Paris (2004) by Madame Alexander

Malya (2010 Ashton-Drake from the "Hands Across the World" series) and Africa (2009 Madame Alexander)

 Decades of play dolls:  1970 - 2005
Bottom, L-R:  Lea (1973 Shindana), Newborn Thumbelina (1971 Ideal), Baby Beans (1970 Mattel), Mini Doucette (2005 Corolle), and Chou Chou baby (2005 Zapf Creation)

Janae (2006 Laura Tuzio-Ross)

Grace Standing (2001 Jan McLean) and Alessandra (1992 Philip Heath)

 Keri (1998 Annette Himstedt)

Soul Sister (1970 Fun World Inc.), 2003 IDEX Evie Kishlet and 2005 Anjali (Helen Kish)

Orange Blossom (three versions 1982-1984 by Kenner) and Barriguitas, a mini baby by Famosa of Spain circa 1990s

(So 1990s) Honey Candi in St. Tropez fashion by Hamilton; fashion by MiKelman, I think

All dolls wear their original fashions with the exception of Anjali and Janae

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Question: Can TrueType Obama's head fit Ken's?

Answer: No. TrueType's head is too small. In fact, it's almost too small for the TrueType body.

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Tammy, a Re-makeover Story

A scan from my book, The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls, (Hobby House Press, Inc., 2003), page 164 illustrates formerly white dolls dyed various shades of brown.  This was done circa late-1990s.

As described in the above image text (click to enlarge, then maximize the new window), a combination of Rit dye for the soft-vinyl surfaces and acrylic paint was used to deepen the complexion of  the dolls made of these two materials.  I discovered through trial and error that Rit dye will only absorb through porous materials such as soft vinyl, cloth, and some materials used for doll hair.

Because of their combination soft vinyl-rigid plastic construct, the Tammy dolls (and my soft-faced/hard plastic-bodied Chatty Cathy) required Rit dye and painting.  Painting is not one of my gifts.  As a result, I was never satisfied with the mismatched colors of the Tammy dolls' dyed face/arms and painted body/legs.  For years this doll pair has been tucked away in the back of a curio cabinet, out of sight, out of mind.

Using the Tammy doll that appears on the far right in the scanned image, I recently applied (old stock) Flori Roberts cream makeup to the face and arms using a makeup sponge and my fingertip.  This resulted in a more even complexion. 

After the makeup dries completely (I'll give it at least 24 hours, maybe longer) Tammy will be redressed in her pink and white sundress. 

Short romper-wearing Tammy (shown on the far left in the scanned image) will be my next re-makeover-with-makeup specimen.  This will be done whenever the Spirit moves me and provided I find makeup as dark as the paint used for her body.

For more information about Tammy dolls, click here.


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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Alexis in New Wig, Liv'n Hip

Striking a pose, in a gathering with friends, Liv's Alexis wears her original outfit and her original long wig in the above image.

She now has a new red wig that has a side ponytail (purchased from Wal-Mart last week). 

It was also last week when I saw the Liv'n Hip outfit at Target, but decided against buying it until another trip to Target led me to browse the toy aisle this week.  Today I took time to redress Alexis.

The oh-so 70s style, Liv'n Hip fashion includes a turquoise and white tie-dye-look tunic/dress with macramé bodice, turquoise macramé  shawl, gold tone and faux jeweled choker, gold tone butterfly bangle, turquoise handbag, cut-off jeans complete with fringed hem, and brown moccasins.  To me the outfit looks better in the package than it does on Alexis (I like her in her original outfit better).  But I guess with time it will grow on me.  The new wig did.

Alexis poses in her new wig and outfit (minus the choker) with Bijou, who was redressed a few weeks ago in several separates that belong to other dolls.

What do you think?  Which wig and outfit do you like best on Alexis?


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