Friday, September 30, 2011

Dream Sale Purchase, Possible Discrepancy? Dream Sale purchase

Purchase-wise, I was pretty safe with this year's Dream Sale. I have done damage in September's past during these sales, but this year I only purchased two items:  Barbie Basics Collection 2.Model No. 8 and Look No. 02 accessory pack from the same collection.

Now the discrepancy is that Model No. 8's box reads "Collection 2.1." According to, this collection of dolls and accessory packs is Collection 2.5. Did Mattel make an error on Model No. 8's box?

Is Model No. 8's box a misprint?

Do you know if the box for Model No. 8 is the only one in this collection that reads "Collection 2.1"?


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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Other Former Closeted Dolls

Three versions of Toya of the Starr Model Agency by JPI

In addition to finding Big Jack this past weekend, I found other dolls that were purchased in the 1990s.  These include three Toya dolls of the Starr Model Agency by JPI circa 1990s. Toya is a 6-1/2in/16.5cm fully poseable fashion doll similar to Topper's Dawn dolls (1969-1972). One of the dolls wears an evening gown, one wears a two-piece halter and skirt, and the other wears a casual pants outfit. The evening gown doll came with a collectible biography trading card that has her image on the front. In addition to her biography, which reveals that Toya is a newly selected supermodel for the Starr Model Agency and that she sings like an angel, the back of the card describes the agency's founding.  The agency was founded by the blonde doll in this line, Starr, who can be seen on the back of the box along with the other agency models.
Back of evening gown Toya's box

Doesn't Taylor (the brunette on the upper left) look like a post-plastic surgery Michael Jackson?

Kenner's ©1982 Glamour Gals, Brian in Dinner for 2 (from the "Dateline Collection") and Jana were also in the box with Big Jack. These two are only 4in/10.16cm tall. Both have molded-on clothing. Brian's package includes a dining table, 2 chairs, place settings, candelabra, "roast pheasant" on serving tray, cover, tablecloth, and his doll stand. That's a lot of stuff for $3.96.

Close-up picture of Brian and Jana

Finally, Baby Buddies, Big Girl Baby, shown above, also by Kenner ©1994, was in the same box with Big Jack, Toya, Brian and Jana. Her accessories include birth certificate, potty chair, bowl of baby food, baby bottle, puppy, and a newspaper for the puppy to potty on. Other than having a dark complexion, I have no clear recollection why I purchased this one.
Big Girl Baby by Kenner with all her stuff

Now they are all free.


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Big Jack is Free

Big Jack

Big Jack, ©1971 by Mattel, a 9-1/2in/24.13cm all-vinyl figure with action arm was rediscover this past weekend as I attempted to locate other dolls without success. The dolls I thought were stored in a Hildegard Gunzel doll box in my closet are still missing in action. Instead I found Big Jack, team mate of Mattel's Big Jim action figure.  (They're really dolls, but refuse to admit it).

Big Jack has bulging biceps muscle action when his forearm is lifted. When the button on his back is pressed, his right arm moves up and down in a karate chopping motion (oh, what fun!).  His jointed wrists, knees, and ankles aid in posing him in every sports position, because unlike GI Joe, Jack and Jim were sports-oriented figures..

Big Jack and his stuff

Big Jack's accessories include:
Karate board
and Big Jim sports book (collector's catalogue)

The back of the box illustrates all-star action uniforms that were sold separately for these two guys.  These can be seen at the Big Jim link above.

I rediscovered additional dolls that were stored in the box with Big Jack. Those dolls along with Big Jack are also out of the closet for good.


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Alexis's New-to-Her Outfit

Do you ever tire of seeing your dolls dressed one way or another? Maybe the manufacturer's fashion concept or a redress you selected is screaming, "Change me!" or maybe the doll is doing the screaming.

Whatever the case, I experienced the need for change with Makin' Waves Alexis. See her original fashion here.

Yesterday, she tried on an assortment of different dolls' fashions, mostly Barbie's before finally settling on one of Barbie's Fashion Avenue outfits.

The pink, thin-wale corduroy pants pair well with her bathing suit utilized as a bodysuit, as shown above.

Alexis also looks great wearing the outfit's blue denim, pink faux fur trimmed jacket...

...either open or closed.

Since she cannot wear the B-girl's shoes, her accessories are her own:   Livin' Hip tan moccasins, brown handbag, and gold dangle earrings borrowed from Alexis #1.

Alexis to Alexis, "Ooh! I like your outfit.  Where did you buy it?"

Alexis to Alexis, "You do?  Girl, this old thing has been here for years.  It's older than me. (Giggle.)" 

With a Mattel copyright date of 2002, she's telling the truth.


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Sunday, September 25, 2011

This Blog Re-Featured

I was just notified that my blog has been re-featured on a fellow blogger's new blog:  I thought I would share the link to the re-feature here for new followers who may have missed Janet's first incredibly nice blog about this blog and my passion for collecting black dolls, written in January 2010.  At the same time, Janet honored me with her VOW (vine of wisdom) badge of inspiration. 

Unfortunately, sometime between her move from one space on the Web to another, her initial blog about this blog was lost in cyberspace.  Zapped!  Gone forever.  But I remember most of what she wrote and still feel honored and blessed that a non-doll-collecting, total stranger would take the time to: 1) honor me with a badge of inspiration, and 2) to write a blog about it.

I was so moved by her kind words that I asked and received her permission to use a portion of what she wrote on the back of my third book, The Doll Blogs:  When Dolls Speak, I Listen.  I'm glad I did... at least that portion will never be lost.

Upon reading the re-featured blog, I discovered today that the VOW badge of inspiration Janet awarded me 20 months ago was the first one she issued.  I am very humbled by all of this.

Thanks again Janet!  May God continue to guide your steps and shine His light of favor upon all you do.


PS:  Thanks again, Janet, for teaching me 20 months ago "How to Make a Link Open in a New Window."  The world needs more angel-people like you.

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Free for the First Taker

View and read about the free dolls I am offering in the most recent entry on my Dolls for Sale Blog. There are stipulations... so read carefully.


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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Check this Out! If Funds Permit, Buy It Now

Tonner's Check This Out! Collection:  Tyler, Esmé, and Sydney

Most doll collectors experience a sense of regret when a desired doll slips from their grasp for any reason. When the reason is self-induced, such as a failure to buy a desired doll when it was readily available, collectors are likely to experience the recurring thought, “I should have purchased it when.” This thought can both hurt and haunt.

A fortunate few eventually locate the doll on the secondary market; but often the doll’s acquisition comes with a cost far greater than the doll’s original retail. Ouch! The above-retail cost on the secondary market frequently causes the, “I should have purchased it when,” feeling to resurface again and again.

Each time I see another collector’s Check This Out! Esmé (CTOE) by Robert Tonner from the Tyler Wentworth Collection 2006/2007, I experience regret and disgust with myself for not purchasing the doll before it sold out. This happened recently when I viewed the “Women of the World” image on Son of Ellis’s blog. His CTOE is the center doll redressed in school attire.

Why do I want a CTOE of my own?

Esmé’s short Afro is very appealing to me. As I have written before, I love dark skinned dolls with natural textured hair, but not just any dark skinned doll with textured hair will do. Esmé’s attractive face, particularly her eyes, and her stylish fashion add to her appeal. As the stock photograph of the dolls in this collection illustrates, CTOE’s original fashion includes a white tank, white jacket, and light blue and white check Capri’s. Not shown in the image are her light blue slingback shoes. The doll’s articulation is a plus.

I remain determined. Check This Out! Esmé will be part of my collection for a price I am willing to pay. I want her… I need her… I should have purchased her five years ago!

Maybe Tonner will produce a similar doll and add even more articulation, maybe one that is playscale size (now wouldn't that be great?). If he does, with funds permitting, I will preorder her immediately.

Which dolls have eluded your grasp?

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

New-To-Me 1/6 Man in Town

I incorrectly assumed this guy was by Hasbro when I found him online earlier this week.  He needed a new home.  I thought his face was interesting and that he would look nice dressed and paired with one of the women here.  I hoped he would be tall enough before I completed the purchase.

He arrived yesterday.  He is about the same size as the so-called 12-inch GI Joes and almost the same height as most of my fashion dolls.  Until now, I had never heard of his manufacturer, Lanard Toys Ltd.  The body has a copyright date of 1999, just below his waist.

I Googled the manufacturer's name and found this link for their current line, which may not currently include dolls that share his complexion. 

He is dressed in a Ken fashion.  His big feet are basically just standing on S. I. S. Darren's sneakers.  They barely close in the back.

An unlikely female has already captured his attention.  (She, a Barbie type, was a thrift store find a few weeks back.)  It must be the cleavage.

Anyone know who he is?


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Blog

I have another blog.  Read about and follow it here.  Thanks!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Kish's Cute Ballerinas Created and Manufactured

I purchased the above ballerina fashion made for Madame Alexander's 8-inch Wendy during a past special sales event.  Since I do not redress my Madame Alexander dolls and the company does not make "dress me" dolls, I selected Anjali by Helen Kish to wear it.

Joined by Kish's ZsuZse, who is redressed in Elementary Riley #1's dance outfit, Anjali looks adorable in the Madame Alexander ballet class fashion.

Two other Kish dolls that were manufactured by the artist as ballerinas are Amalia from 1997 (the tallest doll) and Natalie from 1996; they wear their original ballerina outfits.  Missing from my collection is another ballerina by Kish, KiraReleased the same year as Amalia, Kira usually sells for $300 on the secondary market.  She will remain on my doll wish list until I locate one for a price I am willing to pay.

I never took nor desired to take any type of dance classes.  I do recall one 1st or 2nd grade school performance where I was required to participate in a "There's No Business Like Show Business" tap dance routine.  Along with our black patent-leather tap shoes, we wore black leotards, white tights, red tutus, and white straw hats with candy cane striped bands.  I still recall how jittery I was before and during that performance.  With a stomach full of butterflies, I faced my fear and managed to complete the routine.  I have never worn another dance leotard since. 

Minus the overwhelming sense of fear, the Kish dolls are reminders of my elementary school tap dance experience and how cute little girls look in their dance costumes.  


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book-Featured Dolls by Tonner - Part 3

To provide collectors with an up-to-date doll reference book, my first two books on black dolls were devoted to doll identification and values.  In addition to assessing a value for each referenced doll, these books were designed to aid collectors in identifying dolls found on the secondary market with a visual image of the way the doll appeared originally along with associated text on manufacturers' marks and a description of the dolls' size, facial attributes, hair, and original clothing. 

Unlike the first two books, my third book was written to document my interaction with dolls  already here and new ones that arrived during the time the book was written.  The idea was to halt or at least slow the pace of constantly buying new dolls by instead appreciating and giving attention to the ones already owned. The plan, further, was to document my doll interaction by allowing the dolls to record entries in book form written in their own voices each time "we" interacted.

This blog post focuses on Tonner dolls that blogged our interaction in Book 3 (The Doll Blogs:  When Dolls Speak I Listen).  The blogs were compiled over a two-year period.

The first Tonner doll to blog her experience was Ready to Wear Esmé.  On page 14, she wrote:
Thursday, February 21, 2008

Recently, Deb purchased a photo box for photographing items, in her case, dolls.  She is in the process of re-photographing several of us in an effort to capture better images for her second doll reference book.  I was re-photographed today using the photo box.  First, she had to remove the lavender dress made by Franklin Mint for their Princess Diana doll and allow my hair to hang loose in its original style. After restoring my manufacturer's appearance, I was photographed wearing my basic lavender teddy, nude stockings, and white high-heel shoes.

Later today, Debbie redressed me in my glamorous lavender gown and plans to include that photograph in her book to illustrate how collectors can change the appearance of their dolls and fully enjoy them with a simple redress, particularly if a doll's attire is not completely appealing to the collector.  As for me, as my name indicates, I was manufactured to be redressed. 

Peace for now ~ Ready to Wear Esme

RTW Esmé wrote additional blog entries on page 202 with Basic Esmé and another entry on page 270 with the Basic and Ultra Basic dolls. 

Other Bloggers:

Rihanna, Ultra Basic Matt O'Neill and Ultra Basic Russell Williams

  • School Picture Day Libbie blogs on pages 16, 217, and 249.
  • Rihanna (American Models Basic AA) blogs on pages 25-26, and 28.
  • Matt O'Neill, who entered the collection by mistake, blogs his experience on page 44.
  • Russell Williams's first entry is on page 45.  Subsequent entries from Russell appear on pages 48-49, 55... 

Far Out Friday Foster and Russell Williams (Russell looks dapper in his tailor-made shirt, tie, and 3-piece suit made from shirts that were my brother's.)

...and on page 214, Russell writes:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Green Beret [referring to that guy's blog on the same day] is right.  We were also mentioned in today's DOLLS Magazine, "Dolls in Black, Chronicles and Perspectives" blog [The New Men in Their Lives].  Friday Foster and I have been an item since she joined the collection back in March of this year.  I mean, just look at her.  Friday is hot, and I mean that in a very respectable way.  Esme and I broke up shortly before Friday arrived and there has been no looking back.  Esme and I are still friends.  We'll always be friends, but Far Out Friday is my woman now.

Russell Williams
More Bloggers:

Carin, Tiny Basic Dru, and the two Georgias

  • Carin writes her blogs on pages 76 and 212.
  • Tiny Basic Dru (a doll I purchased for a doll friend with the same name) wrote a short blog before she departed on pages 116-117.  Because I allowed the dolls to use me as their facilitator, Tiny Dru managed to write one final blog on page 121 after she arrived to her new home.  Imagine that!
  • The two Georgias appear on pages 40 and 174.

Antoinette Spice!

My now most favorite Tonner doll, Antoinette Spice (I love her body, articulation, and auburn hair... oh, and her complexion is beautiful, too) blogged her experiences on pages 188-189 and again on page 271.  A portion of her page-271 entry, written on Thursday, December 17, 2009, reads:

...Debbie enjoys posing and redressing me.  I am one of her favorite doll purchases for 2009 and of all dolls by Robert Tonner, I am her absolute favorite.  That gives me great pleasure.  It's both exciting and flattering to know I am highly favored.

With love,

Antoinette Spice

Far Out Friday (Foster)

Fabulous Far Out Friday Foster with her big beautiful brown Afro that is much like the one I wore during the 1970s, blogs on page 93.

Ultra Basic Esmé

Finally, Ultra Basic Esmé, the last Tonner doll I purchased before the book was published in 2010, speaks in blog form initially on pages 267, 269, and 270. 

Writing this three-part series on dolls by Robert Tonner took more time than I imagined (nearly a week), but I love research and documentation.  Couple these two with dolls as the subject, and it is usually "on" in my world.  I could do this stuff for free.  Oh... but I already do.

As Ready to Wear Esmé would close one of her blogs,

Peace for now,


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book-Featured Dolls by Tonner - Part 2

Deena, Effie, and Lorelle "Dreamettes Back-up Singers" by Tonner Doll Company
Dolls by Robert Tonner and Effanbee (now a Tonner-owned company) made several appearances in Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion (Book 2). These include on pages 132-133 the 16in/40.64cm "Dreamettes Back-up Singers," Deena, Effie, and Lorelle, inspired by the Dreamworks/Paramount film based on the hit Broadway Musical, Dreamgirls. The dolls are not portraits of the actresses who played the roles in the movie but are just as lovely and in, Effie's case, just as curvaceous.


Ready to Wear Esmé, Basic Russell Williams #1, Russell Williams and "Dinner with Russell" Esmé

In Book 2, Ready To Wear Esme and first-issue Russell Williams appear on page 133.  For those who are not familiar with the Tyler Wentworth and Matt O'Neill series of dolls, Esmé is Russell's girlfriend.   She is friend of and model for Tyler (a fashion designer) while Russell is best friend of Tyler's boyfriend, Matt

Russell's photograph was shared by Ruth Manning.  He makes an additional appearance on page 388 in a close-up photograph with Dinner with Russell, Esmé, the latter photograph courtesy of Manya Elliott.


The petite 10in/25.4cm Basic Dottie and Fashion Plate Dottie are featured on pages 134-135.  Dottie is from the Tinny Kitty collection.  Basic Dottie also enjoys a redress on page 369 in Book 2 where she shares her ability to wear Barbie Fashion Avenue fashions (minus the shoes).


The doll that would be my favorite Tonner doll for quite some time (and still is among my favorites), the lovely and very tall (22in/55.88cm) American Models Basic African American appears on page 135 in Book 2.  The doll has a striking resemblance to my late brother who coincidentally passed away in 2007, the year of her release.  I named my doll Rihanna and also featured her on pages 369 and 370 dressed in authentic American Model fashions.  A close-up image of Rihanna on page 384 in Book 2 illustrates her undeniably gorgeous face.  (Ronald I still miss you, and yes, I am still collecting dolls.)

Effanbee Dolls under the Tonner doll-company umbrella:  Baby Button Nose Basically Emilee (center) , holds Wee Patsy; Patsy Rosebud and Patsy Birthday Best stand on the back, to the left and right of Basically Emilee.  Patsyette Sweet Surprise and Patsyette Lil' Rose stand on the front, to the left and right of Basically Emilee
The dolls in the image above, featured on pages 159 and 161-162 in Book 2, were not sculpted by Tonner, but were manufactured by a company Tonner acquired in 2002, Effanbee Doll Company.  The center doll, Baby Button Nose "Basically Emilee," was sculpted by Ann Timmerman.  Patsy Rosebud and Patsy Birthday Best share the same sculpt, which might also be attributed to Timmerman. Patsyette Sweet Surprise and Patsyette Lil' Rose are 9in/22.86cm Timmerman-appearing sculpts.  Wee Patsy and Patsyette Beach Time Basic appear to use the original Effanee sculpts.   

Toni Sunday Best was produced in a limited edition of 500 by Effanbee (a Tonner-owned co.)
Images and information on two additional non-Tonner sculpted dolls appear on pages 163-164 of Book 2, School Picture Day Libbie (sculpted by Ann Timmerman) from 2007 and Toni Sunday Best from 2006.  These two dolls were also Effanbee manufactured, Libbie as an original sculpt and Toni as a reproduction of the original 1949 doll.  It should be noted, however, that Tonner's Toni is the first African American doll to use this sculpt, as Ideal Toy Corp. (the original manufacturer of the Toni doll) never made a dark skinned version.


Tiny Friends of Tiny Betsy McCall, L-R:  2002 Betsy McCall Convention Dru, Party Pink Dru, and Classic Stripes Dru; 14-inch Sitting Pretty Dru stands in back.
Dolls featured in Book 2 on pages 216-218 include:  Classic Stripes Dru, Party Pink Dru, and the 2002 Betsy McCall Convention Dru.  Because I did not attend the convention and was forced to buy the doll on the secondary market, I spent mega bucks to acquire the first dark-skinned friend of the Betsy McCall, (Convention Dru).  This 8-in/20.32cm doll is an exact replica (except for complexion) of the 1957 hard plastic bent-knee (articulated), Betsy McCall made by American Character.

As I shared in the introduction of Chapter 4, which covers modern manufactured and collectible dolls from 1960s-present, "Baby Boomers may remember Betsy McCall paper dolls that were published in McCall's Magazine beginning in 1951 through (at least) 1970.  Neither the paper doll nor the three-dimensional Betsy McCall characters had a black friend until 2002, thanks to Robert Tonner's 2002 Betsy McCall Convention Dru.  Later, in 2004, 14in/35.56cm Basic Dru debuted."  The 14-inch doll is another first-ever dark skinned doll by Robert Tonner.  Sitting Pretty Dru in the 14 inch size (shown in the above image), also from 2004, appears in Book 2.  Unlike the first 14-inch doll (whose name was interestingly spelled D-r-e-w), Sitting Pretty Dru has jointed knees.
Front: Beachcomber and Overall Comfort Georgia with Design Studio Carin (back); all are redressed.
Also in Book 2, on pages 217-218 are Mary Englebreit's 10in/ Beachcomber and Overall Comfort Georgia from 2001 and 2002, respectively.  Georgia is friend to Ann Estelle.  In their first appearance in book 2, the dolls wear their original outfits (not shown here).  In a subsequent appearance as a redressed doll, one of the girls is illustrated on page 365 of Book 2.  Both Georgias appear in Book 3 on pages 40 and 174. 

Also on page 217 of Book 2 are two illustrations of the lovely 21in/53.34cm Design Studio Carin wearing her orignal clothes and dressed in Gloria Ann's "Perfectly Suited" fashion.  Carin makes one additional appearance, redressed on page 366 of Book 2.  She also "blogs" on pages 76 and 212 in Book 3. 

More about the bloggers in part 3.

This blog series is not yet complete, and I am wowed by the amount of Tonner dolls I own.  I am impressed because the dolls covered in this series do not include every dark skinned doll manufactured by this talented doll-designing, doll-companies-owning mogul! 

So stay tuned for the conclusion, part 3, which will discuss Tonner dolls included in Book 3.  These particular dolls utilized me as their facilitator to blog their experiences as dolls in my personal collection.

In the meantime, here are more links to enjoy:
Effanbee Doll Company
Ideal's Toni
American Character's Betsy McCall


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book-Featured Dolls by Tonner - Part 1

This blog series is devoted to dolls by Robert Tonner, manufactured for the high-end play line as well as for the discriminating collector.  In addition to being Tonner dolls, each has been featured in at least one doll book I have authored:  The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls (Hobby House Press, 2003), Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion (2008), and/or The Doll Blogs:  When Dolls Speak, I Listen (2010 eBook; 2011 paperback).   For ease of reading, future references to these titles will be shown as follows:  Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3.  While writing this series, I realized subtle parallels between some Tonner dolls and events in my early life.  I also realized that Tonner has manufactured enough dark skinned dolls and other dolls of color to fill the pages of a doll book.

First-issue Magic Attic Keisha, sculpted by Robert Tonner for Georgetown Collection (I restyled Keisha's hair to mimic the style I often wore as a child, up to age 10, when it was not in two side braids).
First dolls first, Magic Attic Keisha, initially sold by Georgetown in 1995, is my first Robert Tonner-sculpted doll.  I was and still am thoroughly impressed with the essence of little girl innocence captured by Tonner in Keisha's three-dimensional vinyl doll form.  I especially love the texture of Keisha's hair, which I describe as being similar to "warm combed" African American hair in an effort to loosen its natural coil.  Keisha's Kanekalon wig achieves this effect beautifully.

Dolls often allow their owners to relive positive past events.  Keisha does this for me.  After age 10 or so, I spent countless Saturday mornings either seated in a kitchen chair near the stove as my mother "ran a warm straightening comb through my hair," or at a beauty salon where Mrs. Idella "Dell" Weddington did this professionally.  Usually the latter occurred on an every-two-week basis.  I recall begging my mother to allow me to have my hair straightened for the first time; finally, after much resistance, she relented.   After a warm comb was "run through it," my hair was quite similar in texture to Magic Attic Keisha's.

The first and second editions of Magic Attic Keisha are described and valued on page 77 in Book 1. Keisha #1 makes a cameo appearance in Book 2 on page 397.  Keisha #4 , the doll with naturally curly hair, the way I wear mine now, appears on page 366 in Book 2 and page 189 in Book 3.


Tonner's Penny is stylishly dressed in faux leather ensemble.
Tonner's Penny is a J. C. Penney-exclusive doll from the Penny and Friends collection.  Penny is also featured in Book 1, page 96, having entered my collection in the year 2000 or 2001.   It is quite obvious that Penny and Keisha are doll-artist related. Their head sculpts are rather similar.  While Keisha stands 17 inches (43.18 cm), Penny is 19 inches (48.46 cm).

Penny is stylishly dressed in a fashionable red faux leather vest, matching skirt, white T-shirt, and black knee-length faux leather boots.  I can imagine myself pulling off a fashion like hers in junior high school when I became self-"fashion conscious."  My days as a fashionista were short lived, but I do enjoy seeing the latest fashion trends on others who enjoy them, and I always enjoy seeing dolls dressed in fashions reflective of current styles.  The fashions worn by Tonner's dolls, play line or artist, rarely disappoint.


Basic Esmé, Boston Bound, and Cover Girl Esmé are featured in Book 2.
Svelte, 16-inch (40.64 cm) Basic Esmé from 1999 is my first Tonner fashion doll.  She, along with Boston Bound and Cover Girl Esmé are featured in Book 1, page 62, where each doll is fully described and valued.  The Esmé photographs of these three dolls used in Book 1 were courtesy of Melodie Anderson.

Esmé's story (from the Tonner Archives) reads:  "In a rare relaxed moment, Tyler [Wentworth, fashion designer/owner of Wentworth House of Style] went into a bookstore to browse. After making her selections, she noticed an incredibly beautiful young woman working behind the counter. Tyler introduced herself to the young woman and found out her name was Esmé. She was a pre-med student who was at first very skeptical about Tyler's suggestion that she model in the upcoming fashion show. Although she had been approached to model before, she never took it seriously. But having heard of Tyler and the House of Wentworth, she thought she would give it a try. After a lengthy conversation with the Chase Modeling Agency, Esmé was booked for her first show - The Tyler Wentworth Collection."

Because of my height and slender build, as a high school student, at approximately age 15 or 16, my mother took me to the Kim Dawson Agency.  She and others were convinced that I would be a perfect model.  On that 1960s fall day, an agency associate watched me stiffly (I'm sure) walked down the runway wearing a navy blue bodysuit with a wide-belted, hip-hugger, bias plaid skirt of red and navy wool fabric.  Navy blue opaque tights and navy blue leather loafers with chunky heels and gold-metal, square-decoration on the vamp completed my look.  Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, the associate did not agree with how perfect a model I would make.  Not a model nor pre-med student, I did choose a career as an allied health professional.

I do own and still enjoy Basic Esmé (illustrated on page 369 of  Book 2).  In addition, two other Esmé dolls have entered the collection:  Ready to Wear (RTW) Esme and Ultra Basic Esmé.  The trio was featured  here when I authored the Dolls Magazine blog, "Dolls in Black:  Chronicles and Perspectives."  Ready to Wear and Basic Esmé are redressed on pages 133 and 369 of  Book 2.  In Book 3, the three dolls managed to frequently "blog" their experiences as dolls in my collection on pages 14, 49, 202, 263-264, 267, and 269-270.


Three of Tonner's original dark skinned American Models:  Shonda, Carol, and Colette Bride
Additional photographs courtesy of Melodie Anderson included in Book 1, page 68, illustrate Tonner's lovely, first dark skinned 19in/48.46cm American Models (AM) Shonda, Carol, and Colette Bride from 1995, 1997, and 1998, respectively.

Jasmine from Tonner's first American Models Collection
After having coveted Melodie's lovely and quite elaborately dressed American Models, I later added AM Jasmine from 1999 to my collection.  The glamorous Jasmine is fully featured on page 135 in Book 2. 


As the index shows, dolls by Robert Tonner made several appearances in Book 2. These dolls will be discussed in part 2 of this blog series. In addition to the Esmé's mentioned here, other dolls that "blogged" their experiences in Book 3 will be included in part 3 of this series.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tonner + QVC + LittleMissMatched Dolls Today!

LittleMissMatched Dolls by Tonner Toys (too cute in a mismatched sort of way)

I read the Tonner Doll Blog this morning... discovered that 1) there is a dark-skinned doll in the LittleMissMatched doll line (yea!); and 2) these dolls by Tonner Toys will debut on QVC today (September 8, 2011)  from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT. 

I have not watched a QVC doll show in what seems like decades.  That trend will probably end today. 

Find out how to follow the live Twitter coverage of the LittleMissmatched dolls here.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Franklin Mint's Michelle Obama Doll $159@ the Doll Market

Actual photograph of Franklin Mint's Michelle Obama Official White House Portrait Doll

The Michelle Obama Official White House Portrait Doll by The Franklin Mint, which is now sold out at their website, is listed with The Doll Market's current weekly sale items.  In addition to the lower-than-retail price ($159 versus $195), the doll qualifies for free shipping at the Doll Market! The sale ends September 13, 2011.

This is a great price for what I have determined is the best vinyl, 16-inch Michelle Obama doll to date.  (Since owning her, the doll has made frequent appearances on this blog, but should not be confused with Danbury Mint's porcelain dolls or Ashton Drake's vinyl doll.)

Here is a link to more actual photographs.


Last Kish, Last Purchase

Alisha by Helen Kish, an 8-inch doll with bent baby legs has red hair and brown painted eyes.

Helen Kish is one of my favorite doll artists.  Her doll-children are the perfect size, from as tiny as 4-1/2 inches (the Kishlets) to 16 inches.  The ones I favor (friends of Riley) are 7 inches tall.

Usually I am forced to wait for dark-skinned dolls to enter Kish's doll lines.  I find myself anticipating the next one and often am required to wait more than a year.  This year Alisha was introduced.  I preordered her immediately in April.  She arrived last month, my last new doll, and was well worth the wait. 

More pictures:
Full-length picture of Alisha.  I added her pink ribbon headband.

Alisha on display; with arms gesturing, "Pick me up pweeze."

See more cute Kish kids here (courtesy of Phyllis Schlatter).


Monday, September 5, 2011


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Concealing the President's Boo-Boo

The location where he is positioned is not secret service-secure to protect him from those who bustle into my doll room without regard to the dolls positioned at the entrance atop boxed dolls.  He also was not supported by a doll stand.  As a result, my TrueType African American figure molded in the likeness of President Obama has fallen or been knocked down on numerous occasions. 

His last fall occurred several weeks ago causing a paint scrape to his forehead.  "Dang,"  I thought... "that daughter of mine!"  But who knew these figures were painted and such injuries would occur with a simple fall onto a carpeted floor?  "Oh well... I'll fix him soon," I thought again.

Finally I did.  To avoid mixing paint to match his manufactured, painted complexion, I used a combination of face powder and concealers.  I applied the concealers first and sealed with powdered make-up using a make-up sponge. 

Here he is now, supported on a doll stand, almost as good as new.