Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Have All My Skippers with Me

Skipper from childhood wears original red and white sunsuit underneath the blue-trimmed red Cut 'n Button coat (that my sister says belonged to her Skooter).
Skipper is one of the Barbie, friends, and family childhood dolls I was reunited with during the 1995 Christmas season.  She didn't have as many fashions and accessories as Barbie, but I enjoyed playing with Skipper.  I guess I liked her because we had at least two things in common -- a thinly framed body and 10-year-old flat chest.

In 2009 after discussing African American Skipper, Janet, and Stacie with another collector and finding an online Barbie and friends list that documents the names of the AA dolls, my search for these dolls began with an initial focus on AA Skipper.

Seeking Skipper and friends began while writing my third book, which chronicles my doll manipulation over a two-year period, written in the voice of each manipulated doll.  In the voice of Cool Tops Skipper, On December 24, 2009, I recorded the following entry in The Doll Blogs: When Dolls Speak, I Listen:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I arrived today. Baby Sitter Skipper from 1989 arrived on the 21st. Debbie is making a conscious effort to add all African American Skippers to her collection. She already owns the first one, Homecoming Skipper from 1989, which is packed away and was acquired several years ago, before she ever thought about owning all nine of us. With three down, she only has six more to find. It should not take her too long to locate the others. The others needed are: Pet Pals Skipper 1991, Baton Twirler Skipper 1991, Cool Crimp Skipper 1991, Pizza Party Skipper 1994, Baby Sitter Skipper 1994, and Phone Fun Skipper 1995. She already owns one teen skipper: Cool Sitter Teen Skipper 1998. She may try to find Pajama Fun Tote Barbie and Skipper (2002), a Wal-Mart exclusive that includes a Teen Skipper. She’s focusing on the 9-inch (22.86cm) dolls, like me, first.

Debbie still owns her childhood Skipper, the original, redheaded version from 1964. The first time she saw that doll was when her brother, Ronald, eased it out of a shopping bag to give her a sneak peek of one of her Christmas toys. She had accompanied her mother and Ronald on a Downtown Dallas bus ride to retrieve a layaway of Christmas toys at Cullum and Boren. On the way home from that shopping trip, she and her mother shared a seat on the bus. Her mom held shopping bags full of toys while Ronald held another. He was seated behind them. Debbie had no idea what was in any of the bags until she felt her brother’s tap on her shoulder. She turned to look at him and saw his wide grin as he flashed Skipper’s box. She shook her head “no” to cue him to return the doll to the package before their mother caught him. She had to act surprised that Christmas morning when she saw Skipper for the second time underneath the Christmas tree. The fond memory of her brother giving her a sneak peek of Skipper is quite pleasant especially now in his absence.

Cool Tops Skipper (1990)

Cool Crimp Skipper was the most difficult AA Skipper for me to find.

My search for the nine AA Skippers ended in December 2010 after finally locating the most difficult of the nine to find:  Cool Crimp Skipper.  I searched and searched and almost gave up on finding her.  Hastily, I purchased the white version, modified the box graphics, and redressed a loose unidentified AA Skipper in the white doll's fashion.  A few weeks later, I found the AA version.  (The white doll is now redressed in a BFC Ink Calista fashion.) 

During the hunt and chase for Skipper, I was also able to add all, made-to-date, AA Stacie dolls. These include Dream Wedding Barbie, Stacie, and Todd and my most recent on-the-way-as-I-type-this acquisition of  Wedding Party Barbie, Stacie and Todd.  The latter set had been wish-listed for well over a year.

I was also fortunate to find all Janets.  The most difficult and final Janet to find was Gymnast Janet.  She entered the collection last month, which is when I also purchased a second Homecoming Queen Skipper from a very accommodating eBay seller whose $12.99 auction had ended without bids at the time I began looking for a duplicate.  The seller, when asked, agreed to relist the doll for me in a buy it now for $13.99.
Party 'N Play Stacie - image captured from Black Dolls: An Identification and Value Guide Book II, M. Perkins, page 256

My original HCQ Skipper is stored away along with Party 'N Play Stacie.   I knew HCQ Skipper was packed, but did not realize PNP Stacie was not accessible until I gathered my girls to photograph for this blog.  It's probably good I didn't know this because I might have been obsessively compelled to buy a second PNP Stacie  (for documentation purposes, you know).

Some took longer than others to arrive, but in just under two years' time after the determined hunt commenced, the girls (and Todd) are all finally here (or will be soon). 

Now that the collection is established, I'll add to it if and when Mattel resumes the manufacture of AA Skipper.

Below is a link to a slideshow with images of my AA Skipper, Janet, and accessible Stacie dolls.  Below the slideshow is the list I created after beginning my search for the girls with notes to self and modifications after the dolls arrived:

African American Skipper (Roberts) 9-1/2 inches

Homecoming Skipper, 1989, first AA Skipper

Cool Tops Skipper, 1989

Babysitter Skipper, 1990  (has one baby)

Pet Pals Skipper, 1991

Baton Twirler Skipper, 1992

Cool Crimp Skipper, 1993  (the hardest to find)

Pizza Party Skipper, 1994

Babysitter Skipper, 1994 (has three babies -- this one was hard to find, too!)

Phone Fun Skipper, 1995

Taller Teen Versions (11-1/2 inches tall):

Cool Sitter Teen Skipper, 1998 (Nikki is Teen Skipper’s AA friend, first made in 1997; I have AA Teen Skipper)

Pajama Fun Tote Barbie and Skipper (Wal-Mart exclusive), 2002 or 2003 – this was a teen Skipper, so not a must have.


Janet -- Name used for the AA doll only, 8 inches tall

Happy Meal Janet,  1994

Polly Pocket Janet, 1994

Gymnast Janet, 1996  (pretty elusive, probably because of her bend and move body)

Bicycling Janet, 1997

Flashlight Fun Janet and Tigger, 1998

Bowling Janet, 1999

Awesome Skateboard Janet, 2000

Stacie, 8 inches
Party ‘N Play Stacie, 1993

Dream Wedding Barbie, Stacie, and Todd,

Wedding Party Barbie, Stacie, and Todd (need) (on the way!)

Singing Holiday Sisters Barbie includes Stacie and Kelly, 2000


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