Thursday, April 08, 2010

A Paper Doll That I Can Call My Own Part 1

Okay, I admit it - as a kid, I not only played with dolls, I played with paper dolls.  Between my sister and myself, we had lots of them and we spent hours playing with them.  Being the pack rat that I am and a hoarder of vintage ephemera, I still have most of them.  A few years ago, when we were preparing our family home for sale, my sister decided to part with many of her old paper dolls. Since I couldn't stand to see them thrown out or sold at an estate sale, I decided to adopt them. So, my collection now includes many of those that once belonged to her as well.  I spent this morning scanning many of them.  You can see from the yellowed scotch tape that has defaced many of them, that they are nearly worn out from years of childhood play.

These first two (upper right) are paper dolls of singer Rosemary Clooney.  They are printed on rather thin paper and were cut out by hand. You can see that time has not treated them well.  The poor Miss Clooney on the right has lost a hand.

The next two dolls are of Hayley Mills. The Hayley on the left in the pink underclothes was from a set that came out to tie-in with  "The Moon-Spinners," the 1964 Disney mystery based on the Mary Stewart novel.  The film is often classified as Disney's answer to Hitchcock.  It may not be Hitchcock but it is an entertaining film and made even more enjoyable by some of Hayley's costars - the wonderful Joan Greenwood, Eli Wallach and a former siren of the silent screen, Pola Negri.  The Hayley on the right in the blue undergarments is from "Summer Magic," a 1963 piece of Disney fluff based on a Kate Douglas Wiggin book.

The three beauties on the left and the two men and little girl on the right are from a large set called "Bridal Party" that came out in 1955.  From all of the yellowed tape that as children we employed to reinforce their necks, you can see that they were well loved and played with a lot.

This next group is from a set called "Tiny Tots."  They were some of my favorites, probably because they included a little boy and because their poses were so dynamic. These tots are not standing still with their arms behind their backs or hanging at their sides like so many paper dolls.  They are running, skipping and waving.  Note that the little boy has received a hand-drawn, right-arm transplant.  We often made our own dolls and their clothes.  If something was worn out, or we just wanted an additional doll or item of clothing, we traced ourselves a new one and colored it with crayons.

The sitting baby on the left of this group is also from the "Tiny Tots" set.   She is in relatively good condition, leading me to believe that she was not played with as much as some of the other tots. The three upper figures, including the elf in the red union suit were from a Christmas set put out by Colorforms.  They are printed on heavy cardboard, unfortunately, none of their clothes seemed to have survived.  I don't know the origins of the other two infants (who as you can see on their diapers are named Sunny and Honey).

I was always fascinated by the dolls that were printed with a front side and a back side.  What was the purpose of this?  Was it so that in your pretend game, you could show them walking away?  Or was it just so that you could view their fashions from all sides (yes, even their clothes were printed on the front and back).  Here are a few examples of 2-sided dolls.

  Even though they were printed on rather flimsy paper, these were some of my favorites.  They were large, about 11" and had a wide variety of outfits.  Of course, I look at them now with my jaded adult eyes, and I feel that with their big eyelashes and heavy make-up, that they look like they could have stepped out of a junior beauty pageant.

Here are a few miscellaneous dolls.  The one on the left with the missing right arm was a Colorforms doll.  As I recall, her clothes were made with the same stick-on vinyl that other Colorforms toys were made from.  I don't recall much about the origins of the other two dolls, but I have to say that the smaller one on top looks something like an inflatable adult love toy.  Maybe it's her pose and her partly opened mouth, not to mention her outfit which looks like that of a barmaid, that causes me to think that.  The larger tall blonde paper doll, with her petticoat showing from beneath her skirt, and her adult style neckline, also looks a bit provocative.  But once again, that's my jaded adult voice speaking. I would like to think that things were more innocent back then, at least I know that I was.  Looking at these dolls now, jaded comments aside, does take me back to my innocent childhood and some very fond memories.

I have more paper dolls put away somewhere.  When I find them, I'll post more.  In the meantime, I hope that you have enjoyed these.

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