Tuesday, October 21, 2008

sally draper's doll collection

If you haven't seen Sunday's Mad Men, don't worry, this isn't a spoiler: little Sally Draper finally gets a Barbie. But Barbie wasn't the only doll girls pestered their parents for in 1962.

There was the American company's Betsy Wetsy who came with plugged "real " hair and an open mouth where you could insert a toy bottle. As soon as you "fed" her, water came out her other end, giving you the joyous experience of changing her diaper.

American also made Tiny Tears who had two tiny holes at the side of her nose that "cried real tears." That is, if you first fed her from a little bubble pipe that fit into her mouth. Feeding her the pipe while squeezing her stomach produced an unadvertised but even more entertaining result : she blew a big bubble.

Then there was unlikely-named Poor Pitiful Pearl, based on a cartoon character by children's book author William Steig. Pearl came dressed in her "pitiful" outfit (chic by today's standards): patched dress, red scarf, black stockings and shoes. In the package was the "pretty" outfit you could change her into (pink crinoline party dress, white anklets and Mary Janes) thus becoming her fairy godmother.

My sister's favorite doll was Chatty Cathy who spoke eleven phrases in random play when you pulled a ring at the back of her neck. The ring was on a metal string connected to a phonograph in her stomach. My sister adored her, as did so many other girls that Chatty Cathy became the second best selling doll in the 1960s, second only to Barbie. (Both were made by Mattel.)

I myself found Cathy's conversation wanting, as her repertoire included only stock phrases like "I love you", "Tell me a story" and "Will you play with me?" Even then persnickety about copy, I begged my parents for Little Miss Echo who would say whatever you wanted her to, thanks to a tape recorder planted inside her (flat) chest. Little Miss Echo was considered to be more of a "grown-up" doll, and now I see why. For some reason, the agency that made the commercial for her cast a girl old enough to be playing with real babies.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Sally is growing up right before our eyes. She certainly is a doll. Watching Season makes you realize how young she was when this began.

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