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The Crissy Family of Dolls

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These interesting "grow hair" dolls were a big hit for Ideal Toys throughout the decade of the 70s.  Each doll had a unique feature that would allow her hair to grow to several lengths with a turn of a knob or push of a button.  The first doll introduced in 1969 was 18" Beautiful Crissy, a gorgeous redhead.  Shortly thereafter, her cousin Velvet, a 15" platinum blonde, was released.

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As Crissy and Velvet's popularity soared,  several new models, as well as several new friends, each with this same "grow hair" feature, were introduced in the series.  With the variety of doll styles, and the many fashionable outfits that were sold separately, it is no wonder that they were on the top of every little girl's wish list.   

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Crissy dolls were heavily marketed through major catalogs such as Sears, Montgomery Ward, and J.C. Penney.  There, little girls could select from a number of outfits and accessories for Crissy and her friends.   These stylish fashions were "hip" and "mod."  Today they signify an era many of us remember as wildly colorful and so very "groovy".    Crissy's stylish fashions ran the gamut from "hip" colorful bell-bottoms or "mod" glittery mini skirts, to the more subtle but ever so 70s, country prairie dresses, ponchos, and clogs.   Today's collectors enjoy finding these fashions, but I believe it is a bit of a challenge because most are not marked or tagged.  Simplicity Patterns also offered several outfits to sew, for those creative seamstresses.  These patterns are still showing up on the secondary market and are a good way to recreate accurate styles for your Crissy dolls if you happen to be handy with a needle and thread.   

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When Crissy was first introduced in 1969, she was designed with hair that would go all the way down to her ankles.  The company may have had trouble with this length, as by the end of the first year, Crissy was marketed with hair that, when fully extended, went only to her knees.  Today's collectors consider the earlier version a real prize in their collections, thus, the value is usually higher for this example.  

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Because these dolls were meant to have their hair styled, part of the fun of collecting them is to "play" with their hair.  It can be set and curled, braided and adorned with accessories.  Crissy dolls can have an entirely different look, just by styling their hair, so most avid collectors have more than one example of each type of doll.    Since these dolls were meant to have their hair played with, collectors shouldn't be afraid to "have fun" with their doll's hair (just don't cut it!).
     
                 
                                    
Kerry's hair at different lengths.

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Another very popular seller for Ideal that was styled along the same lines as their fashion dolls, was Baby Crissy.  Designed as the actual size of a real nine-month old baby, she too had the beautiful flowing locks which could be lengthened or shortened by a pull-string in her back.  She was so life-like in size (though hair that length is a bit of a stretch for an infant), she could even wear real baby clothes.  Baby Crissy was first sold in 1973.  Her original body was made of a hard vinyl material but quickly the company began producing her in a softer vinyl material.  Ideal didn't completely switch over to the new material, instead they used up their old supplies, so some dolls have both hard and soft body parts.  Baby Crissy was sold in either a white or a black version.  The white doll was almost always sold in a pink romper while the black doll was dressed in a lavender version.  They were NOT sold with shoes, they were marketed barefoot.  Another interesting fact about Baby Crissy is that the company re-issued her in 1981 from the exact same mold.  It was virtually the same doll, but was marketed in a different outfit (most common, a white romper with yellow flower appliqué trim) for both the white and black doll.   In the later 80s, Ideal still marketed a doll called Baby Crissy but it really wasn't the same doll, it had a very different look and no grow-hair feature.  The original Baby Crissy is a very popular doll with collectors today.  Many want to share the fun of owning a Baby Crissy with their own daughters.

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To help you identify your Ideal Crissy dolls, I have several examples on my website.  I have made a whole page devoted to them, though I certainly don't have them all.  You can link to it below, or, if you are browsing through the decades of dolls, you'll find them under Favorite 70's Dolls.   Because Crissy dolls are becoming more and more popular with collectors, there are books and websites created that are devoted to this particular type of doll.  I've referenced some books below which are still currently available.  They are a real help to the collector, packed with information and examples!

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Sun-tanned beauties Brandi & Dina

Click here to enter
Crissy Family Section
 of Favorite 70's Dolls
(lots more pictures, lots more examples)

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Kaylee's Doll Shoppe with 1970s Ideal Crissy Dolls currently on Sale

References:  
Crissy Doll and Her Friends, by Beth Gunther
Collector's Guide to Dolls of the 1960s & 1970s, by Cindy Sabulis


Past Featured Articles


Reference Materials

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DISCLAIMER: These web pages are meant for personal enjoyment and collector educational purposes only.  Any opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect that of the companies that are represented within these pages.   Information is presented based on personal experience or information gathered in current or out of print reference materials.  In all cases, I have tried to document references to the best of my ability.  Crissy and the Crissy Family is a trademark of  Ideal/Mattel, Inc.  This website is not owned, operated by, or affiliated with Mattel, Inc.  and Mattel, Inc.  makes no representations or warranties about the content of these web pages.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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