~*~*~*~ FEATURED DOLL FOR WINTER 2003 ~*~*~*~
Toddler Dolls of the 50s/60s
Today, among the most popular of this category of doll seems to be the Littlest Angel dolls that were made first by the Arranbee Doll Company, and later by Vogue Dolls. There were several other companies that tried to capture the market, and like the Ginny look-alikes, many may have been manufactured by one company, then the "blanks" sold to individual companies to package and market as their own. Because of this, one may find one of these cuties that is totally unmarked, yet has all of the characteristics of a name-brand doll. Along with Arranbee and Vogue, some of the known manufactures that marketed a chubbie toddler doll during this time period were Eegee, Nancy Ann, Block, and Sayco to name a few. Another group that is usually put in this category but has a totally different look are the Tiny Terri Lee and Tiny Jerri Lee dolls. They really do have a look quite different from the rest of which I write. The Terri Lee family has a huge following in their own right and are usually easily documented in reference books.
Many of the early Arranbee Littlest Angel dolls were made with a hard plastic body with jointed knees and a hard plastic head with glued on wig. Eventually they switched to a vinyl head with rooted hair while keeping the hard plastic, bent knee body. In 1958, Vogue Dolls bought the Arranbee Doll Company which allowed Vogue to introduce several new dolls into their doll line, including Littlest Angel and Lil Imp (orange hair/green eyes/freckles). Some of the early Vogue toddlers are marked with the R&B mark on the back of the neck and were even sold in an R&B box. Later the markings and boxes were updated to Vogue logo. Both Arranbee and Vogue Littlest Angel doll fashions are well documented in box inserts, making it a bit easier to identify their wardrobes as opposed to some of the other chubbie dolls.
Vogue continued to use the name Littlest Angel from 1960-1980. Documentation is a bit sketchy of her existence in 1965-67. However, during this time period a new doll was introduced called "Lil Loveable Imp" that had a slightly different impish look. She was also sold in an African American version. Around 1969 Littlest Angel had a completely redesigned look. At that time they marketed her in both an 11" size and a larger 15" version. She too has a very sweet face that collectors find appealing.
Nancy Ann's Debbie walker doll, introduced in 1955, had quite a few outfits that were made just like her popular 8" sister, Muffie's. I'm not sure if her outfits are tagged, so if you see one that matches a smaller Muffie outfit, then you would have discovered an original Debbie dress. Debbie was only made for a few years, as she was not as popular as Muffie, and thus dropped from the line, making her a rarer chubbie, today.
Block Doll Corporation sold inexpensive toddler dolls during the 50s to compete with Arranbee's Littlest Angel. One of their most popular today, although measuring at 12", is their "Answer Doll". It had a button on the back that could be pressed to make the dolls head move either up and down (yes), or side to side (no).
There really isn't much documentation in my reference books on the other manufacturers of chubbie toddlers other than the standard mention of their doll's characteristics, i.e. hard plastic, sleep eyes, bent knees, rooted hair or wigged, etc. For this article I have included a few of the examples I have picked up for comparisons. I'm sure there are a few more out there and as I run into more, I'll add their photos.
All in all, this group of dolls is a fun category to collect, in and of itself. Prices are relatively affordable compared to the popular smaller 8" dolls. It is somewhat challenging to find them, which is part of the fun of collecting in the first place.
|Baby Boomer Dolls, Plastic Playthings of the 50s
& 60s, by Michele Karl
Hard Plastic Dolls, (Vol. 1 and 2) by Polly & Pam Judd (out of print)
Small Dolls of the 40s & 50s, I.D. and Value Guide, by Carol Stover
Dolls and Accessories of the 1950's by Dian Zillner
15th Blue Book, Dolls & Values, Jan Foulke
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