Last night, I was looking up 1960s-era dolls on the Web for my wife, who wanted to see a picture of a childhood favorite, Dolly Darlings. I had never heard of Dolly Darlings, but I soon learned more than I ever wanted to know. During our online toy travels, we came across the most demented panoply of dolls one could imagine. I can only imagine the product development meetings at Hasbro, et al., circa 1965, that resulted in the creation of these.
First, we surveyed the various Dolly Darlings, none of which looked even remotely familiar to E. She remembered sweet, innocent Dolly Darlings, and we came across what looked like a selection of characters from Boogie Nights. And the names...the names.
First, there's Boy Trap.
And why are they all looking off to the side? What are they looking at?
Here we have Ann-Margret and Edie Sedgwick, hanging out at The Factory with Andy and the gang:
Wait a minute; what's Ann-Margret doing at The Factory? Shouldn't she be in Vegas?
Our online doll travels then took a decidedly sinister turn, as we came upon Peteena the Pampered Poodle. Peteena doesn't know what she wants to be. She has a Poodle head and tail, but apparently is also a fashion model. In this particular version, she is "The Poodle in a Bikini."
Like many in the fashion industry, poor Peteena appears to have an eating disorder. But that's the least of her problems. She's a Poodle. And she's wearing a bikini. And standing in a decidedly uncanine pose. I think she has broken all of her bones, for the sake of vanity.
We continued plumbing the depths of doll despair, as we discovered Flower Dolls. These were apparently meant to capitalize on the Dolly Darling craze, but with a twist. Each doll came fully ensconced in a flower, with a pin so that they could be played with and worn as a corsage. This looks like something you'd see on C.S.I. Disneyland.
This hyperthyroid waif is wearing a patched-up burlap sack and has a single tear streaming down her face as she holds her hand out, presumably in the act of asking for alms, a crust of bread, or a used, oily rag with which to wash her face.
What on earth would a child have done wrong to deserve such a doll? And what were the creators of Little Miss No Name trying to accomplish? Was this a top-seller? If anyone had given me Little Miss No Name as a gift, I would have thrown her in the fireplace immediately. Then those sad, saucer eyes would have haunted me for years.
I really don't know how I managed to get through childhood without knowing about these dolls, but boy am I thankful! I guess I had a couple of close calls, with Liddle Kiddles (who had names like Short-order cookadiddle and Liddle ADD-diddle) and Flatseys, but I count myself among the fortunate not to have been exposed to these cretinous offerings.
(most of these images are from dollreference.com and ebay)