Interview with Patti Playpal (Part II)

Hello, readers!  I’m happy you’re here for the second part of our interview with Patti Playpal.  Let’s get started and “Let’s Talk Dolls!”

LYNN:  Patti we are happy to have you back with us here on ‘the blog’.  You are a fascinating personality in the doll world.  Many of our readers collect you as well as other  members of the Playpal family. You were the premiere member of the Playpal family and the doll most people are familiar with.  More Patti dolls were produced than other members of the Playpal family which makes Suzy, Penny, Peter, and especially Johnny, Bonnie and Pattite harder to find.  

PATTI:   Thank you for asking me back!  I love all this attention being drawn to me and my family.  And we can reveal some interesting facts about us!  

LYNN:  Patti, as you know there are several clone companion dolls out there.  A doll collector just getting into collecting the  Patti Playpal dolls  can be overwhelmed and often misinformed by those selling large vintage companion dolls.  How do we know that we are getting a genuine Patti Playpal doll?

PATTI:  Well, let’s start at the top….(giggle)….I’m 35 inches tall and I am the size of a 3 year old child.  I am marked “Ideal Toy Corp/G 35” OR “B-19 -1” on my head and “Ideal” in an oval on my back.  It is believed that the earliest of Pattis manufactured in 1959 had what collectors refer to as “swivel” or “twist” wrists and were non-walkers.  It is also believed that the Pattis that were walkers were manufactured in 1960 and beyond.  There were reissues of the Patti Playpal dolls in 1981 and 1986.  

LYNN:  Was Ideal the first toy company to produce a “life-size” doll?

PATTI:   No, Ideal was not the first to produce a “life-size” doll.  There are printed American Character ads as early as 1953 showing pictures of the Life Size Sweet Sue doll.  Ideal was, however, a trail blazer in manufacturing dolls and toys that had celebrity and promotional tie-ins.  

LYNN:  Ok, so far, the Patti Playpal facts at a glance are that the doll is about 35″ tall (some measure in at 36″, probably due to hair style variations).  The doll was made to resemble a 3 year old child. Patti comes with different hair colors…just how many different hair colors are there? 

PATTI:  Oh my! There is a list….here we go!

Blonde (most common)


Brunette (also called dark brown or black)

Brown (a lighter brown than brunette – rare)

True Black (rare)

Black Cherry (standard brunette with a reddish cast-very rare)

Strawberry Blonde (standard Patti blonde with a red tint to it)

Light Auburn or Cinnamon (rare)

Carrot Top (rare)

Platinum (rare)

Gold Platinum or Champagne (rare)

I think that covers them all…I don’t think even I realized there were THAT many.  

LYNN:  That’s a dozen different hair colors!  I had no idea.  Let’s dig into this just a little deeper.  How many eye colors were there?

PATTI:  Oh, that’s an easy one!  There were only three eye colors.  They were: Blue, Blue-Green, and Green.  

LYNN:  That was an easy one.  I often see Patti dolls with different hairstyles.  Can you tell us a little about those?

PATTI:  Absolutely!   I’d be happy to! There are several of those also.  They are:

Long straight hair with straight bangs (most common)

Curly Bangs (same hairstyle but with curly bangs – rare)

Flip (long straight hair, but with curly bangs and curly ends – rare)

Curly Top (tightly curled hair, usually about chin length)

Curly Bob (like the Curly Top, but very short – rare)

Ponytail (hair is rooted all around the hair line to accommodate the ponytail – very rare)

Pulled-back (rare)

Pageboy (like the long straight hairstyle, but a shorter version, about chin to shoulder length.  Although these dolls are hard to find, they are not valued at more because this style would be very easy to “create” out of the more common long, straight style.)

No Bangs Patti (rare)

Spitcurl (rare)

LYNN:  Well, Ideal outdid themselves on hair colors/and styles, didn’t they? 

PATTI:  Oh, here is something interesting…Did you know that a Suzy Playpal with straight hair is considered rare?

LYNN:  That’s very interesting.  I wasn’t aware of that.    Patti, could you tell me about the first appearance that the Playpal dolls made? 

PATTI:  Our first appearance was in the 1960 Sears Christmas catalog, but we weren’t listed as Playpal but as “Honey Mates.”  Both Peter and I  were featured in the catalog and the outfits we wore, a red crested blazer for Peter and a peasant-style dress for myself are referred to by collectors as the  “Honey Mate” outfits.  I understand that they are hard to find. 

LYNN:  So you made your debut appearance at Christmas in 1960.  

PATTI:  Here’s another fun fact for your readers: The quickest way to tell a reissue Patti Playpal from the original, at a quick glance, is that the 1981 versions have stationary, rather than sleep eyes. 

LYNN:  Patti, you are a wealth of information! This interview has been very informative for we Patti Playpal collectors.  

PATTI:  I’m happy to help!  After all, I was there for all of it! Teeheeeheeee! 

LYNN:  Patti, there are still some interesting facts I know you would like to share with our readers.  Could we pick up where we left off next time?

PATTI:  I will look forward to it!  Tell all your Patti collector friends about my interviews!  


An Interview with Patti Playpal (Part I)

Hello, Friends!   I’m so happy to have you back here at  We have a very special guest with us for this blog!  We are interviewing Patti Playpal!  Patti is here to “talk dolls” with us.  So…let’s get started….

LYNN:   Hello, Patti!  We doll collectors are very happy to have you with us.  You are, after all, one of our favorite collectable dolls!  

PATTI:    I’m excited to be here!   Back in the day, we Playpals  were friends/family to many children.  

LYNN:    You have been a doll of both little girls and collectors alike since the late 1950s.  You are considered to be a Companion Doll. What does being a Companion Doll mean to you? Is that reference to the size of the dolls? 

PATTI: Maybe the keyword is not size, but “life-size”.  The little girls who owned a Patti doll in the 50s and 60s enjoyed the fun of dressing us in clothing of their own or from the department stores.  The variety for them was almost endless! I wear about a size 3T, Peter a size 4T,  Penny about a size 2T,  Suzy about a size 12-18 months, all depending on the brand and the way they are constructed because you know we aren’t noted for our flexibility.  Teeheeeeee!  

LYNN:   Now, the Playpal family dolls are often used to display a family heirloom or a special outfit from someone’s childhood.  Many collectors dress their dolls up in fancy outfits or Halloween costumes.  I currently have some of my dolls dressed for Halloween as a ladybug, a witch, and a fireman.  How do you feel about being a Collector’s doll rather than a child’s doll?

PATTI:  Well, whether child or collector, both are children at heart and have a love for dolls.  Dolls touch the heart and develop compassion in children.  In adult collectors, dolls  are a thing of beauty or a memory of a beloved doll from childhood or perhaps of a more simple time in their lives.  Both children and adults will share their most treasured secrets with their doll simply because they are assured of that secret not being told.  We are the best of confidants.   I can imagine that you were a doll lover as a child and even so as an adult.  Is that correct?

LYNN:   Oh, yes!  I am a doll LOVER!  Collecting the Playpal  line of dolls can be a REAL adventure.  Just when you think you have seen everything “Playpal,” something pops up like a new hair color or style or a variation of a common outfit.  Here in 2020, you are still highly sought after and adored by many!

PATTI:  Yes, but there was a time when we life-size dolls fell out of favor a bit.  We were large and cumbersome and  difficult to store once the child had moved on to other things or had outgrown our company.  You don’t find us tucked away in a dresser drawer.    Many of us were stored in unfavorable conditions such as basements or attics.  Or we were given to secondhand stores or church sales at a time when we weren’t considered collectible.  It was a sad, sad time for many of us…..

LYNN:   I’m sure this was a difficult time….

PATTI:   We larger dolls are often times found in better shape than the smaller play dolls of that same era.  We were large and weren’t easily dragged outside to the sandbox and left there. No, that peril wasn’t nearly of as much concern as the occasional aspiring little child wanting to play beauty parlor and giving us the dreaded haircut! OH MY! 

LYNN:   Yes, I have ran across several Playpal dolls that their hair was past restyling due to one of those haircuts.  Also, what is the issue with the different colored limbs and torsos?  How does that happen?

PATTI:   Oh, my, yes….that comes about because of the different types of vinyl used in making our bodies.  That same type of color difference can also be seen between the hands and arms of the early “twist wrist” Pattis.  That color difference does not depreciate the value of a Patti by very much.  Collectors today see that as almost commonplace.  They have sort of gotten used to it and finally realized we are not new dolls any longer.  Most of us are at least 60 years old.  Another malady of we older Playpal dolls is the “sticky eye syndrome” as I call it. That’s when one eye doesn’t close as well as the other when the doll is laid down.  This will depreciate the doll very little…5% at the very most. 

LYNN:   Patti, you have certainly given us some valuable information from a very knowledgeable source – YOURSELF!  I have just one more question if you don’t mind…..

PATTI:   Absolutely. go ahead. 

LYNN:   A common flaw, if you will, is a compressed joint where the arm or leg meets the body.  Is that a factory defect?

PATTI:   No.  That is caused by the pressure that results from a doll being restrung too tightly.  People often want to be kind and help us, but often leave us in a “pinched” position.  This can also cause breaks in the limbs or torso.  Again, we are older and not as flexible as we once were.  

LYNN:   Patti, we appreciate your being with us today.  There is still so much to talk about.  Would you mind coming back?   We  could discuss some more general information and what a collector should look for when  seeking a Patti Playpal doll for her doll collection. 

PATTI:  Oh, I would love to come back!  If your readers have any comments, I would enjoy reading them.  I understand they can leave those in the comment box below this interview, correct?

LYNN:  Yes, that is correct.  Please leave your comments below.  We will wrap this portion of our interview with Patti up and hope to see you all back here next time when once again “Let’s Talk Dolls” will be the topic. See you soon! 


I Am a Doll Collector!

Those of us who frequent either an Instagram account or a blog with doll content often  refer to ourselves as ‘doll collectors’.  That can cover any type of doll at all.   As ‘doll people’ we have probably all experienced criticism in some form or another for doing and collecting what we love.  

The fact of the matter is, that we will always encounter those whose reactions to what we love, we can’t understand.  We all know what it is to appreciate the beauty in a doll where others seemingly see no beauty at all or they view it as nothing more than  a child’s plaything.  There are always going to be those who don’t accept who we are because we aren’t what they want us to be.  Unfortunately, this remains true for more than just doll collecting, but that aspect is not what this blog is about.  This isn’t a place for controversy.  Its a place for like-minded people to share their experiences with doll related items.  

When I have personally faced the criticism and opinions that those people can impart, I have decided that it is my opinion that matters the most here.  How those people react has to do with them and nothing to do with me or the joy I have in  being a doll collector.  For the longest of time, their feelings and remarks both hurt and confused me.  So as a result, I fell silent about something I was passionate about and was a true joy to me.  Somewhere along the path, I decided that it wasn’t necessary for me to fit in with those folks way of thinking about dolls.  It is okay for me to stand out and be different.  My emotions, thoughts,  ideas, and dreams for my doll collection belong to me.  They are valuable to me.   People  do not have to validate those things for me to enjoy my passion for dolls.  

I then went on the quest for those people who are like-minded and also enjoy dolls.  I began with an Instagram account and discovered that there are many, many, many out there who enjoy making, restoring, collecting, and so many other things that are in some way related to dolls.  It provided me with a feeling of belonging and having someone to enjoy all those wonderful pictures and stories about DOLLS with.  While I love my IG family, I still wanted a place to share thoughts. I wanted a place to learn and pick up new tips/ideas.   I wanted more than just a quick picture and a quick sentence to go with it.  Out of that want this blog was developed.  A place to share your thoughts, experiences, knowledge of dolls…this is a place to be with those who will support and enjoy with you. 

This is a place to get away from the pandemonium of daily life for just a few minutes, take a deep breath, and simply enjoy!  With that having been said…..

Let’s talk dolls!