Hello, Friends! Can you believe it is November 2nd? The holidays are right around the corner. This is a busy time of year when our thoughts turn to family gatherings and decorating the house for the holidays. But for just a brief moment – “Let’s Talk Dolls.” Grab a cup of coffee or hot tea and spend some time reading about a doll with a very unique past. Today we’re going to talk about Debbie Ann.
Debbie Ann is a rare and sought after treasure. She was manufactured by the Valentine Doll Company, which was later to become the Debbie Doll Company in the 50s and early 60s. The Valentine Doll Company was a USA manufacturer of hard plastic and vinyl dolls. They are best known for their ballerina dressed dolls of the 1950s which John Landers was responsible for. Later he founded the Debbie Toy Company along with partner Shelly Greenburg, which made vinyl dolls named Debbie and a line of baby items.
Debbie Ann stands 30″ high, ( Playpal size) was manufactured in 1960, has a hard vinyl face and arms, and plastic body and legs. She is marked with a D. In addition to being a child’s doll, these dolls were often used to display children’s clothing in department stores. She has an adorable character face making her very similar to the Saucy Walker Playpal doll. She has big eyes and brush lashes and painted lower lashes. She has feathered eyebrows and closed pink watermelon smile, and rosy cheeks. Her head has a slight forward tilt, making her look more lifelike. She has molded hair which is very unusual for a doll of her size. Mine has blonde hair, but I have also seen them with red hair. Her molded hair made displaying hats and bonnets easy as well as dressing and undressing, and her hair never became a mess or required any attention. This saved time for employees dressing the doll (mannequin) on which to model the children’s clothing. Her body is very sturdy. She models well.
She’s quite unique in that she was manufactired as a child’s doll but could also be used as a mannequin in department stores. Speculation has been made that she was The Debbie Toy Company’s answer to the popular Playpal dolls of the time. She was light weight enough for a child to play with yet sturdy enough to be used as a model in department store windows. She could easily wear children’s clothing and shoes.
Because of her history as either a doll or a mannequin or both, to find a Debbie Ann in good condition now is a very rare thing. They are highly sought after by collectors. Many times she is mistaken for a Saucy clone due to her smile. She is a wonderful addition to a doll collection due to her multi functions. Not much is known about this doll.
I’ve included several photos of my Debbie Ann for those of you who may not be familiar with her. She’s a very unique doll and I am very pleased that she is a part of my private collection. I’m also pleased that she is “low maintenance”… Just as she was designed, she dresses quick and easily with no mussing of her hair. I wouldn’t want all my large dolls to have molded hair, but she does add a nice variety to the group.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief article on Debbie Ann. When next we chat, Thanksgiving will be in the rear view mirror and we will be making out way towards Christmas! Until then….I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you hold dear.
Can you pick her out of a crowd?