Hello fellow doll collectors! I’m so glad you’re here! This will be the last post written for 2022…this year has been a difficult one here due to learning the ropes of taking care of an aging parent. It has totally been new ground! But I am learning. The prospect of a New Year and the opportunities it offers is a exciting time! There are so many new ideas percolating inside my head. Wherever you live, and whatever your plans for the new year, I pray health and happiness over you and those you love. May the coming year bring much joy into your life!
We still have a few fleeting hours of 2022, so “Let’s Talk Dolls” for just a bit. Grab your coffee/tea and put your feet up for just a few minutes. Taking down the holiday decorations and the laundry can wait for just a little while. I want to hit the high points of one of my very favorite dolls and a little history of the company that created her. Today we are going to talk about the American Character Doll Company…
The American Character Doll Company was and American toy company specializing in dolls. Their most popular dolls included “Tiny Tears,” “Tressy,” “Butterball doll,” “Sweet Sue,” and “Toodles.” Founded in 1919, the company’s fortunes peaked in the mid-20th century, as they sold literally millions of dolls exclusively to retailers and mail order houses such as Sears and Montgomery Ward. The company was the first to produce mass-marketed rubber dolls in the United States. American Character Dolls went bankrupt in 1968, with their assets being acquired by the Ideal Toy Company.
The high points of the company’s history include that the company made the news in 1937 when it was ordered by the Federal Trade Commission to stop claiming that its patented “paratex” (a hard rubber made from a “secret formula”) was superior to composition dolls which were popularly made by American Character’s competitor the Ideal Toy Company. American Character switched their formula from composition to their branded “Paratex” in the mid-1930s.
By 1967 the company’s fortunes were in decline, with unsecured claims said to be approximately $1.4 million. Settlements were arranged in March and June 1967, and the company continued to operate on a limited scale. Shortly thereafter, in 1968, American Character Dolls filed for bankruptcy and went out of business. Molds for some toys were sold to Mattel and Ideal Toy Company, which acquired the defunct company’s dyes, patents, and trademarks.
Now that you have a brief history of the American Character Doll Company, let’s backtrack just a bit to 1955 to when the company introduced the “Toodles” multi-jointed plastic doll. The doll was able to “kneel, sit, and play and some 1,000 different positions.” Toodles became a big seller for American Character, including its associated products like “Toodles Toddler” (1955-1959), “Teeny Toodles” (1959-1960), and “Tommy Toodles” (1959-1960).
Just a brief description of the Toodles dolls:
- Teeny Toodles (1959-1960) was 11″ vinyl five-piece jointed doll
- Tommy Toodles (1959-1960) was 22-23″ marketed as Toodles’ Brother
- Toodles (1955-1960s) was 19-30″ plastic multi-jointed doll
- Toodles Toddler (1955-1959) was 19-1/2″, 21,” and 24″ vinyl multi-jointed doll also known as “Toodles the Action Doll”
1955-1960s American Character Toodles Doll was 19-30″ tall, hard plastic multi-jointed body including the elbows and knees, rooted or molded hair, flirty sleep eyes, drink wet doll, open mouth, the 1960-1961 Little Girl Toodles doll has teeth and an open mouth. Toodles can kneel, sit, play and assume 1,000 different positions. Some rare early dolls are marked Toodles, others were marked : AM, Amer 9, American Char. or unmarked.
1955-1959 Toodles Toddler doll, 19 1/2″, 21, and 24″ tall, vinyl head, flirty eyes, with multi-jointed body including elbows and knees; Toodles the Action Doll, Toodles with Poodle, Toodles with her three way Super Kart. (I loved this description as it almost made her sound as a super hero action figure.)
1959-1960 Teeny Toodles doll, 11″ tall, all vinyl, molded or rooted hair, drink and wet, five piece jointed body.
1959 American Character Toodles Toodles doll, 19, 23-24 or 26″ tall vinyl head with rooted short curly hair or braids with curly bangs hair, flirty sleep eyes, real upper curly eyelashes, drink wet doll, open mouth, five piece plastic jointed body with straight legs, walker doll, doll came dressed in several different outfits, doll marked Amer. Char. Doll Corp. circa 1960.
1959-1960 American Character Tommy Toodles doll, 22-23″ tall, Toodles brother with lightly molded and brown painted hair, jointed five piece toddler body with straight legs, flirty sleep eyes with real brush eyelashes, drink wet doll, open mouth, dressed in a blue and white striped short sleeve shirt, blue suspended shorts, white rayon socks and white shoes, doll marked Amer. Char. Doll Corp.
Just when I thought I ALMOST had all the Toodles dolls listed, there are still yet more which date back to the early 1930s!
1931-1937 American Character Toodles doll, 18″ tall, composition head with molded painted hair, green sleep eyes with special mechanism so the eyes only sleep when doll is lying down with head turned left, flex-o-flesh body with metal steel frame support, open mouth with tongue but no teeth, rubber bent arms and rubber bent baby legs. Doll is marked on head Petite, doll marked on body with a horseshoe symbol Petite, Pat. Pend.
1937-1949 American Character Toodles doll, 17″ tall, made of life like rubber composition paratex head and limbs, cloth stuffed body, mama crier and a drink wet doll with a rubber tube inside the body or all paratex. Has molded painted brown hair, sleep eyes, open mouth with no teeth showing, wore a sheer baby gown and had a glass bottle with nipple, doll is unmarked.. American Character named several dolls Toodles over the years. Note: If your doll is marked in script Toodles, it is by the Atlas Doll & Toy Company.
Well! That is the high points of the history of the American Character Doll Company as well as the “genealogy” of one of my favorite dolls – Toodles.
This was an enjoyable blog to write even though it required lots of date checking and descriptions. I definitely found out things that I wasn’t aware of. I hope you, too, have enjoyed this brief condensed version of Toodles and her family tree.
The next time new are together, it will be 2023! I wish you all the very best in this coming new year! Stay well, smile, and most of all be kind! I appreciate each of you being here with me and your kind support.
**All photos were taken by me. At the time photos were taken, each doll belonged to me.**
HAPPY NEW YEAR!