The Gerber Baby Doll

    In the summer of 1927, Dorothy Gerber started straining solid foods for her 7-month old daughter Sally.  After repeating this process several times, Mrs. Gerber suggested her husband try it.  She also pointed out that the work of straining fruits and vegetables could easily be done at their canning business, based in Fremont, Michigan.  Workers in the plant began requesting samples for their own babies, and the legacy of Gerber baby foods began.

The Gerber baby has a face that has launched millions of containers of food specially prepared for babies.  In response to an advertising campaign to find just the right baby to publicize the new line, Dorothy Hope, an artist, submitted a charcoal drawing of Ann Turner, the baby daughter of her neighbor.  Dorothy Hope had offered to add more details if her drawing was accepted, but when the executives at Gerber saw it, they wanted it as-is.   In 1931, baby Ann’s face became the officially registered trademark of Gerber baby food – the Gerber Baby.

The first Gerber Baby dolls appeared in 1936.  They were made of sateen, pink for girls and blue for boys.  They had a screen printed face.  Each doll held a plush “jar” of baby food and a toy duck or dog.  These dolls were about 8″ tall and were stuffed with cotton.  To get a doll, all that was necessary was to return a coupon from a Gerber Baby Food advertisement, along with a dime, and three labels from three Gerber baby food containers.  That first Gerber Baby offer ran for three years, during which more than 26,000 dolls were shipped.

The next Gerber premium doll was made in 1955 by the Sun Rubber Company.  It was twelve inches tall, had “drink & wet” capability,  a crier,  jointed arms and legs, and a soft vinyl head that could turn.  The baby was dressed in a diaper and a bib, came with a glass bottle with a rubber nipple, miniature Gerber cereal boxes, a cereal dish, and a spoon.  All this for $2 and a dozen Gerber baby food labels.

Sun Rubber also produced 14″ and 18″ Gerber Babies, which for three years of the premium campaign were sold through Sears, Roebuck catalogs and in toy shops and department stores.

There was another premium Gerber Baby from 1966 to 1968.  It was almost identical to the 1955 baby and the cost was the same.

In 1971 and 1972 two more Gerber Baby premium dolls were made.  Amsco Industires produced a 10″ white baby the first year of the campaign and a 10″ African-American baby the second year.  Both dolls were vinyl, were jointed, and had painted eyes.  These dolls didn’t come with bottles.  Instead they were dressed in cotton sleepers.  These dolls had more of a toddler appearance rather than that of an infant.  They had eyes that roll from side to side and are known as “flirty eyes.”   They cost $2.50 and 4 labels from any Gerber Toddler Meal, Strained or Junior Meat Dinner, or 2 box tops from Gerber fruit cereals.



In 1979, Gerber celebrated its 50th anniversary and there was a new Gerber Baby doll, the first that was not a company premium.  This baby was the work of sculptor Neil Estern,  The doll was 17″ tall, soft-bodied, and had sandy colored molded hair. Estern was also responsible for the porcelain head of the soft-bodied doll which was beautifully dressed.  This Gerber Baby Limited Edition Collector’s  Doll was made in 1983.

In 1996 the Gerber Baby was again back on store shelves.  To be instep with modern times, there were four variations.  Feel Better Baby, Loving Tears Baby, Potty Time Baby, and Tub Time Baby.  Each 20″ doll came with accessories appropriate to its name.  All had little Ann Turner’s adorable face.

That original Gerber Baby is not so little anymore.  Ann Turner Cook was only 4 months old when she became famous as the original Gerber baby.   On November 21, 2020, she celebrated her 94th birthday.  She’s all grown up now.  She still has those sparkling eyes and a cherubic face, but with a head full of gray hair and that same wonderful, contagious smile that we have all come to recognize.  Ann Turner Cook taught English in Florida up until her retirement and then began writing mystery novels.

Many of us have one or more Gerber Baby dolls in our doll collections.  We now have a little more knowledge of the history of this iconic doll.  Please join us again next month and “Let’s Talk Dolls.”

Hugs to all,



**All photographs were made by me and are my dolls.**

The Kewpies

I am a Kewpie Doll lover from waaaayyy back.  I love those sweet little mischievous faces and side glances.  What about you?  Do you like Kewpie Dolls?  Do you know any history on those little sweeties other than they were created by Rose O’Neill?  I have been doing some research and found out several things about Kewpies that I didn’t know.  I will share them with you  on this post….

Rose O’Neill claimed that the idea of Kewpies came to her in a dream.  According to O’Neill, these chubby, sexless, elfin cherubs were modeled after her baby brother.  A Kewpie’s purpose is to do good deeds in a humorous way, brightening the lives of humans with love and laughter.

The first Kewpies began as decorations for love stories published in Ladies Home Journal.  The editor suggested that O’Neill develop the characters and add stories in verse for the young readers.  (Young readers for a ladies magazine??). The first Kewpie story appeared in 1909.  The title of said story was “The Kewpies and the Airplane”.  It showed the Kewpies investigating the new mechanical wonder of the day.  Their popularity exploded.  Children loved them and wrote in to the magazine asking if there was a Kewpie they could actually hold and cuddle.

O’Neill sculpted the first Kewpie herself.  She visited doll factories in both Europe and the United States before selecting a manufacturer in Germany.  The rest is history…

The Kewpies were BIG.  The Kewpie craze became so big that thirty German factories were kept busy manufacturing the dolls.  By 1913, about five million Kewpies had been sold.  World War I began and put an end to the German connection.  But even the war didn’t keep Kewpies out of the stores.  Factories in Japan, many unauthorized, took advantage of the opportunity and launched thousands of Kewpies into the American market.   After the war ended, O’Neill delegated the manufacture of these precious Kewpies to Joseph Kallus, a young sculptor.  In 1916 Kallus had founded the Rex Doll Company to produce composition Kewpies when supplies from overseas had been halted by the war.  Later Kallus’s Kewpies were plastic, then vinyl.  He kept Kewpies alive until the early 1980s.

Over the years, many manufacturers were licensed to produce Kewpies.  You may have a Kewpie produced by the Effanbee Doll Company.  Or if your Kewpie is from the late 1960s, your Kewpie might have been made by Knickerbocker or by Milton Bradley.

The International Rose O’Neill Club, founded in the late 1960s, holds a Kewpiesta!  This is a FOUR day Kewpie collector’s convention and festival.  It is held every April at Bonniebrook.  This is O’Neill’s Missouri home.  Sounds like fun!

During World War I, soldiers marched off to war with tiny Kewpies in their pockets.  The tiny dolls were reminders of loved ones back home and were thought of as good-luck tokens.  There are many collectors that still keep Kewpies around for pretty much the same reasons.  The Kewpie is over a century old and STILL doing their intended job – they make people happy!

I have looked through my photos and found a few of my own Kewpies to share with you here.  They do, indeed, do the job for which they were intended….They bring a smile to your face!

Is there a doll that you would like to know more of the history behind it?  Let me know if so and we will try to get some of that information here at  Until we get together again and “Let’s talk Dolls”….




Hello!  When last we were together, it was February and cold and snowy.  It is now early in March with the hope of spring being around the corner!

As thoughts come to me that I want to add to this blog, I jot them down in a notebook reserved just for those thoughts.  I sat down to organize my thoughts into a cohesive article and upon looking at it objectively, it was a MISHMASH of various things none of which were very big, but all being things that I felt were topics to share.  The meaning of mishmash is a confused mixture of things.  So….here goes….

First on my list of thoughts – At some point in time, all doll collectors have purchased a doll that we have absolutely no idea who she is, who manufactured her, when or where she was manufactured, for how long she was manufactured, and the list of unknowns goes on and on.  Yet, we purchase the doll because there was something about her that appealed to us in some way.  It made no difference that we knew not who she was.  In today’s world we have the internet, scads of older reference books and old photographs plus the advantage of older collectors. Our resources are almost limitless.  I have done this on numerous occasions.  While researching a doll late one evening, I giggled to myself wondering if the designers, manufacturers of that doll that is 65+ years old ever had any idea how we collectors would struggle with the identification of some of our dolls.  They, without a doubt, had no inkling that we would pour over old photos, old catalog pages, old advertisements, etc. for some identifying mark or similarity to another doll that might help us in the identification of our new acquisition.  The struggle is real to us until we can come to some sort of conclusion as to the beginnings of this precious doll.  The more information we can acquire about her, the better.  We want to know all the THINGS there are to be known about THIS doll.  I think the part that is most humorous to me was that I viewed it as “doll genealogy.”  According to Wikipedia, genealogy is from the Greek language meaning “the making of a pedigree.”  It is the study of families, family history, and the tracing of their lineages.  In a loose form of the word, we as doll collectors are researching the doll’s genealogy in order to find out the history behind her.  I feel as though this might be a source of amusement to many makers and manufacturers to know that we in the year 2021 are grappling to know more of this doll’s background.  Yet we are more than pleased to dig through information until we believe we have the true identity of our doll.  So am I the only one who finds this humorous or have you ever really given this any thought?

This, friends , is one of those dolls I was talking about.  I know nothing about her other than I liked her and I wanted her to be mine. Any information you can contribute is appreciated!                   Photos are of her being unpacked.


Next on my list of thoughts – Properly storing your older dolls when you no longer want them on display.  Oh my!  This is something that I see regularly and as a person who restores old dolls, I deal with it often.  It always saddens me because so much damage to the doll could have been prevented with just a few easy steps.  These things will not totally keep the doll in pristine condition, but they will certainly preserve it for your children/grandchildren.  The thing I see most often is people become tired of the dolls being on display so they heap them all into a big box, which by the way is over stuffed, tape it shut, and heave it into the attic or push it into the darkest, most damp corner of the basement.  Either way the doll will be exposed to poor conditions such as extreme heat in the attic or wet, damp basement floors.  Vintage dolls of any kind were not made to be exposed to extreme temperature conditions.  Those conditions can cause composition to crack and flake, vinyl to break down and form in odd ways such as pressing the doll’s chin into its chest, clothing to fade onto the plastic/vinyl skin of the doll leaving it permanently dyed the color of the clothing, and the rusting shut of sleep eyes, or even worse become moldy and crack.   These are just a few of the things that can happen to that doll while in that box for just a few years, let alone that many are stored for 20-30 years under those conditions.  I’m sure you have all seen dolls in these conditions.

After all, we are custodians of these objects for the next generation.  Let’s take a minute and do this right.  If you have a doll still in the original box, take the doll out of the box as the dyes in the cardboard of the box can transfer to the doll’ s skin.  Consider removing the doll’s clothing and shoes  to prevent dye transfers and wrapping the doll in unbleached cotton muslin cloth (can be purchased in most fabric departments) and then put her back into the original box.  Never wrap the doll in newspaper as the ink also transfers.  Wrap the box to keep out the dust and store upright to prevent crushing if stuck at the bottom of the pile.

I’m sure you have heard it said that humans begin to die the minute we are born.  The same can be figuratively said of dolls from the 1950s.  They will begin to degrade in a way that emits a vomit-like smell or have a stickiness to the vinyl.  Their elasticity slowly begins to seep out over time.  Once the plastic is made, it starts degrading.  Storing at a constant temperature slows this process drastically.

Both these dolls had been stored is drastic heat in cramped conditions.  The one on the left had developed a jowley appearance and her face was flattening.  With a lot of work, those things were corrected and now she appears as the doll in the blue dress.  The vinyl doll in the right was stored in bad conditions also.  He was beginning to mold slightly inside and his chin was literally resting on his chest.  Both of these instances were preventable had the dolls been stored properly.


When storing antique porcelain dolls, store them face down.  There is a lead weight in their head that performs the opening and closing of the eyes.  If stored improperly, it can cause pressure to the doll’s head and cause it to break.

Rather than move your dolls to the attic or basement, find a spot out of direct light in a closet.  Also be sure that the temperature is fairly constant rather than extremes either hot or cold.

Also, when you clean up that old doll, sometimes you have to accept damage, flaws, or soiling.  It is part of that doll’s history.

Last on my list of thoughts – We doll collectors love our dolls.  We love them all, but some more than others.  We tend to give them their own personalities.  I smiled to myself when a fellow doll collector said to me that she liked a particular doll in her collection because to her, the doll ‘just looked as if she had something to say.’   I loved that thought and gloried in her courage to say it.  I guess if we were honest, we all have a doll or two in our collection that just looks as if she has something to say!

                                    SHE has something to say….I think she has a secret…..


Now, after reading this, I hope the title of the article made more sense than when you began reading.  Let’s talk dolls again soon!  Until then, stay well!  Please feel free to leave your comment below. 




How Many Dolls Are Too Many Dolls?

Fact:  Anyone who does not collect dolls will say that ALL we doll collectors have TOO MANY dolls.  I don’t think they intend to be mean, I just don’t think they understand us and the passion we have for collecting dolls.  But still….this brings up yet more questions, such as….

*Is it time to thin my collection?*

This is a question that no one except you can answer.  The answer could  be found in have your tastes changed?  When did you begin collecting?  What dolls were you interested in at that time?  Are you still interested in those same dolls? Your answers to these questions will help you decide if it is time to thin your collection.

If your answer was yes, it is time to thin my collection….What dolls could you sell or give away to say a collector just beginning their adventure with dolls? You have enjoyed many of them for many years.  Maybe it is time to re-home them to let someone else enjoy them.  This can be a painful experience in making those decisions.  I have had to make those decisions myself and most of the time, they were well made decisions.  Admittedly, there have been a few that I wish I hadn’t parted with.  But, such is life!

There is the pain of thinning, but often in thinning you have created a spot for a new doll!  This, doll friends, will help ease the sting  of saying good bye to a doll.  There are those of you saying, “that isn’t helping my situation at all”.  And you are probably correct, but the love of dolls can be a driving force to a doll collector.  And this philosophy will more than likely hold true for a collector of just about any type.  And after all, the hunt for that new doll is a very big part of the experience.  When my husband is looking to trade vehicles, this is what he terms the thrill of the hunt.  LOL!  We doll collectors  enjoy the wishing, the planning, the searching, and yes, even the bargaining  for that one sought after doll that seems to be so elusive.  We enjoy the thrill of the hunt for that one special doll.

Then there is the expense involved in being a doll collector.  Personally, I would rather purchase a doll who is less than perfect and have the opportunity to work on her and bring her back to her former glory days.  If this is what you choose to do, don’t bite off  more than your abilities can handle.  Frustration can take the enjoyment out of restoring the doll very quickly.  I enjoy spending time cleaning, washing & setting her hair, redressing her.  But that is only my take on the subject.  There are doll collectors who  want to purchase their doll ready for display.  That’s wonderful!  As a collector, you get to do things your way.  There are no hard and fast rules to follow.  Thank goodness!  By this time, I’m sure I would have probably broken them all! The one thing I try very hard to maintain is not to overspend my budget.  I know what I have to spend and try to stay there.  Although, I have been known to actually give more for a doll than she was valued at because I wanted her that badly.  I own a Dryper Baby that I gave more than I should have for her, but to this day I still enjoy her.  I am as pleased with that purchase now as I was the day I unpacked her.  She was and remains a favorite in my collection!

For me personally, rotating my collection is a good idea.  Just like our taste will change in the clothes we wear, it will also change in the dolls we collect.  At one time, I adored Madame Alexander 8″ dolls.  I had a lovely collection and enjoyed them.  One summer several years ago, I decided it was time to thin.  And boy oh boy, did I ever thin!  I kept my complete Gone With The Wind Series and my Wizard of Oz series and a few of my holiday dolls.  Everything else was either sold or given away.   I feel confident that at some point I will also thin those I kept and make some other collectors extremely happy!  I’m just not yet to that point.  For me, rotating my collection is also a good idea as doll sizes change and space availability changes.  You can’t get near as many Patti Playpal dolls  in the same space as those 8″ Madame Alexander dolls.  So decisions are made for changing the direction of your collection.  That doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything you once collected.  To quote my granddaughter, “keep the bestest ones for yourself.”  Even at her young, tender age she understands that the dolls you keep are not necessarily the newest or the prettiest but often those that have been with you a lifetime and show the signs of being well loved.  THOSE are some of the bestest ones!   Keep what makes you happy, what makes you smile, what you have memories tied to.  There are reasons that some dolls will never rotate from your collection.  Don’t overlook those reasons in an effort to make space.

These photos are pictures of my collection in the past.  I can look at these photos and see many dolls that have been re-homed for whatever reason.  I have dolls that I have re-homed to both Canada and Australia.  I have pictures of them, but I am happy knowing that they are being appreciated.  Chances are that some of you who are reading this blog have one of these very dolls in your home.

Right now, you may not be ready or want to thin down your collection and that’s fine.  These are just some thoughts that helped me to be able to thin down my own collection at times.  Hopefully, there is something here that you will be able to use should you find yourself in that situation.

You are invited to leave your comments below and “Let’s Talk Dolls”.   Maybe you have an idea that would help others.  Share it with us, please.  Until we are together next time, Doll Friends, stay well!

Best Wishes,



Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from BabyBoomerDolls! 

Well, the new year is here, a new page has turned…for some it is a time of hope, for others a time for resolutions, and still something different for someone else.  What does a new year mean to you?  

For BabyBoomerDolls, the new year holds many new possibilities and changes.  Not all things will happen immediately, but the groundwork is being put into place for the future.  It is an exciting time and holds great hope for the days and months to come.  I am both amazed and humbled at the wonderful things BBD experienced in this past year.  It was such a blessing to me in what might have otherwise have been a very dark time.  I met hundreds of new friends and developed relationships with people all over the world.  I have experienced seeing and learning about new dolls and their origins.  I have been amazed at the talent that is out there! Yet at the end of the day, we all wanted the same thing…..”Let’s Talk Dolls”…..

We found common ground in the most simple of things…a doll!  We have built a community amongst ourselves in that we now call one another by our first names. We are friends.   We know one another’s pets and children.  Often times, we know when another is experiencing a difficult time due to sickness of a family member or a like situation.  We look forward to sharing a new technique or that new doll that the postman has just delivered.  We are in a friendly place and can share (even if just for a few minutes a day or once a week – whatever your time schedule allows) the pleasant, little victories that the day has given each of us. We share a brief respite from the hectic lives we lead daily.   In today’s world, what a WONDERFUL community to be a part of!  

I am so excited that at this time in my life,  I am able to take my lifelong love for dolls and nurture  it to grow into the passion it has become.   Something that has been a hobby to me  for many years has evolved into a boundless enthusiasm!  It hasn’t been easy and has required long hours of hard work and planning, but it has brought me so much joy!  I hope along the way, our time together has brought you brief moments of joy also.   It has stretched my capabilities, my creativity, and my imagination just to name a few things.  Those of you who have shared this time with me, I thank you and hope you will continue to be a part of this.  To those of you who have not yet discovered the joy of doll collecting and the enjoyment it offers, I invite you to join us.  

It makes no difference if you have collected for 40 years and have a massive collection or if you are just beginning to collect.   No matter where you call home or your station in life, we all have at least one common thread – the delight of a doll.  

We would love for you to join us!  “Let’s Talk Dolls!”




Interview With Patti Playpal (Part IV)

Friends, can you believe Christmas is just a few days away? I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to those of you who have followed this blog during our beginnings this year, but also to say thank you for your continued support in the coming year.  And to those of you who are here for the first time – WELCOME!  I’m glad you are here! 

As this year draws to a close, I am humbled by the interest shown in BabyBoomerDolls.  I am thankful for the new friendships made this year through social media.  I look forward to what the new year has in store for BabyBoomerDolls as there are many plans in the works even as I type this.  This is my passion and I couldn’t be more pleased to be able to share it with those of like mind…YOU!  

With that having been said, “Let’s Talk Dolls”….In this post we will complete our interview series with Patti Playpal. Let’s get started!

LYNN: Patti, we are so pleased that you are back with us again to wind up this series of interviews.  Thank you again for joining us and sharing your inside information on the Playpal series of dolls.

PATTI:  Thank you, Lynn.  I am so happy to have been here.  I hope everyone has enjoyed the information shared.   So, where shall we begin today?

LYNN: Patti, give us some information that might not be known about the Shirley Temple dolls, please.

PATTI:  Shirley Jane Temple was born in 1928.  She became the first child to win an Academy Award.  Over the decades, a parade of Shirley Temple dolls were made, but the first life-size Shirley Temples were made by Ideal during the Playpal years.  There were many variations, all with only slight differences.  Today, these dolls are respected by collectors. 

Like Pattite, the 19″ Shirley Temple, made by Ideal in the 1960s is a miniature version of her 36″ Playpal counterpart.  Today, she is valued at about $1000.

There was also an African American 36″ Shirley Temple doll made in the mid 1980s.  Only a very few of them were made and they were never put on the market.  No value has been established for this doll.  

In 1985, a reissue of the 36″ Shirley Temple was produced by Dolls, Dreams and Love, a company owned by a former Ideal employee, Hank Garfinkle.  

LYNN: Wow!  Those were some interesting, little known, facts….Moving forward, lets talk briefly about original TV and catalog ads and playsets.

PATTI: There was The Patti Playpal Game also by Ideal which is played similar to the Candyland game. In 1960-61 Gambles fall catalog offered a pink Rite Bite Steel Kitchen for Patti.  The entire kitchen sold for about $30.  A 1965 magazine ad for Grant’s Department store spotlighted companion dolls.  Little girls could get matching dresses for their companion dolls through the 1961 Wards Christmas Catalog. 

Saturday morning television commercials kindled and captivated the hearts, minds, and imaginations of America’s 1960s children. After watching weeks of these commercials, the dolls seemed to take on exaggerated prominence.  When you see a doll under YOUR Christmas tree that you have seen over and over again on television, well… know how that felt to those children. 

LYNN: Patti, were there other large dolls of this same era?

PATTI: The Lori Martin Doll (or Velvet Brown) – Every Sunday evening in the early 1960s, NBC-TV and Rexall presented MGM-TV’s “National Velvet.”  Lori Matin was the actress that played the lead role of Velvet Brown.  Her image appeared in TV Guide, coloring books, and  paper doll sets.  The doll made in her likeness is a sought after and pricey doll on today’s collector market.  The dolls were made around 1961 and came in 30, 36, 38, and 42″ sizes.  All these dolls are marked Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Ideal Toy Corp. 

Daddy’s girl by Ideal, a hard to find doll, came in two sizes, 42 and 38 inches.  The 38″ doll is extremely rare and is valued at about $300 MORE than the 42″ doll in the same condition.  This doll came in three hair colors being blonde, brunette, and auburn.  The auburn is the hardest to find.  

Then, there is one of everyone’s favorites – SAUCY WALKER.  She was made by Ideal in 1960.  She is an adorable doll that Playpal collectors seem to be very fond of.  MUCH different than her 1950s counterpart.  She is a winning combo of chubby cheeks and a smirk-ish grin.  She came in two sizes – 28″ and 32″.  The 32″ doll is sometimes referred to as the “Playpal Saucy Walker” by collectors.  Both dolls are marked Ideal.  In the 1960s Sears Wish Book, Saucy Walker was called “Chubby 2 Year Old,” and sold for $21.88 for the 32″ version and $18.88 for the 28″ version.  

Miss Ideal is jointed at wrists, above knees, and at waist.  She came in both 25 and 30″ sizes.  The hair color was dark blonde, but a very rare version was a platinum blonde.  She also came with a pretend “perm” kit! 

Bye Bye Baby was one of the life-sized baby dolls that Ideal made during the 1960s.  

Madame Alexander’s Joanie was made in 1960 and was dressed in a white nurse’s dress with a white apron and cap.   She was 36″ tall.   The Joanie Doll sold in the Sears 1960 catalog with an all steel nurse’s cart with 30 hospital play items for $28.88.  

Betsy McCall was 36″, marked McCall Corp, and appeared in 1959. She was easy to pick out of a crowd of companion dolls with that distinctive McCall turned up nose!  Soon to appear were Linda McCall and Sandy McCall.  

The Mary Jane Doll by Effanbee –  although she is not a Playpal doll, she has managed to turn heads of many Playpal collectors.  Her overall quality is above and beyond the great majority of Playpal look-alikes.  She is a 32″ vinyl walker with flirty eyes.  She was produced from 1959-62 and originally sold for about $20.  

Princess Peggy was Horsman’s answer to Patti Playpal. She was marketed from 1960 to 1966.  During those years, she had quite a variety of hair colors and styles – from bobs to ponytails.  She was also made in an African American version and was a walker.  Princess Peggy is marked “Horsman – 1959” on her head. 

The list could go on and on to include Little Miss Echo by American Character, Buffy, Betsy Wetsy by Ideal, Ideal Kissy, Mary Poppins by Horsman, Snow White, Little Orphan Annie issued by the Chicago Tribune/Daily News, Arranbee’s My Angel, Vogue’s Life-size Ginny, Goody Two Shoes, and the list goes on and on.  These are only a few of the Companion Dolls of that era.  

There are larger companion dolls (40″ or taller) have high values, even when they are unmarked, because they are harder to find, and collectors appreciate their uniqueness.  These dolls were often used a mannequins in children’s shops. 

LYNN:  My goodness! Patti, you certainly know your doll history.  Thank you so very much for sharing with us in these four interviews.  We have thoroughly enjoyed the information that you have provided.  Please come back again, soon.

PATTI:  Thank you so much for having me here and for your interest in both my Playpal family and other companion dolls of our era.  It was such a wonderful time in doll history!  But times now are just as special since the little girls that played with us when they were children are now seeking us out again as collector dolls!  We have a second opportunity to play and share the secrets with some of those same “little girls.”  After all, in some way, we are all children at heart and are touched by fond memories of favorite toys/dolls.  We are all happy to be a part of those memories!

From all of us at the Playpal family, we wish you a Merry Christmas! We would love to once again be under the Christmas tree for those who love and appreciate beautiful dolls. 

LYNN:  Yes, there are many of us collectors who would love to have that special doll under our Christmas trees.  The next time we are together will be a New Year.  There are so many plans in the works for the coming year.  I sincerely hope that you will join us on this journey!  Come join us in January and “Let’s Talk Dolls!”  See you soon!

Merry Christmas and Much Love from Lynn, Patti, and all the gang at BabyBoomerDolls! 

Interview with Patti Playpal (Part III)

Hello, Friends!  We are here with Patti Playpal with some very enlightening information for you today.  So….”Let’s Talk Dolls”….

LYNN: Patti, you have given us so much information on the Playpal Family.  We have learned so many facts and tidbits that many of us had absolutely no idea about.  Could you give us some quick facts now that readers might not be aware of?

PATTI:  Oh, I’d be happy to!  

*Most collectors will agree that the 1959 Pattis were non walkers with swivel wrists, and that the 1960 Pattis were walkers with stationary wrists. 

*”Generic” outfits sold in the Sears catalog for Playpal size dolls for between $3 and $4.

*There are many SALLY STARR outfits floating around out there and are coveted by collectors.  This outfit was not made by Ideal, but was made especially for Playpal dolls.  Sally Starr was a 1960s TV cowgirl.  The hat and boots were not originally included with the outfit.

LYNN: Those are some very interesting facts.  Speaking of facts, let’s talk about your Playpal family a bit.  Let’s begin with Peter.  I know that Peter has a charm about him that makes him very collectible in today’s collector’s market.  He is the most expensive in today’s market.  So, Patti, what information could you share from there?

PATTI:  Peter was made in 1960 and 1961.  He is 38″ tall making him about the size of a 4 year old child.  But did you know that a rare 36″ size was made?  The rare 36″ Peter was a “salesman” doll that came about as a result of the Playpal traveling salesmen complaining that the original 38″ versions were too tall to fit in the trunks of their cars.  As the story goes, Ideal shrunk these salesmen demo dolls down by 2″.  These shorter Peter Playpal versions are too rare to even come up with a value on! 

In addition to being difficult to find, Peters are especially special in the fact that boy dolls, in general, are hard to find.  Peter dolls are marked c Ideal Toy Corp / BE – 35 – 38 (on head) and c Ideal Toy Corp / W – 38 / Pat Pend (on body).

To my knowledge, all Peters were made to be walkers.  Some, over the course of all these years, may have loosened up or been poorly restrung and no longer appear to be walkers. 

Peter’s original hair colors were: sandy blonde, auburn, brown, and brown-black (rare).

His original eye colors were: hazel (brownish green), light green, gold or golden brown. 

LYNN:  Wow! All that information is more than valuable to the collectors of today.  What information can you share with us about Penny Playpal? 

PATTI: Penny was made for only one year, 1959.  She is 32″ tall and is the size of a 2 year old child.  She has a soft, rounded face that can cause anyone who sees her to love her.  She is marked “Ideal Doll / 32 – E – L” or “B-32 Pat. Pend.” (on her head) and “Ideal” in an oval on her back.  

Original hair colors for Penny were: sandy blonde, auburn, brown, dark brown/black.

Penny’s original eyes colors were: blue, green, and brown. 

LYNN:  This information is good to have when contemplating making a Playpal purchase to ensure that you are getting a genuine Playpal.  What about Suzy?

PATTI:  Suzy is an angelic babydoll in every sense of the words.  She is the size of a 1 year old child at 28″ tall.  In the ads of the era, her name was spelled both Suzy and Suzie.  She is noted for the detail on her chubby arms and legs.  

She came in both straight and curly hair with the curly hair being the most common.  Suzys are marked “Ideal Doll / O.E.B. – 28 – 55” or Ideal OB-28 (on her head) and “Ideal Toy Corp B 28” or “Ideal” in an oval on the back.  

Suzy had original hair colors of sandy blonde, light brown, auburn (rare), brown/black (rare).  Suzy’s hair was tightly curled.  A rare version had straight hair in a pixie cut.

Suzy’s original eye colors were blue, brown, and green.  

LYNN: How about a quick rundown on the twins Bonnie and Johnny Playpal….what can you tell us about them? They have been on my ‘wish list’ for quite some time now.  Since uses only  our own photos, I guess we will have to wait a little longer for pictures of The Twins. (giggle…)

PATTI: These two are exceptionally difficult to find, with Johnny being the harder of the two.   Bonnie has rooted hair and Johnny is the only Playpal doll with painted hair.  They are 24″ long making them the size of  3 month old  babies.  They are marked as follows:

Bonnie – Ideal Doll / OEB – 24 – 3 (on her head), Ideal (in oval)23 on her body.

Johnny – Ideal Doll / BB – 24 – 3 (on his head) and Ideal (in the oval) on his body.  

Hair colors were: Bonnie – blonde, dark brown, & auburn

Johnny – Painted on brown hair

Eye colors were: Bonnie – blue and green

Johnny – blue

Bonnie’s original outfit was a blue and white checked dress, and Johnny’s original outfit was a purple and white checked smock.  

Bonnie is very frequently confused with the Dryper babies.  Look for a nurser mouth to identify a Dryper baby.  Bonnie’s mouth is open/closed, but is not a nurser mouth.  Dryper babies are adorable, but do not command Bonnie Playpal prices.  Below is a picture of a Dryper baby during her day at the spa.  Notice her nurser type mouth.  

LYNN: Patti, I am so pleased that you have been with us today to give us all these valuable facts!  Our next (and final) interview with Patti will hit the highlights of the Shirley Temple dolls, advertising, companion dolls, and a few other large dolls of the era.  You won’t want to miss it! 

Please join us again.  If you like, leave your comment below as we would love to hear from you.  Stay well and see you soon!

Let’s Talk Dolls,


and our guest, Patti Playpal

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!