Interview with Patti Playpal (Part II)

Hello, babyboomerdolls.net 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)

Auburn

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 babyboomerdolls.net.  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! 

Lynn

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! 

-Lynn

Holiday Season is just around the corner!!

 

September is quickly coming to a close.  The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are getting a little cooler.  These are  signs that fall is on its way in and summer is headed out for yet another year.  Soon the leaves will begin to turn bright oranges and yellows and occasionally crimson.   It is time to find your jackets and sweaters.   These signs tell us all that fall is just around the corner,  but they also remind us that the holiday season is swiftly approaching.  

Holiday season here at our house is a busy time from late September to early January.  There are different degrees, if you will, of busy, but none the less – busy.  At heart, I am a child that has never grown up as far as decorating for the holidays.  I enjoy all the decorations and the preparations that are attached. I love seeing the faces of those who enjoy the holidays as much as I.  There is just something magical about the holidays for me.   Just this week someone asked me if I use my dolls to decorate.   

  

A cute Madame Alexander Witch or perhaps this Little Devil for Halloween.  Or I have dressed the Playpal Dolls for Halloween! 

These are a couple of the costumes the Playpal Gang will be wearing this Halloween. 

Christmas is my favorite holiday.  My youngest granddaughters say “nobody does Christmas like Memaw”.  Yes, I do pull out all the stops.  It takes quite some time to get it all decorated, but it is so worth it because I enjoy it and because I am making memories for my grandchildren.  They will remember Christmas at Memaw and Pepaw’s house not necessarily because of the gifts, but that there wasn’t a  spot where Memaw didn’t have it decorated. I love to see the joy in their eyes when they walk through the door to see it all! 

The dolls have to get their Christmas dresses on…help to decorate the tree…

Oops! That’s Violet, one of our two cats.  She likes to get in on the decorating.  She thinks she looks beautiful under all the lights.  And it is one of her favorite napping spots! 

She also likes to help the girls get their hair in place because she knows there will be plenty of photo opportunities .

               Finally, after much preparation, this tree is coming together nicely.  But this is only the tip of the iceberg! 

This is Frances, our other cat.  She is helping to adjust the bow on Penny’s Christmas dress….

And last, but not least by any means, this is one of my most beloved dolls EVER.  I’m sure you don’t need to be introduced.  To many (even some in my own family) this Santa is worn out and ugly.  I don’t see that.  He has been around since before I was born.  He belonged to my Granny.  He came out every Christmas that I ever recall as a child.  I was allowed to wag him around and love him as every sister, grandchild, and great-grandchild was.  That’s probably why his face has a crack, his beard is a little dirty, his arms/legs are limp and the felt on his suit is no longer smooth, but worn from the touch of MANY little hands over the years.  He lives with me now and still makes his yearly appearance amongst the decorations and dolls.  This is one of my earliest and definitely most favorite Christmas memories. 

So when I’m asked if I incorporate my dolls into my holiday decorating, the answer is ABSOLUTELY! And these are but a few pictures.  There are so many opportunities to use dolls from your collection in your holiday decorating throughout the year! 

I want to ask you….DO YOU USE YOUR DOLLS IN YOUR HOLIDAY DECORATING?   If so, please share….

Let’s Talk Dolls,

Lynn

Tale of the Seven Dwarfs and Little Sisser

As I quickly type this short post, I am giggling until my eyes are watering…

At a time when everything seems up in the air and very inconsistent, it is delightful to find/recall  something that has pretty much been a constant in my life.  I am the “Big Sisser” in my family which obviously indicates that there is a “Little Sisser”.   When I remember back to our childhood, she was a constant nemesis as far as my dolls were concerned.  I was (still am) VERY particular as to their looks, how they were stored, and MOST OF ALL not wanting Little Sisser to mess up their hair or clothes.  As I remember it, she was forever tearing snaps off their dresses because she refused to unfasten them gently, but mostly she wanted to handle them roughly and muss their hair which then gave her an excuse to brush/style their hair. UGH!   

If you follow my Instagram account, you have seen the picture of the Seven Dwarfs (of Snow White fame) that I posted last evening.    I have literally searched for years for just the right set of those adorable little men to add to my Snow White dolls collection.  They were not something that was easily acquired.  I had a definite wish list as to their requirements and was not going to “settle”.  We won’t go into my requirements, but believe me, they were lengthy! FINALLY! I had found just the right set that met all the things I was sure they needed to have (and the price was fair!)   They arrived this week and I was like a kid at Christmas.  Unpacking each one ever so carefully and straightening their clothes, making sure their shoes were on the right feet and placing their pics and hammers in their little hands.  They posed so magnificently!  I was thrilled!  I couldn’t wait to take photos with proper lighting and composition.  I wanted to share those seven wonderful, little men now!  So….a quick post to IG as I was unpacking them. 

The last line of the post was a mini-quote from the song the dwarfs sing in the movie….HI-HO, HI-HO, IT’S OFF TO WORK WE GO….

Feeling quite happy and satisfied with such a fantastic purchase, I turned off the phone and headed for bed.  This morning I get up to a post from Little Sisser that says HI-HO! HI-HO! LITTLE SISSER PLAY WITH THEM THO! Somehow even after all these years, that post made me cringe. I could just see her as a child taking off their shoes (and losing one) and turning their heads around backward and other various inappropriate things with my new prize possession.  Even though I knew this wasn’t real, still it made me wince at just the idea. 

So, with that having been said, the reality of this is that I still have a Little Sisser that wants to play with all my favorite toys and now she isn’t sneaky about it.  She just comes right out and tells me that she would like to make my little dwarfs dance around, possibly scuffle and even change their clothes!  Thus, proving that INDEED, THERE ARE some things that remain constant,  at least between sisters.  

As a child, I tried to put the “good stuff” out of her little grasp. Although it has taken some 50+ years, I was just  beginning to trust her handling my dolls, but after  her post…DEFINITELY NOT!   I love you dearly, Little Sisser, but please, DON’T TOUCH THE DWARFS! (LOL!) 

 

Do you have a Favorite Doll Story?

Hello, Friends! 

Are you ready to “talk dolls”?  What would YOU like to talk about? Restoration? Proper care of a vintage doll? Options for display? Clothing for the doll? How to wash and reset the doll’s hair? What’s a fair price when purchasing a doll? Where is a good place to purchase dolls?  How to safely wash/clean those old clothes without harming them?   I want to hear your ideas.  I have gotten messages and emails from several of you about restoring your doll.  I certainly don’t know all there is to know on the subject, but it would be fun to explore it together! After all, that’s why we visit this blog – to talk dolls!  And what better place? I was reminded just this week that dolls is not a subject that you bring up with just anyone without being looked at as if you might be from Mars.  Not everyone loves and admires them like those of us. (I can’t imagine WHY NOT!)  

In the meantime, please share one of your favorite doll memories.  Perhaps you have a favorite doll? Share her picture with us.  I would love to see pictures of your dolls and read why she is so special to you.  

This is one of my favorite dolls.  She is a Vintage Cissy. She is probably one of the very few dolls I own that I didn’t do anything but have her outfit made to my specifications, dress her, and place her in the doll case. 

As you all know, I am a fan of the baby boomer era dolls. I know there are those of you who like Barbie.  I like Barbie, too, but I really don’t know much about her. I want to learn from you!   Anyone restore composition dolls? I know very little about the process, but would like to know more. I see your posts on IG and y’all are so talented in so many different areas. I’m curious…

Speaking of Barbie…I shared my memory of Barbie and my Granny last week.  Had that Barbie not been a Christmas gift when I was a little girl, chances are I would have never taken an interest in sewing. I, like most children, was too busy to sit for very long!  I quickly figured out that a lot of dreams could come true with the craft of sewing and that craft could be used in so many different applications.    Through that Barbie, I spent time with Granny and learned all kinds of sewing techniques from tailoring to sewing with fur.  And as the years passed, I developed many of those skills she kindled in me.  She was creative and very good at using the materials she had to create the look I was wanting for my Barbie.  I remember we had made an extraordinary party dress and I wanted her to have a corsage.  At the time, there was no such thing as silk flowers. She picked up a tiny piece of lace and gathered it into a small circle making it look like a carnation.  She then proceeded to stitch a small embroidery thread bow to the lace and then attach it to the shoulder of Barbie’s dress.  TA-DAH! Barbie had a corsage for her dress.  I have never forgotten that.  For more reasons than I can number, my Granny has always (even though she has passed) had such a big, positive influence on my life.

Please share your doll memories and pictures and let yourself be a child again, for just a few minutes….

Let’s Talk Dolls,

Lynn

Memories Sparked…..

Hello!

I’m GLAD you’re here!  I’m hoping you have told others about this blog! It is something I have been excited about for quite some time and I’m so happy to see it taking shape. I would love to see your comments or pictures on anything doll related.

For those of us that are old enough…do you remember the SEARS WISH BOOK arriving in the mail about this time of year with all the newest dolls and toys pictured?  Oh my goodness! This was a BIG thing at our house.  There were three of us girls and each had to wait their turn to hold that precious book in our lap and carefully mark the things you were wishing would show up under your Christmas tree in a couple of months or on your next birthday, etc.  The book was good until mid-summer so you could make your list a little longer in case grandma and grandpa or auntie were interested in sneaking a peek.  Oh! The excitement and anticipation of the possible arrival of one of those beautiful dolls from that book! 

I remember wanting a Chatty Cathy doll.  I was totally amazed that you could pull that little white ring on a string from her back and she would TALK to me!  As I recall, she was THE only talking doll at that time.  And her hair was long enough that you could brush it lightly.  She was just perfect with those big blue eyes and that spattering of freckles across her little button nose.  The scene you are picturing in your imagination right now was close to perfect…except I have not one but two younger sisters.  Of course, they wanted to hold the pretty doll, make her ‘dance’ and make her talk.  OH NO! Please don’t pull that string so hard, she might break! So go the perils of being the oldest sister….I’m sure some of you have been in a similar situation. 

I loved that doll and kept her in good condition for a child of my age.  However, there was one small detail that I thought the toymakers could have improved upon.  Seemed to me that every doll made had blonde hair.  I am a redhead and I couldn’t understand why there were no red-headed dolls.  They did eventually make the doll in both a brunette and a redhead.  I guess they must have heard me bemoan their overuse of blonde hair on the bulk of their dolls. LOL!

I remember the Christmas I received a Barbie doll! She had red fingernails and toenails and long hair and the possibilities of all these beautiful outfits.  It was enough to make your mouth water, and it could all be stored for safekeeping in this wonderful black “leather” case bearing Barbie’s image. While Barbie was a magnificent doll, she was the start of something considerably bigger in my life.  

I was with my Granny at every opportunity.  She was an accomplished seamstress and often had scraps of material that were of a size to make Barbie a dress.  I would sit beside her for hours and we made doll dresses from the scraps.  My doll was so well dressed! So many of the good things I remember and still experience might not have come about without that one Barbie doll.  This is a blog, not a book, so we will continue with that another time. 

For now, do you have a favorite WISH BOOK memory or a story to share?  I would love for you to share a recollection of a childhood doll.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Let’s Talk Dolls, 

Lynn

Let’s talk dolls!

Blonde companion doll in a green plaid dress holding raggedy annAs mentioned earlier, I have a deep-rooted passion for dolls.  I always have.  At this time in my love story for the precious little sweethearts, it allows me to combine other things that I love and enjoy also.  Such as sewing, problem-solving, creativity, and above all restoring that doll to the beautiful object she once was.

 I have often said that babies, Christmas trees, and dolls all share one thing…there are no ugly ones.  

 

I have focused my passion for primarily Playpal dolls, Toodles, and Cissy.  I know that sounds like a broad spectrum, but it has served my tastes and ambitions well.  Through my Instagram account, I have encountered dolls from other countries and periods in time that I never knew were out there.  

I have been amazed and have learned so much.  But still, I want to know more about your dolls and the stories behind them.  I don’t want this blog to be about me, I want an ongoing conversation between all of you that are interested in sharing about your dolls and what you want to share about them or the new clothing you just finished for them, or anything that pertains to them.  

I want this to be a place where we can get away for just a few minutes from the hustle of daily life to talk dolls and make new friends/relationships.  I want this blog to be a happy place to come and celebrate a joy we all share – OUR LOVE FOR DOLLS. 

 

I don’t have a set schedule for how frequently I will make new posts here. My thought is weekly, but we will see what time will allow.  I have a spot for you to leave your comments and share in the conversation. This is something that can take as little or as much time as interests you.  

So, I am inviting you to join me and “Let’s Talk Dolls”!