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! 


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