Currently, a collection of memorabilia owned and collected by the lovable, iconic Shirley Temple Black is being displayed in a limited time, traveling exhibit around the United States. I don’t know about you, but I’ve watched and loved my fair share of Shirley Temple movies. Shirley added light to the darkness for many people during her days as a child actress, which coincided with the Great Depression in the United States.
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At the mere age of 3, Shirley Temple was spotted by two producers who worked for Educational Pictures. They loved Shirley and gave her her first on screen credits in a handful of satirical shorts starring toddlers. She gained popularity relativity quickly. In 1933, after Educational Pictures went bankrupt, she was hired by Fox Studios for the feature film Stand Up and Cheer, singing and dancing to’Baby Take a Bow’, where her future in film was forged. In her career, Shirley starred in 43 movies for multiple studios and won the heart of generations.
While her films have left a lasting impact on the entertainment industry, Shirley also made an impact in the doll collecting hobby. Dolls have been made of Shirley Temple since 1934. The first Shirley doll was created by Ideal and was, from all accounts, a joint effort between Ideal and the Temple family. Taking inspiration from Stand Up and Cheer, Ideals’ Shirley wore a polka-dotted dress similar to the one the real life Shirley wore in the movie. This doll, which was sold in four sizes, started at $3.00. Keep in mind this was the Great Depression. $3.00 was a lot of money. Shortly after, Ideal started releasing outfits sized for their Shirley line and the demand for this original release and other companies Shirley dolls has never wavered.
Shirley herself had a bit of a doll collection. Costume designers would create doll sized dresses to match Shirley’s on screen outfits for the young actresses own personal collection. The little starlet also had a soft spot for Lenci dolls. I don’t know how much truth there is to the story, but apparently, a producer suggested Shirley start a doll collection. From then on, fans would send her dolls. According to the source I found (which is just a tumbler), Shirley would end up passing many along to charities, only keeping a small few.
If you’d like to see some of Shirley’s personal items, including some of the dolls and/or outfits she saved over the years from her film career, you might be able to. There are tour stops in California, Texas, Kentucky and Missouri scheduled through July 13th. The Theriault’s auction itself is July 14th in Missouri. You don’t know how disappointed I was to not see Illinois on this list, but, alas, that’s how it turned out. You can follow the tour stops on Facebook, where you will also find some amazing photos.
For those looking to savor this bit of history, you can purchase the hard bound catalog, “Love, Shirley Temple, Collector’s Book”. It’s a little pricey, but this wonderful collection will soon be getting split up and I wouldn’t doubt that a number of these items will never be shown in a public setting again.
Do you own a Shirley Temple doll? What made you purchase it? What’s your favorite Shirley Temple movie? Did you get to see this exhibit? Share your thoughts below.
Below are some links you may find interesting.
One of the first doll lines I saved up my allowances for as a kid (4th grade through 8th) was American Girl. Back in the day, American Girl had a neat freebie they offered future customers. They would send a ‘saving guide’, so to speak, that would help you keep track of how much money you had saved. Actually, it was really quite cool and totally useful, especially when your allowance evened out to $4 a month! (I can’t find evidence of this kit online and my mother doesn’t remember it, but I swear, I’m not making it up!)
There were many dolls I had my eye on, but the first doll I decided to purchase was Molly, the WWII doll. Who didn’t love Molly? She had some great outfits and the mixture of bangs, braids and glasses was adorable.
After Molly, I started saving again and eventually purchased Samantha, who’s stories were slightly earlier than Molly’s, taking place in 1904. Samantha was a favorite of mine from the get go. Her long hair gave a little more leeway for styling (A purest from a young age, I have never removed Molly’s braids!) and her outfits and accessories were just fantastic, so very different than Molly’s (also very neat) accessories.
The cycle continued until I had added two more dolls to my collection, Felicity was the third. Felicity stood out amongst the other dolls in the catalog because of her lovely red hair. To this day, I’m still very happy to have picked her up pre-Mattel. Last, but not least, I bought a Girl of Today made to look like me. All of these were ordered before Mattel purchased Pleasant Company and averaged about a doll a year.
American Girl Dolls, believe it or not, were launched in 1986, making them young’ins in the doll industry. Pleasant Company was founded by Pleasant Rowland. Pleasant had noticed a gap between the ages represented in popular doll lines, noticeably the lack of a doll meant to look between 8-11. Marrying the idea that the dolls would give girls (and boys) a more personal glimpse into the past, American Girl dolls were born.
The first three dolls released were Samantha, Kirsten and Molly. Interestingly, I learned from the American Girl Wiki that these dolls were developed by Gotz. (I’ve never been a huge fan of Gotz, so this was very surprising news!) I’m kicking myself for having never purchased a Kirsten doll while pre-Mattel. Each of these three dolls lived in very different times. Kirsten represented pioneer times. Samantha represented the Edwardian Era. And Molly, my original American Girl, represented the World War II era. Each doll was accompanied by a chapter book that would give readers a glimpse into the world these dolls lived in.
In 1991, Felicity was released. She lived during the Revolutionary War. Felicity was the first doll to model a fleshtone body, unlike her predecessors who had white muslin bodies. Addy, a Civil War era girl and the first black American Girl doll, was released in 1993.
In 1995, the Girl of Today line was introduced and allowed girls to create their own American Girl doll by choosing from various hair colors, eyes colors, and skin tones. They came in a really awesome outfit that included a fun vest and awesome hat that was a pretty perfect representation of the mid-90’s girl! Josefina joined the American Girl gang in 1997, representing the history of New Mexico prior to it becoming part of the United States.
In 1998, there was a big change with American Girl. Pleasant Company sold American Girl to Mattel for a whopping 700 million dollars. She stayed on as an adviser for a few years after this sale. I, personally, wish this deal had never gone through, as I believe the quality went a bit down after being purchased by Mattel. They didn’t change much in the very beginning, but I feel like some of the magic was lost after Mattel picked these dolls up.
The first doll to be released after the Mattel sale was Kit, a girl living through the Great Depression, in 2000. Of all the Mattel releases, Kit is the only doll I really love. Her freckles and bob hairstyle make her look adorable! 2000 is also the same year that Pleasant Rowlands steps down from her advisory position with the brand and gives Mattel full control of the line.
In 2002, Kaya was released. Her stories focused on early Native American history. In 2004, Mattel begins releasing friend dolls for past releases, starting with Nellie, Samantha’s friend. The next historical doll wouldn’t be released until 2007. That doll was Julie, a girl growing up in the 70’s. In 2009, Rebecca was released, representing early twentieth-century America during the second wave of European immigration. Marie Grace, a girl growing up in 1850’s New Orleans, joined the group in 2011. The most recent historical girl to hit the stage was Caroline, who’s books focus on growing up during the war of 1812. Caroline is my least favorite doll. I don’t like the look of her at all. 2009 brought along a new historical doll, Rebecca, from the twentieth-century America during the second wave of European immigration.
American Girl has steadily been changing the direction of the doll line by retiring certain beloved characters (including most of the original Pleasant Company girls– Felicity, Kirsten and Molly and others) and creating new illustrations and outfits for those that have stayed on in the line. The Girl of Today line eventually was rebranded as Just Like You and now is currently dubbed My American Girl. And in 2014, the Historical Dolls were to be rebranded, as well.
My Thoughts on BeForever:
A few months ago, Mattel really changed the game by re-branding the Historical Girls as ‘BeForever‘. I’m not against change. Change is important in keeping doll lines vibrant. However, I can’t say I’m exactly on board with everything Mattel is doing with American Girl, especially with the Historical Girls.
Officially, the BeForever line consists of Kaya, Caroline, Josefina, Addy, Rebecca, Kit, Julie and the once retired Samantha. BeForever girls have a whole new line of clothing, accessories, furniture and new storybooks.
Some of the dolls have been tweaked a little, as well. One minor example is Kit’s hair, which has been cut a little shorter than her original doll. There’s something about Samantha that looks different to me, too, but I just can’t put my finger on what it might be. Who knows, it could be my imagination.
The one thing I love about this line is the inclusion of Samantha. I am a huge fan of Samantha and her stories and am very happy they took her out of the vault. It gives me hope that one day, some of the other retired dolls will come out and play once again.
That being said, Samantha’s outfits disappoint me a bit. I really only like two of them, the others just don’t feel like Samantha. It could very well be that I grew so used to the older outfits that these just don’t seem to fit the character in my head. Still, though, it’s disappointing.
Kit, however, has some adorable outfits in this BeForever line. She would win my ‘best dressed’ for sure! Her Meet Kit outfit is adorable, as are her Christmas outfit and Floral Print dress!
As far as accessories go, Julie’s Egg Chair? I love it! The lack of jointing in American Girl dolls might make her look a little strange sitting in it but for more jointed 18″ dolls? One nice feature about this, though, is it doubles as an MP3 player speaker, which makes it way more than just a doll prop.
I’ll be totally, 100% honest here, I don’t care very much for the rest of the BeForever girls. They don’t excite me. I’m sure there are people that love them, but alas, I don’t. Much of it has to do with the lack of excitement I felt towards the Mattel releases post Kit. Kit is adorable and I’d love to have her, but the rest just never made me go ‘oh, I need that in my collection!’.
If anything, this rebranding made me recognize what I suspected already– I have fallen out of love with American Girl. I still love my American Girls (Molly, Samantha, Felicity and my Girl of Today) and the items that came out around their era, but the new items? They’re just not pulling at my heartstrings as much as they used to. That’s not to say that I’m completely giving up on the line, because there will always be a part of me that looks forward to opening up an American Girl catalog or visiting an American Girl Store, but for now, I’m not feeling the awe that once surrounded the American Girl line.
Do you have fond memories of American Girl? What are your thoughts on this new BeForever line? Share your thoughts below.
By now, you’ve probably seen some of the newest Monster High line to hit store shelves, Freaky Fusion. There are a lot of dolls in this line, which features four new hybrid characters, four fused characters, four characters who are ‘playing’ fused and finally, three Walmart exclusives. By far, the most interesting of the characters in this line are the four new characters, Bonita Femur (Skeleton/Moth), Avea Trotter (Centaur/Harpy), Sirena Van Boo (Mermaid/Ghost) and male doll Neighthan Rot (Unicorn/Zombie).
Those characters by themselves would have made a fine line, but Mattel took it a step further by fusing eight of our favorite characters together to form four unique Monster High Students. The prettiest of them, in my opinion, is the fusion between Draculaura and Robecca, who form Dracubecca. Her look is adorable. Mattel kept Robecca’s riveted skin, gave it Draculaura’s pink coloring, gave her a head of dark hair and a fun steampunk outfit.
Another standout fusion is Cleo and Torelei, forming Cleolei. Just the idea of these two being forced together like this is awesome. The standout feature on Cleolei has to be her face paint. The gold eye enhancements look so good on the tabby skin.
Venus, one of my personal favorites, merges with Clawdeen in the this line to form Clawvenus. Clawvenus is, well, interesting, to say the least. She’s definitely a doll you’ll either love or hate. The mixture of Clawdeen and Venus’ traditional hairstyles is pretty rad, but I’m not sure Venus’ coloring was the best choice on this doll.
Lagoonafire, a fusion of Lagoona and Jinafire, falls in line with Clawvenus, for me. I’m not sure what I think of her, actually! On one hand, I do think she’s a pretty cool doll. On the other hand, she could easily come off as very strange looking. Jinafire’s eyes are very distinctive, even on a Jinafire, which makes them stand out even more on a doll with Lagoona’s coloring. The effect is different and startling, but strangely interesting!
These four basic dolls are ‘playing’ like they’re fused, meaning they aren’t true mixtures of two characters, but one character who is inspired to dress like another. Ghoulia is decked out in a Draculara-esc look. Her dress and headband are adorable. Frankie‘s look is inspired by Clawdeen. Slowly, but surely, I’m warming up to this Frankie. It is nice seeing a Frankie with volume to her hair.
Operetta is my favorite of these four dolls. She’s adorable in her Frankie inspired look! I love seeing Operetta with straight hair and Frankie’s outfit looks so cute on her! Last, but not least, is Scarah wearing a Toralei inspired look. I think Scarah, in general, is a cool doll. This is a fun look for her.
Exclusive to Walmart are three basic ‘Save Frankie’ dolls: Jackson, Clawdeen and Draculaura. I have yet to see these in person, but the Draculaura looks like she could be a winner. Even Clawdeen looks pretty neat. I will need to see her in person to make a real assessment, but I like the ponytail and the face paint. And Jackson, well, he’s Jackson. I still prefer Holt.
Mattel created a neat three story Catacomb playset to go along with the Freaky Fusion line. I have a few of the smaller Monster High playsets and they do add a nice backdrop to photoshoots.
As expected with a line this large, these Freaky Fusion dolls tie in with an all new movie release. Here’s the synopsis. “The Monster High Freaky Fusion ghouls go deep into the catacombs of Monster High to help Frankie look for clues about her past and learn more about her family scaritage. There, they inadvertently set off a time machine that takes them back to the year 1814 where they meet Sparky, a misguided, teen scientist obsessed with the creation of life. Sparky follows Frankie back to modern day Monster High, causing a lab accident in which eight ghouls fuse into four new monsters!”
By choosing between “this” or “that” pictures, you can find out your Freaky Fusion percentage. There are four questions per quiz and one quiz for each fused character! Find your results by taking the fun quizzes on the Monster High Freaky Fusion page.
What Freaky Fusion girl (or guy) is your favorite? Did you take any of the quizzes? What were your results? Compared to other Monster High lines, how does Freaky Fusion rate? Share your thoughts below.
This is a sponsored post. All opinions stated here are my own. To find out why I occasionally do sponsored posts, read my About Me.
In Skipper’s 50 years, she’s had a lot of high moments. One of those moments came in 1992 when she and her best friend Courtney were part of one of the best-selling Barbie lines of all time– Totally Hair. Topping top toy lists in 1992, Totally Hair Barbie was, for most, the stand out Barbie of the line. Over her run from 1992-1995, Barbie sold over 10 million units and became Mattel’s highest grossing Barbie to date!
Totally Hair Skipper and Courtney were both Toys R Us exclusives. Boxed with a small tube of Dep, this popular doll line featured Barbie (blonde and brunette), Ken, Skipper and Courtney with ultra long hair and neon colored outfits . Those in the UK, where the line was renamed ‘Ultra Hair’, were treated to an exclusive Whitney.
I’m sure I received Totally Hair Skipper for either my birthday or Christmas in the winter of 1992. I was 9, the perfect age for Skipper, especially a Skipper with super long crimped hair and a neon outfit! For me, Totally Hair Skipper is one of the cutest Skippers released in the 90’s. She reminds me of my youth because, let’s be honest, most anyone who ‘grew up’ in the 90’s had a closet of neon colored outfits, a plastic clip that cinched baggy shirts at the waist and most likely crimped their hair a few times over the decade!
Skipper has her token blonde hair, long and crimped. Her bangs are curly and a bit wild. Her half pony tail is held with a big, bright hair band. Her outfit is a shirt dress with short leggings that feature a pink, blue and purple swirling pattern.
Her eyes are blue and her lips are a bright pink. Skipper has light blushing on her cheeks and a hint of eye shadow. Other than that, her face is relativity clean of make up (assuming mine hasn’t faded a lot, which I don’t think it has).
Courtney is a more recent addition to my collection. I purchased her a few years ago off of eBay. This Courtney has a bit of a strange look to her. Her skin looks tanner than normal and her eyes are an amber sort of brown. I examined my Courtney’s and noticed her eye color bounced around a lot between blue, brown and green back in the 90’s. This isn’t my favorite eye color for her, but it’s different!
Her outfit is a mixture of neon blue, green, pink and purple. Courtney wears a longer dress than Skipper with no leggings. Like Skipper, her dark brown hair is long and crimped. Her bangs are curly and her half pony tail is held in with a big, neon green hair band.
These dolls might not have broken records like Totally Hair Barbie, but they are two dolls that really stand out in Skipper’s 50 year run. Not only do collectors remember them, but non collectors do to, which says a lot about how perfectly this Skipper and Courtney were designed.
As always, here’s the video post!
Did you have Totally Hair Skipper or Courtney? Why do you think this line was so popular? Any favorite memories of this line? Share your thoughts below!
I’ve long been a fan of American Girl products, starting all the way back to pre-Mattel days. One of the lesser known items that American Girl produced was a stuffed bear named ‘Miss AG Bear’.
AG Bear debuted in 1994. She stood 16″ tall and had jointed arms and legs. According to AG Playthings, AG Bear came about because of a relationship between Pleasant Company (American Girl) and Steiff, a company known for making high quality plush pieces. While Steiff didn’t manufacture AG Bear, it seems very likely they could have gotten the idea from their affiliates!
AG Bear received 8 different outfits during her two year run. Outifts were sold seperately or were available on a dressed bear. My mom (who was buying them for me as gifts during their run) purchased all the AG Bears complete (bear and outfit). AG Bear is one of the few items from American Girl that I didn’t have to purchase myself!
The original AG Bear was dressed in a similar fashion to that of the original Girl of Today (circa 1995, predicessor to the current Just Like Me line), with a jean theme to the fabric choices and very similar sunflower hats. (That hat style was all the rage in the 90’s!)
The last AG Bear was produced in 1996 making this an eight bear collection.
Personally, I think these unique bears are fantastic pieces of Pleasant Company history. I adore my AG Bear collection. They’re one of the few plush items in my room that haven’t been boxed up at one point or another. Yes, my AG Bear in her sleep shirt may look slightly hunch back and they’re not immune to weird ‘quirks’, but I love these!
Did/Do you own any AG Bears? Which one? Do you like the look of these? Share your thoughts below in the comment area!