Friday, July 24, 2009
Back in the 1930's, Effanbee made Little Lady for older girls, but before that, in 1928, Effanbee came up with a hit with younger girls - Patsy.
The ever popular Patsy is a little girl doll with moulded hair and headband. She has a typical toddler body with a distended belly, bent right arm, a puckered closed mouth, painted eyes and chubby cheeks. Her hair is usually auburn but her eye color can vary. Some Patsys had "sleep" eyes. Patsy had quite a few "sisters," but Patsy herself is 14 inches tall. Effanbee patented Patsy as she was one of the first strung dolls able to stand and pose on her own.
Patsy became so popular that soon, rival doll manufacturers were following the Patsy craze. Sally, Peggy, Peaches, Chikie, Trixbe, Babs, Maizie, Judy ... all attempted to latch on to the Patsy phenomenon.
During World War 2, Effanbee made a special Patsy in time for Christmas, and Patsys were produced with magnets in their hands so that the little dolls could hold things - and parents could buy endless Patsy accessories. There were Patsy sticker books, Patsy paper dolls, and special Patsy newsletters and booklets. "Aunt Patsy," an Effanbee public relations wonder, traveled the country touting the joys of Patsy. There was also a Patsy Doll Club. No other doll enjoyed such marketing mania.
The last composition Patsys were manufactured in 1946, and these dolls are unmarked. Dolls made before 1946 are marked Effanbee Patsy Doll on their backs. Effanbee designed a wardrobe of clothes for Patsy, and little girls fastened them with safety pins. My Patsys long ago lost their original outfits and heart charm bracelets, but are wearing outfits that they might have come with, back when they were sold.
In the 1980's, Effanbee (now Tonner) revived Patsy and sold vinyl dolls that used the original Patsy mould. The latest Patsy type dolls have rooted Saran hair, but in my opinion, nothing beats the charm of the original composition doll.