Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Crissy, Kerry and Cinnamon vinyl dolls

If you were a girl who grew up in the late 1960's and early 1970's, you probably owned a Crissy doll, or one of the other Ideal Crissy-family dolls that came out at that time.

Crissy is an all vinyl teen doll with sleep eyes and auburn hair that "grows." She is much larger than Barbie and was made specifically for girls who like to style their dolls' hair. I adored my Crissy! I let her hair out using the button on her belly and braided it, or wound it back up, using the knob on her back and gave her a sporty bob. Mod style clothes were designed and factory-made for Crissy and her friends, that are, today, worth a lot of money.

Crissy's faceThe idea for Crissy came from American Character's Tressy doll, who also had hair that grows. Ideal bought the patent for the growth mechanism in 1969, and developed Crissy, their 18 inch fashion doll.

Crissy became a world wide sensation amongst little girls and was manufactured and marketed in the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Brazil and Canada. Some countries sold knock-offs of Crissy. One such doll was called Bella Estrella and was sold in Mexico.

From attending doll shows, I learned that the vinyl that was used to make the UK and Australian versions of Crissy wasn't as good at holding pigment as the vinyl used in making the USA version. It's easy to tell those dolls, as their face pigments are usually faded.

Crissy exploded in popularity in the early 1970's and a younger version, Crissy's cousin Velvet, was developed. Crissy also gained friends - Kerry, a blonde teen from Ireland (shown left), and Brandy, a California girl.  Velvet also had a little sister, called Cinnamon (shown below). Black versions of most of these dolls were also manufactured. There are websites devoted to these dolls, so I won't repeat what's already out there in this small space, but I will tell you about my Crissy family dolls.

I don't know what happened to the Crissy doll I owned as a child. I suspect my mother gave her to Good Will or threw her away when it was clear that my sister and I had outgrown dolls (temporarily as it turns out.) The Crissy I have now is an American Crissy that I bought at a doll show here in Australia. Her hair was cut on one side, so I bought Katsilk doll hair and re-rooted her hair and gave her a custom look with highlights. She did come with her original orange mini-dress, but I have her dressed in custom clothes that were made by a professional dressmaker.

Kerry is all original, but wears custom clothing as well. While I can appreciate that people like to see these dolls as they were sold, for display purposes, I love these outfits. They truly represent the fashion trends of the early 1970's and are so well made!

Cinnamon is wearing a mommy-made jumpsuit and beaded hair ribbon.

As a child, I only ever owned Crissy and my sister had Velvet, so I'm loving having these additional Crissy-family dolls in my collection. All of the dolls are in pristine condition, even their hair, which can become quite woolly over time.

Every time I look at them, I remember that Christmas when I first opened that box that had my first Crissy doll, and I can't help but smile.