Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fragility, feathers and furs

My Quick Curl Collection: Barbie, Tuli-Chan, Skipper, Kelley,
Chocho-Chan, Cara, Francie and Deluxe Quick Curl Barbie.
The Quick Curl dolls are very fragile.  Their hair is almost impossible to restore and their arms and legs fall off very easily.  They are often cited as the earliest example of Mattel's cheapening of its products in the 1970s.  These flaws and this attitude are a shame because the dolls are really pretty when in mint condition, out of the box, and redressed.
The line was introduced in 1973, with Barbie, Skipper, Francie (a rare brunette), and two new friends, Kelley and Miss America.  Curl Chocho-chan, a Skipper friend, and Curl Tuli-Chan, a Francie friend, were sold only in Japan in 1974.  Another new Barbie friend, Cara, was sold in 1975.  Deluxe Quick Curl Barbie, who had new makeup and a new gown, and PJ were sold in 1976, plus Deluxe Quick Curl Skipper, also in a new gown, was sold in Europe that year.  There was also a Quick Curl Barbie styling head in 1975.*
Other related items were the Quick Curl Barbie Boutique doll case in 1973, the Whitman Quick Curl Barbie, Francie, Kelley and Skipper paper dolls in a folder in 1974 and the Whitman Quick Curl Barbie boxed paper doll in 1976.  The 1980s Golden Dream Barbie and Christie dolls, who also had the wired hair, and related items were sold beginning in 1981, but this column is not about them.
I'm not going to give much generic information about the dolls and their original outfits, because they've been written about elsewhere.  But here are some details that I've found that you might not know:

Only the 1972-1973 clothing booklet
offered suggestions for hairstyles.
1.  There were two separate clothing booklets in 1973.  The first one is called The Beautiful World of Barbie and has only the Mattel sunburst logo on its back.  It features the following from 1972:  Hair Originals, the Busy dolls, the Talking Busy dolls, the Malibus including PJ, the Country Camper, the Campout Tent, the Garden Patio, six of the Barbie Best Buys, six Francie Best Buys, four Skipper Best Buys, shoes for all of the dolls, mod cases including the Travel Trunk, and Skipper's Swing-a-Rounder Gym.  And from 1973:  The first four Quick Curls, Mod Hair Ken, Barbie's Beauty Center (the styling head with the retractable ponytail), 12 new Barbie Best Buys, four new Ken Best Buys, six new Ken Best Buys and four new Ken Best Buys.
2.  The second booklet is called The World of Barbie and includes all of the aforementioned items from 1973 and has the Barbie Vanity Case on the back.  Quick Curl Miss America, new Hair Originals, the Friend Ship, the Goin' Campin' set, Country Living Home, Surprise House, the new Get Up N Go outfits, the 1973 Best Buys only, Sew Magic, Sew Magic Deluxe Set and Sew Magic Add-ons are pictured.
3.  The first booklet shows stock numbers, the second has none listed at all.  The first booklet was the only one that included photos of how to style Quick Curl hair.  This booklet is much harder to find than the 1973 exclusive one, and that is probably why you seldom read about how to style the dolls' hair.
4.  The hairstyles could be mounds of curls, the late 1960s flip, or the new style with feathers along the sides.   It's best to style the hair with the included two-prong curler.  It is much easier to use than regular or Barbie curlers, a pencil or your fingers!
Quick Curl Kelley, Skipper and Barbie wait for Francie
to come to the door to let them in the Mountain Ski Cabin.
5.  You will see the dolls' flaws in my photos.  One doll's leg is always longer than the other (yes, I know humans are that way but dolls usually don't have this trait.)  The limbs either freeze in place or they fall off.  Usually it's the legs but my Kelley has a re-attachable right arm.  The hair eventually turns into an uncombable tangle at the ends.  Also, my Kelley has no wires in her hair!  I don't know if all of the Kelleys had only a few wires, or if the condition is only in mine!
6.  To keep the arms from falling off of the Deluxe Quick Curl dolls, Mattel cleverly designed a solution.  The dresses were designed to be off-the-shoulder, and the girls came with shawls wrapped around them.  These aren't just supposed to be stylish, but also practical to hold the arms in place!
7.  The felt decals on Tuli's and Chocho's gowns fall off after the glue dries out over the decades.  They always need to be reattached.  By the way, "Tuli" means "tulip" and "Chocho" means "butterfly" in Japanese.
8.  I've wondered over the years if Chocho was the inspiration for Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia or if Francie was the inspiration for Roxann Dawson's B'elanna Torres.
"Ugly curtains!" Barbie and Kelley think after entering
the Mountain Ski Cabin, while Skipper tries out the bunk beds.
The dolls are wearing: Barbie, #8687 Pantsuit with Fur;
Kelley, #8682 New Fashion Coat and #8681 Chic & Neat,
and Skipper, #8613 Winter Day and #8611 School Starts.
9.  Last but not least, I am showing you some photos of three dolls with a different 1973 accessory, Barbie's Mountain Ski Cabin.  One thing I discovered when redressing my dolls is that the winter coats from that year look really good on the dolls.  Huge fake fur collars had gotten really popular by that time, which is why Mattel featured them.**  But I also have to wonder if Mattel designed the coats to work with and set off the Quick Curl hair, because they seem to go together well.

*My comments about the various Quick Curl styling heads can be found here:
**The 1973 outfits with fur collars were:  Barbie #8682 New Fashion Coat, Barbie #8687 Pantsuit with Fur, Francie Best Buy #8646 and Skipper #8613 Winter Day.  The Mountain Ski Cabin case has an unusual message on front: "Recommended for children 4 to 10.  Not recommended for children under 3 because of small parts."  We've all seen the warning about "children under 3" but this is the only time I've ever read the sentence about ages 4 to 10.  The picture isn't Barbie; it's a blonde Twist N Turn Francie wearing her #1769 Long on Leather, both from 1970.

Friday, October 3, 2014

summer sand

I have seen photos over the years of matching outfits that Mattel made for its Chatty Cathy and Barbie dolls.  But did Mattel also give the dolls matching hair?
You've seen my previous pictures of my 1967 Twist N Turn Barbie doll and my Charmin' Chatty.  But now I've put the two dolls next to each other, because I realized the other week that their hair is very much alike.
This particular TNT Barbie has a hair color called Summer Sand.  She's not actually blonde--her hair is streaked with glittery gold and silver.  Cathy has the same hair.
But this is what puzzles me.  I've read that Charmin' Chatty was sold in 1963 and 1964, but this Barbie wasn't on the market until 1967.  Was this version of Cathy actually still being manufactured and sold in 1967, which is why she and Barbie ended up with the same strands of hair?  Or did Mattel have a lot of Charmin' Chatty frosted hair left over, and used it on their early TNT dolls?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Table at next doll show

I will have a sale table at the next Queen City Beautiful Doll Club show in Sharonville on Sunday, Oct. 12.  This is north of Cincinnati.  I plan to sell NRFB playline Barbie and family items from the 1980s and 1990s.  Amazingly, the past few doll shows I've attended HAVEN'T had that for sale.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The frizzies

SunSet Malibu Barbies

Color Magic, blonde Twist N Turn and Plus 3 Barbies
and Now Look Ken

Twist N Turn Julias, Twist N Turn Twiggy

Hair Happenin's and SunSet Malibu Francie
and blonde, brunette and blonde Twist N Turn Caseys

One bend leg Skipper, two blonde Chrises
and three straight leg Skippers

blonde Chatty Cathy

I personally do not know what frizzy hair is.  When your hair is baby fine, poker straight, thin and oily, frizzies are the last thing you need to worry about.
My first exposure to dry split hair was through our Barbies when we were children.  Some of the dolls developed the problem even back then, late 1960s, early 1970s.  As an adult collector, I learned that this hair was actually Color Magic hair that had been reused.  Sometimes the brunette hair lightens to a shade that collectors call oxidized red.
Yet this doesn’t make sense to me.  Color Magic Barbie was sold in 1966, but I have 1964 Skippers and a Now Look Ken from 1976 with the same problem.  How much Color Magic hair did Mattel have left over if the strands could still be rooted into dolls a decade later?  Also, has anyone ever experimented on these dolls with the frizz to see if the hair would change color?
I’ve discovered one way to lessen how bad the hair looks, although the problem cannot be reversed.  First, cut off any stray hairs, although you know they won't magically grow back.  I've found older dolls with uneven rooting patterns; that is, there are locks/clumps that should have been shortened at the factory but weren't.  Go ahead, take a deep breath, and lop off the hair to even out the bangs.  Doing so will make the next step easier.
You will need some small Barbie size rollers, the ones with prongs.  Since you've gotten rid of the odd strands, next wet the hair and roll it up in the curlers.  Let the hair dry overnight.  When you remove the curlers the next day, there'll be more "poof" to the tresses.  You can even put a little hairspray on the doll to ensure that the hair will stay in place.
This salon work does not "fix" the problem.  But as I've noticed with my own hair, even if you can't make it pretty, you can at least make it look less bad.
I have found the problem more common with blonde dolls, particularly Malibus, although I have a few brunettes.  Dolls I have discovered with dried out hair are:
I also have a 1963/64 Charmin' Chatty with silver frosted frizzy hair, which leads me to believe that Mattel used this same hair on its other dolls as well.
In the photos, the dolls are wearing outfits from the same year that they were sold, unless otherwise noted.  The Chris on the left is my sister Joan's from her childhood and it was with this doll that I first noticed the horrible hair, even back in the early 1970s.  I “poufed” one of the Casey dolls’ hair.
Last but not least, I bought the Skipper with iron gray hair from Paul David.  He had no idea how her hair got that way, and I've never figured it out either.  It's that color all the way down to the lower roots.   It's not like it got bleached or anything, because the rest of the doll looks completely normal.

My bad hair dolls are
1964 blonde straight leg Skipper in original swimsuit
1964 blonde straight leg Skipper in 1901 Red Sensation
1965 brunette straight leg Skipper in 1910 Happy Birthday
1965 gray bend leg Skipper in 1920 Fun Time
1966 blonde Color Magic Barbie in Lunch Date
1967 blonde Twist N Turn Barbie in Best Bow
1967 blonde Chris in 3609 Plantin’ Posies
1967 blonde Chris in original outfit
1968 Twist N Turn Twiggy in 1725 Twiggy Dos
1968 blonde Twist N Turn Casey in 1209 Mini Chex
1968 blonde Twist N Turn Casey in 1213 Pazam!
1968 brunette Twist N Turn Casey in 1216 The Lace Pace
1970 Hair Happenin’s Francie in 1768 Waltz in Velvet
1972 SunSet Malibu Barbie in 3341 Long N Fringy
1973 SunSet Malibu Francie in 7710 Perky Fashions for Sand N Sea
1974 SunSet Malibu Barbie in 7746 Palazzo Pants Outfit
1974 SunSet Malibu Barbie in 7755 Dirndl Style
1976 Now Look Ken in original outfit
1977 Barbie Plus 3 in Best Buy 9153
1977 SunSet Malibu in 9470 Brocade Dream Steals the Scene

Also, 1963 Charmin’ Chatty in handmade jumper and blouse

The California line--The Ice Cream Shoppe

From the 1988 booklet, with the mat included

1989 booklet, mat not included.
FYI, the dolls are Jewel Secrets Ken in
#2691 Love Notes and
blonde Funtime Barbie in her original outfit.
 The Barbie Ice Cream Maker was sold between 1987 and 1990.  It was pictured in the 1987, 1988 and 1989 American booklets and the 1989 and 1990 Estrela booklets from Brazil.  It was not officially part of the California line but since it was sold at the same time many associate the two series.

These are the versions of the Ice Cream Maker.
1987 and 1988 #3653 Ice Cream Shoppe with the mat (Purchased at a flea market for $6.)
1988 #5163 California Ice Cream Cart sold only in Europe
1989 #3653 Ice Cream Shoppe without the mat
1989 Estrela Sorveteria (Ice Cream Shoppe) sold only in Brazil, came with the mat
1990 #5323 Ice Cream Maker

Accessories were clever but also very odd.  Chairs convert into ice cream cups.  Barstools double as plastic spoons.  (I wonder how many of those spoons ended up in the trash with other plastic spoons after a picnic?)  The push handles on the cart do not stay attached.  Since I am missing the backdrop sign, I would have not known what the stand with the two poles was, except for the booklet photos.  On the other hand, I love the mat and the Barbie-size ice cream cones!

This playset is beautiful, but its proportions are off, as you can see by my photos compared to the prototypes in the booklets.  The chairs and table are slightly short for the dolls.  Don't get me started on the bizarre ice cream spoon bar chairs which aren't really sturdy enough to hold a doll.  Meanwhile, the ice cream cart is several scale sizes too big for Barbie.

If I learn the Kmart variations for knit outfits #4464 Los Angeles and #4466 Santa Monica, I will add that information.  I will also add the company names or stock numbers of the licensed merchandise when I learn that as well.
The "Living Doll" record was written by Brian Wilson, Eugene Landy (Brian's infamous psychiatrist) and Alexandra Morgan (Landy's girlfriend).
#4467 Los Angeles from Kmart and #4469 California are two of my all-time favorite Barbie and Ken outfits.  Although Fashion Friend #7488 is actually a top and skirt, together they make what I think is the most beautiful sundress Mattel has ever sold.
As for making ice cream?  I will give you an update when I have the time to try this set to make it.

From the 1990 Estrela booklet from Brazil

As you can see, the 11 1/2 dolls
such as Mrs. Heart
are too tall to stand under the umbrella.

Only the smaller dolls
such as Megan Heart and California Skipper
fit in the ice cream cups/chairs.

Island Fun Barbie and Megan Heart
wearing outfits that match the Ice Cream Shoppe.

Perhaps all those yellow and white striped outfits
were meant to be the Ice Cream Shoppe employees' uniforms?

The California line--The playsets and accessories

The entire gang at the Surf N Shop.
The shop had umpteen accessories which were too numerous to show.
Skipper is the only one who can stand on the surfboard.

Cover of the summer 1988 issue
of Barbie, The Magazine 
Betsy Loredo's story
in the summer 1988 issue of Barbie, The Magazine

1988 #4461 California/California Dream Surf Shop (Original purchase price $8.99.)  It came with numerous accessories, including a long T-shirt that could double as a nightshirt.
1988 #4462 California/California Dream Hot Dog Stand
1988 #4520 California Dream Beach Taxi
1988 #5163 California Ice Cream Cart sold only in Europe
1988 #7939 California Dream Dune Buggy
1988 #7762 California Dream Pool Party
1988 #7767 California Dream Patio Pool Party.  Also known as California Dream Malibu Beach Party
1988 ? Club California Barbie Cabriolet
1988 #4930663 California Dream Jeep N Beach Party
1989 Estrela ? Lanche Legal (Cool Snack) sold only in Brazil.  Same design as the Hot Dog Stand
1990 Estrela ? Surf Sport Shop sold only in Brazil

1988 Barbie, the Magazine for Girls, summer 1988, with California Dream Barbie and Ken on the cover.  (Original purchase price $1.95.)  The short story inside was called “Volleyball Victory,” by Betsy Loredo.  It’s about a team called The Waves (California Barbie, Christie, Midge and Teresa, and Dr. Ken) against another team called The Beach Balls.  Others in the story are Nurse Whitney and Cheerleader Teen Skipper.  The article mentions the Surf N Shop, the Hot Dog Stand and the Beach Taxi.
1988 Barbie Journal, fall/winter 1988, published in Germany, had two beautiful photos of the new line of dolls.
1988 Thermos ? Club California lunchbox sold only in Canada
1989 Golden #1146-8 California Dream Big Coloring Book
1989 Golden #4914 California Hot Dog Stand Barbie and Ken frame tray puzzle (Original purchase price at Children's Palace $.99 on July 16, 1990.)
1989 ? ? California Barbie Travel Set
1990 Arco #7478 California Dream Barbie 5 1/2-inch plastic rotating miniature  (Original purchase price at Woolworth's $2.99.)
1991 Applause ? California Barbie rubber 3-inch tall miniature

from the fall 1988 issue of Barbie Journal

From the fall 1988 issue of Barbie Journal

From the 1989 Estrela booklet in Brazil

From the 1990 Estrela booklet in Brazil

1989 Golden Frame Tray Puzzle

Arco sold many variations of its mini spinners, which can be linked together.

The California line--The clothes

Back of the clothing box
From the 1988 poster
Barbie Journal, fall 1988

Barbie clothing
All came with shoes and accessories.  The woven cotton outfits came with yellow visors and yellow 1980s Hong Kong heels.  (How did she walk in the sand in those shoes?)  Felt belts and flying discs were dark pink or yellow, although there was no set color for any outfit.   The shoes varied for the knit ensembles.  The names come from the decals on the shirts.  You can find the outfits on ebay with both the California and California Dream logos.
#4464 Los Angeles yellow stretch pants, white T-shirt with flamingos decal (called Flamingo in Mexico)
#4464 Los Angeles from Kmart
#4465 California oversized white blouse and matching capri pants (Original purchase price at Children’s Palace $5.99 on Feb. 17, 1989.)  (Called Fisherman/Pescador in Mexico)
#4465 California oversized yellow striped blouse and matching capri pants from Kmart.  (Original purchase price $6.99.)   Matches Mrs. Heart’s and Megan Heart’s #9595 Jumpsuits from 1985.
#4466 Santa Monica white knit halter, dark pink stretch pants
#4466 Santa Monica from Kmart
#4467 Los Angeles pink print fitted blouse, matching mini skirt (Original purchase price at Children's Palace $5.99 on July 7, 1989.)
#4467 Los Angeles blue and white striped fitted blouse, matching mini skirt from Kmart (Original purchase price $6.69 on March 17, 1989.)  Matches the Kmart Fashion Friend #7488 sundress from 1990, also a Kmart exclusive.
#4468 Hollywood white knit oversized T-shirt and white knit stretch pants, long dark pink straight knit skirt (Original purchase price at Children's Palace $4.22, on July 9, 1992.)
#4468 Hollywood white knit oversized T-shirt and yellow stretch pants, long pale pink straight knit skirt from Kmart

One Ken outfit
#4469 California aqua print shirt, aqua stripe shorts, heavy white T-shirt (Original price $5.99 from Zayre's, on Feb. 17, 1989.)
#4469 California white shirt with LP print, blue shorts and blue T-shirt from Kmart (Original price $6.69 on July 7, 1989.)  

California Kens in variations of #4469 California.
On the left is a Kmart exclusive.

Island Fun Barbies in variations of #4465 California.
On the right is a Kmart exclusive.

Sensations Bopsy and Island Fun Teresa
in variations of #4467 Los Angeles.
On the left is a Kmart exclusive.