Fifties Toys          

Dolls of the Fifties


by Cindy Wright

Dolls have been a favorite of little girls since the dawn of time. Even when a child’s family could not afford to purchase a doll, they were homemade whether it would be a cloth doll, paper doll or a doll made out of corn stalks. The decade I am most fascinated with concerning dolls is the 1950’s. I will cover five dolls that were popular in the 1950’s.

The Deluxe Reading Grocery Store Dolls were sold in grocery stores in the 1950s. These dolls were very large; they were 30 inch fashion dolls. The most popular names for the dolls were; Betty the Beautiful Bride, Sweet Rosemary, and Darling Debbie. Little girls of the 1950s begged their mothers for this lovely doll. There were some slight variations in their faces. The dolls were a one piece of soft vinyl body that was stuffed and had a wire inside each limb which allowed her to be posed. The dolls also had molded high-heeled feet.

Tiny Tears was also another very popular doll in the 1950s. The tiny doll had two tiny holes at the inside corner of her eyes that allowed her to cry real tears when her mommy squeezed her stomach after she had been fed. Tiny Tears dolls were made with rubber bodies, the later ones were all vinyl. The Tiny Tears dolls ranged in size from 11 ˝ to 20 inches.

Toodles, though not as popular as Tiny Tears, was a good seller in the late 50s, early 60s. They were actually marketed as “Toodles: The Action Doll" in 1955, and were considered a deluxe, high quality doll, and they were rather expensive. Their special feature was that they had extra joints at the elbows and knees which allowed them to be posed in several positions. Toodles could sit, kneel, put her hands together as if to pray or play with toys, and could play with her fingers and toes. Most often they were sold in rompers, but some had fancy nylon dresses. Some Toodles were also drink and wet dolls.

Vogue had a teenage line of dolls. The more popular of these dolls was Jill. Jill had lots of outfits that could be purchased separately and also a variety of accessories and furniture. Jill was first introduced in 1957 with her friend Jan following a year or so later the dolls were 10 ˝ inches tall and some were made of hard vinyl with rooted saran hair. They also had a swivel waist, and no jointed knees. Jill was all hard plastic with a glued on saran wig. Jill did not have a swivel waist but did have jointed knees. Both came with earrings.

Most of us are familiar with Dennis the Menace either through comic strips, cartoons, Television shows or movies. However there were also dolls of Dennis. Dennis the Menace dolls were based on the popular comic strip character, and later the TV kid, who wrecked havoc in the neighborhood, in the 1950s. The Dennis the Menace dolls were made in the mid-to late 50s. Dennis dolls were 17 inches tall and made of vinyl. His head was jointed at the neck and his hair was molded and painted. Dennis had stationary glassine eyes. The only mark on the doll to identify it is "Dennis the Menace” that is stamped on the back of the dolls neck.

If you have any of these beautiful dolls you might just have a doll worth a lot of money, especially if they are still in excellent shape. These dolls were very popular in the 1950s you often saw little girls playing dolls together, back when life was simpler. When children were not so rushed to grow up, a time when little girls in the neighborhood gathered together to play dolls and enjoy just being children.

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