MIBDH: Early Black Fashion Dolls

MIBDH: Early Black Fashion Dolls

Black Doll Enthusiast

It is common knowledge that black Francie (whose marketed name was Colored Francie) was the first dark-skinned doll introduced in Mattel's Barbie line in 1965 as Barbie's MODern cousin, followed by friend of Barbie, Christie in 1968. Two versions of black Francie were made:  one with red hair and one with dark brown hair.  1965 is the box date for both versions.  Francie continues to command rather exorbitant prices on the secondary market.  As a result, I do not own an original black Francie

Dyed/painted 30th Anniversary Francie, and reproduction Wild Bunch Francie

After the release of the 30th Anniversary reproduction Francie (the white doll) in 1996, I dyed/painted one brown (shown above).  This was one of my first attempts at colorizing a doll.  A manufactured black version entered my collection later that same year after Wild Bunch Francie was released. 

Live Action Christie remains one of my favorite vintage friends of Barbie followed by the ebony-complexioned Malibu Christie

1975 Malibu Christie and 1960s Midge

Because of the notable similarities and very slight differences, I am of the opinion that vintage Christie uses the same mold as original Midge, or perhaps a tweaked version of Midge's mold. 

American Character's 1963 Tressy, colorized

Many companies attempted to ride the coattails of Mattel by producing teen fashion dolls.  American Character produced a limited edition of black Tressy dolls after first producing the white version.  Tressy is not only a fashion doll, but she has hair that grows with the aid of her grow-hair mechanism.  She is essenitally America's first grow-hair doll.  Later, Ideal Toys obtained the rights to the Tressy name and grow-hair patent from American Character.  Ideal extended the grown-hair family to incorporate Crissy, Velvet, Cinnamon, et. al. 

Similar to black Francie, black Tressy is not an easy doll to acquire when considering "the find" and the price, or vice versa.  Since the price is the precluding factor for me, I again utilized my amateur colorizing skills to make a black one (as pictured above).

Grown Up Tammy

Tammy was Ideal's answer to Barbie.  The rare, black version, Grown Up Tammy, entered the line in 1963.  I was blessed with my version (not colorized!) in approximately 2003.  While not as popular as Barbie, all versions of Tammy remain favorites for collectors.  The black Grown Up version remains rather elusive.

Sindy, a doll native of Britian, first manufactured in 1963 by Pedigree, is a Tammy-type doll (or Tammy is a Sindy-type doll).  Sindy, later manufactured by Marx, obtained a black friend, Gayle in the 1970s.  A never-removed-from-box Gayle is part of my collection, but was not readily accessible for photographing.  Gayle wears her original outfit here.

Barbie Clone by Peggy-Ann Doll Clothes, Inc. no box date, circa 1960s-1970s, probably originally sold through K-Mart (based on the price tag)

Other less well-known manufacturers produced their versions of teen fashion dolls in the 1960s, but they were no competition for Barbie doll sales. These companies include Hasbro, Kenner, Mego, Shillman, Totsy, and others. 

Peggy-Ann Barbie clone, two fashion dolls by Mego, and fashion dolls by Shillman and Totsy, respectively

Maxi Mod Dolls by M. & S. Shillman, Inc. circa 1970s

Note:  The Barbie clone may actually be a tan white doll.  If so, she's very tan.  She was sold to me as AA and I've always considered her a black doll.

Other than Barbie and friends, what are your favorite early black fashion dolls?


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