Fort Myers Florida Weekly

Remember Miss Revlon? She was quite a doll in her day

COLLECTOR’S CORNER


This 18-inch Miss Revlon doll, found at a Goodwill store, is in good condition, though it is missing its shoes, stockings and hat. SCOTT SIMMONS / FLORIDA WEEKLY

This 18-inch Miss Revlon doll, found at a Goodwill store, is in good condition, though it is missing its shoes, stockings and hat. SCOTT SIMMONS / FLORIDA WEEKLY

Product placement and advertising to children can drive us nuts. But it’s nothing new. Toys have been the gateway to adult products for decades.

One only has to go back to mid-century America to see the marketing in full swing.

The Ideal Toy Co. created ties between its products and the famous people and goods of the day.

In the 1930s, the company was known for its Shirley Temple dolls, created in the image of the child star. Dolls representing singing actresses Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland followed.

Then the company signed an agreement with a medical supplies company and the Miss Curity nurse doll was born.

Home permanent waves became the rage, so in 1949, Ideal created the Toni doll in tandem with that company’s products, offering a sugar water-based permanent solution for budding hair stylists to use on their dolls.

Miss Revlon, named for the cosmetics company, was born in 1956.

But she was different. Her predecessors all had been on a child’s body.

Scott SIMMONS

Scott SIMMONS

And Miss Revlon? Made of new-fangled vinyl, she sported a swivel waist, feet designed for high-heeled shoes and — dare we say it? — a womanly bosom.

She came on the heels of a pricier fashion doll, Cissy, introduced by the Madame Alexander Co. in 1955.

But this 18-inch Miss Revlon is beautifully painted, from her face to her fingernails and toenails. Her rooted hair softly curls around her face.

Though it’s not the quality of a Madame Alexander frock, the flocked organdy fabric of her dress — this is the black Cherries a la Mode model — drapes well and there is a matching slip.

No well-dressed woman of the ’50s would have left the house not wearing stockings — this doll came with a pair of nylons, strappy black sandals and, to finish the outfit, a straw hat.

Those accessories are now missing — it will be easy enough to replace them.

In 1958, Ideal created Little Miss Revlon, who stands at about 10½ inches tall. Those, too, were popular until the advent of Barbie in 1959. By 1960, Miss Revlon dolls were no more.

Ideal marketed other such dolls as Betsy Wetsy, Patty Playpal, Tammy, Thumbelina and Chrissy — whose hair could be styled short or long.

Ideal’s last big hit was the Rubik’s Cube before the company merged with others and finally folded in 1997. ¦

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *