by Sally DeSmet Trueblood

by Sally DeSmet Trueblood

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The 1950s Shirley Temple

Ideal Toy Company saw a resurgence in the desire for Shirley Temple dolls when Shirley Temple hosted her own television show in the 1950s. Ideal owned the rights to the Shirley Temple doll, and re-issued the Shirley Temple in the 1950s. The dolls were made in the 1950s and through the early 1960s.

Shirley was made of vinyl with rooted hair. They were a durable doll, and mass produced... and wildly popular! The dolls came in five sizes: 12 inch, 15, 17, 19, and the "playpal" size 36 inch. The 12 inch dolls are the most prevalent and easiest to find, and the 36 inch doll is the hardest to find. The 17 and 19 inch Shirleys came in both sleep eyes and "flirty" eyes. Flirty eyes are eyes that can rock back and forth, and they are on a ball jointed head that can rotate in more directions than the standard doll.

The dolls are always marked so they are easy to identify. They will always be marked Ideal Dolls along with the size number: For example, a 12 inch doll will be marked Ideal Doll ST12, a 15 inch doll will be marked Ideal Doll ST15. They will be marked on the back of the head and the back.

Ideal also marketed extra outfits for the 12 inch doll. Mint in box outfits are hard to find, as well as mint in box dolls. One note: there is a huge difference between "mint in box" and "doll with box." A mint in box doll should be unplayed with. A played with doll can have her original box, but a mint in box doll should never have been played with.

I will be writing more on Shirleys, as well as other dolls from the 1950s - and feel free to send me your pictures or questions on Shirley Temple or any of your dolls! I'm also happy to identify your doll for you!

1 comment:

  1. I make dolls clothes and a friend has some 1950's dolls that she would like me to make clothes for. I mostly sew for modern dolls. She doesn't know what they are. She is going to send pictures to me and hopefully find markings on them. She says they are 12" which from what I can tell wasn't a very common size. I see that you may be able to help with this. How do I send pictures to you?
    Jennifer Stiff