I have this weird philosophy about life which applies so well to my doll collection, and that is if I really want something and for whatever reason although mostly because it appears that I either have expensive tastes, like the most wanted dolls or both, anyway my philosophy is this: If I want something and have been outbid so many times that it looks like I should give up on my wish of owning said doll, I do so... and then oddly what happens is in time it comes back around and for an even better price than how much it was when I was outbid!
This is precisely what happened with my Little Miss No Name, Susie Sad Eyes, Blythe, Pullip, Skelita Cavaleras and too many others to list right now and seeing as the title of this post is "So Surprised Suzie", her too!
So I couldn't believe my luck when I found her a few weeks ago from a Seller in the Netherlands who had her listed on Buy it Now for € 9.99 or £ 8.22 - Approximately US $13.78.
Postage was also pretty cheap €13.00 (approx. US $17.94 ) so all in all I paid £18.92 for her, pretty amazing when a quick search on Ebay will show them average going price of $75.00 - $125.00 ( £44.68 - £74.47 )!!
Here she is in her listing photo's - unfortunately I haven't had a chance to photograph my girl just yet so for the purpose of adding her to my collection blog list, I've uploaded the sales shots instead.
One of the things that turned me off these dolls when they were originally sold is the crazy outfits they were wearing, at that time I was in my early teens and not only had I not gotten into making outfits for my dolls but I had also packed most of them away as I was in that annoyingly awkward stage of life where you can't bear to part with childhood things but at the same time feel you shouldn't still enjoy them or at least be seen to enjoy them as you're now too old to do so; heck I'm still at that stage of life, the difference is now I just embrace my love of plastic people and don't care who knows about it!
Anyhoo, getting back to Suzie, she has such a crazy face that I can't help but smile when I look at her, and she makes the perfect friend for Little Miss No Name, she's slightly shorter standing at 13 inches to Little Miss' 15, but they do look adorable together, so I really must get some photo's sorted out soon...
On the listing, the seller wrote this: "The doll is in played with condition. She has short, cut hair. No missing hair plugs. Good eyebrows. Good lips. Frizzy eyelashes. Clear, bright eyes.The outfit is homemade."
However, this turned out not to be the case (in a good way) as the seller obviously does not know very much about these dolls, it turned out my Suzie had not had a haircut; these dolls originally had their (rooted) hair styled so that they had two crimped bunches at either side of their heads, as the designer Mel Birnkrant envisioned his creations.
The resulting dolls have these bunches hanging down in such a way that the length of each is equal to the length of hair on the rest of the head, which of course means that the "bunch hair" is slightly longer than the rest of the head hair, this is not at all noticeable when the bunches are in place but once they are removed it gives the doll the impression that her hair has been cut unevenly.
My girl's hair has not been cut, it has however been removed from its original style, but as the crimped areas are also untouched it makes it easy to restyle into the original bunches as the rest of the hair is straight.
Her face paint is perfect, her lashes are easily fixed and she's also still wearing her original nappy (bonus!), underneath her nappy (well of course I just had to look!) is the printed "Tattoo" stating "Baby Face™" on her right cheek - the colour of which; I have discovered indicates the production year and subsequently the moulds used in their production (a bit like the tattoos on Cabbage Patch Doll Bum-Bums); mine has a bubblegum pink coloured tattoo (or Barbie Pink - think 1980's) which apparently means she is a first year doll - double bonus!!
Although she came to me in played with condition, all of her joints are also in perfect condition and in some places "fresh out of the box stiff" and her "homemade outfit" not only fits her perfectly but to my mind suits her far more than the original outfits these dolls came with - which I cannot help but find to be quite tacky looking, although sadly me being me, I would have been forced to kept her in it had she of arrive in her original one as I'm kind of a purist like that, which is why this little girl was perfect for me in everyway.
The base of her neck reads © 1990 L.G.T.I. #2 CHINA, and on her back she has the inscription © 1990 L.G.T.I. CHINA.
The copyright year is obvious especially when combined with her tattoo colour, and the fact that the Baby Face range had a very limited run, in terms of best selling dolls (which they were at the time, surpassed only by sales of Barbie) - 1990 to 1991, so the 1990 legend puts my Suzie in the first year range, L.G.T.I stands for Lewis Galoob Toys International, # denotes which head mould was used; #2 stands for So Surprised Suzie and her African American counterpart, which I think is also called So Surprised Suzie.
This information may be of help to someone who has come into possession of one of these dolls in a bit of a state and doesn't know which one they've got - as there were 16 dolls / variations produced in the first run I guess it could be a little confusing.
As you can see from my photographs, the Babyface range of dolls are poseable due to being jointed at their elbows and knees, what is not apparent however, is that these dolls have ball joints, and as well as being movable in the places already mentioned they have a total of nine points of articulation and of course a movable head as well - the neck of which also has a ball joint.
They are also strung with elastic, so any problems that may be encountered with loose or sticking limbs or even broken joints can be fixed in a similar way to fixing another type of BJD, i.e: restringing, sueding or even replacement of ball joints with wooden beads etc.
Another similarity is their eyes, Baby Face has 20mm half round acrylic eyes, which can be swapped out, replaced if scratched or even if you just want to give her a different look, and as she takes standard sized eyes it is very easy to buy replacement ones from either BJD stockists or Reborn suppliers etc.
The reason for the end of production was not due to sales, however as the company has never released a statement explaining why such a popular line of dolls was retired at the height of it's popularity, this is information which is unlikely to ever be known.
Having finally gotten my own Suzie doll, I can state in all honesty that it certainly wasn't an exercise in quality control gone bonkers, as in terms of workmanship these dolls are way better than most, and with easily replaceable and fixable parts, value for money too.
Nowadays, possibly for some or all the reasons I've mentioned above and definitely because of their adorable little facial expressions, these dolls have become very sought after by adult collectors, so they are now enjoying a secondary market, hence the often large price tag and the fact that I had to wait so long to add mine to my dolly family.
Below are some images, I half-inched from Ebay listings, which show "So Surprised Suzie" in her original outfit, heart charm & box...
The back of the box shows 11 dolls and their outfits, which were/ are also available, although many of them, especially the dark skinned ones are very hard to come by.
Apart from the adorable face Suzie came with a little white heart shaped charm, possibly to be placed on a necklace or keyring, this charm had a coloured centre, a deep pink or red colour, made out of similar substance to those "fortune telling fish" you get inside Christmas crackers. You can see it in the first "with box" photo above.
When you warmed the charm up (in your hands, just like the fish!) a message appears across the centre, Suzie's read "Surprise - I really love you"!
The other good thing about these "nakie" pic's is that it shows the articulation points on her limbs quite clearly, however as the ball joints are hidden inside the limbs themselves it' not possible to see the joints themselves clearly.
The other point to note is Suzie's toddler type pot belly and her perfect proportions, which just make her even more adorable!
As for the outfit she was originally sold with, I really cannot work out what it is about...
Unfortunately this doll has had her original hairstyle taken down, so you cannot see the full effect of the hair and the hat together, or even the exact premise for the doll, but regardless, let's start with the hat - or should that be "start on it"?!
It also appears to be made of plastic, but surely not, that cannot be right, still whatever it is made of, having such a large floppy brim doesn't quite gel for me when you consider that without it's top, it is nothing more than a overlarge visor and as far as I can tell, it doesn't fit in with the rest of the outfit or at least add to it in such a way as to give a hint as to what the rest of her outfit is supposed to be... I mean, what exactly is the theme here?
Her dress, (or maybe it's a tunic) is so short it doesn't quite reach her hips, to my mind had this of been a "Baby doll" type dress - think 1950's toddler wear, it would have at least come down to the top of her thighs, however this dress ends just after her waist and has a weird little thing, like an oversized voile handkerchief sewn into the mid section, for no reason I can discern.
Not only that it is styled so that it exposes her little tummy as well as her entire nappy from the front and is split at the back to expose not only her entire nappy from behind but also part of her back as well...
To me it looks wrong, like it is missing a pair of big baggy bloomers below it, but if you compare the outfit with the one shown on the box, it is complete.
|image from Beautiful Baby Vintage - pattern seller on Ebay.|
To my mind, Suzie's outfit looks like the finished article should have resembled the one depicted in the above image; taken from an ebay listing for a vintage pattern.
However, seeing as the outfit in the photo's and on the box is of the complete outfit, that is not the case.
Still, the above picture does give me some idea of what to make for her, I mean, how adorable would Suzie look in this little outfit?
I also keep thinking, there would have to have been some idea behind the outfit they decided to release her with, in some ways the outfit looks quite elaborate which again implies a theme, but nope for the life of me I still cannot imagine just what it was.
Still it does look pretty cute in this photo so maybe that was the point of it, but apart from being able to flap the "hankie" type bit at the front and then snap quick photo's of it in motion, I'm still not sure of the point of it at all.
Moving on downward, her little plastic booties are adorable and not only have heart detailing on the sides but also all over the underside of them... as my girl didn't come with hers *sob* - I cannot say for sure if her socks are stuck into them and therefore part of the shoe themselves or if they are separate - if so that would make for some more cute photographs of "toddler in socks" proportions!
But before I go, I think I should leave you with this adorable close up.