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Saturday, 19 April 2014

✿ ☞ Galoob "So Surprised Suzie" Doll ☜ ✿

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 Suzie in the above photo not only illustrates how her hair can look like it's been cut, when in fact it hasn't - like mine did, but also shows her "tattoo" very clearly, this Suzie is also from the first production run, as you can see from the bubblegum colouration of the marking.


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!


Another Way Galoob got it spot on with Suzie is not only giving her articulation and great poseability, but the weight of these dolls and their proportions is such that they not only hold a pose perfectly, but they do not need a stand to do so as their weight is distributed evenly which means that no matter what position you place them in, they do not tumble over... which of course makes them brilliant subjects for photographing and again adds to their appeal on the collector's market.


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 has a huge floppy brim, that's ok, I can deal with that, but for some reason they decided it would look better without a top to it - possibly to accommodate the hairstyle.

 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!

Well, I've done all my "showing off" now and have run out of things to say about Suzie's original outfit etc, so I guess it's time to go off and decide which doll I should blog about next...

But before I go, I think I should leave you with this adorable close up.




             

           Enjoy!

☾ ☼ Emerald The Enchanting Witch - Aka "Endora". ☼ ☽

Adapted image, taken from top of the box - from an ebay listing

Emerald the Enchanting Witch was made in 1972 by Girl's World™ - a division of Milton Bradley Corporation, like Kenner Blythe, she was only produced for one year.

Most people recognise the company Milton Bradley as a creator of Board Games and sadly after their brief foray into the world of doll creation, this is what they decided to stick to and so they discontinued their line of Emerald the Enchanting Witch quite quickly after release.

This of course means that Emerald Witch Dolls are pretty hard to come by, more so as they now seem to be in great demand by collectors.

They do however come up for sale every so often on Ebay and other auction sites, but finding one in good condition or in one of her original outfits with her battery cover intact is rarer still and if you are lucky enough to find all those things in one doll, the chances are her eye mechanism no longer works, if however all these things do come together in one auction listing then, more than likely to get you involved in a long drawn up bidding war that will  end up costing you quite a bit of cash when it's over, but these dolls are super cute and if you fall under her spell and have the cash, she's worth the wait or if you've got it the extra cash!

So, what's the appeal?

Apart from the fact she's a witch and witch dolls are cool, she stands approximately 6 inches tall and has a cute little pot belly. She has ankle length light green hair and light purple skin; but the coolest thing about her is her eyes...

"Endora"

Her eye makeup is very of the time, style wise, and puts me in mind of Agnes Moorehead in Bewitched - ( hence my little girl being called "Endora"!) it's a bright shade of green with tiny flecks of gold glitter over the top.

But even cooler than that is her "light up eyes" ... when you place a AA battery inside her back and shake her up and down for a while, her bright green eyes glow and flash - this looks even cooler in the dark, but as it is intermittent it's not easy to photograph - not that you can tell but the eyes were lighting up in the above photo.

 ... But I have found a video from Wicked Doll on youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYM-Y-HxwEg or watch it below:


                                   

In case you are wondering the light up feature works like this:  the battery is placed in her back and covered, several bouts of shaking cause the circuit to connect and light up the clear bulb which is secured in the base of her neck. Due to the size, colour and transparency of her plastic eyes, the light shines through her eye sockets giving a light green glow as it does... The light is the kind that blinks on and off, so the glow does not come on and stay on, giving the impression the doll's eyes are blinking their green glow.
                    
She also had a variety of outfits, a cauldron, plant spell, crystal ball, an adorable little cottage / carry case and a "dragon car" although that last item was most likely a prototype which never got made or if it did, it's rarer than hen's teeth. 

These items were all sold separately - The doll herself came in the black pvc mini dress and witches hat outfit, when purchased.


Photo from Ebay.com
This advert from 1972, shows the whole range of outfits and items which you could buy to create your own "witchy world" for your Emerald Doll:




I was lucky enough to find one for sale about a week ago from an American Seller on ebay, and as you can see from the listing photos below, she's in pretty good nick...

Ebay Listing Photo
Here's what the seller had to say on the listing:

"For your consideration is an Emerald witch doll. She works, however, it takes a while for her little generator to make enough energy to light the bulb. She took me 12 mins of shaking her and stopping before she lit up. Please remember she is 40+ years old. Battery not included.

She is not perfect, as you can see from the pics there are some melt marks around the neck, her hair is frizzy and appears to have been cut. Her outfit is in great condition and complete."

Ebay Listing Photo

I was unsure from the listing if she came with the back plate to cover her battery casing, as I could not see it in any of the photos and it wasn't mentioned in the listing, I could have contacted the seller but as she looked to be in great condition and I've wanted one of these dolls for ages, I decided it didn't matter and that I'd bid on her regardless... So I did!

Ebay Listing Photo

Even better than finding a listing for an Emerald Doll in good condition - I found one in good condition with one of her outfits - called "Saucy Sprite"  - which was complete and appeared to be in good condition as well.

After placing my bid, I really didn't think I had much chance of winning so I tried to forget about it and took myself off to bed, in the morning I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that I was the only bidder and that I had won her for the starting price of $35.00 - approx. £20.72, outfit and all!

Ebay Listing Photo

I have to say, "Saucy Sprite" was never my favorite of her outfit options, but to my mind it's always a bonus when a doll comes with an original outfit, whatever one it is as it provides a great starting block to use when designing and making her some new togs.

That said, my problem with this outfit was the strange chef shaped hat and apron. The problem for me is... what does a crazy chef's outfit have to do with a sprite being saucy?

I wonder if this is another "lost in translation" type things as in the U.K the word "saucy" tends to conjure an image that's rather risque, which surely wouldn't be the intention of a toy maker, so I can only guess that "saucy" in American - English is something similar to "jaunty" in it's definition, or perhaps even "quirky"as that word really suits this outfit!

Photo by Fitzcharming on Flickr.
 No matter - since placing it upon her, I've changed my mind, I think she looks adorable and the little hat is rather cute and makes her look quite eccentric when worn.

After a little over a week, she arrived - pretty fast as I normally expect to wait at least two for U.S. deliveries ...  The seller hadn't dressed her for me so I got to play with her right away! (•‿•)

While I was doing my initial "new doll" check over, I discovered that she did in fact come with her back plate intact and better than that it not only fits perfectly, without any looseness but it is also in perfect condition, with not even a scratch on it !  ^_^

And her crazy outfit was not only clean and smell free but it was also in such good condition that it is still crisp and has a "fresh out of the packet" feel... I'd be surprised if it has been used very much at all.

As you can see from this photo of the "Saucy Sprite" outfit in it's original packaging, all that's missing from the one "Endora" came with is the little pink coat hanger, which is fine by me as it was never going to get much use anyway!



Here's "Endora" enjoying her first photoshoot in her new home. The glue bleed the seller mentioned is not visible when she has her clothes on, so at present I'm unsure if I will bother to try and remove it - I'm not sure how deep the lilac skin tone goes so it's possible, if these dolls were dyed after casting, that it could come off if scraped against, which is something I obviously don't want to risk.

 She's pretty much perfect as is and having to go through a trial an error process for dye baths which may be too harsh for her vintage vinyl to take, is something I'd much rather avoid unless I have no choice.




Her eye mechanism is a little slow to start, but as it does and continues until the battery is removed (there is no on/off switch, so the only way to get it to work is to shake her and to turn it off you have to remove the battery), I don't mind at all, I'm very pleased to own her and would be if she had been in much worse condition than she is!

The staining on her body was easily removed with cotton wool and water, an beneath them, her skin tone is perfect and not at all damaged by the stain or the removal process.

The only issue she does have is that her hair on one side has been cut slightly, but it's not all that noticeable, and the condition of the rest of the hair is such that a reroot isn't required, so another bonus there!




While I was waiting for her to arrive, I had another nose about and discovered a listing for a naked non - working Emerald The Enchanting Witch Doll with a "melted battery back piece" and an asking price of $95.11 - approximately £56.11.

The only complete outfit I could find for sale was still in it's original cellophane, the seller wanted $134.99 - approximately £79.64.

 The boxed one I used a photo of earlier in this post is still connected to the inner card, as she's never been removed and comes with an asking price of $250.00 - approximately £147.50.

I have, in recent months seen listings asking for more than three times this amount, so I guess in a way it's quite cheap, except that you'd have to face the dilemma of whether you should leave her inside or take her out and play with her, buying loose of course alleviates this question as the decision is already made for you and means you can play guilt free!  (>'-')>

As for her little "witches house" / carry case, that comes up every so often too, but always with a large price tag as it's very rare-there is one listed on Ebay.com at present for £500.00 ONO - The seller's paypal isn't working so it's cash on collection from NYC - if the price tag wasn't hairy enough, the location certainly rules me out!


http://www.ebay.com/itm/Emerald-the-Witch-Doll-Haunted-House-Playset-Girls-World-1972-Milton-Bradley-/291104336273?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43c72ba991

Still, I have a plan to make my little girl her own "Witchy Cottage", in fact I'd already got it planned out before she arrived, now I have her to measure up against, I've been finalising the design and am about to make a start... but more about that once I've got something tangible to show off!

Btw, if you'd like to check out the ebay listing for the house, I've placed the link under the picture, so just click the caption.

Well, that's it for now, thanks for reading!
Take care,