1970 - 2005: Animation & Cartoon Character Dolls

Disney Characters, 8 inch dolls by R Dakin company, early 1970s

In the 1970's the R Dakin company produced an impressive collection of cartoon character dolls based on Disney, Hanna-Barbara and Warner Bros. properties, among others. Above are the Mickey Mouse and Pluto figures. Mickey is 8 inches tall, has fabric clothes and plastic shoes, all of which are removable. Both figures have movable arms and legs and the head turns.

 
Here is a back view of Mickey to show the snaps on his shirt. Other Disney characters available in this series include Donald Duck, Goofy, Mini Mouse, Pinocchio, and Dumbo.
 
Hanna-Barbera Characters, 8 inch figures by R Dakin company, early 1970s

These two figures were made by the R Dakin company in the early 1970's. Baby Puss is the Flintstone's cat and a hard to find figure in this collection. Dino is the Flintstone's pet dinosaur. He's 7.5 inches tall.

Hanna-Barbera Characters, 7 inch figures (unknown manufacturer), 1980 - 1982

These three figures are souvenirs from Canada's Wonderland, made in the early 1980's in the style of the above Dakin figures. However, these are a bit smaller than the Dakin figures. Shown here is Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound. Yogi is about 7 inches tall and marked 1980. Scooby is also marked 1980. A penny bank of Scooby-Doo seated (with a one piece body mold and articulated neck) was also made and used the same head as the above figure. The same was done with Yogi Bear. The banks were also Canada's Wonderland souvenir items, and were sold on the same shelf right next to the figures. Huckleberry is about 5.5 inches tall and marked 1982. Figures of Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and Scrappy-Doo were also made as part of this set.

Update June 2017: Below are images that I found online of the Fred Flintstone figure and the Yogi Bear Bank from Canada's Wonderland. The Yogi bank was found at the following link and is valued at $60: http://www.gasolinealleyantiques.com/cartoon/dakins.htm


 
Disney Characters, 9 inch plush dolls by Knickerbocker, early 1980s

Here is a small 9 inch plush toy of Mickey Mouse from the late 1970s or early 1980s. This was one of my favourite plush toys when I was around 8 or 9 years old and it was played with a lot. Mickey's shirt says "Mickey Mouse Power". There is also a Donald Duck and Goofy in this series with sayings on their shirts. Donald's shirt says "You quack me up" and Goofy's says "I'm a Goofy Guy".

The Smurfs, 6.5 inch plush doll by Ganz Bros., 1983

Here is the villain Gargamel and his cat Azreal from the popular Smurfs books and animated series. The cat is sewn onto Gargamel's body and the pair were sold together. Often the cat is missing from this doll as kids would snip the stitching holding it onto Gargamel to play with them separately. This Gargamel is missing his single tooth (a small white square) that was glued inside the mouth. A larger sized plush Gargamel was also made along with a larger plush Azreal, but these were sold separately. Ganz Bros made a wide variety of various sized Smurf plush toys throughout the 1980s. Below is a side view.


Inspector Gadget, 12 inch doll by Galoob, 1983

Here is a very sought after action figure/doll of Inspector Gadget made in 1983. This figure was not available in stores for long and, although not rare, is still a hard to find item. Galoob did quite an amazing job on this toy! Gadget has several functions including a pop up neck, a missile hand, a pop out hand, and spring loaded feet. He also comes with a "robot arm", hammer, umbrella, hand cuffs and parts for his hat helicopter.

Here he is with his feet and neck pushed back into place. This specific doll was purchased at Toy City which used to be at Westgate Mall, here in Ottawa, ON. My mom bought it for me, I think it was a birthday present. I recall that I had kept the box for a while but eventually it got thrown out which is too bad. This doll mint in the box is worth $200 to $250. Luckily I didn't loose any of the pieces for mine, so it's still worth at least $100. I certainly would never sell it for less than that, if I ever did sell it, which I wouldn't! :)

Robot arm with umbrella.

Robot arm with hammer.

Helicopter blades and handles

Here's Gadget without his jacket, which is quite detailed. There are two plastic snaps inside the jacket to keep it closed, and no less than TEN white buttons sewn on! The belt has Velcro at the end to keep it closed, and a small plastic belt buckle for detail. 

Here is the back view without his coat to show the small light blue buttons that control the action features. When the head/neck is in the down position it's quite loose, which is how the toy was made. You have to press in the small button on his back and hold it in, and then press down on the head, and then release the button to set the spring loaded neck feature. Then press the button again and Gadget's head/neck pops up. Gadget's hands work the same way only the right hand is a missile that shoots out. Both hands are jointed at the fingers allowing for the hand to be open or closed. This is a very awesome and well made figure!

Alvin and the Chipmunks, 8 inch doll by Ideal, 1983

In the early 1980's the Chipmunks, who first gained popularity in the 1950s, made a comeback with a brand new Saturday morning cartoon TV series titled "Alvin and the Chipmunks". Ideal produced an assortment of toys based on the new series including plush toys, wind up figures and an extensive collection of PVC figures. Additionally, in 1983 Ideal produced a playset called "The Chipmunks on Tour Van" to be used with the PVC figures. Included with the playset was an 8 inch doll of the Chipmunks manger Dave Seville, shown above next to the Mego Spider-Man for size comparison. The Dave doll is 8 and 3/8 inches tall, while the Spidey doll is 7 and 7/8 inches.
 
Here is a closer view of Dave's face with a nice smile. This is a rare thing for poor Dave who often lost his temper trying to get his lead chipmunk Alvin to co-operate. I guess Ideal figured that a smiling Dave doll would go over better with parents than an angry Dave doll. To my knowledge this is the only time the character of Dave Seville was marketed as a toy.

Granted, this is a very bizarre photo! The purpose of it is to show that in order to make their Dave doll, Ideal simply reused the child-size doll body that was originally created by Gabriel for their popular Lone Ranger series of dolls, produced from 1973 to at least 1978. The Dave doll uses the body for Gabriel's Dan Reid and Little Bear dolls, though the latter was a different colour of plastic. As I don't have either of those dolls, shown next to Dave is the 10 inch doll of the Lone Ranger's villain Butch from the same series, which has the same type of doll body. The pant leg on the Dave doll is too narrow to take off over his shoes, which are attached, and Butch's boots are a tad difficult to get off, so the pants for both dolls couldn't be removed for the photo.
 
The Dave doll body wasn't the only recycled toy in "The Chipmunks on Tour Van" playset, as the tour van was previously part of Ideal's line of dolls and toys based on stunt driver Evel Knievel, produced in the mid 1970's. For that series the van was called the "Evel Knievel Scramble Van". An illustration of the toy is seen in a comic book ad on this page of the blog:
 
In 1984, the year after the Dave doll was first offered, Ideal produced a series of Chipmunk dolls that were marketed as "Poseable Play Pals". These are slightly taller than the Chipmunks PVC figures. There were 10 dolls in the collection, each sold separately:

Alvin
Simon
Theodore
Brittany
Jeanette
Eleanor
Uncle Harry
Alvin in Concert
Simon in Concert
Theodore in Concert

According to Wikipedia, Dave Seville was the stage name of Ross Bagdasarian, the creator of the Chipmunks, who was a singer and entertainer (see link below). The cartoon character version of Dave, which the doll is based on, doesn't look very much like the real-life Dave.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_and_the_Chipmunks
 
Get Along Gang, 6 inch doll by Tomy, 1984

This is Montgomery "Good News" Moose from the Get Along Gang cartoon series from the mid 1980s. This doll is 6 inches tall including his antlers. I was never into the Get Along Gang, but I always liked Montgomery Moose and was glad to find this one second hand in the early 1990s. Often these figures are missing the fabric shirts, so it's lucky when a loose figure turns up complete like this one. Below is the back view. Velcro was used to close the back of the shirt.

Originally there were six figures in the collection, with the other five being Bingo "Bet it all" Beaver, Woolma Lamb, Dotty Dog, Zipper Cat and Portia Porcupine. At least three more figures were added to the series before it was discontinued.
 
Snoopy, 8 inch doll by Another Determined Production, possibly from 1984
 
Here is a very awesome Snoopy doll with moveable arms and legs, fabric ears and tail, and a loose black plastic collar. I found him at a nostalgia show in the 1990's wearing only the green pants shown. I've pictured Snoopy next to the Mego 8 inch Spider-Man for size comparison.

Here is Snoopy without the green pants.

A side view to show the shape of Snoopy's snout and body.

This Snoopy doll has a black spot on his back and a fabric tail.
 
I haven't been able to find any images of this Snoopy doll in original packaging online, so I don't have any "hard evidence" for a date that this doll was made. The bottom of the right foot is marked "© 1958, 1966 United Feature / Syndicate, Inc. / ANOTHER DETERMINED / PRODUCTION/ KOREA" however I'm doubtful that this doll is from 1966, and here's why...
 
There are three other very similar dolls to this one. The easiest way to tell all of these apart is the loose black plastic collar that the Snoopy shown above is wearing. Knickerbocker did an extensive series of dress up dolls in the 1970s called Snoopy and Belle. The dolls for that series have similar fabric ears but do not have a collar, and the bodies are taller and slimmer than this Snoopy. The mouth is also drawn differently, being more of an evenly drawn line, while the above Snoopy has a "sketched" looking mouth.
 
I have also seen a Knickerbocker version with essentially the same body as the doll shown above, but the collar is red plastic, and the head is quite different with the ears being sculpted and painted as part of the head. The nose is also much lower on Snoopy's snout. This doll is marked "©1958, 1966 United Features Synd" on the bottom of the foot with the Knickerbocker logo. It has an older look to the style of the head, so I suspect that it is the original doll that started this line of dress up dolls. The "Determined" company may have just used the body from this earlier Knickerbocker doll and made a new head for it. That's my theory anyway.
 
More recently, in 2015 the Tonner doll company produced similar Snoopy dolls, however the hands are quite different, with the right hand in a fist, plus the eyes are thinner lines, and the mouth has a different "sketched" line shape.
 
According to the website linked below, the "Determined" Snoopy doll series has six different outfits. The doll for each is the same, only the outfit is different. The outfits are: Golfing, Tennis, Baseball, Roller-skating, Sailor, and Cassette player. The green pants on my Snoopy seem to be from the Golfing outfit. Unfortunately there are no photos of the dolls in original packaging, but the author of the blog listed these Snoopy's as being made in 1984. Here is the link:
 
To make this more confusing, the same blog also has a post showing the above Snoopy doll along with a doll of Belle as a Bride and Groom set (so this is the seventh outfit for Snoopy and the second of three Belle dolls, not counting her outfits):
 
 
Popeye, 18 inch (estimate) dolls by presents, 1985
 
In the mid 1980's Presents did a remarkable job marketing several collections of larger sized dolls based on comic strip and cartoon characters. The dolls were all made in the same style incorporating plastic heads, hands and shoes with detailed clothes and stuffed bodies. The clothing was made as separate pieces that were sewn in place over top of the doll's body. Buttons, snaps and belts could be undone and the clothing removed, however the feet or hands for these dolls are generally too big to completely remove the clothes. The plastic shoes were flocked to provide a plush effect. Most of the dolls were sold with white metal doll stands which are often missing.
 
Above are three of the dolls from an extensive series based on Popeye. Shown here is Popeye, Olive Oyl, and the baby Swee' Pea. They even gave Popeye some "smoke" in his pipe by gluing some synthetic stuffing to the inside! It's not surprising that this well made doll series became so popular in it's day.
 
Additional dolls in the Popeye series include Brutus (who is essentially the same character as Bluto), Wimpy with a hamburger in his hand, Poopdeck Pappy (Popeye's dad), Sea Hag, and Eugene the Jeep. Pappy is essentially the same as the Popeye doll but with a white flocked beard and a different coloured outfit. The Sea Hag reuses the same hands and feet as Olive Oyl, while Brutus and Wimpy shared the same feet. Eugene the Jeep is the only plush toy in the set and is made with short fake fur.
 
The Popeye series of dolls proved to be so popular that a second smaller sized series of dolls was made using the same format and design as the larger dolls. The smaller series included Popeye, Olive Oyl, Swee' Pea, Brutus and Wimpy. This smaller series was not as well proportioned as the larger set, as some of the heads are too small. Hand puppets of Popeye, Olive Oyl and Swee' Pea were also made using the larger sized doll heads.
 
Conservation tip: When displaying or storing the Sea Hag doll keep her black fabric outfit from contacting the plastic surface of other dolls as the black dye can transfer leaving a stain on the plastic. This happened to the face of a talking doll that I especially liked, which really sucks! As punishment I banished the Sea Hag from my collection and sold her at a nostalgia show! :) Another tip is to store Olive Oyl with a clear baggie over her head to keep her rooted doll hair from getting messy.
 
Presents also made five additional comic strip character dolls series at the same time as their Popeye series, including:
  • Archie (Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Reggie.)
  • Beetle Baily (Beetle Baily wearing a grey helmet and Sarge. Several toy companies, such as Sugar Loaf in the late 1990s and Toy Works, have made similar dolls with plastic heads based on Beetle Bailey. These sets include additional characters such as General Halftrack and Miss Buxley.)
  • Blondie (Blondie and Dagwood)
  • Dennis the Menace (Dennis, Margaret, and Joey. Apparently their dog Ruff was not made as I have yet to find one from this set.)
  • Hi and Lois (Hi, Lois, Trixie, and Dawg)
Disney's Pinocchio, 10 inch doll by Applause, 1990s

Applause did an excellent job on this Pinocchio doll. It looks exactly like the Disney character. The head is especially well sculpted. I only have two complaints: 1) the arms only move back and forth, they can't be positioned out to the side. A ball joint at the shoulder would have been better. 2) It would have been nice if the inside of the mouth was painted black instead of just the tongue being painted.

Collectors who are interested in variations might be interested to know that there is a version of this doll that doesn't have the black lines above the eyeball (where the white part of the eye is).

Disney plush dolls, 10 inch dolls by Applause, 1990s

These Applause plush toys are about 10 inches tall and do not have a date on the tag. They were made during the 1990s. I find that these Applause plush toys are not as common as the Mattel dolls. Above is the Beast plush toy, which I find amazing because of the soft-sculpting and detail in the face. There are many small pieces in the pattern for this doll, and it is quite impressive that something with such detail could be mass produced. Below is a closer view of the detail in the face.



Applause also did a series of Aladdin plush dolls. Here is Prince Aladdin in his white wedding outfit and Abu the Monkey. Both have plastic heads, and Aladdin has plastic hands. His hat is removable. I've also seen an Aladdin from this series that is wearing the city outfit (purple vest and white pants). That doll has the upper half of the body in plastic, and only the legs are stuffed. Other characters in the series include the Genie (10 inch and 16 inch dolls were available as well as a doll-like hand puppet), Princess Jasmine in her white wedding outfit (I have yet to see an applause doll of her in the more common light blue two piece outfit), Rajah the Tiger, Iago the Parrot, and the villain Jafar with a removable staff. All are done in the same style with plastic heads and stuffed bodies. Below are closer views of the faces for Aladdin and Abu.


Disney's Beauty and the Beast Prince, 12 inch doll by Mattel, 1991

Since the early 1990's, Mattel has been offering a variety of Disney doll collections "for girls" which include the male characters from the movies. These dolls use a Ken doll body with a Disney character head. Above is the Beast Prince doll which came with his Prince outfit and his Beast outfit. I'm missing the Prince's shoes. The Beast's jacket has stuffing in it to make it bigger.

To me, the Disney Beast Prince looked like he belonged on a surf board. I think it's because of his long scraggly blond hair. So I found this Ken doll scuba outfit and turned him into a Surfer Dude! It suits him!

Disney's Aladdin, 12 inch doll by Mattel, 1992


Above is Aladdin which came with his Prince outfit and his city outfit. I found this doll second hand so I'm missing the fabric boots, the lamp, and the plastic figure of Abu the Monkey.

Disney's Peter Pan, 10 inch doll by Mattel, 1997

This Peter Pan doll came with strings to be hung up across a room so that the doll could "fly". The plastic feather in his hat is shaped like a hook to glide along the string.
 
Quest for Camelot, 12 inch doll by Hasbro, 1997
 
This is Garrett from the 1997 Warner Bros. animated film Quest for Camelot, a movie that I have yet to see. This doll is made in the same style as the Disney fashion dolls produced by Mattel during the same period. Even the soft fabric used for his shirt is the same type of fabric used for the Mattel dolls. I like the look of this doll but there are two major flaws with it. It's cool that Garrett comes with his friend, Ayden the Falcon and a stick for Ayden to sit on. However, the falcon figure does not stay attached to the stick very well.

The other flaw is with Garrett's hair. I bought this doll new from the store when it went on clearance, so I'm the original owner. When I took the doll out of the box I noticed that the doll's hair was cut very unevenly on one side. He's supposed to have long hair, but the left side of his head has short, badly cut hair as compared with the right side. This really ruined the doll for me, which is too bad as it's quite a nice doll otherwise. I like having this guy in my collection, but I've rarely taken it out of the box over the years because of the messed up hair.

Here's a back view of Garrett's uneven hair cut, the result of a production flaw.

Hasbro made Garrett with the same doll body as their New Kids on the Block dolls, only the legs and briefs are coloured blue.

A closer look at the figure of Ayden the falcon.
 
 Here is Garrett in his original box, more or less the way he came packed.

The back of the box shows Garrett in a slightly different coloured costume, and shows other dolls that are available.

The box also has Garrett's background story in three different languages.
 
Kayley is the only other 12 inch doll that was made.

The rest of the dolls in the series are plush toys of the creatures.
 
Disney's Tarzan, 12 inch action figure by Mattel, 1999
 
This is the 12 inch "Rad Repeatin" Tarzan figure that was sold at the Disney Store while the movie was still in theatres. I have a huge collection of Tarzan figures which I've shown on the Tarzan page of my action figure blog: http://mikeysactionfigures.blogspot.ca/p/i-have-huge-of-tarzan-stuff.html

Disney Beanies, 10 inch dolls (unknown manufacturer), early to mid 2000s
 
These four Disney beanies were sold at Disney Stores around the early to mid 2000s. They are from a very extensive series of beanie dolls based on Disney characters. There must be at least 100 dolls in this collection, however I'm just interested in the boy dolls. Above are (left to right) Eric from The Little Mermaid, the Prince from Snow White, Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty, and Burt from Mary Poppins. I've also seen an Aladdin beanie doll for this series, but have yet to see a Prince Charming doll from Cinderella though I assume one was made.

The Nightmare Before Christmas, 10 inch doll (unknown manufacturer) mid 2000's


This is a 10 inch doll of Jack Skellington from Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas movie. The doll was sold only through the Disney stores. Jack has movable arms and legs but they have a flat/basic joint so the movement is very limited. The head also turns. The bat bow tie is plastic and glued onto his neck. The shoes are painted. The jacket and pants are fabric and well made. Aside from the limited movement this is a very well made doll that looks very much like the original stop-motion character. The front and back view are shown above. A matching Sally doll was also available.


Text and photos © Mike Artelle 2011, 2013

2 comments:

  1. Hey there,

    This is some pretty great stuff. Would you know how someone might go about finding the Daken Hanna Barbera figures? The Wonderland ones in particular are figures I had as a kid and have never been able to find again.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Ryan

    The only suggestion I have is to keep an eye out for them on websites like e-bay or etsy, and at flea markets or nostalgia shows. I've noticed that the Wonderland figures are harder to find than the regular Dakin figures. I had Fred and Barney but gave them away years ago, which I regret. I've only seen one Fred figure since then, so they do seem to be hard to find. Best of luck with your search.

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