Vintage Baby Dolls of the 1960s: Cradle of Playtime

If you were a kid in the 1970s or 1980s, then you no doubt played with or around dolls produced in the 1960s … even if you didn’t realize it. Through older siblings, garage sales, and local stores who never seemed to throw away nonperishables (and sometimes perishables!), the vintage baby dolls of the 1960s made their way into kids’ rooms and onto playgrounds for decades to come, and they still bring back memories. How many do YOU remember?

Chatty Cathy

Manufactured by Mattel and first released in 1959, Chatty Cathy was originally marketed as a “talking doll.” She became one of the most popular dolls on the market for years because she could speak more than six phrases at once when powered up.

This doll had a pullstring on her back that would make Cathy talk in an animated fashion.

Baby First Step

The Baby First Step doll, manufactured by Mattel and released in 1961, was one of the first baby dolls that were made to be more realistic. The company used a process called “thermoforming” to create these vinyl-skinned babies with soft bodies that could feel like real infants if handled properly.

Betsy Wetsy

The Betsy Wetsy doll was manufactured by Ideal and first released way back in 1934, one of the early “drink-and-wet” dolls to hit the market. And, even though she had been around for a good lone while by the 1960s, Betsy Wetsy was popular among little girls born late in the Baby Boom and early in the Gen X years.

Cheerful Tearful Baby

The Cheerful Tearful Baby doll, manufactured by Mattel and released in 1964, was one of the first dolls to have a different facial expression for each mood. Move her arms up and down, and she becomes either happy or sad (or “cheer-less,” if you will). Apparently it turns out that this kind of technology would have been a precursor to the much more sophisticated “Talking Barbie” who would appear seven years later.

Ginny Dolls

Ginny dolls were manufactured by Vogue, which was founded by Jennie H. Graves. The Ginny doll was not a talking doll, but had many “magical” features such as blinking eyes and enough fashion accessories to make Inspector Gadget green with envy.

Thumbelina Doll

Manufactured by Ideal and first released in 1961, this was a large-headed doll of Thumbelina from the Hans Christian Anderson story with a long black hair and brown eyes that could open and close with turning her head. Thumbelina could be found in a red dress decorated with flowers, or in the more traditional blue dress with a red scarf.

Tiny Tears

Tiny Tears was a small-headed baby doll with a large head and painted eyes that opened and closed to cry tears of real liquid when its back was squeezed.

The doll has been described as “a cross between Barney Rubble from The Flintstones and the Pillsbury Doughboy.”

Patti Playpal

First released by Ideal in the late 1950s, Patti Playpal featured a small head and painted blue eyes and stood a whopping 36 inches. Ideal used that monstrous size to market Patti as a “companion” to children — albeit it one with a frozen expression and vinyl for skin. But, hey, we all have our flaws, right?

Poor Pitiful Pearl 

Pearl was a vinyl doll made by Horsman, who picked up the toy line in 1963 after being made by other companies in the 1950s.

Pearl was notable for being one of the early dolls made of vinyl rather than rubber, and for her blinking plastic eyes with long eyelashes.

Dressed as a peasant, Pearl maintains a pleasant expression after all these years despite her meager beginnings.

Bye Bye Baby

Manufactured by Ideal, Bye Bye Baby was introduced in 1964.

This doll features an “angelic” expression and is still manufactured today — sort of.

The Baby Go Bye-Bye doll from Baby Alive may not be an Ideal company, but they’re made by Hasbro, who partially bought out Ideal in the 1990s.

Baby Go Bye-Bye, is sort of a descendant of Bye Bye Baby.

She’s got a vintage look that has been modernized with soft vinyl skin, but she retains the same innocent smile of her predecessors.

(Like Baby Dolls of the 1960s? Then you might like our article on Baby Dolls of the 1970s, click here. Or how about Vintage Baby Dolls of the 1990s, click here.)

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