To All The Dolls I’ve Loved Before–Furga Doll from Italy

Ages ago I started this series–and then never got back to it!  Terrible when you get sidetracked, isn’t it?  I decided now was a good time to revive this idea though.  No time like the present.

I did two prior posts–you can read them at the following links:

https://sayhellotomylittlefriends.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/to-all-the-dolls-ive-loved-before-swingy/

https://sayhellotomylittlefriends.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/to-all-the-dolls-ive-loved-before-crissy-and-velvet/

Today I’m going to talk about a doll that was kind of a strange one for me to own.  I wasn’t a fan of dolls you couldn’t play with.  I was a huge Barbie fan because Barbie LIVED.  She had an active social life.  She did normal stuff.  My Barbie had a bike, rode horses, dune buggied, worked on an airplane, camped–she was one busy doll.  A doll who just sat there and looked pretty…nope.  Not my thing.

I don’t know what possessed my mother to even buy this doll for me.  I think I was about 8 and I received it for Christmas.  It was a very pretty doll.

I apologize in advance for this not so great photo.  It’s the only one I could find on the internet.  Believe me, I’ve looked and looked and looked.  The hat was different on the one I had, but you get the general idea.  This photo was from Ebay a while ago.

A little history on the doll–she was made by a company called Furga, they were in Italy.  They supplied dolls like this to all of the major catalog companies in the US–Sears, JCPenney, Montgomery Wards to name a few.  The dolls were all very nicely dressed and were a regular feature in the annual Christmas catalogs.  (remember those?)  A friend of mine had several of them as well.  If you look on Ebay, you will see tons of them available for sale.

The one thing I remember about this doll was the box, and that’s very well represented in this photo.  She had this huge hoop skirt, and it had a very stiff crinoline petticoat that went on under it which made it stick out way too straight to be practical.  It kind of gave her a “Little Bo Peep” look.  You could easily take it off too.  She also had a faux umbrella/parasol, it didn’t open, was there more as a prop.  It was cute.  Whatever.  She was close in size to an American Girl doll, maybe a little bit smaller, but they made these dolls in a variety of sizes and styles.  Her hair was a nightmare though, the curls had some sort of stiffener in them, so if the hair strayed, getting it to look the same was pretty much impossible.

She sat in my bedroom all through the rest of my childhood and into my teen years.  And then she was gone.  I honestly don’t know what I did with her.  I suspect I may have donated her to charity.  Or, I could have sold her at a flea market, which is a good bet.  If that’s the case, I have a feeling she probably ended up in the doll collection of a woman we knew.  Unfortunately this woman passed away several years ago and I don’t know any of her family, so no way of finding out.  (Insert shrug here.)

Anyone else have one of these dolls growing up?  I know they were somewhat popular and they weren’t exactly cheap.  One thing I do recall my mother telling me about it was when she opened up the box she was in, it was full of dirt from the boat she had been shipped on!  Times certainly have changed.

 

 

Who is this?

Marie-Grace invited Zara over to play a few days ago.  They were deciding what to do, when they noticed a strange doll on the sideboard in the dining room.  They both climbed up to investigate further.

jody-1

“I wonder who she is and where she came from?” asked Zara. “I’m not sure,” replied Marie-Grace. “I do know that Flo got a package in the mail a few days ago.”

“My name is Jody” the doll replied. “I’m a country girl.”
jody-2

Both Zara and Marie-Grace gasped. Then they decided to get down on her level to make it easier to talk to her.

jody-3

“Where did you come from???” asked Marie-Grace. “I’ve never seen you before.” Jody replied “I am from the 1970’s, I was a doll made back then.”

“Cool!” exclaimed Zara. “You remind me a bit of my sister Abby. She has red hair and blue eyes too!”
jody-4

The girls asked her a couple of more questions. Then they both welcomed her to the house, and went back to playing.
__________________________________________________________

I suppose you are wondering where Jody came from. Last week I got an e-mail from Sharry over at Julie Newman’s 70’s Time Capsule. She told me to keep my eye out for a package, a surprise birthday gift. I was excited, but I had absolutely no idea what it was going to be. My husband even asked me if I had any inklings, and I had none. So you can imagine how surprised I was when I opened the box and in it was this doll. Sharry and I had been talking on the phone recently and the subject of Jody came up. I’d had this doll when I was a little girl along with several of her playsets, and I thought she was really an interesting doll. Unfortunately I had given mine away years ago. Sharry thought it would be cool if she could find one, and not only did she succeed, but she was like brand new, her hair was even still in it’s plastic! The box was a little worse for wear, but the doll was perfect. Plus she even managed to get the one I had that was my favorite!
jody-5

She also found someone who had one of the outfits all by itself for sale. It’s missing a couple of accessories, but the main part is there. I’m sure if I keep my eyes open, I’ll come across the rest.
jody-6
What makes it difficult (and when I thought about it, I realized how weird it was) is they didn’t sell the outfits individually. If you wanted Jody in a different outfit, you had to buy a different doll! I don’t quite know what the thinking was on that, but at one point I had three Jody dolls, one in each of these outfits, and another in an outfit that was a white top with a black velvet skirt.  I also had several playsets: the kitchen, Victorian parlor, barn and schoolhouse.  Jody was made by Ideal which also made Crissy and Velvet.

Thank you Sharry for such an awesome birthday surprise! It was quite the doll birthday, not only did I get this, but my bestie bought me the Sophia equestrian outfit, my hubby got me Melody’s keyboard and Evil Twin gave me money towards the camper. See, you never do grow up!!

Here’s a video of some of the old Jody commercials that I thought everyone would enjoy:

To All The Dolls I’ve Loved Before: Crissy and Velvet

One day last summer as I was driving somewhere, it dawned on me where my obsession with American Girl dolls comes from. It all goes back to a doll I had from my childhood. I always thought she was a Velvet doll, but I’ve since found out otherwise. Keep reading.

If you aren’t familiar with Crissy and Velvet, I’ll enlighten you. Made by Ideal, Crissy was introduced in 1969. She had flaming red hair with a unique twist to it–you could make it “grow”. And thanks to a knob on her back, you could make it short again. Push the button on her stomach and pull–long again! It was really a pretty clever idea and interestingly enough, not an original one. Ideal had acquired a closed company called American Character Doll Company who had originated the idea with their Tressy and Cricket dolls. Crissy was 18 inches tall.

A friend of mine had one of the first Crissy dolls which was pretty cool because like Crissy, she had red hair. I thought Crissy was cute, but I didn’t really want her. My mom apparently thought she was cool too, and the following Christmas, I got one. Mine came in a teal satin type dress with matching shoes. I did play with her, but I wasn’t in love with her.

kerry velvet crissy
Kerry, Velvet and Crissy Photo courtesy of Julie Newman’s 70’s Time Capsule

The following Christmas my mom decided to get me another doll in the line. This is where some confusion began that I’ve just recently cleared up. Velvet was introduced and was designed to be Crissy’s little cousin. At only 15 inches tall she was the perfect size for a girl my age (I would have been 7 at the time). She also had the “growing” hair mechanism. Until last summer, I thought I had a brunette Velvet doll. My doll came in exactly the same outfit as the Velvet doll (a purple velvet dress), adding to more confusion. After doing some research, I’ve discovered that I didn’t have a white brunette Velvet, but a Mia doll! (there was a black/African American Velvet version that had dark hair.) Mia was supposed to be one of Velvet’s friends.  Velvet was only ever available as a blonde in the Caucasian version.   I suspect that the reason for the confusion with the outfit is that she may have been a catalog exclusive through either Sears, JCPenney or Montgomery Wards, my mom was a huge catalog shopper and frequently bought more unusual dolls when she could. The outfit shown on most photos of Mia dolls that I came across in doing research, I’d never seen before!

mia
Photo of Mia from http://www.museumofplay.org

 

I can say in all honesty that she was probably my favorite doll of that era. Velvet/Mia (I called her Velvet, hey, I was 7 and didn’t know the difference!) went a lot of places with me, and I played with her quite a bit. I have a distinct memory of my 8th birthday involving her. Right around lunchtime, a woman showed up at our house who had made doll clothing that fit these dolls, and I picked out a couple of outfits that my mom bought me as part of my birthday present. I only remember one of these outfits now, a little pair of white flannel pj’s, trimmed in pink. I also remember dressing up Velvet/Mia in one of the new outfits and she went out to dinner with us, my parents had arranged for all of us to go out to celebrate with friends of theirs, I can still picture her sitting in a chair by herself beside me.

Poor Velvet/Mia though, she didn’t know she was about to be jilted. Big time. I discovered Barbie, and it was all over. I did keep Velvet/Mia for a long time, but she didn’t get played with all that much. I mean, seriously, how can you compete with someone who has a Dream House, a swimming pool, a camper and her own airplane???? Eventually I donated her to charity, and hopefully some little girl loved her as much as I did. At least until she discovered Barbie too.

Ideal continued to make Crissy and her friends for several years, and in several different styles: Movin’ Groovin’ Crissy, Talky Crissy, Look Around Crissy and even a Baby Crissy (just to name a few). They also introduced a number of different friends. I’m not exactly sure when Crissy and her gang were phased out, but Ideal Toys went defunct in 1997.

I do have fond memories of her, and on that day last summer, I realized just how similar she was to American Girl in terms of size and idea of a little girl/young girl doll. Not an infant, not a fashion model, but a young girl. With the dark haired version I had, she resembled Samantha and Molly quite a bit, just with blue eyes. Suddenly everything made sense: I’m just reliving my childhood with these dolls! Maybe someday I’ll buy a dark haired, blue eyed American Girl doll and I can name her Velvet. Or Mia. Oh, never mind!!!

Here’s a commercial showing the same Crissy doll I had and a Velvet doll:

 

 

I have to thank Velvet/Mia for one thing:  because of my trying to figure out who I had, I became friends with Sharry at Julie Newman’s 70’s Time Capsule.   I noticed her Crissy, Velvet and Kerry dolls (Kerry was another doll in the line) on her website, sent her an e-mail asking for info, and the rest as they say “is history!”