Who were Dopey and Holmes?

Hello again everyone. Today I want to write a little bit about two toy elves that I used to have  when I was little. Mum had a brother (our Uncle Den) who lived at Brightlingsea, Essex in the UK. He would take our Aunty Mabel and our cousin Glynis on holiday somewhere so we would go and take care of their house while they were gone. This gave us quite a nice holiday too. There was a handy little shop next door to their house and Mum would buy us little odds and ends to amuse us while we were there. One of the things that I was given was a little green felt elf. I of course knew the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by then so he was named Dopey after one of them. I thought he was terrific and carried him around everywhere. Vanda had dolls dressed in national dress that she loved to play with but I didn’t have any dolls the same size so I was not allowed to play with her she told me. When she saw Dopey she said I could play as he was the same size as the dolls. This was a strict rule that she had that could never be broken. I was so pleased to be able to play because I thought the national dressed dolls must be quite important. Disaster soon struck and Dopey was banned from the company of those dolls when I unfolded his long skinny legs from his sitting position and she saw how tall he was. I had to play with Dopey on my own.

This was not a problem for very long because I found lots of other fun games to play with Dopey. Back at home in Romford Essex we lived in an upstairs flat. Over the stairs hung a large ornate lamp shade supported by chains. The beautiful bowl-shaped shade hung high over the stairs and I often looked up at it. I don’t know why but I thought it was great fun to throw Dopey high up in the air. he often landed in the light shade and I would have to ask my Daddy to get him back down for me. No sooner did I have him back and I would throw him back up there again. I can remember when the light was turned on Dopey’s outline could be seen quite clearly. One day I threw him up there and forgot about him. I was so upset when Dopey could not be found so Mum or Dad got me another elf but this one was red. he did not look like Dopey so I named him Holmes. He was named after a character in a children’s puppet television show called Stingray. Shows with puppets like Thunderbirds were popular in the sixties and Stingray for those who are interested was similar to Thunderbirds. I think this show can be found on You Tube if you are into puppets and old children’s television shows. Well I was very happy with Holmes and he was soon taken to the stairs and thrown up into the lampshade. Daddy was called and once again he patiently got up on his ladder to rescue Holmes. He was very surprised to find Dopey as well as Holmes in the lamp shade. I can still remember his surprised “Ahh here’s the other one.” It was a great day for me though because now I had two of them.

Since then I have found out that these elves were called Knee Huggers. They are made of felt and have plastic moulded heads. They have a little bell on their hats. There was also a larger version made. I can remember having a huge red one. There are a great many of them for sale on Ebay and I was stunned to see them ranging from $45 US to nearly $100 US. If you look on Ebay and do a search for vintage knee hugger elves you will see how expensive they are now and also the different varieties they made. They were apparently often used as Xmas ornaments. Sadly I no longer have my original Dopey and Holmes who eventually found a home with my Penny Brite doll and other fashion dolls. I was lucky enough to find some vintage red knee hugger elves at the markets different times I was there. I now have two of them. I got them very cheaply and except for them being a bit faded they are in very good condition. And for anyone who wants to know they are never thrown up into lampshades or other hard to reach places. I could not be stuffed getting out the big heavy ladder for a start. They are now back with Penny Brite and friends.

I have found a few links about the knee hugger elves for anyone who would like to see some more pictures of them. These are quite good for pictures and there is another one where you can learn to make your own knee hugger elves that I thought was quite fun. Thanks again for reading my post. See you all again soon.

More About Knee-Huggers:







  1. Love your elves, my sister was younger and we did have solitary games and shared games. We had elves for the Xmas tree. I think your light shade hammock was a fun idea, even if it was a bit unmanageable, what a lovely dad, some are not very tolerant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He was the best dad ever and so patient. He even put up with hair dressers.Thanks for your reply and for reading.


  2. How fun! I will be poking through my Christmas bins now looking for elves! (Maybe making a few!) I have a wonderful rag doll pattern and Holiday print scraps, some lovely plastic heads with sweet faces..it’s so thrilling! My Hobby room tends to be exploding dolls anyway, now it will be Santa’s workshop!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad you enjoyed the post about the elves. Please post a picture if you make any. I would love to see them.


  4. Your dad was very sweet recuing your elf all the time. I never saw on of these elves in stores. I had a baby doll that was soft except of her head and hands, but she was filled with some granulate. I think she was a Mattel doll.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t remember seeing the elves in stores either. Mine came from a little corner shop. It wasn’t Xmas time either. I was wondering what your doll was. Thanks for your post.


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