Just before I moved Naomi got me a doll from The Bargain Shop, a secondhand shop in her town. I think that Oatlands was once a Mecca for doll collectors because several times in the past she’s found old dolls in there or bought them for me from other collectors in the town. There was even a doll museum in the old flour mill at Oatlands when I first visited Tasmania twenty or so years ago.
With all the stress of moving I didn’t get a chance to have a good look at this big baby. I just knew it was an Ideal doll because Naomi had seen the markings. The doll ended up staying at Naomi’s house for the past 6 months until she had room in the car to bring it here.
That was when I got around to googling Ideal Baby dolls 1972 and realised that it was Baby Crissy. All the markings are correct although I can’t be sure of the exact age of the doll because apparently they carried the same markings for all the years they were made including when they were reissued in the 1980s. There were some Baby Crissy dolls made in the early 1990s but as I understand it these were smaller dolls, about 18 inches long, which did not have the grow hair feature. In fact they were Baby Crissy in name only and not reissues of earlier dolls.
I read that the early Baby Crissy’s were soft stuffed vinyl and the later ones were hard vinyl but the vinyl hardens with age so an early one may be hard while the article I read says that some later ones may appear to be softer. Not a big help for working out the age of the doll if she is not in her original outfit.
Baby Crissy seems to have had a tough life. Her eyelashes are gone but worse than that she has had a serious haircut. Her ponytail is completely gone and many of her hair plugs have been cut in the front. I actually thought she was a little boy when I first saw her.
I am now thinking about what to do. I think that my immediate solution will be a hat. I’ve read two articles about replacing the ponytail. One said it was really easy. The other said it was really hard. I think I could possibly do the ponytail. You access the inside by taking an arm off. Actually, the loss of her front hair worries me more than the missing ponytail. I always thought it a bit unrealistic that a baby would have that much hair but the cut hair at the front is harder to disguise. I don’t think I could get her head off and the vinyl is really hard so I am doubtful about trying to get a needle in there. Of course there is the option of a wig but I’m not really keen on that idea as Baby Crissy is meant to be a grow hair doll. Or there is Dr Kitty at the Hobart Dolls Hospital, but I think that option will be left for now because of the hassle of getting her there. She does occasionally make trips to the north so maybe I’ll wait and consider that if I’m not happy with my own solutions.
I have given Baby Crissy a bath and washed and conditioned what is left of her hair. It felt coarse and stuck up everywhere so I felt the conditioning would settle it down. She wasn’t really dirty, just a little dusty from storage. Her eyes look brighter now. I’ll have to see if I can do eyelashes myself. That would be helpful as a lot of the old dolls need them.
Her little outfit is quite cute so I might let her keep it. Baby Crissy is 22-24 inches long and can wear real baby clothes which is what her outfit is. I may look amongst my stash for something warmer for winter though and see what I have in the way of hats. Later I may buy her something from an Op Shop or make something. She would probably look nice in yellow too.
I went downstairs and found my stash of big baby clothes. When I was volunteering at the Op Shop I often brought home newborn size baby clothes in case I got a big baby doll to redress for the shop. When I left I took most of what I had back. There were one or two really cute little outfits that I wish I’d kept but I don’t put modern baby clothes on my vintage babies and the Netta’s are all boys. Anyway I had a few things that had come off other big dolls so Baby Crissy has a temporary outfit. I admit that I mainly chose this because of the hat. When the local Op Shops in Wynyard reopen I’ll see if I can find a nice little outfit for her. She can have a floppy sunhat when the weather warms up.
I must say that Ideal made some very nice dolls. I do have a regular Crissy and Giggles from the 70s as well as Two Shoes and Posie Walker, and of course there are Naomi’s two Tearie Dearie dolls and our shared vintage Ideal Shirley Temple. An Ideal family you might say.
More About Crissy:
http://crissyandbeth.com/babycrissy.html – A very good resource for Baby Crissy lovers.
http://crissytown.8thman.com/fcrissy_baby.html – Another good Baby Crissy page which is part of a whole Crissy website.