In this post I’ll show you the other two dolls I bought at Wynyard market on Sunday. I rarely find vintage dolls at the market and wasn’t looking for any that day. I was looking for cheap dolls to fix up. Almost as soon as we arrived at the market, we spotted dolls on a stall with some other stuff. Two in particular looked odd to us because they were larger than most fashion dolls. They were lying naked on the table and at first, I didn’t see the wrist tags on them but we realised that they must be Littlechap Family dolls. The seller, a young woman confirmed that they were Lisa and Judy Littlechap. They were $A28 each but as you practically never see Littlechap dolls in Australia I didn’t hesitate to buy them. This morning I looked up prices for them on eBay and the prices I saw suggested that $28 was a fair asking price. Especially as I would not have to pay the $30-$50 postage from the USA where all the dolls were located. I don’t love the dolls enough to pay that kind of money for them.
The girls are not in bad shape for their age. The seller told us that her mother has a big collection of dolls so she must have been selling off a few surplus ones for her. They are a bit grubby; Judy has a gouge in her nose and Lisa’s hair needs fixing. the biggest problem will be clothes because they are so large. I’m not sure if I have anything that will fit them so I may have to make something. I know that I do have a sewing pattern for Littlechap fashions in one of my books. Otherwise, I’ll knit something for them.
I am sure that most of you from the USA, at least those of the Boomer generation, are familiar with the Littlechap Family. For those that came in late, as they say in the Phantom comics here is a quick rundown.
The Littlechap Family dolls were produced by Remco for one year only, 1963. The dolls were Dr John Littlechap, his wife Lisa, a former model turned housewife according to their backstory, older daughter Judy, a high school student and younger daughter Libbie. It is said that Dr John resembled President Kennedy. I can’t see it myself but the whole family represented the ideals of the 1950s and early 60s. Lisa ran the PTA, Judy was an Honours student, Libbie at least was allowed to be a bit of a scamp. I wonder why they didn’t include a son? The line was discontinued after the assassination of JFK. Maybe this was out of respect but more than likely because the dolls were not very successful. They were so much larger than existing fashion dolls that they could not swap and share outfits with Barbie or Tammy. I don’t know if the Littlechaps were ever sold outside of the USA. I doubt it because I think that their appeal would have been limited. The two that I have had been bought from the USA. They are not the most attractive dolls when compared to the Tammy Family IMHO but they did have some fabulous outfits and playsets. I’ve included a couple of links at the end with photos.
Now let’s see how we can improve the girl’s looks.
Both dolls got a bath, shampoo and conditioning. Judy really didn’t need anything else. I have no idea what to do about the nose gouge. Maybe there is something it could be filled with. On the other hand, do I want to do something intrusive to a vintage doll? I don’t know.
Lisa is a bit more of a problem. I combed the tangles out of her hair gently but some still came out. It still feels very coarse and at present I’m considering whether to condition it again or oil it like I did for the Ideal baby doll. I’m not sure if I want to risk a boil perm. Lisa has what we call a “billiard ball head”. Her hair is rooted around the outside while the top of her head is bald. She will have to have her hair styled to cover it so I will try to recreate her updo. Her face is slightly discoloured but I don’t think it’s from marker. I think it might be discolouration of the vinyl.
Although I cleaned Lisa and Judy before I started on the other dolls I got that weekend I did not go any further with them for several days.
First of all was the problem of Lisa’s hair. I really didn’t know how to fix it. I found a few tutorials for how to make a beehive on a human and another on an American Girl but I also read that Lisa’s hairstyle was built round a plastic insert and she had a hairnet. I could not find my tiny bobby pins either. In the end I gave her a makeshift updo and will revisit it in the future if I think I can do better.
For clothing I went to our box of miscellaneous vintage clothing. Naomi and I both had homemade outfits that were too big for Barbie and we hoped that some of these might do. Sadly, hardly anything fit them properly. I was able to get a couple of outfits onto Judy. They were snug at the back but I was able to do them up.
I would have liked to give Lisa a pencil skirt but nothing we had would go over those enormous hips. In fact, I hardly found a thing I could put on Lisa. I have put her into this crochet dress but I’m not really happy with it. I see Lisa as a sort of Stepford Wife and she should be a lot more elegantly dressed. For those of you who are maybe too young to remember “The Stepford Wives” was a movie that came out originally in 1975 and was remade in 2004. It was about a little town where all the married women were perfect housewives, perfectly dressed, good cooks and did whatever their husbands wanted. When I read the backstory of the Littlechaps that was what immediately came to mind.
Anyway, social commentary aside, I will have to make Lisa something better and maybe Judy as well.