2011 is the year I start collecting fashion dolls. Really. But not just any fashion doll or Barbie will do ... I'm on the hunt for television show-inspired fashion dolls. Let me be specific ... the-back-in-the-day fashion dolls designed in the image of popular 50s, 60s and 70s sitcom characters. However, I might be persuaded into buying a butt-kicking Agent Ziva David doll from NCIS if it existed.
(Agent Ziva David)
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For now, I'm on the hunt for a Julia Baker, Ann Marie, Lucy Ricardo and Jeannie fashion dolls.
I've always wanted a Julia doll from the 1968, history-making television show, Julia!, starring Diahann Carroll as the widowed nurse, Julia Baker. I've also had my eyes on That Girl and I Dream of Jeannie Barbies.
Barbie Pop Culture That Girl
Yes, I'll admit it, I'm a longtime Barbie girl, who treasured a hand-me-down Barbie doll collection I played with as a kid. If a collector wants a raggedy Barbie with barbecue potato chips and chocolate milk stains then I'm in the market.
I think I came out of my mother's womb reaching for a Barbie. Sure, I had those big "Baby Suzie Wets Herself" dolls thrust into my arms that I always threw to the floor. Doll babies were not my thing. Even at the tender age of two, I'd watch in awe as my older sister played with her blonde, pony-tailed Barbie, her brunette, chocolate Toni, red-headed Midge and Skipper with the blunt bangs ... to her heart's content.
I wonder why Mattel never added stains to the "I Love Lucy" Barbies, which would've truly reflected her zany character and escapades. Need I mention the wine-making episode of Lucy and a Village woman smashing grapes in a barrel at an Italian vineyard that turned into a W.F. Smack Down! Or when she and Ethel crammed chocolate down their dresses to keep up with the chocolate factory's super fast conveyor belt. Hilarious! Lucy Ricardo dolls, also on my list, are still big sellers today.
Back to my sister and her Barbies ... I'd throw a rattle at her from my playpen and shout, "Me ... me..." hoping she'd get the hint and put one of those dream dolls in my drool-drenched hands.
It had the opposite effect. She'd scream for Mom to remove me from her proximity, which Mom promptly obliged. Didn't they understand ... I liked the idea of always being dressed and ready for a pool party, driving around town in a hot pink convertible and returning home to a Malibu dream house after a long day of shopping and fun. It sounded like a great plan, and one I intended on pursuing right after puberty.
Barbie Collector I Love Lucy, Lucy Gets In Pictures Lucy Doll
And how could you not want an I Love Lucy doll. Are you kidding me?
(Lucy and Ethel at the Chocolate Factory)
Her antics in the chocolate factory and her hilarious stint as a movie chorus line girl made you feel that you could still shine, after tripping over your feet and dropping your strawberry milkshake that splashed in your face. She made it okay to be a geeky girl.
I Love Lucy Doll "Tv Commercial" From Episode 30 Collector Edition
In my toddler world, Barbies ruled the universe. No Mattel Chatty Cathy or Ideal Betsy Wetsy doll could come close.
(Mattel's Chatty Cathy)
(Ideal's Betsy Wetsy Baby)
Speaking of geeky girls, I'm surprised Seinfeld's Elaine Benes didn't make it into the fashion doll world. It would've made a great Seinfeld memorabilia.
(Seinfeld's Elaine Benes)
Thank goodness, That Girl and I Dream of Jeannie were on the toy shelves.
I wanted to be That Girl, starring Marlo Thomas, who played Ann Marie, a sheltered struggling actress from a New York suburbs determined to make it on her own. From the minute I watched her running in her white hat on a busy Manhattan street in the show's intro, I knew I wanted to follow in her footsteps. Like Ann Marie I also moved to New York City after college, not by way of Brewster, New York, but after a few years of living in the Bronx and Newark.
Unlike Ann Marie, my parents didn't pay for my sprawling apartment on West 78th Street, Apt. 4D. I needed a few years to get the moola together to pay for my half of a post-rent controlled apartment in Morningside Heights, Manhattan aka Upper Upper West Side aka Harlem USA.
I didn't have visions of starring on Broadway like That Girl and unfortunately I didn't meet my Donald for several years. My dates ... Icky Ricky, Knucklehead Ned and Slimy Tommy ... snatched my naive attention for a season. I lived my version of That Girl in a Living Single kind of way, that popular nineties sitcom on Fox about six Buppies ... Black Urban Professionals. I thought for sure there would be a Regine or a Sinclaire doll during the show's heyday. Watch episodes on TV One.
Captain Nelson's Genie also named Jeannie was a little risque for that wholesome television time period. I would say they pushed the envelope for 1965. Check out the reruns on TV Land.
(I Dream of Jeannie)
I Dream of Jeannie (1965 to 1975) was a scantily clad, 2000 year-old fantastical Genie who lived in a bottle, played by Barbara Eden. Astronaut Captain Nelson (Larry Hagman) found and opened the bottle when his space shuttle landed on a deserted South Pacific island, releasing a beautiful Jeannie and a funny sitcom that somehow stayed wholesome. There were no bedroom scenes between them, not even after they were married.
According to Wikipedia, "censors allowed her to be depicted living in a house with an unmarried man (because early episodes made it plain that she slept in her bottle), but would not permit Eden's navel to be seen."
Viewers didn't see anything explicit like today's reality television.
Everything and anything goes in this millennium. Reality show divas seem to be pushing the sitcom mommies and gal pals out of the TV limelight. You think they're going down quietly ... not a chance.
Especially not the comedic queens of ABC's Wednesday night lineup: The Middle's Ever Sarcastic Mom, Frankie Heck ... Modern Family's Super Mom, Obsessive Claire, Step Mommy Spicy Gloria and "She Should Be at an AA Meeting" Jules, star of Cougar Town and her ditsy, wise-cracking gal pals, Laurie and Ellie.
Just try and shut them up, they'll cut you with their black stiletto heels (in Frankie's case ... never worn knock-offs) before they let that happen. Why would you want to shut them up, when they keep us laughing?
Barbie Gold Label Collection Kimora Lee Simmons (A Limited Production Collector Doll )
Reality shows from Style Network's Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, "The Housewives of Everywhere a Film Crew Goes" to Snooki and The Jerseylicious pals are not going away anytime soon. Will there be dolls in their future? Kimora took that giant step for reality show kind a few years ago with her Kimora Barbie.
Here are some more TV-inspired fashion dolls:
Hannah Montana Live in Concert Doll Sings "Pumping Up the Party"
Disney Hannah Montana Stylin Miley Pop Star Fashion Doll
Four characters from AMC's hit television show, Mad Men, will be immortalized into Barbies and Kens this summer -- Advertising Exec, Don Draper, his wife, Betty, colleague John Sterling and his secretary, Joan Holloway. The show is set in 1960, a year after Barbie was born.