All of the dolls in my collection that are based on TV shows have been included on the "TV Character Dolls, Part One" page:
and the "TV Character Dolls, Part Two" page:
Other TV character and celebrity dolls are shown on the "Talking Dolls" page: http://mikeysdolls.blogspot.ca/p/more-super-hero-dolls.html
Evel Knievel, 7 inch doll by Ideal, 1973 - 1974
The Evel Knievel doll is a bendy figure rather than being a jointed doll, as shown above. He's also quite scrawny. At some point in the early 1990s, before the internet came along, toy price guides and dealers were listing this doll as being worth $100 or more. This never seemed quite justified to me as there simply wasn't a demand for this toy during the 1990s. Mego dolls were very much in demand during that same period and even then a mint carded doll could be found for $40 to $80 on average. Today some toy dealers are still asking for $100 and up for unpackaged Knievel dolls, but this price is very inflated. Unless this doll is in mint condition in an original mint package it is not worth anything near $100. In my opinion such a doll would still only be worth about $30 to $50. These Knievel dolls were mass produced so they are not rare at all, and although they are interesting dolls, there is no major demand. Below is a photo of Evel Knievel, the person.
DC Comics, Kamandi Vol.4 #26, Feb 1975, back cover
Marvel Comics, Skull the Slayer #3, Jan 1976, back cover
DC Comics, Tarzan Vol.30 #257, Jan 1977, back cover
For those who may have no idea who Andy Gibb is, he is the younger brother to the members of the Bee Gees. He became famous in the late 1970s. Perhaps his biggest hit song was "Shadow Dancing" from the album of the same name. Sadly he passed away at a very young age.
These two Andy Gibb pictures were found at this awesome Andy Gibb website:
I used to have a shirt with stripes on the shoulders just like this one! Mine was light blue.
This is Andy Gibb's famous album Shadow Dancing, which is available on DVD. The photo is from the Wikipedia page about the album. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_Dancing_(album)
You may have heard of Michael Jackson. I don't know why they made a doll of him as he's a bit of an unknown and hardly ever talked about. He's the singer from a quaint little record album called Thriller that was made in the 1980s but it didn't have much success. (Kidding!)
Here is the original Michael Jackson doll from 1984, made by the LJN toy company. I've also shown a collector card with a photo of Michael Jackson in the same outfit for comparison. The Michael Jackson doll came boxed in one of four different outfits: Thriller, Beat it, Grammy Awards (blue jacket), and American Music Awards (red sparkle jacket). All four of these can be found with or without the sunglasses. These outfits were also sold individually on cards, without the sunglasses or microphone, along with three additional outfits that were only available on cards: Human Nature (yellow vest), Motown (silver jacket), and Billy Jean (black jacket and pants).
Michael Jackson was actually quite attractive before he started getting plastic surgery. It's sad that he didn't realize he was okay just the way he was. I believe he had already had his nose operated on before this doll was made, so the doll's face is based on his post-surgery look with a thinner nose.
The LJN toy company used the same 12 inch doll body (in pink plastic instead of light brown) to make a doll of Boy George. The same microphone was also used for the Boy George doll but in blue plastic instead of black. The Boy George doll is far less common than the Michael Jackson dolls.
Here is a small tip for doll collectors: The black shirt from the Thriller outfit is made out of a thin nylon fabric and held closed at the back of the neck with Velcro. If the rough side of the Velcro touches the nylon fabric it can snag and cause a run in the fabric. Therefore, to avoid damaging the shirt on a loose doll don't ever undo the Velcro!
New Kids on the Block, 12 inch doll by Hasbro, 1990
By the mid 1980s doll type action figures for boys had fallen out of style to be replaced with standard action figures (DC Comics "Super Powers" series, He-Man, Transformers, Ghostbusters, etc.). When Hasbro produced these New Kids on the Block dolls in 1990 it sparked the return of the 12 inch doll format. The company started to focus on developing other 12 inch doll collections, and began by re-introducing the 12 inch G.I Joe doll. The torso of the new G.I Joe doll was sculpted to be more muscular than the New Kids doll torso, however the type of doll body and the joints are identical (shown below). (See the Hasbro page for more info about G.I Joe dolls)
The back of the box shows the "Hangin' Loose" series of NKOTB dolls. This series was sold in smaller boxes and did not come with a cassette tape, so it was sold at a lower price than the "In Concert" series. A closer look of the picture from the back of the box is shown below.
Here is the NKOTB stage playet that was also available.
Elvis, 12 inch doll by Hasbro, 1993
James Dean, doll by Dakin, 1985
Many James Dean dolls have been made especially for collectors. One of the first is a large size plush doll with plastic head and hands, by Dakin in 1985. This doll is based on Rebel Without a Cause. Unfortunately I don't yet have one in my collection and I don't know the exact size, but it looks to be about 17 or 18 inches tall. In my opinion the head looks like it's just a bit big for the body, but otherwise this is a very well made doll.
James Dean, 12 inch doll made by DSI, 1994
James Dean, 10 inch doll by Exclusive Premier, 1998
In 1998 the company Exclusive Premier produced several dolls based on characters from TV shows, movies and celebrities. Two dolls of James Dean were included in this collection. One is from Rebel Without a Cause, and the other is wearing a black leather jacket. Unfortunately I don't yet have either one for my collection, but they're on my very long list of "dolls to get someday"!
James Dean, 12 inch doll by Mattel, 2000
The back of the box has a short biography of James Dean's career. Unfortunately he only made three movies before he passed away: "East of Eden", "Rebel Without a Cause", and "Giant". It's been widely reported in various biographies over the years that James Dean was either bisexual or gay. I think that's awesome. He's become the poster boy for America and Hollywood, yet he's also known to be bisexual or gay. What a wonderful contradiction! I find it interesting that James Dean's status as a "legend" has never been affected or tarnished by his homosexuality in any way, even though the United States has yet to fully accept homosexuals and protect the rights of gays. As the front of the box for this doll says, James Dean is an "American Legend". But if Americans regard him so highly, then why are so many states reluctant to allow homosexuals equal rights? In other words, if James Dean were alive today he would be both an American Legend and a second-class citizen. That's a head scratcher for sure. In any case, I'm glad his legend has lasted...and to have these awesome dolls!
James Dean, 12 inch doll by Hot Toys, 2008
The Hot Toys company produces amazingly life-like dolls of characters from popular culture that have a crazy amount of detail. The head sculpts on these dolls are so detailed they even have skin texture! In 2008 they made a doll of James Dean based on Rebel Without a Cause which is extremely impressive, though very expensive. This is actually a work of art made especially for collectors, rather than a toy doll.
James Dean, 12 inch doll by Tonner, (year unknown)
Tonner is another company that makes dolls as items for collectors rather than as toys. These dolls all have a fashion doll look to them, so the faces don't look exactly like the characters that they are depicting. A James Dean doll based on Rebel Without a Cause was produced in the mid to late 2000s that has rooted doll hair. I believe this is the first James Dean doll to have rooted hair.
James Dean, 9.5 inch doll by Star Sacks (year unknown)
This is a cheaply made plush toy with a large plastic head. James Dean is wearing a black leather jacket. I'm not sure when it was made but it's likely to have been produced between 1990 and April 2014.
James Dean collectables
George Burns, 8.5 inch doll by Exclusive Premier, 1997
NSYNC, 12 inch marionette by Living Toys, 2000
Aside from the poor movement of this puppet I think the doll was well made, though it doesn't look a thing like Justin Timberlake. The sculpted face looks much older than the photo of Justin on the box and the way the hair was painted makes it looks like rocks instead of hair. I like that the doll body was made like an action figure instead of the typical fashion/celebrity doll type of body. This is interesting to me, but as teenage girls were the target market for these marionettes, I don't think the action figure style body was a good idea.
High School Musical, 10.5 inch doll by Mattel, 2006
I bought this Troy doll second hand at a doll show without the original box. Based on pictures that I've found online this doll was originally sold individually or in a two pack set with Gabriella (she has a red dress). A second version of the two pack set has a talking feature and the Troy doll's white gym outfit is slightly different. The jacket for the talking version is open at the front and the doll has a red shirt underneath. The red stripes on the sleeves and legs of the outfit are also slightly thicker than the stripes on the outfit shown above, which are just rows of red thread stitching. The jacket on the doll shown above does not open at the front, but rather at the back and has Velcro to hold it closed.
This is an awesome doll as it's very Mego-like with the way it's jointed, and I like the smaller 10.5 inch size. The rooted hair on the doll is also soft and loose rather than being glued down into position as is often the case for male fashion dolls with rooted hair. It's also a very cute doll too, but you'd have to try hard not to make a doll of Zac Efron cute! Below are pictures of him from the movie wearing the white gym outfit that the doll's clothes are based on.
KISS, 8 inch dolls by Toy Figures Company, 2011
Series 1 "Starchild" and "Spaceman" 8 inch Kiss dolls by FTC.
Text and Photos © Mike Artelle, 2011, 2013