1973 - 2011: Celebrity Dolls

This page has all of the celebrity dolls from my collection that are not based on a TV show. Most of these dolls are based on singers.

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

Evel Knievel was a daredevil stunt cyclist who became very popular in the early 1970's. The Ideal toy company produced a series of dolls and vehicles based on Knievel and his stunts. I've shown the 7 inch Evel Knievel doll next to an 8 inch Spider-Man Mego doll for size comparison. According to Tomart's Price Guide, the Evel Knievel doll was sold in three different outfits: a blue "Artic Explorer" outfit with a hood that has a fur trim, a red outfit, and his famous white motorcycle outfit. In my experience, it's more common to find the doll with the white outfit. There is also a Robbie Knievel doll in a blue outfit (Robbie is Evel's son). I found this Evel Knievel doll without his outfit at a second hand store in the late 1980s, so I made some clothes for him. 

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.


In the 1970s it was very common for toy companies to use comic book advertisements to promote their "dolls for boys" collections as well as smaller sized action figures. Below are some ads I found for Ideal's Evel Knievel series. Click on the picture to see a larger image.

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

Andy Gibb, 7 inch doll by Ideal, 1979

Here is the Andy Gibb doll shown next to Mego's 8 inch Spider-Man for size comparison. The Andy Gibb doll has a dancing action when the legs are moved. The top torso of the doll twists as the head of the doll stays looking forward. The joints at the waist and neck are diagonal rather than horizontal. This doll originally came with a doll stand that could be used to operate the dancing action. The outfit and shoes are removable. I love that Disco jumpsuit and the bell bottoms! Below is a close up of his face.

As Andy Gibb had long shoulder-length hair (as was the style in the 70's) Ideal gave their Andy doll rooted hair to match the long hair look! His name is also printed on the vest. Ideal also made a series of dolls based on the Abba rock group which are similar in style to the Andy Gibb doll.

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.
This is a picture from Teen Beat magazine, May 1979 (the same year that the doll was introduced), showing Andy wearing an outfit that is similar to what the doll is wearing, a pink vest and white shirt. Makes me wonder if this photo had anything to do with influencing the design of the doll.

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)

Michael Jackson, 12 inch doll by LJN, 1984

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's Thriller album, shown above, was a huge hit in the 1980s (to put it mildly) and this doll series was part of the merchandising mayhem that followed. The Michael Jackson doll in his Thriller outfit was the must have item on my Christmas list the year it was produced (I was about 10 or 11 years old), and I was quite happy to actually get one! It was a present from my Aunt. I played with this doll quite a bit when I was a kid and recall having trouble keeping track of all the pieces, especially his glove and microphone. I lost the microphone once and then found it, but by then I had also lost the glove. When I found the glove again, I had also lost his microphone again. This went on for a while. As you can see, in the end I found the microphone but lost the glove!

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


Here is the complete collection of New Kids on the Block "In Concert" 12 inch dolls.  Even though these New Kids dolls were sold as a fashion doll series for girls, these dolls played a critical role in the development of other 12 inch "dolls for boys" collections such as Star Wars, G.I Joe, Action Man, and others.

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)

Following the New Kids and G.I Joe series came other 12 inch dolls from Hasbro, such as the Elvis doll shown below, the Street Fighter series, Action Man, Starting Lineup (a series based on sports celebrities), and an astronaut based on the Apollo 13 movie. After Hasbro bought out Kenner in the mid 1990s a collection of over 100 Star Wars 12 inch dolls followed. (I've shown some of these on the Star Wars pages of this blog.) Oddly enough, all of this is a result of these New Kids on the Block dolls! Strange but true!!! In 2000 Hasbro would once again use the New Kids doll body to make dolls based on the "S Club 7" TV show (see the TV dolls page).

I'm not a fan of NKOTB and never have been, but I thought these dolls were very well done. Here are the boxes for each doll from the "In Concert" series which came with a microphone accessory, as well as real cassette tape containing an exclusive interview. Jordan also came with a plastic hat. The Donnie and Danny dolls have rooted doll hair "rat tails" which were very popular at the time.


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.


I noticed that the "In Concert" Donnie doll has two variations as his jacket was made with an error. Notice the sleeves on the unpackaged doll above are reversed from the doll in the package. The group photo from the front of the box (below) shows Donnie in the same jacket. The American flag is supposed to be on his right arm and the British flag on his left arm, so the doll shown in the package above is the correct version. However, it looks like both dolls have the front sections of the jacket reversed from the original jacket as well! I don't think there is any difference in value between these two dolls. Some collectors (like me!) simply like to collect these kinds of variations.


Elvis, 12 inch doll by Hasbro, 1993

Hasbro made a series of three Elvis dolls. This one is wearing the "68 Special" outfit. The other two are "Jailhouse Rock" and "Teen Idol" and came with a guitar. The body for this doll is similar to Hasbro's New Kids on the Block dolls.

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

In 1994 DSI made two different dolls based on James Dean. This one is wearing the "City Streets" outfit. The other doll (which I don't have) is titled "Rebel Rouser" and has the red jacket from Rebel Without a Cause. Each of these dolls came with a certificate of authenticity, shown below. I've always wondered if DSI is a branch of Hasbro as the doll stand and unique boxes for these James Dean dolls were the same as the Hasbro Elvis dolls, shown above. DSI also produced Marilyn Monroe dolls at the same time as the James Dean dolls that came in similar boxes.


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

This is Mattel's James Dean doll from 2000. I think Mattel did an awesome job on this doll. The face sculpt is excellent (though I find the head is just a tad wide), and the outfit is perfect. I like that they gave him cuffs at the bottom of his pant legs and his boots are very cool (see the photo below). He even has a working zipper on his jacket which is a nice detail. When I bought this doll the box was already a bit beaten up, as you can see, so I opened it up and took the doll out.

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!

Here is the DSI James Dean doll next to the Mattel James Dean doll. Although I've taken the Mattel doll out of the box, I've left it in the same pose that it was packaged in. I like how they put his thumbs in his pockets!

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

Here's my James Dean cookie jar! It's a bit kitschy and quite a departure from the usual collectables I like, but it's also an interesting and quirky piece of décor that I just couldn't pass up. The likeness of James Dean is really well done. I have the matching salt and pepper set that goes with it too! A closer view of them is shown below. The cowboy figure of James Dean from "Giant" is what initially caught my attention, and is my favourite piece from this set. Then I realized it had a pair "Rebel Without a Cause" figure, and then the matching cookie jar, so I went on a spending spree!


Here is an awesome poster sized James Dean puzzle that I bought in the summer of 2013. For some reason these puzzles were cleared out through dollar stores for $3.00! They originally sold for $15 to $20. The image is from the American "Legends of Hollywood" postage stamp collection. The puzzle has 1000 pieces and measures 27 inches X 20 inches when complete, so it's quite large. This is such a cool picture of James Dean that I put my finished puzzle in a frame and hung it up!

George Burns, 8.5 inch doll by Exclusive Premier, 1997

Here is the Exclusive Premier 8.5 inch doll of comedian George Burns. I've shown it next to a Spider-Man Mego doll for size comparison. George is about a half inch taller. This is a well made doll with lots of detail. Underneath his tie he has three plastic buttons sewn onto his shirt. He also has two buttons on his jacket. His shoes are moulded and painted on as the doll's feet, so they are not removable. He is also holding a cigar, which is attached in the doll's hand.

Here is the packaging which has a flap on the back. The doll comes with a doll stand and a microphone. Below is a closer view of his face. I've also seen another version of this doll in a black outfit with glasses, however I've never seen a Gracie Allen doll for this set.


NSYNC, 12 inch marionette by Living Toys, 2000

Here is the NSYNC Justin Timberlake marionette. As is often the case with toy puppets this marionette is a doll with strings added to it, therefore it does not work very well. The object with marionettes (and any type of puppet) is to design them for movement rather than simply making a doll. People who know little about puppets however do not realise the complexity of marionettes.

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.
Although NSYNC was a very popular group at the time, these marionettes did not sell very well and had to be discounted on clearance. Even at the reduced price, they lingered in stores for quite awhile. I think standard fashion type dolls would have been more successful products than these "marionettes". Above is a closer view of the overly simplistic marionette control.

High School Musical, 10.5 inch doll by Mattel, 2006

Here is a doll of Zac Efron as Troy from the Disney TV movie High School Musical, which is the first in a trilogy of films. The movie premiered in 2006 so I assume this doll was also made in 2006. Troy dolls were sold in several different outfits for each of the three High School Musical movies, and as such there are a dozen or more Troy dolls to collect. For the third movie a new head sculpt was used on Troy dolls which shows him smiling with an open mouth. Other characters from the movies were also produced as dolls in various outfits.

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

In 2011 Figures Toy Company (FTC) offered reproductions of the popular 12 inch Mego Kiss dolls that were originally sold in the late 1970s. The series of four Kiss dolls were issued by FTC in both 12 inch and 8 inch doll sizes. Shown above left is the 8 inch FTC doll of Paul Stanley as "The Starchild", based on the Kiss record album "Love Gun". This first series of dolls was followed by additional sets based on other Kiss record albums. Shown above right is FTC's all-new original Mego-like doll of Gene Simmons as "The Demon" from series 3, which was released in 2012 and based on the Sonic Boom album.

Here is the Love Gun "Starchild" 8 inch doll with the packaging. Each doll comes with a "collectable album cover" card. Below is the back view of the packaging which has a re-closable plastic shell.

 
 Series 1 "Starchild" and "Spaceman" 8 inch Kiss dolls by FTC.

 Here is the "Demon" 8 inch doll with the Somic Boom packaging. Below is the back view.



Text and Photos © Mike Artelle, 2011, 2013

4 comments:

  1. I'm so glad that I've found Your blog! New Kids On The Block dolls rulez! But not only! ;) Take good care of Yourself Mikey :)

    Much love - Eibhlin

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Eibhlin Thanks for leaving a comment, glad you like my blog. Those New Kids dolls are very cool. I actually bought the set brand new from the store, one at a time, back in the early 1990s! They weren't marketed for boys but I had to have them. I especially like Jordon and Donnie's jackets. Hasbro did a great job on these.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Actually, you're incorrect as far as the NKOTB dolls. Their body design was recycled from the Rob doll in Hasbro's Maxie series. And Rob took his cue from Jem's boyfriend Rio!

    So actually, you have Rio to thank for Hasbro's male doll design.

    I will say though, the NKOTB dolls are adorable. The amount of detail put into these little guys is amazing. I prefer the Hangin' Loose Series myself. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awesome! Thanks for letting me know. Now I want a Rob and Rio for my collection! Though I supose this is bad news for Star Wars and G.I Joe fans. Facts have gone from bad (NKOTB) to worse (Jem). Someone get Rio a lightsaber! :)

    ReplyDelete