Crissy Doll: Forerunner of the American Girl Doll

Beautiful Crissy Doll

Before Samantha Parkington, Felicity Merriman and Mollie McIntyre, late-wave Baby Boomers and first-wave Gen Xers were loving on Crissy, Cricket, Velvet, Mia, Dina and Tressy. I bet there were a lot of these dolls given for Christmas 1969-74!

Beautiful Crissy Doll

Beautiful Crissy Doll

source

I thought all the dolls in the Crissy family were really terrific, even if I found them kind of useless. I couldn’t figure out how to play with a doll that was the size of a baby, but was actually a pre-adolescent girl who dressed like my teenage sisters.

The best thing about the dolls was the retracting hair feature. Crissy kind of looked like a preschooler who gave herself a haircut.

Black Crissy Doll

IDEAL'S BLACK CRISSY and VELVET DOLLS from the 1970s

Crissy wore an orange dress. As you can see there were so many Crissys!

Ideal Toys created the 18-inch Crissy doll in 1968 and released her to the buying public in 1969. She boasted auburn hair and a signature orange mini dress.

Velvet Doll, Crissy’s Little Sister

18 Inch Velvet Doll by IDEAL, 1970

Velvet was Crissy’s little sister. She had blond hair and wore a purple dress.

In 1970, Ideal introduced Crissy’s cute younger cousin, Velvet. She was three inches shorter, had blond hair and wore a purple dress. That same year, they also introduced Kerry and Gorgeous Tressy, not to be confused with the 11.5 inch Tressy doll by the British toymaker Palitoy. That doll was released in 1963 and was one of the very first dolls with retractable hair.

Tressy Doll by Palitoy, 1963

Tressy Doll by Palitoy, 1963

Palitoy’s Tressy, not to be confused with Ideal’s 18-inch Tressy

TRESSY by IDEAL, 1972

TRESSY by IDEAL, 1972

Ideal’s Tressy doll, friend to Crissy.

There were also African-American dolls in the Crissy family.

Black Crissy and Velvet Dolls

Black Crissy and Black Velvet

Pretty Black Velvet. I always wanted my white dolls to have black friends.

In 1971, Talky Chrissy, Talky Velvet, Posin’ Cricket and Mia were also released. In 1972, we were introduced to Dina and Cinnamon. There was also Moovin’ Groovin’ Crissy, Look Around Crissy and Swirla Curler Crissy.

Velvet's Little Sister Cinnamon and Dina by IDEAL

Cinnamon (left), Velvet’s Little Sister | Dina (right) Crissy’s Friend.

Cricket and Mia by IDEAL

Mia and Cricket, both considered part of the Crissy family of dolls.

Crissy and most of her friends and family enjoyed enormous popularity for about six years, making her (along with Topper Dawn Dolls) pretty exclusive to a slim demographic of very late-wave Baby Boomers and first-wave Generation X girls. Production of Crissy ceased in 1974, the year I turned seven.

I never had a Crissy doll, as our family was very devoted to the Mattel Barbie brand. But, my cousins had Crissy and Velvet dolls. I played with them at their house in Hacienda Heights a few times before our family moved from Southern California in 1974.

Black Swirla Curler Crissy

Black Swirla Curler Crissy

Did you have a Crissy doll growing up?

Here are the only photos I could find of Generation X girls getting Crissy dolls for Christmas. Click the photos to link to Flickr users who’ve made their photos shareable.

Crissy doll! 1970

From Flickr user jacdupree

Crissy doll! 1970

From Flickr user lisatee

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