Greetings! This is me when I was 3. And, as you can see from the photo, I was
very happy when playing with my dolls. Decades later, dolls still hold a fond place in
my heart. I have created DollKind in order to publish my doll history research articles
and to share my enjoyment of dolls with you.
'Beautiful Crissy Has Beautiful Hair That Grows'. If those words bring a dreamy jingle into your mind, chances are you were a little girl in the late
1960s/early 1970s when this popular doll was created by Ideal Toy Company. The original 18" chestnut haired Beautiful Crissy Doll was introduced in 1969, to be joined
later by other Crissy-like doll companions. Like Chatty Cathy, Crissy's marketed appeal was a sort of gimmick - instead of being
'just a doll', she actually did something! By pressing a button on the doll's
stomach, her hair would grow - on earliest models all the way down to her toes. By turning a dial on her back, the hair could be retracted to shorter lengths. Whether
you wanted a doll with a bob, a flip or long, lustrous braids, here was a chance to fashion any hairdo you could imagine.
Crissy Doll Commerical
This Beautiful Crissy Doll commercial video depicts the original Crissy with floor-length hair and original tangerine lace dress. Watch, and you will catch a glimpse
of some of her other very modish 1960's costumes including a plaid snowsuit, gold lame gown and sporty bellbottoms. I was completely charmed to see this comment
from a YouTube user about this video:
"I'm 47 now, but I'm the little girl in pigtails. I remember? making this commercial. What happened to the other little girls?
Would love to meet them. I received a free Chrissy Doll after the commercial, and proceeded to cut it's hair off immediately after getting it. Good times."
Sadly, doll hair tends to take the most wear and tear of any part of a doll. If it doesn't turn into frizz, some creative budding hairstylist chops it off! Oh, dear!
Crissy Doll Variations
Not satisfied with one moving mechanism, Ideal Toy Company subsquently introduced Movin' Groovin' Crissy in 1971 with a swivel waist, and Look Around Crissy in 1972 with moveable waist and head.
Additionally, between 1971-1973, two Talky Criss dolls were released - one who spoke 6 phrases and another who spoke 12 phrases when a string was pulled on the back of the doll.
The following video features a commercial staring talky versions of Crissy and her 15" cousin, Velvet. These dolls came with some really cute accessories including a mushroom-type hair dryer, bobby pins, ribbons and a hair brush. Over the
years, a wide variety of costumes for Crissy Dolls and Crissy's companions were sold, and they are a marvelous snapshot of the era's fashions.
Crissy Doll's Counterparts And Friends
Crissy had an African-American counterpart doll, as well as a number of friends including Kerry, Brandi, Mia, Dina and a cousin named Velvet. These dolls were either
18" like Crissy or 15" like Velvet.
Due to her fashions and fancy hair, most girls probably thought of Crissy as being a teenager, whereas Velvet and Velvet's friends were more like 10 year olds. And finally,
Ideal also produced a real baby doll, 'Baby Crissy'. This doll was a really nice size - 24" and had the trademark adjustable hair, though it was controlled by a simpler pull string.
Thanks to the popularity of the original 'Beautiful Crissy' doll, there were so many variants and re-issues made between the 1960's-1980's that Crissy Doll collectors sometimes refer to
this genre of dolls as the Crissy Family of Dolls. Chances are, if you grew up during these decades, or you were a mother with little girls at this time, you remember the Crissy Family very well!
Social Commentary On The Crissy Doll
With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to see why Crissy Dolls were slated for success in their times. The 1960's were the first decade in the 20th century in which it was equally hip to have that
boyish Twiggy cut or to have cacading and natural Rapunzel-esque tresses. Think about it - in all previous decades a very specific style was considered the ultimate in fashionableness, but not after
the middle of the century.
Women were suddenly priding themselves on liberation, and that extended to their hair in a way that was actually quite groundbreaking, however minor a detail. In fact, in addition to sporting hairdos
of all lengths, heights and colors, women commonly wore wigs - some of them looking like specially-groomed versions of their own hair and others looking nothing like their own locks at all. Little girls
of today might find it funny to think of their mother wearing a wig, but children in the 60's were familiar with the sight of mother's wig on the styrafoam head on her bureau.
Taken altogther, it is no surprise that a doll, the main appeal of which was utterly changeable hair, would fit right into the adult examples that era's children were seeing all around them.
Value of Crissy Dolls Today
Crissy Dolls are not rare, and can be found on eBay in a typical price range of $20-$100. It is totally possible to find mint condition Crissy dolls and other dolls in the Crissy Family. There are
still tons of accessories and clothes to be had, too, for very reasonable prices. If you'd like to learn more about collecting Crissy Dolls, here is a neat video on this exact subject: