“Dolly Pops, Dolly Pops, Oh Dolly, Dolly, Dolly,” went the jingle of the 1980s Dolly Pops Doll commercial, to the tune of the song ‘Lollipop’ made famous by the Chordettes in the 1950s. The first Dolly Pops dolls were released by the Knickerbocker Toy Company in 1979 and they were popular throughout the early 1980s until Knickerbocker went out of business in 1984. Like paper dolls the chief appeal of Dolly Pops was that you could change their clothing, but with a twist – the plastic ensembles of these plastic dolls could be popped on, no tabs needed.
|The other selling feature of the dolls was that they had soft, long hair sprouting from their hard plastic heads in two pig tails that you could braid or style to your heart’s content. The individual Dolly Pops dolls were sold on flat cardboard cards with plastic bubble windows typically featuring two different clothing choices and, sometimes, accessories, too. Unlike most dolls, to my knowledge Dollypops did not have individual names, so you could call them whatever you liked. And, you could purchase scenes and sets for the dolls to inhabit. In this article, I hope to spark your memories of these tiny, cute little dolls with photos, videos and descriptions and I hope you’ll share your memories in the comments, below!||
Remembering Dolly Pops And Their World Of Accessories
Above we have a photo of an entire lot of Dolly Pops and their accessories. It is not uncommon to see sets like these come up at auction for very reasonable prices. This one should bring back your memories of many different features of the Dolly Pops toys. There are blonde and red-headed Dolly Pops here and a Dolly Pops Baby, as well as horses, bicycles and lots of clothes!
In this wonderful photo, above, we have an up-close and detailed look at a collection of Dolly Pops and accessories. Here we have both a blonde Dolly Pops and brunette Dolly Pops figure and matching sets of many costumes including a cute dress with yellow bonnet. Can you identify the costume in which it appears the hand is clasping a large yellow-and-red surfboard? We’re puzzled by that one.
Dolly Pops were released on an international scale. I have seen the cardboard bubble packaging in Italian as well as English. Some of the popular sets included:
- Country Time – With blonde doll and 2 ensembles including lavender dress with kerchief and blue jeans/yellow vest combo.
- Play Time – With brunette doll with tiny kitty and blue and pink dress as well as red and white dress with a little brown dog.
- School Time – With red haired doll. One costume is red and yellow polkadots and features a blackboard, the other is an orange and green ensemble plus school books.
- Party Time – With blonde doll who can wear red dress and hold bouquet or who can wear a yellow pleated dress with floral accent.
Do you remember others not listed here? Please, feel free to share them!
Dolly Pops With Larger Sets
In addition to the small, rectangular scenes, Knickerbocker released several larger sets for the dolls. One of these, shown below, was the Dolly Pops Poptown. It features a Dolly Pops House, a Dolly Pops Toy Store and a Dolly Pops Dress Shop. You could hang up the plastic clothes in the house and sit the Dolly Pop in a chair, buy a bicycle at the Toy Store and try a wedding dress on the Dolly Pops Doll at the dress shop. The printed backgrounds of the scenes of Dolly Pops toys often featured illustrations of additional Dolly Pops characters to interact with, as you can see below:
Many girls longed to own the Dolly Pops town, but in my opinion, an even more desirable toy was the Dolly Pops Dress Show! Dollkind.com is just delighted to reconnect you to this toy if you spent hours of your childhood playing with it. Did you receive it as a gift for a birthday or Christmas? Here’s the Dolly Pops Dress Show box that met your eyes when you peeled off the wrapping paper of this very exciting present:
The box reads, “With a stage that really turns and 8 gorgeous pop-on outfits” and as you can see in the photo below, you could set the dolls on the rotating stage so that they would emerge, as if by magic, through the glittery curtains for their fashion show. With its bubble gum pink and purple color scheme, the Dolly Pops Dress Show toy definitely calls to mind the early 1980s!
What was nice about this toy for these Knickerbocker dolls was that they made the back of the stage pretty, too. Other Dolly Pops dolls appear to be waiting in the wings to take their place on the fashion show stage, by virtue of the paper decal art:
From my research, I don’t believe that the Dolly Pops series of dolls were manufactured for longer than a 5 year period between 1979-1984, but even during that short run, they certainly left us with many memories!
Dolly Pops TV Commercial
Here we have an original Dolly Pops commercial from the 1980s. This commercial was advertising two different sets – Outdoor Playtime and Taking Care of Baby. Your ears will prick up at the sound of this jingle, I’m sure!
Dolls Sometimes Confused With Dolly Pops At Auction
If you are a budding doll collector, DollKind.com wants to share with you that knowing what you are looking at when attending an auction or bidding for items on eBay is really important and will save you both money and disappointments incurred by ending up with the wrong vintage doll. Vendors are not always knowledgeable about their stock and items may be accidentally mis-labeled.
DollKind highly recommends eBay seller Toys With A Past as a knowledgeable place to search for Dolly Pops and other vintage dolls, and we want to sincerely thank this seller as well as TeepeesTreasures for use of several of the photos accompanying this article.
The 1960s, 1970s and 1980s saw a major craze for tiny novelty dolls, with Liddle Kiddles being some of the most famous. The Littles were very big in the 1970s/80s and a little later on, Sweet Secrets by Galoob hit the scene. These little dolls’ claim to fame was that they were concealed within rather ostentatious costume jewelry or other objects which only the owner would know secretly contained the doll. Did the name ‘Sweet Secrets’ trigger a memory for you? Here’s a TV commercial featuring this very popular doll line:
Knowing what you’re buying, and purchasing from a reliable seller is your best way to ensure that you are getting the right item when looking for Dolly Pops for sale.
Collectors Value of Dolly Pops Today
I consider this market to be one of the more varied in the doll collecting world, in terms of pricing at auction. Most typically, I see mint condition Dolly Pops sets (still in their cardboard and clear plastic package) going for around $20 – $25 but I have seen sellers offer them for twice that price, too. I’m not sure I agree with a high price for these dolls because they are not rare and were a rather simple toy to begin with. But nostalgia can drive bidding wars for any type of doll or toy! On the more modest scale, non-mint Dolly Pops can be gotten for a song – $5 would be pretty reasonable and huge lots of these dolls and their clothing are frequently available for $10-$20. For new doll collectors who don’t have the funding to make big investments, Dolly Pops are both collectible and inexpensive, so they make a nice place to start!
The Emotional Value Of Getting Our Dolls and Toys Back
What makes a booklet of paper dolls, like The Ginghams sell for $30 now when it originally cost no more than a couple of dollars? What about the modern craze for Bradley Dolls which used to be such common little prizes in carnival games? What makes a Ginny Doll auction off for hundreds of dollars or a Madame Alexander Doll fetch thousands when my mother can remember buying these dolls just a few decades ago for $11? The answer is found in our nostalgia. We sometimes desperately want to see those dolls again, to hold them in our hands, to remember not just the toys, but ourselves.
When you hold a Dolly Pops doll in your hands again after many years have gone by, some part of you goes back to being 7, 8, 9 years old. Vintage dolls are touchstones to the simplest and often happiest times of our lives when our major responsibility was to have fun playing. Who wouldn’t want to return to that, if only for an hour? Luckily for us, if our original dolls ended up at Goodwills or garage sales when we were ‘much too grown up for that’, we can still reclaim them thanks to online auctions, antique stores and flea markets. Most children get to a stage, around the age of 10 or 12, when appearing grown-up seems important enough to make them turn their backs on the dolls and toys that have formed such a big part of their lives up until then. Then, when you finally are an adult, you may well wonder what you were in such a hurry for.
If that rings true to you, DollKind.com hereby grants you permission to take play back into your hands. If owning a set of Dolly Pops or any other vintage doll or toy will make you happy, who’s to say you can’t? There’s nobody around about to call you a ‘baby’. Your life is all your own, and you can play with your dolls all you’d like. Why not?
I sincerely hope this article has brought back some really fun memories for you and if you’d like to share them in the comments, below, all of our readers would enjoy hearing your recollections!