My Friend Dolls

Just three years after releasing their very popular Little Girl Dolls, Fisher-Price introduced the rather similar and yet distinct My Friend Dolls in 1977. The similarity in facial molds and hair between the two lines can make them confusing for the new doll collector, but if you remember this one big difference, you will always know which type of doll you are looking at: Little Girl Dolls have entirely cloth bodies, except for their hands and heads, whereas My Friend Dolls have cloth bodies in the middle but arms, legs and heads made of vinyl. Little Girl Dolls became popularly known as Lapsitters, because their stuffed animal-like bodies made them perfect for sitting in your lap, but My Friend Dolls could stand up on their own two feet, and to my mind, instead of representing 4-6 year olds, they looked more like 7-8 year old children.

Technical Specifics of My Friend Dolls
These charming, friendly dolls are 16″ tall and have rooted hair. In total, there are 5 distinct main characters in the series, and while some of the dolls went through several issues of re-release, their faces remained easily recognizable. Here are their names:

  • My Friend Mandy
  • My Friend Jenny
  • My Friend Becky
  • My Friend Nicky
  • My Friend Mikey

In addition to these 5 standard dolls, there was also a doll released in 1985 using the ‘Mandy’ face mold and hair but having an all-cloth body, rather like the Little Girl Dolls. She was sold as ‘Little Sister Mary’.

And Here She Is…The Original My Friend Mandy Doll!

my friend dolls mandy

Does the wide smile on the happy face of this blue-eyed blonde-haired My Friend Doll bring back some happy memories to you? This photograph depicts an original My Friend Mandy Doll, #210 on her tag, just as she looked when she was released in 1977. I found this doll in her excellent condition at auction, and permission was graciously granted by eBay store, Chilly’s Closet, to display this exceptional doll, as well as others, here at I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a Fisher-Price original My Friend Mandy Doll in better condition at auction.

She still has her white stockings and white plastic shoes, her pretty white hat, and her lovely pale-pink dress with the three pearly buttons. The My Friend Mandy Doll has always looked to me like she is dressed to go to church on Easter Sunday. Maybe it’s the hat! In my childhood family of 4 sisters, we girls always got a new hat or bonnet for Easter and, in fact, I had one that looked just like Mandy’s when I was about 10 years old.

Detailed photo of My Friend Mandy Doll by Fisher-Price

How To Determine If A My Friend Mandy Is The Original Doll Or A Different Release
In addition to the number on the tag, the answer to this question lies in the fabric used for the doll’s central cloth body. Original My Friend Mandy Dolls have a pink rosebud print, as shown in this photograph. Later editions have yellow rosebuds. Like the Fisher Price ‘Little Girl Dolls’, one of the nice things about these dolls is that their printed cloth bodies served as nice little pyjamas at day’s end. But, a whole wardrobe of clothing was also released for these very nicely-made dolls, too! Sometimes, you can discover whole lots of My Friend Dolls’ clothing for sale at auction.

I think it’s worth noting here how much I feel the My Friend Mandy Doll’s face and hair resembles the Little Girl Doll ‘Mary’ doll. No wonder there can be confusion about these dolls. If you compare their faces on the article I’ve linked to, above, I believe you will see the striking similarity!

Detailed photo of My Friend Becky Doll by Fisher-Price
My Friend Dolls – Becky!
It can be hard to find dolls that ‘look just like me’ for red-haired children. Often, red-haired dolls of the 20th century looked too pale, clown-like, just not as appealing as the blonde or brunette dolls. Such was definitely not the case with the My Friend Becky Doll by Fisher Price, #218. Just look at what an adorable and colorful little doll this is. Again, I am extremely happy to be able to show you a high quality photo of the original My Friend Becky Doll in her aqua dress with frilly white checked rosebud apron. Sadly, this My Friend Doll has lost her shoes, but she still has her hat!

In my family, as in many others, my parents often delighted in finding dolls that looked similar to my sisters and I. We had two blonde girls and two brunettes in the family. But sometimes, we received dolls that didn’t look like us at all, and we loved them, too. I know I would have been thrilled to receive such a pretty doll as My Friend Becky, and I feel that the Fisher-Price company did an unusually excellent job of producing a red-headed doll that must have delighted parents who were searching for a look-alike doll for their red-headed daughters. Who wouldn’t have loved to receive this doll?

Detailed photo of My Friend Jenny Doll by Fisher-Price
My Friend Dolls – Jenny!

Here is the original My Friend Jenny doll by Fisher Price, again, in exceptional condition. She is doll #212, released in 1978. My favorite thing about My Friend Jenny is her beautiful brown calico dress. If you were a child in the 1970s, you will well remember the prairie style that was inspired by TV shows like “Little House House On The Prairie”. Girls and women alike wore calico dresses, skirts and blouses printed in tiny floral figures, and to me, the My Friend Jenny Doll’s dress is the most accurate depiction of that fashion sensibility in this series of dolls.

I also believe the Fisher Price Company showed a sensitivity to the cultural diversity that was becoming a matter of great pride in 1970′s America in the making of this particular My Friend Doll. Instead of giving My Friend Jenny the fair skin of the My Friend Mandy Doll, her complexion is a little warmer and browner. I can imagine this warming the hearts of families from all kinds of heritages if their daughter dreamed of a look-alike doll to play with.

My Friend Jenny has a white underblouse, black tights and brown shoes in addition to her pretty straw hat with brown ribbon. I really like the way this doll was designed. She looks like she’d make a very dear friend. Don’t you agree?

My Friend Dolls Variations

Fisher Price My Friend Dolls, Variations Shown

My Friend Doll #1 in the above photo is an in-box original My Friend Nicky doll. She is dressed for cheerleading and has a blue headband in her curly black hair. She appeared much later than the original dolls, with a release date in 1984 and a tag #206. The 80s have definitely arrived, and around this same time a new version of the Jenny doll was released in a warm-up suit. Jazzercise, here we come! Again, here was a great chance for African-American family to find a pretty looks-like-me doll for their daughters.

My Friend Doll #2 is a very different release of the Mandy Doll. If you compare her face to the original Mandy, you will see how different her mouth, eyes and even her hair are. She is tagged #4009 and was released in 1995. She was marketed as “Special Birthday Mandy” and in her elegant white dress, white lace tights and conical hat, she certainly looks ready for a very special party. I confess, I do not admire the face mold of this My Friend Doll as much as I do the original 1970s version, but taste in dolls is subjective. What do you think?

My Friend Doll #3 in the photo is an additional release of My Friend Jenny. She is dressed in a ballet costume complete with pink tights and tutu and underneath, her cloth body has the yellow rosebud print instead of the pink print or the original My Friend Mandy doll. Her face remains relatively similar to the original Jenny Doll, and for young girls who loved dance, this would have been a natural doll choice.

In addition to these girl dolls, there was a My Friend Mikey doll released in 1982, tag #205. Unfortunately, I don’t currently have a photo of him, but I have seen him at auction with auburn hair, red striped shirt, blue jeans, light blue jacket and blue baseball cap. Like the ‘Joey Lapsitter Doll’ in the Little Girl Dolls Fisher Price series, My Friend Mikey represented the growing belief that allowing little boys to play with dolls would make them more compassionate and emotionally expressive. Also, it was nice for little girls to have a ‘brother’ for all of their female dolls.

My Friend Dolls Accessories
One of the most interesting features about the Fisher Price My Friend Dolls series was that a set of sewing patterns was made available free to purchasers of the different costumes that were made for these dolls. I have come across patterns for nightgowns, robes and more at auction and they are absolutely charming. Because of this, it is not uncommon to find My Friend Dolls on eBay or elsewhere dressed in handmade fashions. Many lovely ensembles were made for these dolls, both commercially and at home.

Accessories for My Friend Dolls by Fisher-Price

Above you will see a very cute little overnight case that was released for the My Friends Dolls. You can also find the story books containing the sewing patterns. I know of one called “Four Season Fashions for My Friend Dolls”. Additionally, each of the dolls came with a booklet explaining how to care for her. Believe it or not, these dolls were meant to be machine washable, and while I don’t think it’s a very good idea to wash vinyl in your washer and dryer, this was part of the appeal marketed by Fisher Price. These dolls were meant to stand up to plenty of play and then could be washed up.

Collectors Value of My Friend Dolls Today

For a mint condition My Friend Doll, expect to pay in the $40 – $70 range. Dolls with missing components or other ‘flaws’ can be had in the $20 – $30 range. The extensive ensembles can typically be purchased mint, in the box for about $25 and you will often encounter whole lots of My Friend Dolls’ clothing at a variety of prices.

Intrinsic Value of My Friend Dolls Today
There are ladies who collect dolls because of their monetary value and others who do so out of love for the dolls, themselves. I believe that the intrinsic value of the My Friend Dolls series lies in their depiction as very real and natural-looking little girls. These are not silly fashion dolls, aping their elders. Here we have a set of friendly-looking dolls with sweet and honest faces that told the girls of the 70′s and 80′s that it was right and fun to be just your own age. I really like that, and if you have a story to share about owning any of the My Friend Dolls, I hope you’ll share it in the comments!