This week it’s more a personal story in my blog. I was asked about two weeks ago if I could have a look at a Pose n Play Skipper newly acquired by a German collector. I said sure because we have dealt with each other before. So she shipped her Skipper to me and half of the pony was missing.
It was not question that I wanted to make her Skipper a full pony again. Her Skipper was obviously played often with and the hair was a bit oxided. It was not as obvious as when you see a Julia dollhttps://www.fashion-doll-guide.com/Julia-Barbie-Doll.htmlfrom the late 60s. This Skipper has no color magic hairhttps://www.myvintagebarbies.com/colormagic.htmbut her hair changed a bit over the decades. When you work with oxided hair it’s no problem to replace the missing hair. The hair itself is intact but the question is if you could find the 100% matching color. That’s a very hard task.
The solution: I always keep the rests from my reroots and that came to my help here. I still had a rest of a matching color, maybe not 100% the same but at least 90%. You have to look very closely to find a difference in the colors and so I replaced the missing streaks with this rest.
Before I started my prep for “How to make Skipper a full pony again” I checked inside the head with my endoscopic camera. The hair inside was totally okay. I hoped to have this scenario because it’s a lot more work to secure the existing hair pattern first and having to fix it first. That’s really a lot of work and you have to concentrate while doing it.
I prefer to work in silence when restoring the dolls. Not all restorers prefer it this way but I do. Some work better when they have music, some not. I like music but not when I’m working like here. I can concentrate better on the reroot I do when working in silence. In general it was no problem to restore this Skipper because she was not problematic like having a neck split or other problems that could cause trouble during the work.
The hardest task in this restoration was to find a hair color matching with the existing hair. Giving her a new pony was not very hard. Yes, it’s time consuming but not hard. You need two hours of time during the reroot. Sometimes it’s not predictable if you have used enough hair or not. When you are missing a streak or two add them later. It’s possible to add more hair later when you are unsatisfied with your own work. You can add hair as long as you like your work and as long as you have hair.
Have you ever realized that Skipper had in the 1990s more head molds than ever before in her existence? Have you noticed that we not only have one Skipper face but at least 3 different ones in the decade?
In the begin of the decade we only have the big eyes head mold from 1987 which is also known in Germany to as the “Kulleraugen Skipper“, means simply big eyed Skipper. Somehow these eyes remember a lot of collectors to the comic or manga like outward appearance of some Japanese comics.
I don’t want to do any speculations here but maybe this comes from the fact that after having cable TV in Germany and other European countries some broadcasters bought licenses from Japan to show some classic Animés like Georgie, Lady Oscar and a lot of other series from Japan. I think this hit a nerve back then without realizing it.
I did not question the TV program, just watched back then but I had no idea that the stuff came from Japan. It was mixed with American comic series. The offer to fill a whole afternoon with comics was broad enough. However after 20 – 25 minutes there were breaks for advertising and that’s where Skipper came into the game. We had no chance to escape the ads. We had no chance to recognize that we were trapped in the advertising and always got a little brain wash. They created the wish and we the need to buy it.
It was a thing to talk in school breaks about “Have you seen this and that” advertising? But to come now back to the face molds we only had the big eyed Skipper for a while in Europe. Maybe that’s why she was popular among us little girls? From looking into all my research books I know that the Pizza Party Skipper appeared in the US in 1993 but in Europe she was not sold ( as far as I could find out). I don’t remember having seen her anywhere. The first Skipper I remember is the Phone Fun Skipper. She had this new smile in her face and I admit I was attracted by her. So I asked my mother to buy one. I can’t really remember how I got her but she’s one of the few Skipper dolls I kept from my childhood.
In retrospect I did not realize at the age they were available that this doll could ever be a rarity because she was only used for a few head molds. So that’s sometimes something that you find out much later. Much more often you saw the big eyed Skipper. At the end I think it’s not bad because I think she hit a nerve at least among us Europeans because of the Japanese comics running in TV. In retrospect I also realized that the 90s had a bigger variety of Skipper face molds than any decade before and that’s why I decided to talk about this topic.
Christmas is over now but is this the best reason to say we have to wait until next year to sew a Xmas skirt for Francie? My answer is no and I can explain you why. In December 2020 I saw the fabric you can see below in the little video. I saw it and I thought it would make a perfect dress, skirt or top for Barbie doll or a family member like Francie.Francie is the cousin of Barbie doll, sold from the mid 1960s until the mid 1970s. Do I have to mention that she is still a very popular member of the Barbie family? When you’re into Vintage & Mod Barbie collecting then I guess I don’t have to.
Maybe it’s useful to explain it to the other side of my readers here. Although Francie doll is a very early member of the Barbie doll family she is still very popular among the children from back then, now being grandmas. Designed to be a bit younger than Barbie and more adolescent than Skipper doll Francie was designed to be approx. 15 years old with a little bit more breast than Skipper but less than Barbie has.
Seen from a marketing point of view and keeping in mind that the wild 60s in London, GB were such an influence that it was hard to ignore in general. Maybe this idea was the starting point why Francie doll was released in 1966. This was also a big opportunity to hop on the train because the fashion of Barbie was rather 50s like, classical, conservative, not hip. That’s the point where Francie could help. With her sling body she could wear hip mini-dresses, short skirts and tight things that Barbie was a little bit too old for.
When I made my first contact with Barbie Francie was out of production for a long time, almost 25 years but I immediately liked her when I got into collecting in the mid 1990s ( and yeah, she was affordable back then) but she was not my main focus point. I rather wanted to collect Barbie. The interest in collecting Francie was there from the first minute. After collecting for 10 years I found a Francie on a flea market with almost no clothing but her bathing suit. For a long time she had to wear it. In the last years she got another outfit but hey, believe it or not but I think the original clothes are hard to find and even expensive. Why not designing your own clothes for Francie? With this idea in mind this video is the logical conclusion of it. So here we are doing our own clothes for Francie when the original ones are too expensive.
Can you imagine that you just tape a video, load it up to youtube and get many many comments? Great imagination, that’s what every youtube channel hopes. Then you get views and views and views but also a lot of strange comments in which people complain about the process of growing up itself because Mattel did a Skipper doll in 1975 with a function that when you move her arm in the right direction her breasts grow and she grows. I don’t know what exactly is the reason for this controversity.
I got comments like “why did you show this doll” and “what a shame” and comments of this quality. I taped it because I heard of the doll and wanted to see if the mechanism still works after almost 40 years. Talking Barbies don’t talk anymore because their mechanism works with a rubber band which tends to melt within a decade. I was just curious to see if it still works. Not more and not less. I don’t even know how good or bad she did sell. There are no numbers. Some people told me that it she is hard to find.
I found one and it was not the problem to get one in Europe. What I don’t really understand is the controversity my video caused. I was just curious to see if it still works. This is just a doll, no human. Why does growing up causes a discussion? Every human grows up.