In Part One of the Ugly Baby Doll story, I wished I knew more about this piece of my history. Using Google, I searched for Ugly Baby Doll and got one hit. Apparently, when you substitute “squalling” for “ugly”, you actually get useful information.
One site about old dolls suggested that most have inscriptions on the backs of their necks. I have to warn you – if you thought the Ugly Face pictures were “Yoogly” (thanks, Greta) just wait till you see the neck pictures. Without further adieu -
Yeah, I know. Sorry.
Hidden among the cracks and discoloration were some letters. All I could make out was “COPR LASTIC PLASTIC 49”. Turns out “COPR LASTIC PLASTIC 49” was stamped on dolls manufactured by the Fleischaker Novelty Company. It was unclear to me if this company also sold the dolls, or if they were sold by Horsman Company. Several companies produced these “squalling” baby dolls, but the Lastic Plastic ones were the earliest, dating back to 1948-49. And speaking of the Horsman company, while they apparently made some attractive dolls, someone there had a mean streak, as is evident by their Bilikin doll of 1909, or the Carnivale Kid of 1915-1918. My doll is looking more attractive by the minute.
The Doll Reference website showed a picture of what Grandma’s garage sale find looked like originally. There were molded tufts of hair, blue eyes, rosy little cheeks, and red lips. While any signs of rosiness on the cheeks or lips have long since worn away on my doll, its eyes are still a faded blue, and there are faint mounds of “hair” on its otherwise bald little noggin.
According to the Doll Reference website, two models of this doll were made: a 16” version, and a 19” version. My doll measures 16”, and at one time allegedly had the ability to make a “squeak” or “cry”, perhaps by one of those irritating squeakers implanted in its little belly. If that’s true, it would explain why Grandma quickly sewed it a new fabric body. I assumed the original body was ripped or rotten; however, Grandma was smart. We didn’t have squeaky toys over at her house. Ever.
Plush Memories even has a post from a lady who use to have a pair of these dolls as a child, and would love to be able to find one now. She says, “My favorite dolls when I was little were two of the ugliest little life size twin babies I had ever seen.” See Grandma? I’m not the only one to use the “U” word.
While I’d still have to say this is an Ugly Baby Doll, I have a new respect for it and its origins - 63 years is a long time to hang around being disrespected, especially ~55 years by the same family. Grandma, it took a long time, but I finally have an appreciation for this doll, and dare I say, it’s as precious to me now as you’d hoped for then. Thank you.