Tuesday, March 6, 2012

COLLECTION #179: Chatty Cathy Dolls

I never intended my collector blog to be a place full of unpleasant surprises, but I'll tell, you, I got one this morning. For Toy Tuesday this week I decided to feature my Chatty Cathy dolls. I love Chatty Cathy, and I was lucky enough to be part of the Chatty Cathy design team in 1997, when I was working at Mattel, to bring the original Chatty back on the market as an authentic reproduction doll. I worked for many months on Chatty, researching her, and becoming as much of an expert as was possible back then, before eBay. I relied heavily on Kathy and Don Lewis' books on Chatty Cathy, and her extensive family of talking dolls of the 1960s.  I met Kathy several times during the months that I worked on the project, and she was so helpful to me on the technical aspects of the doll.

So, back to my unpleasant surprise! I knew all of my Chatties would be very dusty, because I keep them on display in my home, and due to their large size, they are not behind glass. After all, these aren't really priceless dolls, even though they are very valuable to me! So, As I took them down, and brushed them off, and dusted their sweet little faces and freckles, and did a double take! Both of my reproduction Cathys had the scariest looking eyes! The one with the blue dress and blue eyes, was now a scary pink-eyed ghoul! The one with the red dress and brown eyes, now had frightening looking red eyes! Argh!!!! What happened to my babies? I never leave them in direct sunlight. Their pretty little dresses were not the least bit faded. Their hair and skin, although dusty, looked fresh and sweet. But those eyes! It's obvious that we selected an eye vendor, most likely in China, that produced poor quality eyes.

My original Chatty Cathy from 1961 (I used to know EXACTLY which one I had, but I'm now too lazy to go back and research her again) has startling blue eyes, just as she is supposed to. Although I don't have original clothes for my older Cathy doll, I love the cute little vintage red and white overalls she wears. Isn't she adorable?

So, here you are. Chatty Cathys gone over to the dark side. (But they're still cute!)


esther_a said...

Oh dear! How disappointing for you! I did wonder why they looked so odd.

Catherine McCool said...

Mine too!!! Called Matel and they are not doing anything about it yet. Now this is the second time I am missing out on my Chatty Cathy. Christmas 1960 I opened my Chatty Cathy, pulled her string, fell in love, pulled the string again, saw a pocket knife cut the string!!!!! Looked up to see my grandfather had done this terrible deed and he said "dolls shouldn't talk"...... Now 54 years later my replacement doll that I planned to pass on to my 5 yr old granddaughter looks demonic. Can anything be done? Cathy in TX

Stefanie Eskander said...

I think the only solution is to replace the eyes yourself.
It's a tedious and tricky process, but can be done. (You have to remove the head and take the eyes out that way- it's possible to heat the head to soften the plastic, then pop them out the front. I don't know if that will work here. Replacement eyes can be ordered online.

Barbie Doll said...

I am cleaning out my storage unit, and found my reproduction Chatty Cathy yesterday. I took her home to dust her off and clean her up and realized that her left eye is completely pink and the right eye is still partially blue, but turning pink. How awful!! I looked on here to make sure this wasn't just happening to me. I am surprised that Mattel would allow something like this to happen and not do anything about it. Wow.