"Send in the Clowns"
from "A Little Night Music"
Copy-Cats, Knock-Offs and Look-Alikes
"Who's That Doll?"
|"Clones", for the purposes of this website, are technically any doll that looks similar to the Topper Dawn doll, considered to be the first miniature fashion doll as we know them today. The first "clones", or LAL's (look-alikes) as they're sometimes known, were Mattel's Rock Flowers, made by Mattel to compete with and capitalize on the popularity of Dawn. But many other toy companies soon followed with their own versions of the compact cutie, some with more success than others. The most successful ones, as you've seen here, have scored a page of their own. Those not as well-known, ended up here.
The challenge in identifying these knock-off dolls is the lack of documentation. In the antiques business it's called "provenance". To be able to say, positively, that a certain doll is who she is requires either one that is mint in her box or packaging, or confirmation from a reliable source, such as an original owner who did the deboxing herself.
Over the past few years I've been delighted when I can identify a doll who, until then, has been a complete mystery. Many times I've saved photos of clones dolls and it will be months or even years before another one comes along at auction, mint in the box, and I'll finally know "Who's That Doll?"
|This "Pride" doll was made by Jolly Toys of New York. She has no rooted eyelashes, and is marked simply "Hong Kong" on her back.|
|This "Debbie" doll by Action-Lobeco is similar in appearance to Mort Alexander Company's "Cindi Joy", but is marked simply "Hong Kong" on her back.|
|A "Biggy" doll made by an unknown German manufacturer. She has rooted eyelashes, but sparsely rooted, very soft hair. She is marked "Hong Kong B&G" on her back. Biggy dolls use a Dawn headmold, which may or may not have a headmold number on the back.|
|If a doll has nothing more than "Made in..." or the place where she was made stamped on her body, you can still sometimes estimate when she was made. Manufacturing in the 1970's was often shipped to places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, where labor was cheaper. In the 1980's and 90's, this shifted to China.|
|Cara, at left, was made by Plymouth, and you can tell by looking at her she uses a Topper Dawn head mold. There are no markings on the back of the head, however. I've seen a nearly identical doll listed as being made by Regal Toys of Canada.
Cara is unique in that she has a Malibu version, with blonde hair and "tanned" body parts (right).
Cara's body is hollow plastic construction, but the legs are solid, with no inner wire or bending mechanism. Her arms are very rubbery and flexible. She has rooted eyelashes and her thick hair is really rooted only at the crown and the part of her head.
Still, having a Dawn head mold, she's quite pretty.
|These three are all Judy dolls, manufacturer unknown. The one with the auburn hair at right is not mine. Judy dolls may or may not be marked with "Hong Kong" or "Made in Hong Kong" on their backs. They use a Topper Dawn headmold with the number mostly obliterated, but on mine I can still read "(something)11A".
That "something" could be A, H, or K; it's very hard to make out.
Denise Davidson wrote to say she has a Judy doll marked P11A. Hers, she tells me, is clearly marked. Thanks, Denise!
|Lulu, by Bradgate, was a rather successful British clone, with her own line of fashions, but she was lesser known here in the States.
She may or may not be marked "Hong Kong" on her back.
|This sweet little face, at left, belongs to a doll who was sold under many names. Packaged as "Kitty", "Miss Toyerama", "Adorable Kelly" or "Adorable Debbie", she was made by an unknown manufacturer and marked simply "Made in Hong Kong" on her back. And when I say, "unknown manufacturer", it simply means I don't have a boxed doll to determine the toy company that made the doll. Updates will be made as information is obtained.|
|The doll at right is Tina, made by Totsy Toys. Not a very flattering portrait, I'm afraid, but the doll herself isn't strikingly beautiful, either. Tina is marked "Made in Hong Kong" on her back and has a rather indifferently-painted face, especially around the mouth, that makes her look like she's eaten something that disagreed with her. I have seen (and owned) her as a honey-blonde, strawberry-blonde, and a very unusual bright yellow-blonde with wiry hair.|
|At left is a Tris doll, from the private collection of Rebecca Montague. Tris dolls use a Rock Flower Iris headmold, which is painted and rooted quite differently. She appears to have a softer expression than Iris. Her hair looks to have a soft, fine, mohair-like texture. Tris had her own line of fashions, but the manufacturer of this doll is unknown.|
|To the right is a Julie doll, from the private collection of Lynda VanEtten. She was a bagged clone, which means she was sold in a baggie with a hanging card stapled to the top. Such an inexpensive packaging would indicate she was sold cheaply, probably at a five-and-dime store like Woolworth's or Ben Franklin's.
She has an absolutely adorable face!
|One of the strangest clones I've seen are the flat dolls by Janex. At left are Holly (blonde) and Ivy (brunette). Their bodies are flat pasteboard cut-outs with a shiny plastic coating. Their clothes are one-layer cut-outs of cloth, and stayed in place by virtue of static electricity.
The heads are 3-dimensional, but flattened, as you can see to the right, and a slot in the bottom allowd them to be mounted onto their "paper doll" bodies.
A male doll, Glenn, was also produced.
|WHO AM I ???|
|Below are some clone dolls I own that I have not been able to identify. Some are rather crudely put together, and some are quite nice. If you own any of these and know who they are, please drop me a line, I'll be happy to give you credit for their discovery.|
|Her hair is almost mohair, it's so soft, and rooted pretty well around her head. Eyelashes were glued in (but are missing on her left eye). Body has a straight twist-n-turn waist; legs are hollow plastic with no inner wires. Marked only "Made in Hong Kong" on her back.|
|Hair is coarse and rooted only on the top of her head. No rooted eyelashes (and her eye paint is flaking away, sadly). She has a slanted t-n-t waist and her legs are solid hard plastic. Arms are very rubbery and flexible. Only marked "Made in Hong Kong" on her back.
I'd love to have this one restored! I love her face!
|At first glance I thought she was a 3rd issue Diana doll, but she doesn't have rooted eyelashes. Hair is thick and wiry and rooted only on top of her head. I'm not sure what her original body may have been. I only had the head and put her on a spare body.|
|I got these two at the same time at a doll show. Hair is long and silky and rooted only at the top of the head and around the perimeter. Both styles pulled up into a topknot ponytail. No rooted eyelashes. Body is hollow plastic with no t-n-t waist and embossed underwear that is not painted-on. Feet are formed as high-heeled wedge shoes. Back of the head stamped "Made in China", so these were made later than the mid-1980's. They could just be a cheap dollar store clone.|
|I found these two together at a flea market. One has well-rooted blue hair and the other has silver. No rooted eyelashes. Straight t-n-t waist and solid plastic legs. One leg is embossed with "MIDDG" and there is an eagle's head cartouche with "Mexico" stamped on their backs. These two are cuties. I wish I knew who they are.|
|This one looks like one of the Olsen twins. I thought she might be a Cindi Joy, but there are enough subtle differences to make me doubt. Thick hair pretty well rooted, The eyelashes are ridges of plastic over the eyes, like an old Barbie (another reason she can't be CJ). Soft rubber body with a slanted t-n-t waist in the opposite direction of Dawn. Wires in the legs to make them bend, and marked "Hong Kong" on her back.|
|Soft, fine, thickly rooted hair that doesn't come down to the hairline marked on the head. An obvious Dawn face, but no head mold numbers. Eyelashes were glued in but are missing now. Hollow plastic body with straight t-n-t waist and big hips. Only marked "Made in Hong Kong" on her back.||At first I thought she might be Tina by Totsy Toys, but quickly realized she's not even close. Sparsely rooted silky fine hair and rooted eyelashes. The body has a slanted t-n-t waist in the opposite direction of Dawn's, and "thunder thighs". One of mine has hollow legs, the other has solid. Both marked "Made in Hong Kong"
Thanks to Aida Pixydust, I've discovered she's a Petite Fashion doll clone. LJN Toys apparently DID manufacture a knock-off doll to go with their fashions!.
|Thick, coarse hair rooted only on the top of the head. Her body is hollow plastic with a slanted t-n-t waist and is almost translucent. No rooted eyelashes, rubbery arms, and only marked "Made in Hong Kong" on her back.|