Monday, December 3, 2018

The Toys of Christmas Past: The Barbie Regal Bed

  Today we're starting a series called 'The Toys of Christmas Past',which focuses on old Christmas photos and the toys in them. We're going to begin with one of my old Christmas photos,and a toy  I still have.
  Sometimes you have an item hanging around for years. Like, your whole life. (Well, practically.) You played with it as a kid. It got piled in all your toys, and boxed up for years. It sat in your Mom's attic. You did actually rescue it from your Mom's attic and take it to your house. It even moved with you. Then you stuck it in your attic, because you had one now. Fortunately, you had it in a box, because stuff got piled on it. Then one day you find out that it's rare. Like extremely rare. Like, the rarest item of Barbie accessory stuff. EVER. Maybe even the rarest Barbie item ever. Meet the Suzy Goose Barbie Regal Bed.







Modeled for us here by the lovely Barbita,my childhood Swirl Barbie,and yes, she's wearing a wig. (Note to childhood self: Do not use glue to repair your Swirl's hairdo.) Barbita is wearing the only 'store-bought' Barbie outfit I owned as a child,Dancing Stripes. Unfortunately,I lost the shoes.
  Apparently this thing is so rare that most people have never seen one. I read that, for years, nobody could even find a picture of one. Most Barbie reference books that were published a few years ago didn't even mention it. Joe Blitman, well known Barbie expert, told me he's only ever seen two in his whole career of Barbie collecting and dealing. That's not counting mine. He has one for sale on his site, which you can see HERE. Here's what his site has to say about the Regal Bed,"This is not only the rarest Suzy Goose item ever produced, it is very likely the rarest vintage Barbie item period. In 25 years of collecting, we've only heard of one other in existence." (That was not counting mine.) I remember reading in Barbie Bazaar magazine when Joe bought the bed at an auction. The price he paid was so high even he was embarrassed by it, and the magazine didn't tell what it was. The one on his site is listed at $1,995. If that's too rich for your blood, there was one on Ruby Lane a few years ago. They only wanted $699 for theirs.
 

   Barbie's Regal Bed was manufactured by Suzy Goose, like the other early Barbie furniture, but it was apparently not produced in such a large quantity as the wardrobe,Barbie's other Suzy Goose bed, or the vanity. 


 
The Barbie and Midge Regal Bed! Notice the Suzy Goose logo with Mother Goose and the slogan,"Toys that mold character".


Even the fairly rare Barbie Suzy Goose piano is way easier to find than the Regal Bed.  
 
The Suzy Goose Barbie piano in box. I borrowed this picture of a boxed set to show you and will remove it if asked. There is an old Wilton cake set that uses the exact same piano parts. (Except for the body of the piano, which is supposed to be the cake part.)

The Regal Bed may have been a Sears exclusive, as a Sears picture ad for the bed exists. This is according to barbielistholland, A warning before you click that link! Her page is all one super long page,and it will do weird things to your computer. I almost always get locked up when I click on that page. Ken says it's because instead of making separate pages for the site the person put it all on one 'page' and it takes forever to finish loading...or something like that.

"I got my bed back!"

The slogan for the bed was something like, "A bed fit for a Queen".


 I got mine for Christmas when I was a kid. 
 
Christmas 1965.What a mess.My sister on the left, and me, opening my doctor kit, on the right. The Regal Bed is in the middle, right behind the jeep. Looking at this, I can't believe that Mom obviously curled our hair on Christmas eve and I, even more, can't believe she took our curlers out before letting us open our presents! Note the cardboard fireplace on the left. My mom wanted a fireplace so badly that one year she left the cardboard one up all year! That's Ideal's Tearie Dearie, forsaking her own combination bath tub and cradle, (That's the pink thing on legs in the left foreground.),and stretched out enjoying the Regal Bed. Note the blue 'mattress' in Tearie Dearie's cradle. You'll hear more about that in a minute.

Quite a haul there. 
 
My sister and me, on Mom's lap,Christmas,1965. That's Tearie Dearie's cradle I'm holding. In the cradle are Tearie Dearie and a white haired doll I also got that year.


Besides Tearie Dearie I also got some clothes for her, a generic white haired doll and her clothes...

Me, on the left, holding the white haired doll. My sister got a matching red doctor kit to my white one, and this must be the year Mom got the guitar 'for' my sister. Mom longed to play the guitar and actually taught herself to play "Uncloudy Day" on it.Years later she finally gave in and bought herself a real guitar and took lessons.
... a real metal wash tub and a metal and wooden wash board,(How old am I?!), ironing board,real wooden clothes pins,and metal umbrella style washing line, which my sister wasted no time taking apart to steal the metal discs that held the line up, to make finger cymbals out of.  
I also seem to have just received my wonderful Remco Tiger Cat Jeep that could crawl over anything.It was battery operated and eventually stopped working, and we all know what that means, right boys and girls? It means Mom threw it out. All I have left is the radiator that says 'Remco'. Note the long thin box in the foreground that could have been what the bed came in if it came unassembled.

   I always thought we moved into the house in the picture when I was 4, but the picture says 1965.That's the year the Regal Bed was available, which would mean I was only almost 4 that Christmas.The Remco Tiger Cat was made in 1965, according to what I have been able to find out, so it sounds like it really was 1965. The fact that I was three when I received the bed makes it that much more amazing that it never got broken!
The Regal Bed originally had a matching red taffeta pillow with white fringe.Mine is missing the pillow now and the fringe from one side of the bedspread.


Barbita can commiserate about the missing fringe...
The Regal Bed on Joe Blitman's site has the footboard turned the other way around, with the double circles on the bottom. He says the only other one he has seen was the same way. Mine, the bed on Ruby Lane, the bed shown on Barbielistholland,and one which sold online a while back, have the double circles on the top, which makes more sense. With the double circles on the bottom they don't both sit on the floor. 



 Check out the pictures on Joe's site. Plus, the head has the double circles on top, and the pattern in the gold foil is facing the opposite way from the headboard's if the double circles are on the bottom.(Everybody got that?)





  This ad picture of the bed shows the bed came put together, with the double circles on top. (Also, do I REALLY think we would have sat down and put the bed together with more presents to open?)


Ohh! It really is The Barbie or Midge Regal Bed! "With all of the Exquisite and Beautiful Detail of our Successful Experience--Regalistic Styling--Gold Photo inset in head and foot--Rich Red Taffeta Spread and Pillow--Hand Brushed Gold Highlights---Simply Irresistible" . Notice the double circles are on the top.

 So I think mine is put together the right way. Maybe someone took theirs apart. 

 
The bed was assembled by popping the pegs into the holes.Once in they probably can't be pulled back out very easily.






Or maybe some of them were screwed up at the factory. Maybe some of them came unassembled. Who knows?  If you look at the Christmas photos,the floor is littered with shipping boxes,(Mom did a lot of catalog shopping.),including a long thin one that could have contained the bed.(See above caption on one of the Christmas photos.)
   As it says on the ad, the bed has, "
Gold Photo inset in head and foot--Rich Red Taffeta Spread and Pillow--Hand Brushed Gold Highlights".




  




 We always used the blue piece of textured cardboard from the bottom of Tearie Dearie's bed as the mattress. But I have since returned it there. I happened across a cardboard piece printed with the word "mattress' in my childhood doll stuff, so THAT may have been the mattress. 


But, it might have gone to some Barbie sized twin/bunk beds my sister had. (They were the subject of a post once, asking if anybody could identify the bed coverings, as I want to replace the beds that disappeared in the mists of time.) The  word 'mattress' is barely readable on the cardboard now. It didn't even show up in the photo I took.
  

Believe it or not,it says mattress right there under the two circles punched in the cardboard.
The cardboard has notches cut out of each corner.They line up at the bottom of the bed, but there's nothing for them to line up with at the top. So....?

 
The foot of the bed.


And the head of the bed.

Under the cardboard mattress the bed has crisscrossed plastic.



The bed is in pretty good shape. It has one little hairline crack.  I couldn't even find it this time. Actually, I'm amazed the tall headboard didn't get broken.  






There was also a good chance of it melting in the heat of either attic it was stored in. Luckily it survived unmelted. 
 



  
I don't remember asking for it. Maybe I did. Maybe I didn't. Truth be told, I may have liked my sister's bunk bed set better.  I know we never really used the cardboard bed from Barbie's New Dreamhouse. We always used the Regal Bed or my sister's bunk beds.




  I'm flabbergasted that I own something as rare as the Regal bed, and also flabbergasted that it's in still pretty good shape,and even MORE flabbergasted that Mom didn't throw it away. That was her thing, after all. 



  If you're curious about Barbita's history you can read a post about her, and my other childhood Barbie and friends dolls HERE 

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    Next time we'll look at another old Christmas photo and talk about the toys therein.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Sweater Season Again...and Lantern Season Too

  Here it is December already! I know people always say it, but where has the year gone?! Time really does move a lot faster the older you get, which, is really unfair when you think about it. Not only does it mean the few years you have left go even quicker, but it means those miserable teenage years lasted FOREVER! I could have done with those going at a faster clip,believe me.
  Just an update,I found my original Mattel Hogwarts Heroes Harry Potter dolls and I have updated my post on the new Ron doll with a few comparison photos.
  Anyway,I wanted to show you a couple of things that are out this holiday season that might be usable with your dolls.
  The first is this 'ugly sweater' I got at Target.

It was $3.00

It's a Christmas ornament. It came on a little metal hanger, and was thankfully only attached with a couple of stitches.
  It fits Barbies perfectly.

Like Tammy's mom, Dolly World. She has the older Barbie body, but she's looking to upgrade.
Most of the time the sweater ornaments are too bulky,too short or too long in the sleeves

Perfect!

Dolly liked the sweater so much,she wore it when she went Christmas shopping with Tammy.


You know how hard it is to get everyone in a photo looking at the same time.


Of course, when there are only two of them it should be easier!


Oh brother...


Forget it.


The sweater is nice though. Tammy's is from the 'Wizard Sweets Hermione Collection'.


Another find I made was this lantern from Dollar Tree. They have been sold out for a while, since I first spotted them. But when I was there the other day they had gotten them in again. I had an idea, so I nabbed one.


It looked like the bottom was painted cardboard.


I thought I could remove the bottom and put a battery powered tea light inside. However it wasn't. It was plastic.So what I thought was going to be an easy removal...wasn't. The joint in the middle was at least a starting point. I used a wire bending tool to pry it open.


I thought I could just snap pieces out, but the plastic was too bendy.
 


Then I also discovered that the whole lantern was easy to pop apart. I didn't want to do that though,in case the whole thing split. I think it might have been better had I done that. In the end it fell apart anyway.

 

I think the space inside is big enough for one of those battery tea lights,especially the smaller ones. However, I couldn't remember where I put the one I had out JUST THE OTHER DAY! So I have faked it up for you to show you how it looks lit up.


 I wanted to show you the lantern with a doll for size comparison.
 

   So there you go. In the coming weeks we'll look at vintage Christmas photos and toys, and there will be a review of the latest from Maru and Friends.