Friday, January 24, 2014

Doll-A-Day 24: Doctor Dolittle by Mattel

 Today's doll is Mattel's 6" Doctor Dolittle (and Polynesia the Parrot) from 1967.

Don't look now Doc, but I think Polynesia has been drinking that Mr Hyde potion from the Tweety Bird cartoon.
"Hyde and Go Tweet"
The side of the box.

  I have mentioned a couple of times recently that I made a Tutti 'friend' from a Liddle Kiddle head and a Doctor Dolittle body, so I thought I would elaborate and show you the Doctor Dolittle I was talking about.

Soapy Siddle Kiddle head on a Doctor Dolittle body: "And heeeeere's the Doctor!" Although she looks a lot bigger, that's a Dolittle body.Only the heads are different sized.
   Doctor Dolittle (the movie), based on the books by Hugh Lofting, was released in 1967. In spite of it's Oscar win for Best Song for "Talk to the Animals",it was a  tremendous flop, that cost three times its budget and nearly drove Twentieth Century Fox into bankruptcy.(Incidentally, it also made it extremely hard for producer Arthur P. Jacobs to get funding for his next project: another 'talk to the animals' type film which would finally be made in 1968.It's title? "Planet of the Apes".Thanks alot Dolittle. You nearly ruined everything!) In spite of the film's lack of popularity,(in part due to it's length and slow pace),the public was bombarded with loads of Dolittle merchandise.

The back of 6" Dolittle's box: a Jack-in-the-box, a Getar,a puppet that looks like Lionel Barrymore, and a doll that pulls his own string.Cool!
 Aside from 6" Doctor Dolittle, there was a large talking Doctor doll, a talking Doctor hand puppet,a playset with loads of  curiously dayglo animals, a boxed Pushmi Pullyu (the two headed llama thing from the movie),which was sized to match the 6" Doctor, and a two pack,(or is that a three pack?) of the Pushmi Pullyu and the 6" Doctor, and a lunchbox,amongst many other things.

I remember loads of kids carrying this lunchbox when I was in first grade in 1968.Well, I say 'loads'. There were only 4 classes in my school, so I guess there weren't loads. Apart from that, some of them were carrying Bugaloos lunchboxes....
Obviously, since I have talked about the body being the same as the Tutti body, this guy is about 6" tall.The likeness to Dolittle actor Rex Harrison is amazing.

As I've said before, I love dolls of real people that REALLY look like them. Ken bought me this Doctor Dolittle for Christmas one year. Mattel also copied the outfit pretty well. You can't see them, but he's wearing little black boots.His hat does actually come off, and most loose dolls are missing theirs.Under the hat he does have fully molded and painted hair, in the Rex Harrison style.The clothing is sewn on though and has to have various stitching cut to remove it, so most loose dolls do have their clothes.The clothing is detailed, especially for being so small. Look at all those tiny buttons! Polynesia is a bit odd looking, but she has real tail feathers.She's almost impossible to find out of the box.
  He has the exact same body as the Tutti dolls, with the exception maybe of having a slightly more orange toned complexion.The body and limbs are rubber, filled with wires, allowing the doll to be posed. This particular Dolittle has a slightly green thumb. Either he's a gardener, or he suffers from the common Tutti malady of greening from the copper based wires in his body.

Look at that green thumb. This guy just wants to talk to the plants.
  In general though, most of the Dolittle's I have seen don't suffer from greening as commonly as Tuttis do. Maybe they used a slightly different metal for his wires,or maybe the different coloured rubber suggests that the formula for the rubber is different from Tutti's, and maybe there is not as much of a reaction between the wire and the rubber. In any case, the less likelihood of greening makes the good Doctor a good candidate for body replacements for Tutti, if you can match the skin tones. I have used a Dolittle body with the Soapy Siddle head  seen above, since their colouring was more similar than some of the other Kiddles I've done this with.(I have used heads from Trikey Triddle, Peter Paniddle, and a couple of others, but I used Tutti's with ratty heads and less than perfect bodies for the bodies.)The other good thing about using a Doctor Dolittle to replace a Tutti body is, they are cheaper. A nice Tutti body with it's bends and no greening is about as much as a whole Tutti doll. And if you get a good Tutti body, the head is usually good too,so why mess with it? There are plenty of grungy Doctor Dolittle's around with nasty clothes, missing hats, and often discoloured faces.(He tends to pale out.) But usually, under those nasty clothes, the body is perfectly fine. Plus you might get the bonus of those Dolittle boots,which are really cute on a redressed Todd!(And of course they fit: It's the same body.) 
  See you tomorrow for Skipper Saturday!

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