Mrs. Beasley has had a very long shelf life, especially considering that she was just a toy on a TV show that only aired for 5 years in the first place, the last of which was 42 years ago. The TV show was "Family Affair". It began in 1966, when I was 4 years old. I looooved Mrs. Beasley and spent my life yearning for one. She was on every Christmas and birthday list until I grew out of her I suppose. (I know you'll catch me saying that about a few things, but it's true. When I want something I REALLY want it!)
Mrs. Beasley began life as a Rushton "Jill" doll, (as in "Jack and...").
|Anissa Jones as Buffy with the original Rushton Jill as Mrs. Beasley.|
|My perfect Beasley. What? Read on.|
Somewhere along the way the doll was changed to the Mrs. Beasley we know and love, made by Mattel. These days Mattel would have to license the look of Rushton's Jill or get sued. I guess you could get away with more then!
|The original Beasley.|
The full size 21" Mrs. Beasley doll is a pull string talker.She says 11 different phrases, like "Do you want to try on my glasses?" Her voice was by an actress named Georgia Schmidt, who people remember mostly as the first Talosian on Star Trek.
The pull string talking Beasley was produced for several years, beginning in 1967. She actually outlived the show she was from.Mrs. Beasley was so popular that she was sold in several other forms, including paper dolls,a talking rag doll version with yarn hair...
|As in this 1974 catalog ad.|
...and a smaller Beasley that came with a 10" talking Buffy doll.(10" Buffy had the same head as the Mattel Small Talk dolls.
|This is from the 1969 Wards catalog.|
I didn't know about any of those as a kid except the large talking doll. But I did own the Tutti sized Buffy with the tiny Mrs. Beasley.
I got tiny Buffy and Beasley one Christmas in place of the talking Mrs. Beasley I had asked for.I was SO disappointed. I'm glad I have them now, and I did enjoy playing with them. They just weren't that Mrs. Beasley I wanted so badly. Buffy is 6" tall and uses the same body as the Mattel Tutti, Todd, and Chris dolls. (Tutti and Todd were Barbie's little twin brother and sister, and Chris was their friend.) I think the face mold may be the same too, but then I'm still trying to decide if the Tutti and Chris molds are the same and just look different because they're painted differently. Buffy's dress and polka dot bloomers are almost identical to Tutti's "Walkin' My Dolly" outfit. The difference is that Tutti's dress is slightly shorter and the skirt is more gathered at the waist so that it flares out more, and the Walking my Dolly dress has a Tutti tag inside.
|Non childhood, but better condition Buffy with Walking My Dolly Tutti.|
This set was released around the same time as the 3 "Pretty Pairs" sets, and while it could have fit the theme of a doll with her own doll, it wasn't a "Pretty Pairs" set.The pretty pairs also had Tutti's body and included Angie and Tangie, Nan and Fran, and Lori and Rori.The only one I own is Angie, which was our Doll of the Day recently.
|Pretty Pairs Angie.|
The Mrs. Beasley that came with Tutti style Buffy is about 3" tall. Her collar and skirt are removeable, as are her glasses. (The same goes for the slightly larger Beasley that came with the talking Buffy doll. In fact, they are the same glasses. They didn't make different sized glasses for the different sized mini Beasleys.)
|Tiny Buffy: "Holy cow! What have you been eating?!"|
That removeable factor is why you almost NEVER see one of these Beasleys with glasses. The larger ones were hard enough to keep track of, as evidenced by the fact that they are few and far between too. The tiny glasses are the same as the ones that came with a vintage Francie (Barbie's 'MODern cousin') outfit and Skipper's Right in Style.
|Tiny Beasley and slightly bigger Beasley: "You're wearing my glasses!" Skipper, in Right in Style, feels trapped.|
I lost my glasses as a kid. I'm sure if they were left on the floor Mom threw them away or vacuumed them up.
As I said,when I got tiny Buffy and Beasley for Christmas I was so disappointed, but these days I'm glad I have them,and I did like them at the time.But that tiny Beasley hardly made up for the big full sized Beasley I wanted to hold in my arms. The only advantages? Now we had somebody who could wear the Ricky jeans we got from our cousin Sis, and I had somebody who could drive my real metal tractor.Buffy spent a lot of time discing and manure spreading.
Unfortunately, especially considering what I would say is a shortage of male dolls, Mattel never made a doll of "Buffy's" twin brother "Jody". I suppose their technique for rooting curly hair wasn't up to snuff in those days.
|Think what a disaster THAT could have been...|
Even though Family Affair ended in 1971, Mrs. Beasley continued to be produced until 1972. (And apparently sold even longer. See below.)
|"You'll know me from TV's Family Affair" even though you're just a little kid and it ended 2 years ago. This is from a 1973 catalog.|
In 2000 Ashton Drake manufactured a new Mrs. Beasley doll based on the original Mattel version. I have one word to describe that doll.
After the "success" of the new Beasley doll, Ashton Drake produced a porcelain Mrs. Beasley and the "Me and Mrs. Beasley" doll set.
It contained a cute Buffy doll with a mini Beasley, and a great tiny reproduction Family Affair lunch box.(Because every kid carries a lunchbox with their own picture on it.) They also made blown glass Mrs. Beasley ornaments. I'm not much on blown glass character ornaments, so so far I have managed to resist them.
I did finally get my Mrs. Beasley. Ken bought me one online about 12 or 13 years ago.
|Here she is. Not perfect, but a loving gift for a life time of yearning.|
She has a couple of chewed fingers and no clothes,but she was my first Beasley and I wouldn't part from her.(Ivy loved her so much when she was tiny she was Mrs. Beasley for Halloween one year. I painted all the dots on her costume by hand because I couldn't find the right fabric...or sew.) But just because I loved my first Beasley doesn't mean I was adverse to up grading! I got all excited when I spotted this one a while afterward online for a good price.
|Second attempt at the ultimate Beasley.|
Not so much when she arrived.
Her hair is lemon blonde and very curly, her head is small,her clothes are too pale, and her feet are down right icky! They look like shaved flannel.
And hey! Who stole the back of her collar?! I've been told these are the Canadian Beasleys. Poor Canadians.Well, I've warmed to her over the years.
|And then there were two.|
But I kept working on it...
|"I'm melting!" Beasley number three.I removed all her innards to clean her. I'll put them back now that I've found my working talk boxes.|
One day, back when Emma was still in High School, (She'll be 23 this June.), I got Ken out early and started on the sales. Emma, who is also a doll collector,had an early dismissal from school that day. We picked her up around lunch time. We had a leisurely lunch out, with only one of our three kids for a change. After lunch I stopped at more sales on the way home. Ken and Emma were complaining, wanting to get home before it was time to start picking the other two kids up from school. And besides, they complained,it's late in the day. All the good stuff will be gone anyway. I pooh poohed them and drove us to one more sale.
Ken was tired of yard saling and wouldn't get out of the car. Emma and I got out and the first thing we spotted was a Deluxe Reading kitchen.(Unfortunately, the one like Penny Brite's, and not the really cool Barbie size one.) Then we saw it. Boxes of dolls. Boxes and boxes of dolls.We started digging and it became clear that a supply of money was going to be needed. I sent Emma to get Ken. Before she had gone very many feet I looked down into a box and spotted blue fabric with white polka dots. In something of a trance, I reached in and grabbed an arm and pulled. Out came a beautiful Beasley. I held her up and just said, "Emma!" Emma, halfway down the driveway, looked back. She understood my awe and headed for the car. The Beasley was what I had always wanted: dark blue, flannel feet,and she had her clothes. The only thing that could have made her more perfect would have been------one of the ladies running the sale flew at me. "Her glasses should be in there somewhere." I just stood there while she reached down into the box and pulled out Bease's glasses! It was Christmas, and I was about 5 years old. Ok, the glasses had a broken spot. I could ignore that.
Emma and I went through everything and eventually our piles rivaled not only each other, but the Himalaya's. We found some good stuff, but nothing topped The Bease. When we finished we had to go through everything with the ladies and get prices because some of the stuff wasn't priced. I didn't see the piece of masking tape on Bease's hand so I asked for a price. The lady who had owned her as a child said, looking at the tape,"Well, I was asking $5, but," she looked at me apologetically,"Three?"
I still run into the lady sometimes and she always recognizes me. I'm glad to let her know her Beasley found a good home.
|My perfect Beasley, home at last.The break in her glasses is on the left, where the leg joins the eye part.|
|This picture is a little washed out, but she's really a nice shade of blue.With flannel feet!|
|My dream Beasley with Canadian Girl. I'm starting to feel sorry for Canadian Girl!|
|My girls.Good example of the different shades of blue fabric,and blonde hair.|
I've even made a couple of Mrs. Beasleys myself. Here are the two miniature Beasleys I'm putting on Ebay soon.
|This Beasley is just over 2" tall.|
|But she's less than an inch and a half sitting down.|
|This is the smaller of the two.|