Sunday, May 18, 2014

Doll-A-Day 138 : Beany by Mattel, and Part One of How I Coveted My Cousins Toys.

   Today's doll is one I bought recently, to have a really nice version of a doll that was a special gift I received as a kid.(But he'll never replace him.) He's this pull string talking Beany doll from Beany and Cecil.

I spotted him in the glass case at our local Salvation Army a few weeks ago.He was part of a silent auction.He was in such nice condition, and I got even more excited when I found out he still talks.

Their suggested minimum bid was $49.99, but I wasn't going anywhere near that! I bid much lower and hoped. Later in the week I noticed their minimum bid had gone down to $29.99. Seems they were having trouble getting anyone to bid. By the end of the auction no one had bid their minimum, so he was put into the next week's auction.I was advised by one of the ladies who work there to leave my bid the same,even though it was still lower than the minimum.(I think I was the only one who had bid at all. I probably could have gotten him much cheaper.) At the end of the week I got the call that I had won him.He was made by Mattel in 1963.  

Apparently there was a slightly shorter, non-talking Beany that looks just like this one. 

  You can see the commercials for both Beany dolls and their friend Cecil the Sea Serpent HERE.
This one is missing the red propeller on his beanie hat.Most of them are.

Beany and Cecil was a cartoon that I used to watch as a kid. Cecil was a sea serpent.There were talking and non talking versions of him too. Cecil's worth a lot more money than Beany these days. I don't know why.

Beany and Cecil were created by Bob Clampett, a former animator for Warner Brothers, (Home of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.). He originally created them for a puppet series in 1949. The series ran for 5 years, and was accompanied by a comic book series.

  In 1959 an animated series began. The shows were repeated between 1962 and 1967, which had to have been when I watched it, since I was  born in 1962.
  At some point in my childhood I was given a Beany doll by my cousins. I'm not sure if they gave him to me because I had admired him or not,but he became one of the all time favourite dolls of my childhood.

His shoes were one of my favourite things about him.These days they'd probably be considered lethal weapons. They're heavy and pretty hard.

It's nice to have this really nice one, that actually talks, but I wouldn't trade my original for him.

We had a few sets of cousins that were near our ages. Most of them lived far away and we seldom saw them But we had a couple of sets of cousins near our ages who lived a bit nearer, and we saw them on a more regular, if infrequent, basis.
    One set was our Kentucky cousins, Gary, who was my age, Vickie, in between me and my older sister, and Bobby, who was a little older than Vickie, but younger than my sister. 
Bobby, Gary, Vickie, me, and my sister, holding our dog Lahoma.We usually called her Homie. This is at my Mom's Mom and Dad's farm.I think this was the year Homie somehow got hold of some chewing gum. She'd chew it all day, and at night she would put it in one of Grama's car tire planters and get it back out the next day. She chewed it until it fell apart.

This made it easy for us all to play together when we were smaller. When you are younger the age difference doesn't matter so much. The older ones usually rule, but at that age the younger ones either don't mind or are at least resigned to it. We only saw these Kentucky cousins once a year, when we went to Kentucky for 2 weeks on vacation. We usually stayed one week with Mom's mom and dad, and split most of the other week with Dad's side: staying part of the week our other grama and aunt, and part of the week with our aunt and uncle and cousins. As much as we loved our grandparents, we wanted to spend as much time as we could with our cousins. We lived on a farm in The Middle of Nowhere, and we didn't see any other kids all summer when school was out. Also, we loved being with our cousins.  There is something special about having cousins your age to play with when you are a kid. They're like built in best friends. Before I started school and actually met other kids,they were my only friends. They lived very differently from us too. For one thing, they lived in TOWN. They could walk  to places. (The closest place to our house was miles and miles away.)They went to the Dairy Queen, and knew other kids in the neighborhood.(They had a neighborhood to know other kids from!) And since there were three of them, the whole way they related together was different from my sister and myself. I always saw them as the 'all for one and one for all' sorts. They were a team.They were the kind of kids who played so hard they had no grass in their yard.One year they gave me the Beany doll. My sister thinks he was Bobby's originally.Beany was missing a hand and had had his talk box removed, but he was one of my favourite dolls. I loved the heft of him. He was heavy, even with no talk box,and solid,and it felt good to hug him.I still have him, even though he's not quite the same anymore.My sister was always disturbed by the way his tongue looked in his open mouth.
Gee, I don't know what her problem was...

 She used her badgering technique to convince me that I should allow her to cut it out with that handy razor blade that seemed to figure prominently in her life at the time. (The stuff kids were allowed to play with in those days. It wasn't enough that Penny Brite's hair bow was held on by sticking a straight pin into her head.My sister ran rampant with that pencil sharpener mini razor blade.)  Finally I relented and she removed his tongue, thereby opening his mouth...and causing it to split at the corners. Eventually she had to sew his face up to keep him from having a smile that literally went 'from ear to ear'. With all the stitches he started to look like Frankenbeany. After years of living in a packaway box his hollow rubber head kind of caved in, one of the major reasons being the lack of solid face to hold it up. In the long run I think the decision to cut out his tongue was a pretty bad one, but there you go.   
  Beany wasn't the only toy they gave me.One visit Gary gave me an elf off a Christmas decoration.(Vickie seemed to have a habit of cutting herself on something every time we visited. Once it was on a nail in a piece of wood,leaning against the side of the house, as were were all chasing each other. Almost immediately after Gary gave me the elf she stepped on the piece of wood he came off of and got a nail in her foot.And no, the removal of the elf did NOT expose the nail.)
Vickie, on one of the few occasions when she wasn't being gouged by a nail.

Bobby was pretty ticked when I named the elf after his brother in honour of the gift.I promised him I would name my next elf after him to make it fair. (I had several elves, and I still have them all.You know the kind. Like the Elf on the Shelf. They have felt bodies and plastic heads and can usually sit holding their knees under their chin with their arms wrapped around them. Pixie, who I featured on Doll-A-Day once is an elf like that.) Months later my Dad brought me an elf from somewhere when he came home from work one night. I named him after  Bobby  and both elves sit in the branches of my Christmas tree every year.

Bobby. We always thought he looked like "King of the Road" singer Roger Miller.

  The other toy I was given by one of these  cousins is the most touching. I never loved it with the affection I still feel for Beany, but it was given out of complete love and was a great sacrifice. Gary is about a month younger than I am. Vickie always preferred my sister, who is older than she is and must have been pretty cool to her for some reason. And I wasn't of much interest to Bobby since I was just a little girl. But Gary loved me. He told everyone he was going to marry me when we grew up. Everybody kept telling him, "You can't marry her. She's your cousin." (And no cracks about this being the south!) We were so little, he just couldn't understand why. 
Gary. He got his front teeth broken out when he was tiny, tussling with Bobby. We only knew him without teeth, so when we went to visit one year and he had grown front teeth, it took some getting used to.

He had a favourite toy at the time. It was a rabbit named Rabbit McCoy. Rabbit McCoy was purple, with a black and white checked bottom half that was supposed to look like pants, and he had no eyes.Gary loved him. Rabbit McCoy was ever present and his position as top toy was well known. One summer Gary gave me Rabbit McCoy. I tried to refuse, knowing how much he loved Rabbit McCoy, but he insisted. My mom eventually restored Rabbit McCoy's vision by sewing red button eyes on him.(Well, he IS a rabbit.) I still have Rabbit McCoy, in that box with Beany and other toys. I haven't seen him for a while, but I know he's there, and I think of him with love. Kind of like my cousins.
Tomorrow we'll see another doll I loved, that belonged to a different set of cousins. 
  UPDATE: See part two HERE and part three HERE.


  1. I enjoy reading your recollections. We also had special cousins to spend the holidays with. And I was a huge Beanie and Cecil fan as well. I did not know there was a pull string talking version!
    I still have and treasure my pull string, talking Casper. His words are much scarier these days when he chooses to speak.

    1. Casper! I hope you'll check out the next post!


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