Friday, March 4, 2016

Cricket, Tressy's Little Sister

    First of all, welcome t our newest follower, Laila. Thanks for joining us!
  Back some time last summer I got a doll in a junk shop for 75 cents. She was wearing nothing but this  jacket to Barbie's Winter Holiday fashion.

 I was pretty sure she was Tressy's sister Cricket, but Cricket is pretty unknown. I had to check it out when I got home to make absolutely sure, and was pleased to find she was, indeed, Cricket.
Somebody did a little work on her face. She needs darker eye brows and her nose is red. Looks like she has a cold.
  At this point you may be wondering who Tressy was. She's not super well known these days either. So we'll start there. Tressy was a Barbie competitor. She was developed by  a furniture designer named Jesse Dean, and his wife, Diana, and made by American Character from 1963 until 1967, when the company went out of business.

There's Cricket on the right.
 And why was she developed by a furniture designer? Well, there was something different about her. She had a feature Barbie didn't have at the time: her hair could be made to 'grow' by pulling the extra hank of hair while pushing a button in her stomach,

Tressy's belly 'button'.Unfortunately, my Cricket is missing the whole mechanism for cranking her hair in and out.
...and then retract back into her head so she could have short hair, by use of a T shaped key inserted into a hole in her back and turned.

Tressy's key hole.
This feature was later used on the Crissy line of larger dolls, (Except the key idea was given up in favour of a round crank.),when the patent was sold to Ideal, following American Character's demise.(For more detail on Tressy see my Tressy post HERE.)
  During Tressy's run she was popular enough to be: the basis for the Mary Make Up doll, (As if anybody would want to admit to that.Ew.), made in various hair colours,have her own extensive wardrobe,beauty salon...

That beauty salon looks pretty cool.
  ...and millinery shop!

Whoa! Make your own hats! This looks like fun!
 ...her own '4 and 1/2 room penthouse apartment'.
And a half?

...and her own little sister, Cricket. (Cricket was called 'Toots' in England for some reason, and was made by Palitoy.)
I'm not sure all Crickets came wearing this white ballet outfit, but it seems that at least most of them did. The little T shaped key you see hanging on Cricket and Tressy is the key that is used, in the key hole in their backs, to crank their hair back in.
  My sister had a Tressy doll when we were kids, and I was given Tressy eventually. I still have her.
My original Tressy on the left,with her pal Glamour Misty, The Miss Clairol Doll.

But as a kid I didn't even know Cricket existed. I have learned of her since, which is how I was pretty sure the doll I found was Cricket.

  Cricket was introduced in 1965, and produced until 1967. She's 9 1/2" tall, so she's just about the same size as Skipper.

Cricket has the same grow hair feature as Tressy,plus bendy legs. The original Tressy had straight legs, but later ones had bendable legs.

Cricket's bendy legs are rubber, with a wire armature, like Penny Brite, except her legs are easier to bend than Penny's.

She also had her own wardrobe. (Toots had the same fashions, but they were given different names, at least some of the time.)

'The most wonderful little girl in the world'.

  This girl was wearing the aforementioned Barbie coat when I got her, but I already had several pieces of Cricket clothing I had accumulated over the last few years.The checked dress in the above pictures of my doll is called Just Pals, and originally came with white flats and two little plastic poodles which were WAY out of proportion to be her real dogs.My dress needs some restoration.
  Sweet Treat was a blue dress with white organdy collar and bow, and came with white flats and an ice cream cone.I know I have it somewhere!It's pictured in the ad below,along with...

  ...this dress...
...which is her original dress and coordinates with big sister Tressy's original dress...

...came with white flats, and a doll sized paint brush,set of paints, and paint by number book.

Fan Club Fun came with this blue jacket,a pencil and Cricket's scrapbook,as well as, what else? White Flats.

There is also a matching blue skirt, and a white blouse with lace. I swear I have them somewhere.
There it is on the bottom right in this French booklet. The doll in the pink dress is wearing the clone of Skipper's red Sensation, which you'll see below.The checked dress is just above that, and the red and white dress is bottom middle. I'm not sure all of these outfits were available here though.
  This cute corduroy outfit, called Shutter Bug, came with a camera.
It's a cozy corduroy 2 piece.

There was also a dress for Cricket, made of the same fabric,but with white sleeves and collar.
    Like Skipper, a lot of Cricket's outfits were meant to coordinate with her big sister's clothes. Several Cricket fashions matched Tressy's in style and /or fabric. There was also a more direct connection to Skipper: some of Cricket's fashions were directly copied from or influenced by Skipper fashions. 'TV Time', with it's black and white checked tights and jumper dress, was a direct rip off of Skipper's 'Town Togs'.

Skipper in Town Togs. (You can see this whole post, including a short photostory and the story of this Skipper's make over HERE.)

'TV Time', top left.I'm wondering what the thing under the Coke, radio and red pennant is. Looks like a Cousin Itt mask...

Fun and Fancy was a pink version of Skipper's Red Sensation, and came with the usual white flats and a white vinyl purse.

Another Skipper clone fashion on the left, and the real Red Sensation on the right.This is from my post on Skipper clone fashions, which you can see HERE.
Skipper wasn't the only one influencing Cricket. Cricket's 'Happy Birthday', from 1967,

seems quite influenced by Francie's 1966 fashion 'Fresh as a Daisy'.

Francie is 'Fresh as a Daisy'. (By the way, you can see her whole post, including her before and after restoration photos HERE. )
  Cricket and Tressy's clothes didn't have quite the quality of Barbie's, but they were well designed and used fabrics like corduroy and velvet.

Tressy in a tagged Tressy velvet coat.It's missing a couple of buttons.

French booklet. Somewhere I saw a picture from a French booklet that showed this red velvet coat in green. In France Tressy and her sister were made by Bella Poupees.
 The accessories to Cricket and Tressy's fashions were also imaginative and fairly well made. The accessories included with the fashions included a gift and cake for 'Happy Birthday',a score card, a trophy, and 'Bowling' ball and pins, a tiny telescope with 'Ship Ahoy',a bundt cake,mixing spoon, and cook book for 'Kitchen Cuties', a guitar and sheet music for 'Hootenanny',a milkshake, records and record player included with the 'jump on the bandwagon' outfit 'Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!', from, when else, 1964,the year the Beatles hit America.'Winter Weekend' included a cozy sweater and leggings, mittens, toboggan, boots, goggles, skis, and poles.
  I'm not a full on Tressy collector, but in addition to my childhood doll I have a couple of others, including this gorgeous dark haired Tressy.
I took this picture today, and yes, that is ice on the bushes!

So it was nice to have a Cricket to go with them. Also, as a Skipper collector,I can add her to the few Skipper competitors I own.


  1. Very nice find! According to the text on the bottom, Cousin Itt is "mop wig with sunglasses"

    1. Your eyes are better than mine! I see it now. Why?!

  2. Cricket reminds me Jan of "Brady Bunch". I love all the outfits. In my opinion then dolls were better made than today.

  3. The fact that they're still hanging together and playable after all these years bears that one out!

  4. You have a nice group of vintage items there! I remember Crissy. I loved her clothes, and I always wished I had that doll. I had to content myself with playing with a neighbor girl's Chrissy. I think she had Tiffany Taylor too. And now I think it would be fun to compare a Lorifina doll with Tiffany Taylor. Hmm.

    Also, I would love to meet up with you at the doll show that Sunday. I will have to see what my schedule as far as the convention looks like that day, and I'll let you know.

    1. Sounds great! I hope we can do it!

  5. I have my childhood Cricket doll. She came in the white tutu with white shoes. I also have a beaded tiara that may be hers. I don't know if I still have my key, but she does still have her hair. Thanks for posting the information.

    1. Even without the key it is possible to wind her hair in with your fingernail or something in the keyhole. You should be able to Google your tiara or Cricket and see if it does belong to Cricket.


Thanks in advance for your comments.