Saturday, January 7, 2017

Doll-A-Day 2017 #6 Aunt Sally from Worzel Gummidge by Pedigree

  Today's doll is Aunt Sally by Pedigree.

Aunt Sally is approximately 19" tall. She has a soft vinyl head and a soft stuffed body and limbs.

Her dress is a one piece dress/apron combo. Her shoes are part of her legs. Her clothes and bonnet are removable though.

 Her hair is fairly thinly rooted. I think it was originally in a bun or some sort or something. If it were done that way the thinness wouldn't be as noticeable.

 Aunt Sally was a character in the "Worzel Gummidge" children's books and TV series. 'Worzel Gummidge' was the first book in a series that eventually ran to 10 books.

The books were written by Barbara Euphan Todd, and the first was published in 1936. Today's doll,Aunt Sally, was made in the early 1980's, to coincide with the TV series "Worzel Gummidge".

An Aunt Sally in her original box.
'Worzel' was a live scarecrow,made by a mysterious man known only as 'The Crow Man'. He was also loads of trouble. The Crowman was constantly having to get Worzel out of trouble, and send him back to the field to do his scarecrow duties. Some of the threats he threw at Worzel if he didn't behave were pretty horrifying,such as throwing Worzel on the compost heap, burning him, or making it so that he couldn't come alive any more!Pretty rough stuff for a kids' series!
An 'Aunt Sally' was originally an ugly wooden head on a stick used in a fairground game.

There's a link to this site below. Go there for an explanation of the Aunt Sally game.
 The description of the game and it's origins is pretty long and detailed, so I am going to direct you HERE and HERE  if you want the full story. I'll just say that the head had a clay pipe in it's mouth,(and later in holes in it's ears and nose.), and the object of the game was to knock the pipes out. Later 'Aunt Sally' became a dressed wooden figure. Then 'Aunt Sally' was simplified to just a blank piece of wood. After being quite a popular, if localized game,(Centered around Oxford,England.), the game of Aunt Sally eventually went out of favour.
 In "Worzel Gummidge" the character of Aunt Sally was a wooden fairground Aunt Sally doll who could come alive.

Aunt Sally as she appeared in her wooden form. 

 The doll resembles the wooden Aunt Sally more than the live one.
Not bad likeness to Una Stubbs either though.

 She was both Worzel's love interest, (His opinion.) and nemesis,(Her opinion.). (In the books she is a minor character and Worzel is not in love with her, being married to someone else.)
  We know about Worzel Gummidge in our house because Ken,who had watched the show when he lived in England, introduced the show to Ivy when she was small, and she loved it. We ended up with the entire original series, the later New Zealand series "Worzel Downunder", and a Christmas special on DVD. So owning the doll is a connection to Ken's life in England, and Ivy's childhood.
  The series starred Jon Pertwee as Worzel,and Una Stubbs as Aunt Sally.

Other than the print, I think they captured the dress pretty well. The thing is, the real fabric design is very simple and would have been easy to recreate. I guess they didn't want to have to make their own fabric and used something readily available.

If Jon Pertwee is familiar, it's because before being Worzel, he was the third doctor in Doctor Who, from 1970 to 1974.
Jon Pertwee,(top) as the third Doctor,pops out of the Tardis with Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor.

Una Stubbs may be even more familiar,as she is currently appearing as Mrs. Hudson on "Sherlock".

  There were some great toys produced to go along with the Worzel series,including two sizes of the Worzel and Aunt Sally dolls like mine, small figures and 12" dolls. Worzel had different heads for different things: his thinking head, his reading head, his maths head,etc. The 12" dolls of Worzel and Aunt Sally, and the small figure had several heads which could be changed.

Unfortunately the doll and heads are made of foam, and haven't survived the years very well in most cases.

Aunt Sally was able to come alive, at which point she was Una Stubbs. When she was made of wood she was played by a wooden dummy. The 12" Aunt Sally doll had a couple of extra heads too. One is the wooden head, and the other I'm not sure about.  Ivy says it's for sleeping.
The one on the right is her wooden head.
 As i said,I think they did a great job of recreating the costume on my Aunt Sally doll.

  The doll's hat is woven plastic instead of straw, but still looks convincing and is much more durable that way.

Some of you may remember seeing Aunt Sally before.

 That's because she had a narrow escape a few years ago when our basement flooded. I thought I had managed to rescue everything that got wet, but a few days later Fuzzy found a box buried under some things in the back of the basement. In it was Aunt Sally. She was soaked, but I washed her and hung her out to dry in the hot sun. She turned out just fine. You can read about the ordeal HERE.
  One more day of cloth dolls and we'll be into a week of fashion dolls. See you tomorrow!


  1. I really have to watch the movie!
    doll very interesting!

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