Tag Archive | 1966

Liddle Kiddles

A “Gotta Have It” for little girls in 1966

March 14, 2023

Dolls. As a child, I loved dolls. And I had many of them. Not as many as I would have liked, and I was always angling to find a way to acquire more.

The original 10 Liddle Kiddles. I always wanted No. 3, Calamity Jiddle with her rocking horse.

Enter this tiny doll, introduced by Mattel in 1966, which captured my imagination. The doll series: Liddle Kiddles.

A few days ago I mentioned to the hubby that I was considering writing about Liddle Kiddle dolls for this week’s post. He shook his head and said, “I’ve never heard of them.”

Well, all you Tuesday Newsday readers who are in the same category as the hubby, you are about to learn something new.

We turn to the nearly Infallible Wikipedia to find out more:

Liddle Diddle in the original packaging

“Kiddles were made of soft vinyl with painted facial features and rooted, brushable hair. The first, second, and third series (called ‘bigger bodies’ by collectors) ranged from 2¾ inches to 3½ inches, while the Skediddle Kiddles were 4 inches tall and had a special mechanism inside the body which allowed them to walk, wave, and ride vehicles with the push of a child’s hand. The Kola and Kologne Kiddles were 2 inches, and the mini Jewelry Kiddles were 78–1+116 inches. (snip)

The Holy Grail for children everywhere: The Sears Christmas Catalog

The bigger bodies (the first ten dolls) were designed to resemble typical neighborhood children at play. The name Liddle Kiddles was taken from the words ‘little kid’. Each of the first 24 dolls had detailed clothing and accessories that perfectly matched their theme and size. Wire skeletons inside the vinyl bodies enabled the dolls to be posed and re-posed realistically.

The first series of 9 Liddle Kiddle dolls plus 1 special doll set was available only through the Sears and Roebuck Christmas Catalog (SRCC). It was conceived in 1965 and released to toy shelves in 1966.”

Peter Paniddle with Tinkerbelle, Alligator, and even his shadow

No doubt I got my first Liddle Kiddle that year at Christmas. The SRCC was THE Holy Grail. Forget Google and Amazon, we would pour over the SRCC, creating our Christmas lists and dreaming of those things we hoped to see on Christmas morning.

My mother got the message and the adorable Liddle Diddle was under our tree. To be sure, I would have liked to have gotten every single one of the ten original dolls but, alas, there was only one.

The next year I received my second Liddle Kiddle, Peter Paniddle; part of the Storybook Kiddles series.

Marketing genius at work, appealing to the target audience

Since it was the 1960s and smart phones were not available for entertainment while eating our morning cereal and milk, we had to resort to reading the backs of cereal boxes. Clever product marketing people figured this out and kids everywhere were enticed to pressure their parents into buying more Post Super Sugar Crisp and Alphabits to earn the number of box tops needed to earn ‘free’ giveaways.

Which is how I more than doubled my Liddle Kiddle collection. Sort of. It took seven box tops to get one of three ‘knock off’ dolls being offered. These were StoryKins Doll sets: Cinderella – complete with a pumpkin carriage! Sleeping Beauty- she had her own pink canopy bed! And Goldilocks – with an adorable little bear!

Our family must have eaten a whole bunch of Post Cereal because I did get ALL three sets. I was a determined child.

The poor dolls – both the actual Liddle Kiddles and the StoryKins – were played with all the time. With the exception of the Snow White doll, none of the sets are complete and all are dingy, many with the wires which made it possible for their arms and legs to bend, protruding.

Now, if I was in need of a little cash, a quick look on Ebay reveals that some of these dolls are worth a fair bit. Take Peter Paniddle for instance. He came with the cutest green alligator and a tiny Barbie with Tinkerbelle wings. Just the Tinkerbelle alone sold on Ebay last month for fifty bucks! A set with the pieces I have (sans Peter’s shirt) went for $125.

My authentic Liddle Kiddle collection (left to right) – Peter Paniddle and friends, Funny Bunny, Locket Kiddle, and Liddle Diddle in what’s left of her crib.
The StoryKins Trio offered through Post Cereals: Goldilocks, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty

A few years ago my brother found a couple of the StoryKins sets and a Liddle Kiddle doll and bought them for me. So now I have a second Cinderella and carriage, and a second Goldilocks and her bear, and a second Liddle Diddle. I see how this might work. A collector in search of a missing item from one of the sets has to buy several sets to make a complete one. It gets kinda pricey rather quickly.

For me, I love my dolls the way they are: some have pieces of their original clothing missing and now wear a child created shirt or dress. Goldilocks and Cinderella are both missing a shoe. Liddle Diddle’s crib is broken and her blanket is long gone.

Even so, there is a magic when I open the small bin which houses these childhood toys and a small part of me is transported back to those simpler times and I can enjoy my dolls once again.

A couple links:

https://www.fashion-doll-guide.com/Vintage-Little-Kiddles.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liddle_Kiddles

Dark Shadows

June 27, 2017

Barnabas collinsAsk any person of my generation if they know who Barnabas Collins is and you are likely to get an enthusiastic response something to the effect of:

“I made sure I was home by 4 o’clock every day so I wouldn’t miss an episode.”

The aforementioned Barnabas was, by any definition, the romantic hero of the always melodramatic Dark Shadows. One look at his face and you might ask yourself “Really?”

Hold that thought. We’ll get back to his appeal in a bit.

June 27, 1966 marked the date when Dark Shadows premiered on ABC. The show, originally cast in black and white, captured the imaginations of millions of teens and pre-teens and became ‘must watch’ TV.  In the course of its five year run, 1,225 episodes were aired.  Like other daytime soap operas it featured storylines which took months to resolve and characters that became household names. But unlike any other shows at that time it was centered on vampires and werewolves, time travel and alternate existences.

From the infallible Wikipedia:

“Perhaps one of ABC’s first truly popular daytime series, along with the game show Let’s Make a DealDark Shadows found its demographic niche in teenagers coming home from school in time to watch the show at 4 p.m. Eastern / 3 p.m. Central, where it aired for almost all of its network run, the exception being a 15-month stretch between April 1967 and July 1968, when it aired a half-hour earlier. Originally, it was aired in black-and-white, but the show went into color starting with the August 11, 1967 installment transmission. It became one of ABC’s first daytime shows to actually win its timeslot, leading to the demise of NBC’s original Match Game and Art Linkletter’s long-running House Party on CBS, both in 1969.”

Dark Shadows reached its peak in March 1969. It was in those episodes when Barnabas figured prominently and was romantically involved with Angelique Bouchard. One particular episode stands out.

barnabas angeliqueBarnabas was in love with the blonde beauty and he takes her to his room. Ahem.  Barnabas is conflicted as he wants to be with her but is concerned his passion will carry him away and he will ‘bite’ Angelique’s neck, thus killing her and she, too, will become a vampire.  An outcome he does not want.  I cannot recall if he did or did not bite her but I do recall that the show implied that the two of them engaged sexually. Powerful stuff for a kid of 12.

Barnabas did not have to be young or classically handsome as he was a compelling character and we Dark Shadow’s fans were completely enthralled.

I know that Dark Shadows influenced me as a writer. The power of the show was derived by what was left out; the idea of mysterious forces at work which left much to the imagination. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s you couldn’t air a program that showed explicit acts and that, I think, was a good thing.

For viewers, and readers, our imagination is what fuels the enjoyment we derive from a compelling TV show or well told story in a novel.

All but a few of the Dark Shadows episodes survive. I’m pretty sure if I were to watch them now the mystique would evaporate. Instead, I choose to let the snippets of remembered scenes live in my brain to serve as inspiration.

Dark ShadowsIf you wish to learn more, here’s the Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Shadows