The Crissy Doll was an auburn-haired 18 inch (460 mm) fashion doll, created by the Ideal Toy Corporation in 1968.
This doll became popular for the ability to adjust the length of its hair. While having base hair rooted to its head, the Crissy doll also had another adjustable thick strand or lock of hair that emerged from an opening in the top of the doll’s head.
Such was the popularity of Crissy, that there was soon a family of related dolls on the market. By 1970 Crissy was joined by a companion doll, Crissy’s shorter 15 inch cousin “Velvet”. In 1971 Ideal released the Crissy “friend” doll, “Kerry”. Next came “Brandi” (1972-73) also marketed as a friend/companion doll. Crissy’s smallest cousin was “Velvet’s Little Sister” in 1972, a 12 inch strawberry blonde child doll. In 1973, this doll was released again, but with her own name and new accessories. She was “Cinnamon with a Hairdoodler.” In 1974, “Cinnamon with the New Curly Ribbons” was released.
One of the other members of the Crissy family of dolls was “Baby Crissy,” a large 24 inch (610 mm) doll with adjustable length hair controlled by a simple pull-string. “Baby Crissy” was the size of a nine-month-old which is why to this day, many of these “Baby Crissy” dolls can be found wearing real baby clothes. A “Baby Velvet” doll was a proposed model that was pictured in Ideal’s 1974 catalog but never made it to the production stage.
“Baby Crissy” enjoyed huge popularity for many years. The first five years of this doll’s production (1973-1977) brought to the buying public the same doll, wearing three different versions of her diaper set, a term that describes a short dress with matching bloomer-type panties. She was sold barefoot. The doll was recreated and sold again in 1981 and 1982 with the exact same molds used in the 70’s, though dressed in a completely different outfit, again with no shoes, and housed in several differently styled boxes.
In 1976, Ideal produced a new growing hair doll named “Tara.” This doll’s face mold had more realistic and ethnically correct African-American features. Although she was marketed much later than any of the other Ideal growing hair dolls, “Tara” was made with the same body, arm and leg molds as the Velvet doll. Tara is considered by some collectors as part of the Crissy “family” of dolls.
Every girl remembers these remarkable dolls with the growing hair! You pulled the hair out of the top of the head & it grew just as much as you wanted it to. You could then brush it, plait it, or (as many did) wash it! This was a big mistake as it never looked the same after a visit to the sink. Chrissy was the original doll with cousin Velvet arriving a little later. From the moment Velvet appeared in the shops with her pretty platinum blonde hair …. I wanted one desperately! Here’s my own personal Velvet story.
I had longed for a Velvet doll since I was about 6 years old. My parents kept reminding me that I was getting too old for dolls anyway and it wasn’t until my 12th birthday that my wish came true. My Aunt Sheila asked my mum prior to xmas in 1975 what she thought I’d like for a present this year. Mum jokingly said “oh the usual … a Velvet Doll”. This was the first Aunt Sheila knew about my long obsession with the doll & she obviously decided I was still just young enough to have one. So being the lovely lady she was.. guess what she bought me! I remember opening the wrapping paper, still having no idea what was inside. You can imagine my delight & shock to discover a brand new “Velvet” doll.
Watch one of the original Crissy/Velvet Commercials