Holly Hobbie plush dolls – a 1970’s sensation!

23 Aug

Holly hobby hobbie knickerbocker 7" plush doll

 

Where did these plush dolls get their name?

Holly Hobbie (born 1944) is an American writer and illustrator. She was born Denise Holly Ulinskas and she married Douglas Hobbie in 1964. She and her husband currently reside in Massachusetts. Read more about the real Holly Hobbie here: http://www.hollyhobbieworld.com/holly.htm

In the early 1970s, Hobbie sold distinctive artwork of a cat-loving, rag dress-wearing little girl in a giant bonnet to American Greetings. This series of illustrations became immensely popular and her originally nameless character became known as “Holly Hobbie”.

How did the artwork come to be a doll?

In 1973 and 1974, Holly Hobbie was working at American Greetings under art director Rex Connors. Rex was responsible for launching “blue girl” as the most identifiable of the Hobby characters. Bob Childers, a veteran concept artist and designer was also working with Rex on the “blue girl” project at that time. Childers insisted that there should be a doll. Since no one seemed to listen, Childers went home and, on his own time, hand-stitched the first prototype and presented it to Connors. Rex then took the doll to Tom Wilson, Creative Vice President, after which American Greetings approached Knickerbocker Toys concerning the Holly Hobby license.

And the rest was history……………

In 1974, Knickerbocker Toys licensed the Holly Hobbie character for a line of rag dolls, which were a popular toy for young American girls for several years. Knickerbocker produced the Holly Hobbie doll and a line of dolls called Hollie Hobbies friends.

They were Carrie, Heather, and Amy. Each of the dolls wore “pioneer” style clothing that you would expect to see a young girl in the 1800’s in the American west wear:  bonnets, pantaloons and calico frocks. They all wore their hair in a style of the same era: parted down the center with long braids to each side of their heads. Each of the dolls was caucasion.

Holly hobbie knickerbocker 16" plush doll friend 1

Holly Hobbie

Holly Hobbie has brown eyes, and very light brown hair. She wears a blue patchwork dress with trim in a blue print over a white background. Her bonnet and pantaloons are a coordinating blue calico print. This is the traditional outfit for Holly Hobbie. Some Holly Hobbie dolls featured her in a pastel patchwork dress with light blue calico trim and matching bonnet. Her pantaloons were blue circles over a white background.

Holly hobbie knickerbocker Carrie 16" doll friend

Carrie

Carrie has blue eyes, light brown hair and a scattering of freckles across her face. Her outfit is an orange flower print over an ivory background and hems and ruffles in a coordinating red.

Holly hobbie knickerbocker Heather 16" doll friend

 

Heather

Heather has brown eyes, brown hair and freckles. Her outfit is a green flower print over an ivory background with trim in ivory. She also wears an ivory apron.

Holly hobbie knickerbocker Amy 16" doll friend

 

Amy

She also wears an ivory apron. Amy has blue eyes and light red hair with freckles. Her outfit is white flowers over a dark green background and trim colors in a pale green. She also wears a pale green apron.

Holly hobbie knickerbocker day night 16" plush doll

 

Day and Night Hollie Hobbie

This was very special Holly Hobbie doll! Her eyes were blue and her hair was sandy blond. By pulling the bows located on each side of her bonnet, you could open and close her eyes!! Here dress could also be worn 2 ways: ankle length blue checked gingham, or patchwork skirt. Rare and hard to find doll.

Other Holly Hobbie Merchandise

 There are plates, pins, lunchbox & thermoses, cake decorating kits…….all available with the Holly Hobbie image!!

Holly Hobbie in the media

Nick Jr aired a movie titled Holly Hobbie and Friends: Surprise Party. It is available on DVD. Holly Hobbie and friends also has a DVD series comprising of numerous titles.

What’s Holly Hobbie been doing recently?

Mattel released a brand new Holly Hobbie doll line during 2006, which includes Holly (blue eyes & blonde hair), Amy (green eyes & red hair), and Carrie (brown eyes & black hair). The dolls feature an all new face sculpt, a new body style, and flat feet. There is also a series of smaller Holly, Amy, and Carrie figures; each of these figures arrives with a farm animal (Holly has a dog named Doodles, Amy has a pig named Chedder, and Carrie has a cat named Bonnett). Separate doll outfits are being sold; each outfit can be customized by the child or the collector. This new doll line is cute and craft-themed. Holly Hobbie (the cartoon) also has three popular songs, two sung in her own voice, “Just Like You” and “The Things That Make You Special”, LeAnn Rimes sang “Twinkle in Her Eye”, the theme song.

The newest Holly Hobbie dolls are very nice, but my heart belongs to the vintage Holly Hobbie dolls by Knickerbocker!

 
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