Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Psst ... TNT Christie was a White Doll Painted Brown

Has anyone else seen the first Christie described as being a "White" doll painted brown?

Check this post by Charles of The Doll Diary and his link to an ABC news story that starts with this false statement. I submitted a comment pointing out the error, but so far, no one else has. Hmmm ... can this NOT seem a problem to others? Then there is this Barbie List that makes the same statement. What happened to fact checking?

I have NOTHING against "chocolate-dipped" dolls. Most of the "Black" dolls of my youth were "dipped" dolls. As I mentioned before, there are Black people who resemble such dolls. But reading that Christie was "essentially a white doll painted brown" according to the ABC article - annoys me; here we have the first Mattel ethnic-faced fashion doll stripped of her ethnic status. The first Christie is to Black as the first Barbie is to White.

In addition to the Barbie classic guide, The Collector's Encyclopedia of Barbie Dolls and Collectibles by Sibyl DeWein and Joan Ashabraner, here are some online articles on Christie:

Charles on Christie

Doll Reference

Master Collector

Katti's Dolls

So ... what do you think? Is she or isn't she?

15 comments:

Black Doll Enthusiast said...

The head mold used for Christie and Midge are very similar. Talking Christie 1968 and 1969, TNT Christie, and Sunset Malibu Christie are identified as using the "Vintage Christie" mold in The Ultimate Barbie Doll Book by Marcie Melillo. I used this verbiage in my first black-doll reference. Live Action Christie uses the Midge mold, according to Melillo's book. Midge's head is stamped with numerals on the back of the scalp underneath the hair; Malibu Christie (according to Melillo is marked ©1965 on the rim of her head.

To see the subtle differences in molds, view the headshot comparision here: http://i831.photobucket.com/albums/zz236/dollsinblack/8879b853.jpg

D7ana said...

Thanks for this information, Debbie!

I would love to see the comparison photos of Christie and Midge, but I don't have the password to the link. Do you have the photo on the WLBD group photo album?

Dolls of Color said...

I know what you mean... to me, the first Christie definitely has common African features... ha! I think Midge is the... erm what is white? liquid paper? liquid paper dipped doll :/

There were AA dolls made in the Superstar mould, Mackie and Generation Girl moulds and they would be more like "chocolate dipped" but hey, who's to say that black women can't look like that naturally? They do... it's called variation.

Dolls of Color said...

I've just looked at Debbie's pics, Christie appears to have more defined features than Midge and deeper eye sockets...

Dolls of Color said...

actually... I think I meant heavier eyelids rather than deeper eye sockets ???

Black Doll Enthusiast said...

Hi D7ana,

This link should work:
Christie/Midge Comparison

dbg

D7ana said...

Debbie, thanks for sharing your lovely photo of Malibu Christie and Midge. I see the resemblance around the nose - both are round, "snub" noses, but I think the mouths and eye shapes differ. Malibu Christie's eyes are more almond-shaped and her lips pout more.

Although the Midge head mold was used for Live Action Christie, I think the resulting doll does look Black. Probably because the nose shape is rounded.

D7ana said...

Hi Therese! Yes, the Midge mold in a darker plastic does look Black to me.

And I agree that the original/vintage Christie head mold has heavier eyelids ... almost "hooded" which adjective has a negative tone ... so "heavier" it is ;-)

Niel Camhalla said...

I didn't have a comment before because I don't have those vintage dolls to know the difference, nor do I have any reliable sources. I find it hard to tell from the photo shared by Debbie because of the lighting and the angle of the faces. Second, I didn't understand why you were annoyed. But now, although I don't exactly know how you feel, I think I somewhat understand.

Dolls of Color said...

@Niel - I think (well, at least for ME) the annoyance lies in the spreading of misinformation and exaggerated hyperbole. I actually think in the past (vintage era, pre-1970's) Mattel was much more progressive. Nowadays it is more backwards and repetitive.

D7ana said...

Thanks, Therese! You've got part of my annoyance identified. The misinformation regarding Mattel Black dolls past and the exaggeration of the So in Style dolls annoys me. Let the dolls stand on their own merits. I can overlook the lack of hair variety. Maybe the company rushed to get the SiS line out for Barbie's 50th anniversary.

Second, the misinformation feels like an insult to the intelligence of people who have followed these dolls and Mattel for years.

Third - and this is the weird one, I confess - it's like disrespect to my Christie doll. She carried the mantle of being the first Mattel Black doll who was NOT made from a "White" doll mold. Granted, the doll is vinyl and plastic, "she" has no interest/concern about what the company states, I feel the slight for her.

Ah ... see it's late and my brain's mush.

Dolls of Color said...

oh hey Dana... another one for your reading pleasure... seems like people just parrot what other people have said without checking the facts for themselves...

Interview With Stacey McBride-Irby by Dante Lee - http://bit.ly/lK3gA

Dolls of Color said...

no, I don't think it's a hopeless case at all... how is the first Christie any less important than the first Barbie? and we both know how special vintage Caucasian Barbie is to collectors. Imagine if everyone was saying how the first Barbie(s) were sooo ugly (I think her face is a bit severe but not ugly) but then, the less popular vintage Christie is... the more affordable she will be for us...

D7ana said...

Thanks for sharing that link, Therese.

D7ana said...

Here's the response that I submitted to Mr. Lee's blog. I include it here since it probably won't get approved there since it contradicts the current line of Christie-was-White and Shani-never-existed:

1. As a child, I recall the first Christie doll, and she looked Black to me. Perhaps you are thinking about "Colored Francie," who was a White doll done in brown vinyl. Christie's nose and mouth area protruded more than the White dolls in the Barbie line did. Her hair style was a short curled bob - like that of many Black women then. She may not have been as fine tuned as Mattel's more recent dolls, but she was as Black then as the contemporary White dolls were White.

2. Mattel produced a Black doll line, Shani, in 1991 where there were three African American dolls with THREE different face molds and different complexions.

The So in Style dolls are lovely ethnic dolls. I don't understand why promoting them calls for denigration of the dolls that preceeded them.