34. The Legacy of Baby Face

In the months leading up to her introduction, Galoob ran a series of Brilliant ads on the back covers of the trade publications. They were intended to tease the viewer each month. The first showed a series of close ups of Baby Face's eyes. The second was just mouths. And the last, which appeared around Toy Fair, was a series showing the complete faces of the nine original dolls.

The caption on this ad proved Prophetic, It read:

Introducing Baby Face Dolls.

That says it ALL!

Every antique doll collector has seen the occasional doll, that attempted to stray from the Unspoken Rule, and portray an emotion, often, without success! I recall seeing "antique" babies, with their bisque faces twisted in the throws of a never ending tantrum, or forever, crying their eyes out at the pinnacle of extreme discomfort. These attempts must have struck someone as "cute" at the time, but I always found them, painful to look at, and un-easy on the eyes!

It's easy to understand why "facial expressions" never played a noticeable role in the commercial doll industry. For centuries, the very mention of the word "Doll" conjured up the mental image of an, inanimate figure, with a telltale, characteristically Catatonic, Doll-Like, Stare! Actors could portray it, so can we all. It's easy! Just stare, Wide-eyed, straight ahead, Face Blank - Don't Blink!

Now try to imitate a Baby Face, Not so easy, is it? I won't assert that most dolls are in some sort of comatose trance, far from it, Many appear to be deep in thought, while others are watching something intently, maybe us. And some even look happy, perhaps, to see us, or with "life" in general. But, few convey emotions, and fewer still, attempt, like Baby Face, to "Communicate" with us!

Not So, anymore! Visit the doll aisle today, and Every doll or "line" of dolls is radiating every emotion in Baby Face's repertoire, and more! Facial Expressions have become commonplace! Now, they are the "Norm".

At the time Baby Face was introduced, Doll styling was as frozen, as the look on the dolls faces. It had evolved from decades of inbreeding, as doll artists, peeking over each others shoulders, copied their own cliches, over and over. This is called "Tradition".


Then along came Baby Face, Born out of lack of experience, rather than cliche! For a brief moment, she embodied a fresh new look! Now, her shoulder has been peeked over time and time again, and her look has become "Tradition" too!

That is the Legacy of Baby Face! She called the Doll Industry's attention to "Facial Expressions", and They Are Here to Stay!

Well, "That's All Folks!" This is the First Day of a New Millennium, and Baby Face is part of the last. It was time for me to "put her to bed", And like a good "father", I did it with a story and a goodnight kiss. I only wish, for all of you who have "adopted" her, and taken her to heart, that the story could have had a "Happy Ending"! As far as we're concerned (Baby Face and I), Dear Readers, Just knowing that you are out there, keeping the memory of her Alive, is Happy Ending enough for us!

With MANY THANKS and Warm Wishes for the Next Thousand Years, and, of course, Baby Face sends her Love,

Sincerely, Mel

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