|Photo via mydollies4 on Flickr|
Open your eyes to the world of Blythe! The Blythe doll, introduced by Kenner in 1972, was either really cool or really creepy looking depending on your perspective. With an oversized head and equally oversized eyes (sort of an early protege of the Bratz dolls), Blythe's appeal was that you could dress her in different outfits and change her eye color and expression by pulling the string on the back of her head. Probably not something you'd want to play with if you were high on certain substances, as Blythe looks freaky enough to the un-stoned.
Personally, I think she looks like Christina Ricci, Michelle Bachman's Time cover portrait, or the woman who became known as "the runaway bride" a few years ago. They all have what I like to call crazy eyes. Apparently, other people back in 1972 felt the same way because Blythe only lasted a year in the United States and Australia. Here's one of the original commercials, with a theme song so indicative of the times (it sounds like the lead singer of Blood, Sweat and Tears singing):
Blythe was all but forgotten until the year 1997, when a photographer and TV producer named Gina Garan received a vintage Blythe doll as a gift, and she eventually became an overnight hit in Japan. According to Wikipedia, this is how Blythe's popularity got resurrected:
She began taking her Blythe everywhere with her and took hundreds of photos. In 1999, she was introduced to CWC's Junko Wong by artist and illustrator, Jeffrey Fulvimari which brought Blythe to the attention of Parco and toy executives. In 2000, Gina published her first book of Blythe photography with Chronicle Books, This is Blythe. In 2001, Hasbro (the Trademark and License owner) gave TakaraJapan and CWC a license to produce the New Edition of Blythe (Neo Blythe). Blythe was used in a television advertising campaign by Parco, the fashion branch of Seibu Department Stores in Japan and was an instant hit.
If you own an original Kenner Blythe doll, they're worth a bit of money--as of this posting, eBay has one listed with a current bid price of $1,850. In 1972 the doll was available with one of several hairstyles in the U.S.: a brunette with bangs, a sidepart brunette, a darker brunette with thinner bangs, a sidepart blonde, a red head with bangs, and a sidepart redhead. Twelve different outfits were available as well as colored wigs.
Now that I've gotten an education on Blythe myself, I think the doll is kind of cool--definitely very quintessential 70s with the clothing, hair, eye feature and creepiness factor. Any of my readers ever own one? If you're interested in the modern day Blythe, you can check out the official website here.