The “grow hair” doll concept was not a new one when Ideal released its first Crissy doll. However, it was a completely re-engineered, attractive doll that would become more popular than any of its predecessors. The Ideal doll had a very similar mechanism to the American Character Doll Company’s Tressy doll, with a knob that let the hair “grow,” and a key to wind it up again. The similarities ended there, with the 1969 Crissy doll coming in a larger size (18”) with coarser, higher-quality hair. Crissy’s popularity took off immediately, with little girls across the country being charmed by this beautiful doll.
Each year Ideal released a new version of Crissy with updated features and looks. The styles of clothing that came with Crissy were reflective of the 1970s, with looks that were even then described as “hip” and “mod.” There were sparkly mini dresses, groovy bell bottoms, and more subtle but ever so seventies outfits like prairie dresses and ponchos.
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Today you can still find these outfits, although because many are not labeled they can be a bit tricky to know if you have originals. There are also great, original sewing patterns that came out for Crissy that inspired the minds of handy seamstresses. These pop up from time to time, so keep an eye out for them at auctions.As the dolls sailed off the shelves, Ideal decided to take advantage by introducing a great range of friends and family for Crissy. The first and very popular addition was Velvet who, at 15” with platinum blonde hair, topped every little girl’s wish list. Because these dolls were selling so well, Ideal decided to release other dolls that could do things with the use of mechanical devices. There was the “Movin Groovin” model, “Look Around Crissy” and “Talky Crissy.” All of these models were designed to make the dolls appear more lifelike and interactive.
Although they were a bit gimmicky, today these dolls are popular with collectors who appreciate the novelty of the dolls and also the high-quality with which they were made. A lot of collectors end up getting the same version of each doll so that they can style the hair in different ways to show off the feature that has made them so popular over the years. Most used dolls go for around $30, with dolls in original package and in mint condition fetching over $100 in the market. The most sought after dolls are the original 1969 models whose hair went all the way to the floor (every model afterwards had hair only to her knees).