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Doll News Sept.19, 2003

By John Medeiros

Ashton Drake Reintroduces the PlayPal Family

The 1959 original Patti Playpal was an amazing 35" tall, large enough for a small child to hold by the hand. She was just like a real-live friend, one who was always ready to have fun.

Now she's back as an exclusive Ashton-Drake re-creation with all the charm and size of the first doll. If you missed owning her when you were a child, now's your chance to reclaim your childhood. If you were lucky enough to have one, you can relive the fun again.

I am a long-time fan and collector of the vintage Ideal Playpal companion dolls, so I was thrilled when Ashton Drake announced the reissue of this beauty.

She arrives in a large AD logo shipping box. Inside is a liner for the doll that features vintage style signature Patti Playpal graphics. After removing her from her box, I displayed her in my living room for a day or so to get a feel for how close she was to the original 1959 Pattis.

The molds used for the new doll are very similar to the vintage molds. Unlike the 1959 dolls, the same high-quality vinyl is used in all the body parts. This makes fore a heavier weight doll, but one whose flesh tones match on all appendages. The original vintage dolls with their blow-molded torsos and legs and vinyl heads and arms tend to fade or discolor with more variation in skin tone on any individual doll. Because her legs are the same vinyl as her arms, her knees, hands and elbows have been beautifully blushed for a more life-like effect. There is also light rose paint detailing on her finger and toe nails and wrinkles.

She is jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips, but is not a "walker". The neck joint is a swivel type rather then the vintage strung ball-joint style, so there is less range of movement for her head. Overall, Ashton Drake has done a fine job of recreating a body that evokes memories of the originals. She is not strung, but will also not go limp and is easier to pose and stands on her own. There are no maker marks on her body but the back of her neck is marked ADG.

Her head sculpt is almost identical to the vintage sculpt. She certainly looks more like the original Ideal doll than any of the 1960s Canadian or "knock-off" Pattis and is an improvement over Ideal's 1981 reissue. He face paint is more subtle than the original Ideal dolls with dusty lips, lightly blushed cheeks and feathered eyebrows. Her crystal blue sleep eyes are big and gorgeous with real bristle lashes.

She has life-like rooted auburn hair that has the signature Patti bangs in front and cascades to the small of her back. It is high-quality and responds wonderfully to combing and brushing.

Patti Playpal comes dressed in one of her most memorable signature outfits. Her lace trimmed red gingham dress buttons up the back and comes with an attached slip just like the original. Over this she wears her separate crisp white lace trimmed pinafore with Rick-rack detailing, two pockets, floral detail and the rare embroidered Patti Playpal signature on the left pocket. She wears red gingham panties to match her dress. The outfit is finished off by black vinyl shoes and lacy ankle socks. The workmanship on her outfit it collector quality with fine details and the use of snaps and real buttons.

A word of caution: Although Ashton Drake took care to line all the garments, the red dye used in the doll's dress has a tendency to transfer to the vinyl leaving light pink stains.

She comes with a certificate of authenticity and a hangtag for her wrist.

The Patti reproduction has been available all year, but the fun continues throughout 2003. Ashton Drake has just released a beautiful reproduction of her rare brother Peter and has also announced the reissue of little sister Penny Playpal and the super-rare 18" Pattite Playpal. All of these exclusive reproductions dolls will be available between now and the holidays from collectiblestoday.com.

PETER PLAYPAL:

The original Peter Playpal® was introduced in the 1960s and is now considered so rare and special; collectors pay hundreds of dollars for him on popular auction websites.

This exclusive Ashton-Drake collectible doll is a carefully crafted authentic reproduction of the original, right down to his dressy suit, complete with jaunty hat and bow tie.

PENNY PLAYPAL

Now you can bring home a new playmate for your treasured Patti Playpal® reproduction doll! Patti's precious little sister Penny is an absolute princess, and the perfect size to pamper. She comes dressed in pretty pink and she's properly proportioned at 32" tall to play with Patti all day long!

This exclusive Ashton-Drake collectible doll is a carefully crafted reproduction of the original, and sure to tug at your heartstrings, just like her big sister.

PATTITE PLAYPAL:

She's back from the 1960s and just as wonderful! Inspired by the much larger Patti Playpal®, Pattite Playpal is just 18" high. This vinyl reproduction doll is crafted of quality vinyl, fully jointed, with hand-painted features, sleep eyes, and long auburn hair! She's wearing a gingham dress and pinafore, just as you remember!

This exclusive edition Ashton-Drake collectible doll is child-safe, so now's your chance to bring her into your life again or share her with a special child!

I will be covering each of the dolls is this wonderfully nostalgic series as soon as they are available.so stay tuned.