Synopsis of Toy
“She Walks!…She Turns And Poses!…She Sits!…She Has Real Eyelashes!”
In the land where dolls live, there is just one Queen: Barbie is her name, and nearly absolute is her reign (but remember that little word “nearly”). Though there has been many an attempt at a coup, doll saboteurs usually meet varying degrees of failure and find themselves on the dingy back shelves of toy shops—rarely visited and rarely dusted off, wondering how it all went so very wrong. But, for a few fleeting moments in the early 1970’s, the queen was briefly—ever so briefly—usurped. And the mutineer was none other than Topper Toys’ Dawn doll—a gal just scrappy and adorable enough to catch a bit of doll success lightning in a bottle (a bottle that you-know-who usually has dibs on).
Topper Toys gave Dawn her baptism by fire in 1970. She was six and a half inches tall, her blonde hair and dark eyelashes were rooted, and her hand-painted makeup was, by all accounts, pretty fantastic. She was a bit less curvaceous than the Queen, and her wardrobe was substantially funkier and more casual than the gowns and formal wear that the Queen tended to prefer. Where Barbie was elegant, Dawn was groovy. Where Barbie was a young lady, Dawn was a cool chick.
A hundred different poses were possible, Topper promised, and they surrounded their ingénue with more than just flexibility—the surrounded her with plenty of fun friends. In the Dawn line’s inaugural year, there was Dale (an African-American beauty), Angie (a brunette) and Glori (a redhead). The year following saw the arrival of the twisty-armed ‘Dancing’ line: Jessica, Longlocks, Gary, Ron and Van. Just by their names, you could tell this was a groovier crew…no offense to Skipper or Midge, but come on—who would you rather paint the town red with?
Each Dawn doll came with the following gear: a two-pronged plastic pedestal that she or he could stand on, instructions that explained how to make the dolls ‘walk,’ a pair of shoes, and for the girls, a stock mini-dress outfit, a pair of white underwear (which the Queen, by the way, if believe the court gossips, was apparently no stickler for). The only time fun at the Dawn party slowed down was when her knees took on a bit of a blue-green hue—the toymakers at Topper had chosen a metal for her knee joint that reacted with the vinyl in her leg.
In 1972, the ‘Model Agency’ line came out, which featured five more friends for Dawn who were a bit more glamorous than the free-wheelin’ Dawns of old—they were dressed up in fancy gowns. But she and her clique never got too snooty, rest assured. There was the Majorette line, a Flower Fantasy Dawn edition (our party girl in a plastic flower pot stand, surrounded by brightly-colored flora and fauna), Dawn’s Disco, Dawn’s Action Car, and carrying cases for to pack her and her friends away in if they had to heed a social call that brought her out of the house.
Unfortunately, Topper went bankrupt in 1973, and insolvency has a strange way of putting the brakes on a doll’s proper development. Who knows what Dawn could have done with her talents, had her backers not abandoned her in her prime? Really…who’s to say there wouldn’t have been room for two doll Queens?
Release History of Toy1970 - Dawn
1972 - The Model Agency line