Saturday, January 16, 2010

Betsy Wetsy. This is scary.

First of all, I’m only introducing this post for all the ladies out there, since I’ve been instructed to include more gurly-girl stuff.

As you faithful readers know, I don't generally include my personal opinions on this site. But if I were looking for a doll for my granddaughter, it certainly would NOT be this one. This has to be the scariest looking thing I’ve ever seen. But, don’t let me taint your memories, in case you had one. You probably loved it, if you did. But you probably didn’t realize how scary it really was. You were a lot younger then.

If we hop in the Wayback Machine and set the dial for the 1950s (not sure what year this thing was introduced) we will eventually meet up with the frightening creature known as the BETSY WETSY doll. Yikes! Let's hope it's still daylight.

She was the star attraction of the Ideal Toy Corporation in New York for many years. (Yeah. And JoJo the Dog-Faced Boy was the star of P.T. Barnum's freak show for many years, too.) Ideal carved their name into the back of her head (ouch!) along with a manufacturing lot number. How attractive is that? No wonder she has that expression.

But, Betsy was made in the USA, and that’s the only good thing I can say about her. She had an open mouth (like many of today’s children) into which “mom” could insert the bottle containing the fluid that would eventually come out her other end. Now, how attractive is that? And what a pleasing thing she must have been. Originally her head was hard plastic and her body a blend of soft plastic and latex with jointed shoulders and hips.

In the 1950s, the box containing this demon doll said, “Little Miss Betsy Wetsy.” She was available in various sizes: 8 inch, 13 inch, and 22 inch. And, from the number that were sold, she was apparently what every little girl needed — a 22 inch tall piece of plastic with a hard head and a scary face that didn’t do anything except pee everywhere. But she was something new, and Americans love new things.

Today’s prices on the vintage dolls varies and depends on their condition. I would think they would be incontinent by now, but enough of my opinions here. MIB (mint in box) versions are commonly in the $50 range. Remember, there were many thousands of these made, and while some owners may ask $300, there are others out there at a more realistic price. If I had one you could have it for free, just to get it out of my sight.

And I'm not alone in that opinion. I showed the photo to my friend Max the Monkey just to see his reaction. The picture tells you what he thought. And monkeys don't lie.

In the late 1980's, a failing IDEAL company reissued the Betsy Wetsy with a made-in-China version, but it didn't catch on. Thank goodness! You can stick around here if you wish, but Max and I are heading back to the Wayback Machine.


Panda707 said...

I love your column on BETSY ! Oh, what a baby! I never had the honor of having one, but my little playmate, Janice, did. We girls would all gather around jostling for our turn to give Betsy her bottle, then squeal with delight when the contents started dripping from her butt. If you squeezed her, she peed really fast!

Panda707 said...

I just thought of another story about Janice's beloved Betsy. One time one of our little playmates decided to give her a penis. We made one out of adhesive tape. It turned out pretty good, even had a hole down the center. Now that was a thrill when water started coming out of that thing.

Sissy said...

Never had one. Now I'll be sure to never try to get one. I still have my Tammy and Pepper dolls, though, and their carrying cases and little tennis outfits.

The monkey says it all, folks.

Michael said...

Max is usually a prett good indicator of how to react. Monkies don't lie.

Dominique said...

I'm thinking I'm happy Betsy slighly predated me. The dolls I remember having were Chatty Cathy and Poor Pitiful Pearl (my mom always said I dressed Pearl in the "poor" outfit, never in the pink, princess dress!)

Jan Scarbrough said...

I had a Betsy Wetsy!