Shirley Temple doll (1934)
The hype: Who can we blame for the holiday toy madness that makes children and parents insane around the holidays? Shirley Temple. The first celebrity-driven doll was manufactured by The Ideal Toy and Novelty Company when Temple was 6 years old, in the third year of her movie career. The demand became huge after the child actor’s breakout film, “Bright Eyes,” was released three days before Christmas. Ideal sold a reported $45 million worth of Shirley Temple dolls in seven years.
Price in 1934: $2.89 to $5.79
eBay price in 2010: $1,545.50
Bet you didn’t know … While the actress was the model for the doll, Ideal didn’t think to put Temple’s name on the package until after the first generation.
Where are they now? Sales continued until 1941, with several re-releases during the past 70 years.
Chatty Cathy (1960)
The hype: In a move that charmed a generation of young girls — and a few future horror film directors — the Mattel Corporation put a phonograph in an otherwise unremarkable doll, allowing her to say 11 different lines when a ring was pulled. The two neediest lines: “Do you love me?” and “Please brush my hair!” Cathy was the inspiration for the Talking Tina doll (“I’m Talking Tina and I’m going to kill you”) in a memorable 1963 episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
Price in 1960: $19.90
eBay price in 2010: $195.00
Bet you didn’t know … A 1969 reissue used the voice of Maureen McCormick from “The Brady Bunch.” Voice actress June Foray provided the voices of both Chatty Cathy and Talking Tina.
Where are they now? Sales continued until 1965, with updates in the 1970s and 1980s. Most surviving Chatty Cathys are mute; several of the vital mechanisms weren’t built to last.