No. 1 star becomes No. 1 doll Antiques: The Shirley Temple doll is the most popular celebrity doll ever made.


Television reruns have introduced new generations to the movies and TV shows of the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s. That has created interest in the toys and furnishings from those periods.

One movie star who still remains popular with fans of all ages is Shirley Temple. The actress was born in 1928 and was singing and dancing in films by 1932. She was the No. 1 box-office star by 1936 and made her last theatrical movie in 1949.

Since then, she has been U.S. ambassador to Ghana and U.S. chief of protocol.

The Shirley Temple doll is still the most popular celebrity doll ever made. It was copied, imitated and reissued many times.

The first Shirley Temple doll was made in 1934 by the Ideal Novelty & Toy Co. -- later known as Ideal Toy Corp. The doll was dressed in a costume from a movie, and each one came with a celluloid button with Shirley's picture and signature. There were four sizes, which sold for $3 to $7.

By the 1980s, more than 40 different Shirley Temple dolls had been made.

Many of the dolls were made of composition material that crazed. The hair often became messy because the instructions encouraged girls to wash and curl it.

Collectors pay hundreds of dollars for the early dolls in good condition with the original clothes.

Is it true that Windsor chairs are named after a kind of wood?

English Windsor chairs were called that as early as the early 1700s -- long before the Windsor dynasty was named. The name was probably a reference to the fact that much of the wood in the chairs came from the forests near the town of Windsor. The wood itself, however, was ash, elm, beech or yew.

The Kovels welcome letters and answer as many as possible through the column. Write to Kovels, The Sun, King Features Syndicate Inc., 235 E. 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10017.

Pub Date: 1/26/97

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