Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tonner 2006 Pt. 2

Doll companies very often spring surprises on us throughout the year. As if the mainline shown at the start of the year isn't enticing enough, very limited dolls turn up as store exclusives or at special events. Tonner seems to be a master at keeping collectors on their toes.

Attendees of the Oz Farewell Brunch held during the 15th Anniversary Tonner Convention received a special souvenir doll "We Welcome You to Munchkinland", a beautiful little lady known to Oz fans as the Flower Pot Munchkin. She has a sweet, dimpled unique head sculpt and black curled hair. She stands at 12 inches and her costuming is made up of vibrant colors of red, teal, and purple. She is an edition of 500.

Also at the Tonner brunch were Wizard of Oz tablepieces of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion on an exclusive yellow brick road stand. Forty to fifty were made and numbers were drawn for a chance to purchase the piece. This set has commanded prices up to $800 on EBay. Rumor was the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion were sneak previews of dolls to be added to the fall line up and indeed they were introduced this week.

There could still be more releases as FAO exclusives later this year. For now, there is plenty to keep the Oz fan occupied. Stay tuned to the Curiozity Corner. As soon as any news breaks, it will be posted here.

Tonner 2006 Pt. 1 January Introductions

This year the Tonner Doll Company took some really wild liberties with the Oz line. When I first saw the photos of the dolls in January, I thought they might be hard sells, but that seems to not be the case. Over the past few months the 2006 line has really grown on me and I've decided there is something for everyone after all.

Dressed Dolls

If you missed them last year, Glinda, the Wicked Witch, Dorothy, and the ruby slippers are available again this year.

The Winged Monkey has been added to the accessory line. If you were unable to purchase the porcelain Winged Monkey from Mattel a few years ago, the new Tonner monkey would be a suitable, more affordable substitute. He is an open edition.

The Lady Ozmopolitan is a thrill to see. The Emerald City hairdresser is rarely represented in Oz collectibles. Her blonde hair is perfectly coiffed and her make-up is flawless. She's the beauty you'd expect to see in an Emerald City salon.

The Emerald City Cosmopolitan Wicked Witch doll seems strange to me. I've read rave reviews about her from doll aficionados, but as an Oz fan........this doll seems very un-Wicked Witch like to me and I find the yellow and teal colors of the outfit odd against the green skin. In my opinion, the outfit should have been boxed separately and marketed toward the raven haired basic Ozmopolitan.

Emerald City Elegance is a fiery haired stunner barely seen in the Wizard of Oz film. This particular character was featured more prominently during the reprise of 'Ding, Dong, the Wicked Witch is Dead' when Dorothy and friends return to the Emerald City with the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West. Unfortunately for these lovely ladies, their already minimal screen time was made even shorter when the reprise was cut from the film. This engaging doll wears a green halter dress topped with beading at the neck and a pleated skirt. A green flower pot hat with white flowers is perched smartly atop her head. This character has never been captured in collectible form before. Tonner has given her the immortalization MGM denied her due to time constraints. It's refreshing to see Tonner really taking chances with this line and bringing inconsequential characters to to the forefront.

The Poison Ivy doll is another one that strikes me as kind of strange.  Due to copyright issues with the original name this doll was changed to Haunted Stroll.  Like the Emerald City Cosmopolitan, the whole Haunted Stroll getup does not seem to fit the character of the Wicked Witch at all. The copper tresses do not seem to work on the witch.

The one dressed doll I absolutely adore is Ambassador in Pink. Glinda, the fashionista of Oz, is a cotton candy confectionery vision. She has a classically beautiful sculpt with a lovely painted face. The pink hair is neither garish nor outrageous. The color really works well for this doll. I'm not a big fan of the color pink, but his doll is really gorgeous. To me, she's SO Glinda or Galinda, for those familiar with Wicked the musical.


Perfume Lady is an outfit modeled by the basic Ozmopolitan doll. Like the Emerald City Elegance doll, this represents a character with very little screen time.

The Winkie Business suit wins the award for ozzyest costume of 2006. The Wicked Witch looks prepared to give her legion marching orders to find a certain Kansas refugee and her little dog too!!

There's nothing uniquely Oz about the Oz Rhapsody dress, but I think it's very feminine and compliments Glinda's beauty.

I think the design of Griffin Splendor is appropriate for the Wicked Witch because of the embroidered griffins, but I'm not crazy about the silver color. I think a darker hue more suited to the Witch with silver embroidered enhancements would have been better. It's modeled on the basic Wickedly Silver doll and all that silver doesn't work for the Wicked Witch the same way pink seems to for Glinda. However, Griffon Splendor is a really cool outfit unto itself.

Finally, finally Dorothy gets a wardrobe! With all the money MGM spent on the lavish costuming in The Wizard of Oz you'd think Dorothy would be allowed at least one costume change. A farmgirl in the big city would certainly benefit from some Emerald City glamour. A pretty frock for an audience with the Wizard would certainly have been warranted. Maybe they wanted Dorothy to be a sharp contrast to the fanciful world around her. At least she got a new hairdo! Robert Tonner picked up MGM's slack and gave Dorothy two charming outfits.

The Back to School ensemble I can picture Dorothy wearing down a dusty Kansas road carrying her books with Toto at her heels. It includes a white dress with a flowered pinafore, black stockings, and black shoes.

Bedtime Dreams is a cute nightgown but not very original to Dorothy. I think a poppy design alluding to Dorothy's nap in Oz would have been more appropriate.

All dressed dolls and boxed clothing for 2006 are in editions of 1500.

New Book, Calendars, and Snowbaby/ One Cancellation

Lots of new Oz to look forward to folks!

Two new books. The first is a bio by Lollipop Kid Jerry Maren. The second book comes from noted Oz authors Bill Stillman and Jay Scarfone. Visit for more info on these and the calendars, but keep in mind release dates are tentative and oftentimes are subject to change.
Unfortunately, since the original post date of this blog entry the Scarfone/Stillman book was cancelled.

Two new calendars. Regular wall calendar and Day by Day Trivia calendar for your daily dose of Oz.

Last, a new Avon exclusive Snowbaby from Dept. 56. 'No Place Like Home'   A Snowbaby is wearing a pair of too large ruby slippers and holding a basket with Toto inside. Really adorable. Watch your Avon catalogs.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Avon Along the Yellow Brick Road

Avon's extensive line of make-up, lotions, and perfumes has enhanced the natural beauty of American women for decades. As time passed, Avon sought to add beauty to all aspects of our lives and expanded into clothing, colletibles, and home decor. Over the years Oz merchandise has occasionally slipped onto the Avon catalog pages.
The earliest of these were children's toiletries from a 1967 catalog. We all know that cleanliness is next to Ozliness. Okay, well, maybe not. For some children bathtime is a struggle. Perhaps this set of bubble bath, shampoo, and lotion made bath time a little easier after the annual showing of The Wizard of Oz on television. Children could follow the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow along the yellow brick road right into the bathtub. To the best of my knowledge, these toiletries have not been shown in any Oz or toy guides. I am very pleased to be showing them here, possibly for the first time.

In 1985, a lovely Judy Garland as Dorothy porcelain figurine was offered as part of the Images of Hollywood series.

In 2003, Avon carried six Enesco Wizard of Oz figurines. The four main characters were widely available since 1999 wherever Oz collectibles were sold, but Glinda and the Wicked Witch were exclusive to Avon.

 Avon carried a "To Oz" afghan by Goodwin Weavers in 2003. Toto is noticeably absent from the 1999 mass market "Yellow Brick Road" afghan sold through other outlets.

Last year Avon brought us The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Cherished Teddies by Enesco. For photo please refer to my April 13th entry.
For 2006 we have salt and pepper shakers of Glinda's crown and the Wicked Witch's hat by Vandor. The Warner Brothers Studio Stores sold a similar set some years ago, but many people may have missed out. This is a great little item for the Oz and Wicked fans.

Oz collectors will want to keep a watchful eye on Avon for more exclusives to add to our collections.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Judy Garland Receives Stamp of Approval

To this day Judy Garland is still revered as THE consummate entertainer. Judy took her final journey over the rainbow 37 years ago, but her expressive brown eyes and the timbre of her voice still have the power to woo and wow generation after generation.

On June 10th, the United States Postal Service honors "Miss Showbusiness" with a first-class commerative postage stamp. The 12th issue in the Legends of Hollywood Series will be debuted at the same venue of Judy Garland's celebrated 1961 concert triumph; Carnegie Hall. Guests scheduled to appear include Judy's children Lorna Luft and Joseph Luft, Turner Classic Movies host and film historian Robert Osborne, performer Rufus Wainwright who will be re-creating the legendary Carnegie Hall concert June 14th and 15th, and MGM actress Jane Powell. Attendees of the ceremony will receive first day programs containing a list of participants, information about the stamp, and a postmarked stamp attached.

The stamp design by Ethel Kessler features art of a sophisticated Judy teeming with radiance taken from a 1954 portrait promoting A Star is Born. A illustration of Judy Garland in her endearing role of Dorothy Gale appears on the selvage (margin) of the stamp sheet.

Promotional posters that are not sold to the general public are on display at post offices, but perhaps a kindly postal clerk would be willing to set one aside when the post office has no further use for it. If asked politely.  Promotional pins were also made of the stamp.

Celebrate Judy Garland's 84th birthday and honor her memory by adding these beautiful stamps to your collection.

If you're just tuning in please see my May 12th entry to see the new USPS stamp sheet. Shown below are Judy Garland stamps from around the world.

Star is Born publicity portrait courtesy Scott Brogan 

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Lions, And Tigers, And Ducks, OH MY!!!!!!!

The rubber ducky comes from an enigmatic background subject to much speculation. It appears no one really knows its true origins. In any case, rubber duckies have endeared themselves to American hearts and pop culture. They have endured the test of time holding their own alongside dolls and teddy bears. Another pop culture icon has recently married up with the rubber ducky and the results are smashing!! We'll get to that in a moment.

Rubber duckies have become much more than bath time amusements. To the gratitude and sanity of many parents, these engaging, unassuming toys have coaxed fearful or unruly children in the tub tricking them into thinking they are simply playing while they learn the basics of good hygiene. Clever little ducks! As a matter of fact, ducks have been used as educational tools for children and adults. Children have their imaginations boosted while learning colors, counting, and developing hand-eye coordination. In 1992, a storm at sea swept 29,000 rubber ducks overboard and oceanographers seized the opportunity to study the winds and currents of the Pacific Ocean. Ducks have also been instrumental in raising money for children's charities and non-profit organizations. Duck Derby races are routinely held as fundraisers.

Rubber duckies seem to have always been a beloved childhood toy, but it was Sesame Street that catapulted the popularity of the rubber duck into the stratosphere. In 1970, Muppet favorite Ernie sang the praises of his rubber ducky and left an indelible impression in the mind's of children and their larger counterparts.

Over the years, rubber ducks have gotten more elaborate. Most ducks are no longer made of rubber (most manufacturers favor vinyl), but have retained the name with which they are so familiarized. The cheery sunshine yellow ducks continue to be big sellers, but now the ducks boast every color of the rainbow. Some light up and some are scented. Others are molded to resemble celebrities. And this brings us to our pop culture matrimony.

Celebriducks was founded in 1998 by Craig Wolfe as a side business. The main enterprise was soon overshadowed by the ducks and sold off. To date over 200 ducks have been created in the images of film, music, history, and sports icons. Celebriducks have been featured in many magazines and newspapers nationwide. They have been given away at major sporting events with impressive sponsors Gatorade, Reebok, Arby's, AOL/TimeWarner, Pepsi, Chevrolet, and many others. A ESPN web poll determined Celebriducks the favorite stadium give-away beating out other esteemed collectibles such as bobbleheads, Beanie Babies, Pez Dispeners, lunch boxes and Match Box cars.

This year our favorite foursome from L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz joins the Celebriducks family. These fanciful fowl are a must, must, MUST for 2006. How can you look at these ducks and not "quack" a smile??? They will be attractively packaged in a see-through box with the edition number on the bottom of the duck. These can be taken into the bathtub and pools, but bear in mind like many other well loved toys the paint could wear off over time with exposure to sunlight and chlorine and just general play. Those that want these ducks. for toys may want to consider purchasing two sets. For the rest of us, these attention grabbing little darlings deserve a place of honor on our shelves or they'd look great in an Oz themed bathroom. This charming quartet is soon to be joined by the Wicked Witch of the West. That's one duck that probably won't take to water! I can't say enough praise about The Wizard of Oz Celebriducks. I am blown away by the photo and can only imagine I'll be more so when I see them in person. They are tentatively scheduled for an early July release. These will undoubtedly be HOT items among Oz and rubber duck collectors and I predict they'll sell out quickly.

These will be available from Karen Owens of Storyland Collectables. Contact her for these fabulous ducks and all of your Wizard of Oz needs at
For more info on Celebriducks, please visit

Special thanks to Craig Wolfe for emailing me a picture of the ducks, patiently answering my questions, and for the article entitled Rubber Ducks and Their Significance in Contemporary American Culture written by Lotte Larsen Meyer for The Journal of American Culture.

And now Celebriducks presents The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Let the bath time frivolity begin!!