Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Back in the 1950s, CLAIROL ads asked this question, "Do blondes have more fun?" and I often wonder if the blonde Sashas have more fun than the brunettes and redheads. At least their hair doesn't fall out.
If the number of blonde "played with" waifs is any indication then the answer is "yes" -- the blondes seem to be the more popular play doll.
My grandmother, Nana Laura, was a huge influence on me in many ways -- including how I collect. Back in the 1940s and 50s she surrounded herself with hundreds of Madame Alexander dolls -- many of them were exact duplicates.
Ah, ha -- the secret here is that there are no true duplicates in the doll world. There might be a few twins but even they have their own special look. In fact, even mass-produced dolls like Barbie have slight variations that make each doll unique -- like snowflakes or clover.
So, I followed in my grandmother's footsteps and spent hour after hour peering intently into the faces of dozens of "similar" blonde Sasha dolls.
Yvonne and Bruno found my "process" amusing and finally just let me loose in their stock room where I carefully opened each Sasha tube and slid out the fresh-smelling, factory new doll. I would line them up and "interview" them just as Nana Laura had years before.
After I had made my selection I returned the others to their tubes and put them back on the shelf in my own special sorting system so I seldom interviewed the same doll twice.
When Creative Playthings closed their doors, Yvonne and Bruno bought most of their remaining Sasha stock so I had many dolls to choose from.
And, in another twist of fate, I discovered that Bloomingdales was discounting their leftover Sasha Christmas stock and selling them for $8 each. I adopted about 25 of them sight unseen.
And so, at the end of my first year of collecting Sasha dolls I had close to 150 dolls and had to have cabinets created to house them. The cabinets lined the walls of my studio and the Sashas cavorted about happily while I worked away -- earning more money to support them and my new addiction.