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Blythe (doll): Wikis


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Blythe (pronounced /ˈblaɪθ/) is a doll created in 1972 by designer Allison Katzman with the now-defunct U.S. toy company Kenner. Reportedly, she was modeled after drawings by Margaret Keane, similarly to many other dolls of the '60s and '70s. Her most distinctive and notable feature were eyes that changed color with the pull of a string attached to the back of her head. Due to a lack of interest, Blythe dolls were only sold for one year in the U.S. (produced in Hong Kong), during 1972.



Blythe was created in 1972 by designer Allison Katzman and marketed for one year in the USA by toy company Kenner. The doll would only become popular some 27 years later.

In 1997, New York TV and video producer Gina Garan was given a 1972 Kenner Blythe by a friend and began using it to practice her photographic skills. She began taking her Blythe everywhere with her and took hundreds of photos. In 1999, she was introduced to CWC's Junko Wong by artist and illustrator, Jeffrey Fulvimari which brought Blythe to the attention of Parco and toy executives. In 2002, Gina published her first book of Blythe photography with Chronicle Books, This is Blythe. Later that year, Hasbro (the Trademark and License owner) gave Takara of Japan a license to produce the New Edition of Blythe (NEO Blythe). Blythe was used in a television advertising campaign by Parco, the fashion branch of Seibu Department Stores in Japan and was an instant hit. Success in Japan led Hasbro to issue a license to Ashton Drake Galleries (ADG)to produce Blythe exclusively in the U.S., where the doll become a niche product in a marginal market, selling largely to adults.

In 2003 Blythe was the subject in a segment on the VH1 special, I Love the 70s, where she was said to look like either "Barbie with elephantiasis" or "Christina Ricci" among other things.

In 2004, the Ashton-Drake Galleries began to produce their own Blythe replica dolls in the United States.

In spring 2009, Alexander McQueen launched a fashion line for Target with an ad campaign featuring Blythe dolls.[1]

A vibrant Blythe subculture flourishes on the Internet, predominantly in forums and user groups. There is a large network of hobbyists who customise the doll for resale, people who create unique clothing and shoes, as well as accessories specifically for Blythe.[2]


There are two sizes of Blythe dolls: the 28 cm (1/6th scale) full-sized dolls, the 11.2 cm "Petit Blythe". Only full-sized Blythes have colour-changing eyes, which include the colours blue, green, orange, and pink (except for cases with limited-edition dolls). Newer releases of the Petit Blythe dolls have moveable eyelids and bendable bodies.

The measurements of Blythe: 4.17-2.76-3.89 (in inches) or 106-70-99 (in mm). The measurements of Petit Blythe: 1.77-1.18-16.5 (in inches) or 45-30-42 (in mm).

Blythe dolls range in price (at release date) from around USD$60 (Ashton Drake versions) upwards of USD$400 (limited edition Takara NeoBlythes). Older dolls are sought after in the collectors market, and can sell for as high as several thousand dollars for a Kenner to a thousand dollars or more for the first edition NEO.

Kenner Blythes

The original Blythe doll, sold in 1972, was designed by the Marvin Glass Associates.[3] There were four versions of the doll released in the U.S., an brunette with bangs, a center part blonde, a red head with bangs, and a darker brunette with thinner bangs. The Blythe dolls released in Japan at this time (called Ai Ai Chan) had the same hair colors with slight variations in bang/part combinations.[4] Twelve different outfits were released as well, along with four brightly colored wigs.

Takara Full-Sized Blythes

The bodies of Blythe varies depending on the time of the release. Earlier releases uses the BL (basic Licca) body, which has some disadvantages. For example, the legs do not bend as well as the later releases.

BL: June 2001-March 2002. Licca body is used, eyes glance further to the side, matte face for some models. Some also have boggled eyes so the upper lid does not show on their eyes. Hair is also generally thinner.

EBL (Excellent): June 2002-October 2003. New body is introduced. Unlike the earlier Licca body, EBL bodies do not have bendable arms, though their legs have three "clicks" at the knee. Faces are shinier.

SBL (Superior): February 2004-May 2009. New face mold and new sparkly eye chips. The new head of the doll is fashioned from a complete piece of plastic.

RBL (Radiance): December 2006-present. New face mold to look more Kenner-like, including a slightly wider eyes.

FBL (Fairest): March 2009-present. New face mold which Takara claims was based on the EBL mold. Includes matte skin, smaller eye holes, and a more button nose.

Ashton Drake Full-Sized Blythes

Ashton Drake Galleries produced nearly exact replicas of the 5 original Kenners in 2005-2006, along with replicas based on the original Kenner outfits. There were, however, noticeable differences in the face mold, in which the first release reproductions had skin-tones with a slight green tint, eye holes are wider, and the colours of the make-up quite vibrant. A second release of 5 more reproductions in 2007 showed a significant change in skin tone, less green and more peach-pink. Both releases do not have the Takara "shine" on their faces.

Blythe Releases

Takara at first released new Blythes sporadically, but for the past few years they have been releasing new versions of Blythe each month [5]. They are usually first shown by a vector-styled design with variations before the final release is confirmed.

There have been over a 130 releases of Takara Blythe in the Neo size from 2001-2009, and around 280 different Petite Takara Blythe releases [6]. Ashton Drake has released 12 different full-sized Blythes, but ceased production in 2008. Several Blythe related books have been released, the most significant one being This is Blythe.

See also


External links

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