Sunday, March 7, 2010

Disco Wanda: Because I Need More Stuff To Collect

After discovering the existence of Shindana Toys last week, I've been doing some research. (If only cancer were an obscure toy line, I'd have cured that by now.) I was surprised to discover that I had, in fact, owned a Shindana product as a child, the Michael Jackson doll:
I even owned the outfit he's wearing in the photo on the box, the yellow sweater vest/bow tie combo, called "Human Nature" (the same photo appeared on the 45 of that single).
I was stunned to find out that, along the lines of the Flip Wilson doll I mentioned, Shindana also produced a talking doll based on foul-mouthed comedian Redd Foxx! How the BEEP do you BEEP make a BEEP doll out of BEEP Redd BEEP Foxx?! That doll alone is probably responsible for the birth rap music. Sadly, there is very little information about Shindana to be had on teh internets. There's a Wikipedia page, but it just has a listing of some high-lights and a few products they made. There are a few items on eBay, mostly their celebrity dolls, and most of those... ESPECIALLY OJ Simpson are quite $$$. Still no sign of Slade the Super Agent, but rest assured, he WILL be mine.Mattel first introduced a black "friend" for Barbie in 1967, "Black Francie" which was the Caucasian Francie doll (Barbie's MOD British cousin) cast in brown plastic. The following year, Mattel introduced Christy, and gave her true African American features, and she remained a constant part of the line for years.

Shindana countered with Wanda, an African American gal who was her own headliner. (Sadly, I don't believe Shindana issued any friends or a boyfriend for her.) Here is Wanda as a TWA flight attendant.
And as a nurse:I'm sure "A Special Person" sounded nicer at the time. Seeing as the doll was 9", it wasn't compatible with the Barbie line, which is probably why I've never heard of it before. It's probably not highly sought-after. And honestly, these two versions of Wanda are rather drab. However, I did discover a MUST-HAVE... Disco Wanda:
Well, first thing, that illustration on the box bears a strong resemblance to this Donna Summer album cover:Also, the difference between Disco Wanda and the Career Girl Wandas is HUGE! She has longer, more glamorous hair. Her outfit is vastly more colorful and eye-catching. (Minus that unfortunate crotch in those pants! That is NOT the area where you want to go wrong on an outfit!) How fierce is that top and matching head wrap? Also, possibly a sign of the times, she is rocking that plunging V-neck with NO BRA underneath! Gloria Steinham would have been proud.
The best part, however, is that facial mold!
The first two Wanda dolls have such neutral expressions, but look how DELIGHTED Disco Wanda seems! (She must know she will one day belong to ME!) Magnificent! I am especially impressed with the open mouth smile, with teeth apart. I don't believe I have EVER seen a doll with that expression! She is having the BEST time a doll ever has!

So the hunt continues... hmmm, I wonder if I could only choose one, Disco Wanda or Slade the Super Agent, which I would pick? Hmmmm...

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