Everyone loves Lucy! This 1944 paper doll set, produced when she was still just an MGM starlet, is my favorite of the star.
Lucille Ball was still seven years away from “I Love Lucy” sitcom fame when the Saalfield Publishing Company produced this colorful set of paper dolls bearing her image. The company, founded in Akron, Ohio in 1899, was once one of the largest publishers of children’s books in the world. Although I haven’t seen the company’s Great Depression-era financials, it’s likely that their exclusive contract to publish Shirley Temple books through the 1930’s helped to keep them afloat during a time when so many other companies collapsed. As Temple’s popularity waned in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, more movie stars were added to the company’s mix. Some other Saalfield paper doll books of the 1940’s era included Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard, Mary Martin, and Rita Hayworth.
This set of Ball paper dolls is so colorful and has the most amazing costumes! It was published in two versions, a shorter and a longer – the longer containing 10 pages. Many of the outfits, including the one pictured on the cover with the elaborate wig, are from the 1943 film “Du Barr was a Lady” – starring Lucille Ball, Red Skelton, and Gene Kelly.
I always wonder how many of these sets were bought by adult fans in the 1940’s and how many were bought for children to play with. They are just so appealing! Modern reproductions are currently available of a number of vintage sets, including this one.
Did you know that at the beginning of her career, Ball was given the nickname of “Technicolor Tessie,” because her bold, striking hair and eye coloring showed up so well in the new technicolor film process? Did you know she was also briefly considered for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in the 1939 film classic, “Gone with the Wind?”
To purchase a high-quality reproduction of this set, visit the link below!