It is interesting to note that there are many similarities between Mattel's Liddle
Kiddles of the late 1960's and the Kelly doll of today. Are these similarities more
than just coincidence? Not only are Liddle Kiddles and Kelly dolls close in size, but
they also share many design and marketing concepts.
Liddle Kiddles dominated the small doll market between 1966 and 1971. Mattel's
fundamental concept behind the Liddle Kiddle line was to provide children with
dolls that captured, if not mirrored, their innermost fantasies. Each doll was
created with detailed, high quality painted faces and sported rooted synthetic hair.
Their clothes were equally detailed and removable for mixing and matching possibilities.
Each themed doll came with miniature accessories that further expanded the fantasy.
Beyond that, each Liddle Kiddle was given a personality over and above the theme. It
was these unique personalities that encouraged children to want to collect them all.
As with any other toy line, the variety of the dolls grew with increased sales. In that
relatively short period of time hundreds of Liddle Kiddle dolls, games, books, houses,
lunchboxes, and more were produced.
Many of these same ideas and proven methods have been incorporated in the production
of Kelly and her Li'l Friend dolls. In fact, the body design of Kelly doll closely
resembles that of the 4 inch tall Skediddle Kiddles. The engineering brilliance
found in the interactive and animated Kiddles can also be found in many of the Kelly
dolls that are sold individually. Detailed face paint, rooted hair, well-developed
themes supported by accessories, a seemingly endless line of unique personalities:
all this can be found in the Kelly doll line.
As much as our culture has changed
from the late 1960's to current day, there are still many of the same themes that
continue to ignite children's imaginations. The fancy storybook line that included
Alice in Wonderland and Little Red Riding Hood appeared in both the Liddle Kiddles
of yesteryear and the Kelly line of today. Animiddles of the 1960's are the tiger,
lion, and reindeer of today. Holiday themes never go out of style, either. The
recycling of the name Funny Bunny and the packaging of the dolls in an egg shaped
bubble card are the most blatant replicas of the past. The list goes on and on
where the theme or accessory has been reused from the Liddle Kiddle archives.
During the Kiddle craze of the day came a unique and cryptic jargon. The very name
of the dolls is in itself a play on words and creates a sing song quality that further
enticed child collectors. The clever placement of "iddle" or the substitution of the
letter "k" for the letter "c." Kars, kozmic, komedy, kases, kologne, kola, kones,
kolony, etc. Within the Kelly line there has not been that degree of clever naming
and letter substitution. Although within the collector community the creative use
of the letter "k" has krept in.
Liddle Kiddles very well may be the progenitor of Kelly and her Li'l Friends.
At best Mattel is recirculating ideas that were at one point successful and profitable.
Kiddles faded from production after approximately six years. As childhood
collectors matured and entered adulthood, there was a resurgence to rediscover
the cute Liddle dolls of their youth. Many a Liddle Kiddle collector has crossed
over and discovered similar charms within the Kelly doll line. As Kelly goes into
her fifteenth year of production, she shows no signs of slowing down. Maybe Kelly
doll can continue on where Liddle Kiddles left off.