Some of my early doll collections are celebrity dolls, Lee Majors, Lindsay Wagner, Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, Linda Carter. I could name them all as they were all that I could find in Hong Kong then. Those were the hot TV stars with their own successful TV shows at that era. Meanwhile, movie legends dolls like Evils Parsley, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe who were the forever young teenagers’ idols even until today could not be found until in the past 10 years. Their tragic dying young, unique life stories, silver screen images provoked many dreams and imagination of teenagers. Funny enough there were no trace of these dolls when I was a teenager!
A few years back, when I was in Tokyo for a business trip, I have found a rare Japan made 18” James Dean’s figure with detailed outfits doll made after his “The Giant” image. Although it is not articulated and not with a particularly handsome JD face, I was hooked by its reality look - the unique charisma of James glow on me! Especially after I have read the life stories of Jamie, I can feel that this figurine truly reflects the rumbling inner Jamie to me. It may not be the most glamorous but the most lifelike one! This James Dean is always in my doll display showcase regardless how packed it is.
The other legend that I really admire is Marilyn Monroe. There are many MM dolls in the market but not all are impressive (more MM doll sources here) I have a 12” Marilyn Monroe action figure/doll in 2002, before I started my collection of fashion dolls. It is by a Japanese manufacturer “Toys McCoy” (hardly heard of them these days!)
Unlike the other Marilyn dolls which usually dressed in “Diamonds are the girls’ best friends” pink gown or the famous “7 Years’ Itch” white dress, this doll is wearing JACKET-Flying Intermediate, Type B-15C, navy blue Jacket, navy blue sweater and brown horse pants with light brown mid length boots. It is made after the image when she visited the U.S. Air Force in Korea 1954.
The body used is the ordinary female action figure, but padded with extra parts to resemble Marilyn’s curvy figure. To me, this Marilyn shows the greatest likeness of her! She is very sweet and soft. All the other 12” MM are far too cartoonist to me!
Marilyn Monroe Forever - Trace Back in Time:
However, for 16” MM dolls, Franklin Mint’s Collectible Dolls would have more choices. About the 10 years ago…(man…I lost count of time), even before I started collecting fashion dolls, I first came across an info card of the Franklin Mint Marilyn Monroe dolls from a foreign magazine. I had no idea what was Franklin Mint but I was fascinated by the likeliness of that Marilyn doll. The image on that info card is the classic “Gentlemen Prefer Blonde” Marilyn dressed in blink blink red. I asked my friend in USA to acquire more information about this doll. Unfortunately, my friend said there is no actual shop but have to do mail orders! Imagine 10 years ago, online shop was not developed, paypal were not in use, and we could not buy anything without seeing the product in details.
Years later, I started my fashion doll collections and then I found Franklin Mint again online. Then I learnt that Franklin Mint is actually not only a doll company but also selling various kinds of items like decorations, jewelry, car models, souvenir etc. I have finally got to see all the MM dolls that they are carrying after 10 years’ time.
Who Is The Master Mind?
I checked through all MM’s dolls and outfits, I really like their collections. They select the most iconic images of MM to replica the movie scenes. Franklin Mint is usually able to capture the atmosphere and mood of MM and expressed in their dolls wonderfully. However, the face up does somehow not fully resemble MM. I could not help but wonder who is/are the designer/s behind this production line! It would be great if I could have a chance to interview them on how they create those dolls. I would love to share my ideas with them on the possibilities on perfecting the face mould and face up!
The Articulation Issue:
Although it mentioned in their product information that their vinyl dolls are fully poseable. Hum…I don’t know what they mean by that. Since I am an articulated dolls/action figures freak, so to me standing straight or only being able to raise hands or legs up straight should not be considered as a pose! This limitation has stopped me from making any purchase so far.
Early this year, I saw talented Baris successfully transplanted a Franklin Mint Monroe head on the body of Tonner’s Lara Croft, I am so tempted to do so myself! But Baris said he has made some adjustment on the neck hole to keep her head in place and look natural! Hum….I have to give it a second though before I ruin both Monroe and Lara doll!!
This Is The One – Eternally Marilyn?
Lately, I saw the Porcelain Portrait Doll – Eternally Marilyn, which has received the 2010 DOTY@ Industry’s Choice Award (click here). This porcelain MM is priced at US295 LE1,000. In the official description of the doll, it says “Over 800 hand-applied faceted black crystals adorn Marilyn's™ gown, drawing the eye to every elegant curve - a style secret Marilyn Monroe™ perfected throughout her career.” I honestly could not see that black crystals on the gown from the official pictures, but that dress, even only in black, with her sexy yet elegant dreamy pose, surely glows on me!
This standing in black gown Marilyn would be a wonderful display pair with the winner of 2001 DOTY award “Love Marilyn” porcelain doll (click here) sitting MM in a white tulle gown (US245). Imagine putting them side-by-side, the contrast of these dolls could compliment each other perfectly. The sexy curve and meticulous sculpting on the back of both dolls and the vivid pose and hands expressions of them are truly stunning. Because of that and they are porcelain dolls, I guess I could put the articulation issue aside for the time being and have at least one of these dolls as my display item like Crows x Worse figurines (click here) in my show case!
Picture credits: Franklin Mint
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