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Tuesday, November 16, 2010



Since I live in the real world(most of the time), I know this doesn't always happen.
With it being fall and the close of Halloween,  the word "Frankenchatty" came to mind.  It also came to mind while I was looking at Chattys on eBay.  What I've been seeing has got my blood  boiling.  Dying Charmin's and other "White" Chattys to black!  They never made a "Black" Charmin or "Black"  Tiny Chatty Brother.  This is a terrible practice.  The person(s) responsible for this aren't thinking about what will happen years from now.  It may be over twenty years from now but the person buying this dyed Charmin,  may need to sell her or her family will do so in an estate sale. One way or another the doll will end up back on the open market.  Then the person buying this "Black" Charmin may think that they have a true rarity on their hands.  If not that buyer,  then the one after that or the one after that.  Eventually,  she may end up on auction being sold as a true rarity for some obscene amount of money.  The end buyer will ultimately find out that Mattel never made such a doll and end up in tears or in a rage.
This happens all the time to this day.  People have purchased the eye kits that show how to frontally insert new eyes into a Chatty doll. This practice makes it nearly impossible to tell they've been added in post-factory.  They are doing this in alarming numbers.  Chatty sellers are putting pinwheel green or brown eyes into a regular blue-eyed Chatty where they never belonged.  The buyer thinks wow, what a great rare Chatty I have found!  Sadly that doll will end up in other hands of new people thinking the same thing and on and on.  These dolls sell for upwards of $500.00 if not disclosed in the description.  Even if it's disclosed in the description, the first buyer won't pay much for the doll.  But eventually,  it very well may be,  that someone pays an overtly huge amount for what is a freak one of a kind doll.
It takes an expert to be able to tell that a dolls eyes have been frontally inserted.  It used to be really easy to tell.  One used to be  able to take of the head off. Then much to their dismay they'd find cut out eye sockets.  This is where they inserted the eyes.  They did it from inside the dolls head.  A few of us in Chatty Cathy collectors circles call these altered dolls "Frankenchattys".  The term was explained to me  fairly early in  collecting years by the late and great Kelly McIntyre of  the now closed Chatty Cathy's Haven.  He used to repair dolls to talk again amongst other things.  He was a true Chatty expert.  Like me he was also a purist when it came to buying Chatty Cathys.  By purist I mean we want an all original doll.  Not one pieced together or altered to appear "rare" so someone can scam a buyer out of hundreds of dollars.  There was/is also the practice of changing out records so a doll named Caroline will speak French in your Chatty Cathy.  Why would a Chatty Cathy say "my name is Caroline or in French Carola?  The answer is she wouldn't.  I talked to Mattel about these supposed French speaking Chatty's and to several long-time voice repairmen who twenty to thirty years ago,  never, not once, saw a French or German speaking doll.  Now they are popping up all over the place.   There is a rumor going around that,  " in order for Mattel to sell up in the northern French speaking provinces of Canada, they had to make a certain amount of French speaking Chattys".  I checked with a Canadian historical society, Mattel and the long time repairmen and no one, not one,  could verify this story.  Mattel didn't recall such a scheme.  Kelly also told me that a popular seller of these "French" speaking Chattys had asked him to put a foreign record into a Canadian Chatty. This same person was also buying up Furga dolls who do speak various languages and have little records that pop out of a compartment on their backs.  It just so happens these records fit inside a Chatty Cathy.  I kept copies of the buying and selling practices of the people doing these record change outs on my computer.  I'd watch them putting up an "original French" speaking Chatty on eBay within a month or two of buying a $30.00 Furga doll.  They would then turn around and sell the Chatty Cathy with the new foreign speaking record for upwards of $1200.00.  I kept track of those sales as well.  My computer memory was filling up rather quickly.  I shared all this with Kelly.   He told me he said no to the person who asked him to put in the foreign speaking record.  He added that "no way" would he ever put a different dolls record into a Chatty.  This and other conversations we had,  told me we were kindred spirits when it came to being true purists about Chatty Cathy dolls.  Prior to that conversation I thought it was just my former retired repairman and I that felt strongly about keeping Chatty all original.  It felt good to have another expert in our midst who felt the same way as we did.
I am out here to educate people to be on the watch out for "Frankenchattys".  I want people to  be able to know one when they see one or are reading about one in a description on auctions.  Again,  these are pieced together, altered or "Frankenchatty" dolls.  They are out there.  So watch out this holiday season when money is tight and people tend to do anything to make a quick $600.00 plus off an unsuspecting buyer.
I sell a "Care of Chattys" information packet that gives you some good information on these types of dolls as well as other information.  You'll learn things such as how to remove stains, re-style hair, clean and store your Chatty doll.
Please visit:  http://www.originalchattycathydoll.com where you can buy this packet for very cheap on my "Parts" or "Chattys for Sale" pages.
If one knowingly purchase one of these altered dolls, then they are perpetuating the problem.  I'm sure the buyer isn't knowingly buying these to resell for more later.  I think or like to think,  that they just want a one of a kind Chatty.  The problem is that down the line when maybe you're gone, the doll will get sold as such.  Herein lies the problem...