Saturday, July 26, 2014
My Collision with Inside Edition, Freeing the Talega 11, and an Editor who wants Lots of Dolls, "The More the Merrier!"
There I was Friday, about to go to lunch, and begin a short day at work. A good friend was holding an estate sale, and there was a large bear and doll collection. I never made it. There was an email message for me from "Inside Edition." One of it's reporters wanted to talk to me about doll making. So, O.K., I try to promote doll collecting where I can, but I had a suspicion something else was at hand. This whole creepy doll thing has become very popular, and worrisome to collectors. I'm just surprised the media supports it. To make a long day short, I spent hours trying to accomdoate this young lady. I talked to her at length, gave her sources of all types, tried to upload Skype onto my new laptop, ran all over two states to get ready. She emailed me Friday morning, and wanted this all set up by 2pm Friday afternoon. The story she was following turned out not to be about doll makers, but about a "creepy doll story" in San Clemente, California. See below the quote from our former guide's blog; she sums it up well. I talked at length with the reporter, and actually had a nice talk about doll makers and porcelain dolls, and she took some notes on The National Institute of American Doll Artists, N.I.A.D.A. The beautiful dolls in this photo are courtesy of our friends at Theriault's.com. From Denise Van Patten's Blog: So, evidently some little old lady in Talega, California, left some porcelain dolls on porches as gifts for little girls in her area. This created a media firestorm all the way to the United Kingdom. "Mystery 'do-gooder' causes panic by leaving sinister dolls resembling REAL young girls outside homes in gated California community" screams the Daily Mail. "10 ‘Creepy’ Porcelain Dolls Found On Doorsteps In OC Were Meant To Be Nice Gesture" says CBS Los Angeles. [PS; Denise and I can both tell you that lookalike dolls are innocent toys that have been popular for over 200 years. Mme. Tussaud's father made them for Tussaud and her friend, Princess Mathilde. American Girls has them, and My Twin dolls have been popular for some time. There was a company in the sixties that made rag dolls with faces that were photographs of the doll's owners. I have a one of a kind doll given to me that was made as a portrait. Annette Himstedt and other artists modeled their dolls after live children. Jumeau allegedly did the same when Bebe Triste was created. I was ecstatic when my mom bought me a Miss Chips that looked like me. I still have her, and she is called "The Ellen Doll."] I was interviewed on this great crisis this morning by Inside Edition. Before the interview, I said I wasn't interested in talking to them if they were just going to portray the whole episode as creepy. Oh no, they assured me. So, what was the first question the reporter asked me? "Isn't this whole thing just a little bit creepy?" Poor lady, she just wanted to give the little girls in her neighborhood her daughter's dolls. She probably thought she was going to surprise them. How could she expect anyone to overreact this way? Grow up, folks, is all I have to say. So, San Clemente's finest have "booked" the dolls into evidence. The dolls are all modern porcelains, apparently. When the reporter sent me the link and I saw what the dolls were, I told her they were generic; they look like everyone's kids. I told her which companies made them, how much they cost, where they were made, and I told her about the Seymour Mann Company, owned by novelist Erica Jong's parents. She even asked me where people could buy similar dolls. I pretty much paraphrased my own post on modern porcelain dolls and "Waldas." Apparently, this wasn't what they wanted to hear at Inside Edition. Oh, and they hadn't heard of Erica Jong ["Fear of Flying], either. They wanted to "see" me on Skype, and they wanted dolls in the background "like the one's in San Clemente." Guess why. "The more the merrier," the reporter's editor kept saying in the background. After I read the story on Denises' site, link above, my suspicions were correct. They wanted to make doll collectors look at best, stupid, at worst, sinister. I guess story made it to the UK, too. Too bad my friend Mary Hillier isn't still with us to laugh at such silliness. They didn't quote me, which is probably a good thing in light of what Denise experienced. I've turned down other requests to let the local media into my home to talk about dolls. I went on one local TV show once to promote a lecture about historical dolls that I did for AAUW, but that's the last time. it was a lot of work for people who appreciated nothing, and they cut off off in favor of some man who makes bowls out of rotten wood. As for my recent experience, alls well that ends well. You may all remember that San Clemente was the home of former President Richard Nixon. He and his wife collected dolls for their daughters, and at one point, they paid aorund $150.00 in the seventies to restore two Siamese dolls. Hmm, folks in the Media and in San Clemente PD, think about that. No charges were filed against the lady who gave the dolls as gifts, but the "Talega 11" are still in the evidence locker. Gee, officers, you can send them to me and to Dr. E's Doll Museum. We'll be happy to have them, and honor the lady's generosity. The police note no crime was committed, but they were keeping the dolls because the whole thing was well, "creepy." I think the local police said the same thing when someone found a doll in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.