Come & Enjoy the Web's Very First Site
devoted only to "Growing Hair" Dolls!
Like our sister site, CrissyTown, our visitors
contribute by adding content to Grow Hair
World...And You Can Too! If you Don't see a
particular Grow hair doll help us add it on!
There is a whole World of Wonderful Grow Hair Dolls to explore and
enjoy! For Crissy fans & collectors, interest in other dolls that "grow hair"
can be a quite natural extension of the hobby and certainly admirers of
fine dolls have been collecting and cherishing these dolls for years.
If that sounds like You, then you're sure to love Grow Hair World!
Every doll featured within these pages have adjustable length hair like
Crissy family dolls and the method of adjusting the hair varies from doll to
doll. From the West to the Far East the Grow Hair phenomenon spread
over the globe in the 1960's-70's. And it's still spreading today!
Like an old Crissy commercial once stated: "Hair's The Thing!"
If you want to have one of the first
growing hair dolls to hit the market then you
will need to have American Character's
Tressy in your collection.
The 1963 Tressy doll introduced a newly
patented system of a doll with adjustable
length hair. If you are familiar with how the
Crissy doll works, this is the same principle.
The 11.5" Tressy needed a small key to wind
her hair back in instead of a knob. The same
held true for Tressy's little sister, Cricket --
who also had "hair that grows" by the 1965
model issue. American Character's
advertising department labeled Tressy and
Cricket's adjustable ponytail a Secret Strand
and the special "key" was called a Golden
Key. By the way if the names Tressy and
Cricket look familiar to Crissy family
collector's it is because Ideal resurrected
them to use on their Sears exclusive grow
hair dolls nearly a decade later.
|Tressy is wearing an unknown outfit that is tagged
made in Hong Kong - notice the detailing on the
double-breasted jacket and the darling orange
buttons. Her original dress is a red knit dress with
white trim - shown below. Cricket is adorned in one of
the outfits made especially for her called Sweet Treat,
she came dressed in a white ballerina outfit.
Tressy is oh-so-sophisticated and Cricket is such a
darling that you will probably won't want to miss out
obtaining these two girls for your grow hair doll
Tressy was produced in seven different hair colors;
platinum blonde, lemon blonde, ash blonde, auburn,
red, brown and brunette. The hardest to find Tressy
doll is the black version. Tressy had four different
versions; a V-leg version, straight-leg version,
bent-leg version and make-up version. She was
produced until 1965. Cricket was released in several
different versions also but only one version had the
Secret Strand growing hair feature.
The 1963 "Pre-Teen" Tressy Doll
This 15" doll has a baby doll face but a decidedly more mature & ample head of hair on her
fairly large head. She also sports a knob (and comes with an odd shaped key which inserts into
the slot on her knob) for winding in her grow ponytail much like the Ideal Crissy family dolls
which would not appear for several years to come. The phrase, "Pre-Teen" originated with
collector's - the doll's proper name is simply "Tressy". Tressy is the first "grow hair" doll to ever
be produced and was advertised in the 1963 American Character catalogue as the "only doll of
its kind in the world."
Tressy's grow hair opening is large & roughly rectangular and is right behind the forehead.
If you are familiar with Fashion Tressy you will note that she does not have a part on her
foundation hair nor does this first Tressy. This 15' darling has grey blue eyes with golden
blonde hair or brunette hair. She has painted feathered eyebrows and sweet coral pink lips.
Her pleasing head shape and face is not a far departure from AC's popular Betsy McCall!
The brunette Tressy shown above in the pale blue dress is all original down to her shoes - stock
no #1504. The golden blonde hair doll shown has been redressed in an handmade pajama set.
Tressy was also released adorned in a blue or pink jumper with a white blouse stock no #1503.
She is marked Am.Char.63 on the back on the neck.
This first Tressy was produced for a short time. By the end of 1963 American Character decided
to utilize the grow hair mechanism in their new Tressy fashion doll 11.5" to compete with Mattel's
Barbie. This second Tressy enjoyed great success in the market and helped to take a bite out
of their competitor's pie in the fashion doll market. However, like many products, Tressy's "day"
came and went and nothing could save the grand old American Character Doll Co. after a
series of failures in the late 60's. Rivals like Mattel and Ideal purchased the remains of the
company - and Ideal obtained the trade names of Tressy and Cricket, and the patents that had
made them unique.
|Short, Long or In-between, Tressy's hair makes her a Queen!
NFRB Tressy doll
|Mint in Package Cricket
|The "T" shaped Golden Key
was necessary to operate the
grow hair mechanism used by
Amercian Character in the fall of
1963. Fashion dolls - Tressy and
Cricket both had the same type of
grow hair mechanism shown on
the left. There is a small slot
within the knob on the doll's back
where the "T" shaped Golden Key
is inserted into that allows the
knob to turn to shortened the
Secret Strand. When depressed
the front belly-button insert
releases or lengthens the doll's
hair to the desired length.
The Cricket's on the right are
shown modeling original outfits -
the pink dress is called Fun &
Fancy and the mod-looking
corduroy 2-piece suit is called
Shutterbug. The key shown is an
actual Tressy Golden key.
|This beautiful French grow hair Tressy
doll was made by the Socie'te' of Bella
in the late 1970s and is referred to as
Bella Tressy by collectors. This doll has
the same body style as the American
|This pretty grow hair Tressy doll was
made by Palitoy in the U.K. She has
the same body style as the American
Character Tressy. Palitoy made
various Tressy versions through the
1960s to the late 1970s.
Joann, a 1971 Nasco produced grow hair doll was their answer to Ideal's
Crissy's Cousin Velvet. Both dolls can wear the same outfits and in the
Montgomery Wards catalogs you can see Joann 15" displayed right alongside
16" Velvet as if she were some distant cousin.
Joann is modeling a darling sea blue swing dress and white tights. This is one
of the 5 outfits sold exclusively by Wards for Joann and Ideal Velvet. Joann is
actually shown in the catalogue modeling this dress. The doll on the left is
wearing another Wards dress and tight set that was made for Ideal Velvet.
When we obtained the doll on the left she was dressed in a cute hot pink
leatherette skirt and vest-type top set, that outfit, being in poor condition is the
reason she has been redressed. Her shoes are original. They both have blue
eyes and smokey blue eyeshadow. The doll on the right is the eariler model
doll seen in the Wards catalog -- and the doll on the left is the later model of
the Nasco Joann doll that appeared a couple of years later. They are quite
different dolls in many respects and we can tell you a little about them...
|Photo used by permission of Carla Cross
As you can see in the pic below both dolls have the
same torso and legs, although the Joann on the left
has larger feet - but you can't tell from the picture.
The bodies are identical but look at how much
chubbier the arms of the doll on the left are. And the
head is much larger and obviously a different sculpt
altogether with larger features and eyes, but a
similar expression to the doll on the right. She is
marked on her back and head Nasco and also with
Hong Kong and some Chinese characters on her
back as well.
Run your mouse over the picture and
see the rear view of both dolls
|Joann's hair adjusting method was simple enough:
1. Turn head to doll's left shoulder & pull
to grow hair
2. Turn head to front & hair will stay-in position
3. Turn head to left & hair will go back to original
This grow hair feature operated by an elastic band
attached to a plug within the bottom of her right foot.
Turning the head to the left shoulder enlarged the inner
neck opening releasing the band, turning the head
forward restricted the opening so the band could not
pull the hair strand back into the doll.
|Here's a photo of an Excellent Condition Joann in her
original dress, socks and plastic white shoes.
|Miss Deb is a lovely doll that was Grants Store
exclusive around the time of Crissy's heyday.
To discover more about Miss Deb click her pic!
|Miss Take and her friends; Miss
Long Hair Hitomi, and Miss Emily
were Japanese doll maker, Takara's
answer to the "grow hair" demand
in the land of the rising sun. To learn
more about Miss Take & her friends
click on her pic!
|To discover more about Tara and Porcelain
Crissy click on Tara's picture!
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|American Character Tressy & Cricket
The success of Ideal Toy's Crissy Doll launched a plethora of imitators not just in the United States but in many
places around the world. Many companies desirous to cash in on the popularity of Crissy, produced growing hair girls
of their own. However minus Ideal's patented mechanism other methods of getting all that hair in and out of doll were
devised in put to use.
We will talk about the American dolls on this page and explore some of the International girls in the next pages.
If the numbers that survive today of these competitor's dolls mean anything at all then the impact they made on the
market may not have hurt Ideal's sales very much. Some of them are quite difficult to find some 30 + years after most
of them were produced.
Some of these girls were sold right alongside legitimate "family" members in catalogs and others were sold as store
exclusives. And they were of course designed to be able to wear Crissy or Velvet fashions. As a collector you will find
it very enjoyable and exciting looking for them - it is quite possible that other variations are still out there waiting to be
discovered! This is the sort of adventure that adds spice to the hobby!
So let's check them out now!
|A Canadian Miss JoAnn in her original outfit with shoes
& her hard-to-find box!