Who is Dawn anyway?

Topper Toys produced and sold Dawn dolls from 1969/1970 to 1973. They initially released four dolls; Dawn, Angie, Glori and Dale. All four dolls have collectively become known as “Dawn” dolls, even though each has maintained their own identity.

Pictured are the first four dolls, all wearing Topper stock minis:
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Dawn and all of the other dolls had hand painted faces so no two were exactly the same.
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Many of the dolls including Angie came in dancing and non-dancing versions.
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Glori had several hair styles; this was the most common variation.
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Dale had several eye colors; the most common being various shades of brown, although some Dales had dark green eyes.
The same doll, four completely different looks...
Dawn demonstrates her versatility; these are all Topper factory variations and are not customized dolls.
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Standard Dawn doll with a Majorette body (note her hand that is holding the baton), there were three Majorette dolls; Dawn, Connie & Kip (a.k.a. April).
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Hard Head Dawns have a head that is smaller and not flexible like the standard Dawn dolls. There were Hard Head Angie dolls as well. Dawn is wearing Topper’s Somethin’ Special gown.
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Raven Dawn dolls have beautiful blue eyes and dark hair. This one is wearing a Triki Miki Theater Date gown.
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Head to Toe (HTT) Dawn, Topper also made a HTT Angie and HTT Long Lock dolls. The Dawn and Angie dolls were made using standard and hard heads.


Several friends were introduced during the short time Topper made Dawn dolls, along with variations on Dawn, Angie and Glori. There were plenty of fashions and accessories to go with the dolls as well. The fashions, accessories, and fact that no dolls are exactly the same plus occasional oddities (or mistakes) make collecting Dawn dolls a fun and everlasting hobby.

The dolls are approximately 6 ˝” tall and for a short period of time were more popular than Barbie. Topper Toys was a well established company before they released Dawn and her friends, but bankruptcy brought an end of the company and a long but temporary end to the production of Dawn dolls.

Checkerboard started producing Dawn dolls again in 2000 in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first year Topper Dawn dolls were sold, Checkerboard Toys released four Commemorative Anniversary Dolls using the original head molds for Dawn, Angie, Glori, and Dale. They also created three new dolls; Shannon, Macy and Denise, plus some new fashions and accessories. Due to a poor economy, Checkerboard closed their doors after a few short years in 2003.

In 2004, Toy O Rama attempted pick up where Checkerboard left off but it didn't last. They did produce and distribute several new fashions and re-used Checkerboard's Shannon doll for their Fairytale Princess doll line.


Below is a visual comparison between the Topper dolls (top row), Checkerboard dolls (bottom row):
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Dawn

Angie

PT Glori
(Ponytail)

Dale
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And a comparison between Checkerboard's Shannon and Toy O Rama's Shannon:

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Checkerboard Shannon (a.k.a. Maura) wearing a vintage Topper mini.
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Shannon as Toy O Rama’s Fairytale Princess.
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Checkerboard’s Shannon has shiny silky hair, Toy O Rama’s has a lesser quality hair, not silky or shiny - the hair almost has a cotton feel to it.
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Most of the Topper dolls were made from vinyl and bend at the knee. There was a copper wire inside their legs which allowed the knees to ‘click’ into different positions. Over the years the copper interacted with the vinyl leaving many of the Topper dolls with green knees, some worse than others. The dolls also had holes in the bottom of their feed to accommodate the factory doll stand.

Checkerboard doll’s were made from vinyl, bend at the knees and also had holes in their feet to accommodate the same style of factory doll stand. Topper’s doll stands were clear, Checkerboard’s came in a rainbow of colors.

Toy O Rama’s Fairytale Princesses were made from hard plastic, their legs do not bend at the knees and they have solid feet (no holes for a doll stand). The Shannon head mold only used for one of the dolls in Toy O Rama's Fairytale Princess line, the others don't resemble a Dawn doll at all.


Palitoy Pippa Dolls

Topper wasn’t the only manufacture of this type and size doll in the early 70’s, the UK had their own doll, "Pippa" (and friends) made by Palitoy. Julieanne Kay's website is the best resource for Pippa dolls and fashions: www.pippadoll.net

Below are a few pictures of Pippa dolls:
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Pippa, wearing an
A Little Bling outfit.
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Mandy, wearing an
A Little Bling outfit.
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Emma, wearing a
combination of vintage
clone outfits.
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Britt, wearing an
A Little Bling outfit.


Clone Dolls

Manufactures other than Topper, Checkerboard, Toy O Rama or Palitoy are commonly referred to as “Clones”.

Below are a few examples of clone dolls. The most comprehensive list of clone dolls can be found on Laura Craig’s “Who’s that doll?” website: www.whos-that-doll.com


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Triki Miki, wearing a combination of clone outfits.
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Lesney, wearing Topper’s Socko Swirls.
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Diana, wearing Topper’s Cloak and Swagger, a.k.a. Striped Splendor.
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Custom Dolls

Many people have taken to customizing some of the dolls, especially the ones that had been loved a little too much over the years and are beyond repair. The customization possibilities are endless; all you need is some imagination and time.

The three dolls below and all of the custom outfits on this page are from A Little Bling: www.ALittleBling.us

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Little Miss Dollikin has been rerooted with blue hair and is wearing a Little Miss Dollikin Glamour Hostess outfit.
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Checkerboards Denise has been rerooted and her face has been repainted. She is wearing Checkerboard's Gold Au Go-Go.
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Angie has been spruced up with new makeup and hair. She is wearing a Topper stock mini.
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Dawn's Men...

Back to Topper dolls, since that’s what the Dawn Doll Conventions are focused on. The one group that hasn’t been discussed yet are the male dolls of which there are four; Gary, Ron, Kevin and Van.
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Gary, wearing
a Topper outfit.
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Ron, wearing an
A Little Bling outfit.
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Kevin, wearing an
A Little Bling outfit.
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Van, wearing
a Topper outfit.

That’s the cliff note version of “Who is Dawn”. There are so many websites dedicated to Dawn and her friends that it’s impossible to list them all here.

Google is the best place to turn for a wide variety of Dawn doll links. Copy this into the Google search box (without the quotes) “Dawn dolls -monster –barbie” and you’ll end up with more links than you have time!

The dolls pictured on this page are all from private collections and are not for sale.