Teri Silver is a journalist, commercial copywriter, editor, broadcast anchor, and Public Relations Specialist.
Francie and Casey Dolls
Mattel produced the original Francie Doll for ten years — from 1966 through 1975 (although Malibu Francie was sold until 1977); re-issues of Barbie’s MOD cousin came several decades later. Francie Doll was still popular in the mid 1970s but her wardrobe line saw fewer additions in 1974 and 1975 than in previous years.
In 1974, Francie had six new Best Buy fashions and two Get Ups ‘N Go ensembles, as well as a shoe pak and two repeated outfits from the previous season.
In 1975, Mattel released six outfits from the Best Buy line and repeated the two Get Ups ‘N Go sets from 1974.
Quick Curl Francie (in blonde and brunette) was back for 1974, as was Malibu Francie. The final “original” Francie doll was released in 1975 — it was also sold in 1976.
“Baggie Francie” (#7699; called “baggie” by collectors because the doll was packaged in a clear plastic bag attached to a cardboard piece that hung from a peg on display walls) had brunette hair, straight legs, painted on features and wore a two-piece yellow swimsuit.
“Baggie” Francie and Casey (#9000) were the first of these dolls to have painted-on eyelashes; all others had rooted eyelashes. “Baggie Casey” was made from the same mold — she had blond hair and wore a hot-pink swimsuit.
1974’s Best Buy Francie Fancies
(#7764 and #7765, 1974); pale-pink cotton jumper with red stitching — it had two gold buttons to secure the gold hooks at the bodice. Francie wore a white cotton blouse with floral print in pink, yellow and green (#7764). This outfit could be worn with Best Buy #7765; a pink cotton coat with long sleeves in white (floral printing). The pink pointed collar matched the coat, which sported pockets that matched the sleeves. The outfit came with a matching hat.
(#7766, 1974); Francie Doll joined the Pepsi Generation! She wore red pants (with the multiple white PepsiCola logos) and a white, sleeveless knit shell. Accessories included a clear-brown plastic cola bottle (no logo, but chances are, it was Pepsi!) and a brown plastic hamburger. Barbie Doll had a similar outfit (#7756) that featured white pants with a red (Pepsi) jacket and hat. Mattel also released the Pepsi Best Buy ensembles for Ken Doll (#7761) and Skipper #7770).
(#7767, 1974); white ankle-length dress — the skirt was patterned with flocked black dots and featured two ruffles at the hem, each with black trimming. The dress had a black, sleeveless nylon bodice. A pink bow with red and purple cloth flowers was tacked to the waist with a white “pearl” button. A matching shawl with black cloth trim completed the outfit.
(#7768, 1974); red sundress with floral calico print — it puckered in several areas of the bodice and had a short skirt that ruffled at the hem. The dress’ straps were made of red ribbon. A yellow hat with red-ribbon ties and band came with the dress. Barbie Doll and Skipper both had similar calico dresses. This outfit and other Best Buy selections could be purchased for as little as 99 cents in 1974; collectors pay a lot more for them now.
(#7769, 1974); long “granny” peasant dress in navy-blue with multicolored floral print. The ruffled hem fell at the ankles. The dress’ short sleeves were fashioned in white eyelet cotton — its fabric was sewn to the inset of the bodice. A wide yellow ribbon circled the waist. As with many of Francie Doll’s clothes, Barbie and Skipper had similar outfits.
Get Ups ‘N Go
Mattel reproduced two of Francie Doll’s Get Ups ‘N Go outfits from 1973 (#7710 - Beach and #7711- Cheerleader). Two more ensembles were added to the 1974 line.
(#7845 – Ice Skating, 1974); several versions of this outfit were released — the short skating dress came in red, orange or off-yellow felt and had two gold buttons on the bodice. The dress featured long, white (nylon) sleeves and a “fur” trimmed hem. The matching short-cropped jacket had felt sleeves with a “fur” bodice. Francie Doll wore red nylon tights with the dress. Included in the package: a white plush bonnet with red ribbon ties, a pair of white ice skates (with gray plastic blades) and a pair of “furry" mittens.
(#7845 – Camping, 1974); this set contained blue and white pinstriped shorts and a matching jacket — they had red stitching. The jacket had two red buttons down the front and a wide, white belt around the waist. Francie wore reddish-orange knee socks and a halter top. The ensemble included brown plastic “hiking” boots, a yellow flannel and brown vinyl backpack and a sleeping bag in blue calico with yellow flannel.
Both the Get Ups ‘N Go ice skating and camping outfits were released again in 1975.
Francie’s 1975 Best Buy Outfits
(#7212, 1975); red “velvet” skirt with white lace trimmed at the hem. Francie Doll wore a white cotton blouse — it had short puffy sleeves and was trimmed in ruffles and lace. The blouse featured a red fabric flower appliqué on the side of the waist with long red sashes that tied in the back.
(#7214, 1975); this two-piece dress — which tied in the back — had a red skirt (patterned with white dots and scattered floral print in white, green and blue). The attached white blouse (red stitching) had long sleeves and a square neckline. A long-waisted vest (that matched the skirt) finished off the look. Barbie Doll had a similar outfit (#7205).
(#7215, 1975); One-piece “footie” pajamas in pale-pink. The bodice featured a white lace-trimmed bib and white ribbon neck ties. The long sleeves were trimmed at the cuffs in white lace.
(#7216, 1975); plaid pants in red, navy-blue, green, yellow and white. The matching cropped jacket had long red sleeves. The items were made of thick felt. Ken Doll had a similar Best Buy plaid outfit (#7229).
(#7217, 1975); cotton skirt — the denim-like blue bands of material alternated with red fabric (printed with white flowers). A thin halter top (red with the white floral print) tied around the neck and red ribbon sashes fastened in back.
(#7273, 1975); Francie Doll was Olympic bound! She geared up for the 1976 games by wearing a leotard that showed off her American colors. It was red with long sleeves — the squared bib-like collar was royal-blue; it pointed downward to a white band which ran the length of the front panel to the attached panty. The package included a gold chain that sported an “Olympic medal.”
Barbie Doll had a couple of Olympic ensembles (Best Buy #7271, #7172, #7413 & #7419 and Get Ups ‘N Go #7243 & #7244). Ken Doll’s Olympic outfits (Best Buy #7245 and Get Ups ‘N Go #7247) and Skipper’s Olympic wear (Best Buy #7274 & Get Ups ‘N Go #7251) were all sold separately.
Francie Doll Reissues
In 1996, Mattel released a 30th anniversary edition of Francie Doll. The bright-green box contained a reproduction of Bendable Leg Francie in her original swimsuit; white with light-green and pink squares. The set included a re-issue of Gad-Abouts (#1250, 1966-1967). The “mod” outfit consisted of a mint-green skirt, sweater top in blue and green (the collar matched the skirt), thigh-high stockings that matched the sweater, a green purse and green ankle boots. Also in the box: white flats, an eyelash brush and sunglasses.
In 1997, Black Francie (as she is known to collectors) was released in a Limited Edition package, wearing Wild Bunch (#1766, 1970-1971). The outfit: Orange, hot-pink and yellow long hair “fur” coat trimmed in orange vinyl; hot-pink, red and orange knit mini dress — it was sleeveless with a high turtleneck collar; short hot-pink gloves; orange tights; hot-pink knit hat with an orange vinyl bill; orange knee-high boots; gold chain necklace; black plastic camera.
In 2005, Mattel released No Bangs Francie (as she is known to collectors) in her reproduction Smashin’ Satin outfit (#3287, 1972). Unlike most of the Francie dolls with bangs in various hairstyles, “no-bangs” had the doll’s hair pulled back over her scalp. The long, strapless satin dress was light-blue — it split from the waist to the hem and featured rose-colored “suede” trim on the bodice and down the skirt. 10 blue buttons adorned the front of the dress. The outfit included “hot pants,” a matching jacket, pale-blue stockings, a “fur” and “suede” purse (blue with rose-colored trim) and light-blue shoes.
Silkstone Francie, the first of its kind created specifically for the (public) Silkstone collection, is set for 2012; a couple of Silkstone Francie doll sets were released in past years for collectors’ clubs. The Barbie Gold Label Silkstone Francie doll is a dealer exclusive; she wears an outfit called Check Please; a 1960s-style pleated mini skirt in red and white checks with a matching jacket and cap. The doll is clad in a white blouse, lacy white tights and pink and white shoes. Francie carries a white short-handle handbag and the leash to her black poodle dog.
While “vintage” Francie is only available through the secondary market, Francie Doll lives on! Reproductions, reissues and Silkstone creations keep Barbie’s mod, mod cousin Francie in the height of the fashion scene!
© 2012 Teri Silver