Bad Taste Wednesday. Dusty by Kenner

Dusty Day

About Dusty.
Dusty has been called one of the ugliest fashion dolls ever made. While this may be unfair, it’s safe to say that she is not a “girly” doll. [1]

Dusty is marked: GMFGI 1974, has long platinum hair, tanned skin tone, wrists that rotate, she originally came in a pale blue sport swimsuit with her daisy logo appliqué, which is her favorite flower. [2]

In 1974, Kenner manufactured a pair of dolls, Dusty and Skye, who were roughly the height of Barbie dolls (11 1/2″ tall) but resembled them in no other particular.

Dusty Day7

Their waists were rather thicker than the average Barbie, their chests considerably smaller, and their feet flat, rather than form molded to accommodate stiletto heels.

Instead, Dusty and Skye wore platform sandals, tennis shoes, and cowboy boots. Their waists and wrists were jointed; their hands were molded to grip tennis rackets, golf clubs, and fishing gear and the knees in their rubbery, realistically slender legs were bendable to facilitate the various sports around which their accessories revolved.

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In addition, the dolls featured “spring-loaded” action in the right arm and waist, which permitted whacking the tennis ball, swinging vigorously at the golf ball, etc.

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It is probably no coincidence that these dolls hit the market shortly after Title IX of the Education Act Amendments (1972) opened up the full range of academic-based athletics to girls and young women.

These dolls and their accessories seemed designed to confront head-on the issues of class, race, gender, and sexual orientation that surged through 1970s American culture. [3]

[1] by Excerpt from Dolls by Kenner.
[2] by Kenner Dolls 1970-1991
[3] by Regina Buccola. [ed] Dusty, the Dyke Barbie. CLA Quarterly, Volume 29, Number 3, Fall 2004.

Dusty has a Friend.
Dusty’s  “sidekick” Skye. A very pretty African American doll. They were marketed together but like black dolls of that era, were not produced in the numbers and so not easily found by present day collectors. Same body mold as Dusty but a distinct head mold.

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Dusty was on a limited promotion budget marketed in children’s zines & comics as is the example advert from Archie Series comic books, late 1974-75.

Dusty Day1

I recently started collecting these dolls because of the their place in the history of  empowering girls & feminism.  Unfortunately I’ve found that with age the manufacturer’s adhesive seethes from the doll’s leg and arm joints, staining and melting the plastic doll- adhering to any surfaces or fabric that it comes in contact with. Thus in the featured pic, the nasty drip down the back of Dusty’s trousers. All in fun.

Dusty Versions.

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There was a version of Dusty doll that was $1.99 with trade in. She was unjointed, no facials freckles, peachy colored lips & skin tone. She arrived in a light blue swim costume.

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I am searching for the commercial jingle for Dusty and her horse Nugget. I have never heard it but is said to go …

Dusty Dusty Dusty, riding Nugget Nugget Nugget. They’re ridin’ east, they’re ridin’ west, time to stop and take a rest on Nugget Nugget Nugget…

Dusty Day2.jpg

Would love you to share your Dusty, Skye and Nugget Stories and if you know the whereabouts of  mysterious missing companion boy doll, Cliff…  

dusty _cliff_ad
Dusty probably (accidentally) took poor Cliff out with her tennis racket.

Other cool Dusty stuff.

Dusty Day10

Dusty Paper Doll.
General Mills Fun Group., Whitman Books. 1974

dusty ad

Dusty Ad, Circa 1977 Sears Catalog. Page 592


Happy Hunting!

12 thoughts on “Bad Taste Wednesday. Dusty by Kenner

  1. Hello,
    I just purchased a Dusty today and read your blog. However, I don’t know if I have a rare doll or what but she does not have any dripping or leakage from her joints. I would love to send you pics of her.
    Glenda Falkenrath
    Sullivan, MO

    1. Great find, Glenda. A RARE find indeed – without the joints oozing which I have learned can happen in the head /neck area as well as the known arm and hip joints. Check to see if your Dusty has bending elbows and knees & that she has her waist and arm action. She was designed to swing at the waist and one of her arms “pop” up. When inspecting her, take care not to over stress or pull on her wrist joints.

  2. I still have Nugget, although my Dusty doll is long gone. My uncle built a barn for the horse, which is a big reason for why I still have nugget. Dusty was a big favorite for me as a kid

  3. Dusty was my absolute favorite doll. I was just sharing my memories of my Dusty tennis doll and my daughter got so excited. Dusty was tall and athletic like me. As a girl, glad I wasn’t aware of the ugliness in the reviews of Dusty.

    1. I think DUSTY is COOL. When we were kids we have different perspectives than that of an adult. As a kid, I never read a review. I remember I wanted a toy perfume making kit. I was never gifted one. Years later, my parents told me that they just knew I would blow up the house one day because I was always mixing concoctions. They wanted to keep a roof over our heads! 🙂 and I just wanted to smell the outcome. i still want that perfume making kit…

  4. I was singing the jingle today to my husband who is 10 years younger than I am…I was born in 1970, him 1980 so he has no recollection or possibly had no opportunity to hear it. I googled nugget nugget dusty ride hoping to hear the commercial and read your article about your quest to find it. I hope you will be successful and to let you know that’s exactly how I recall the jingle from my childhood and owning a couple Dusty’s. I had several sisters who would fight over who’s was who’s and myself included lol. My mom got them from a garage sale if I recall correctly but I don’t think I got any brand new or had the horse. We called the doll itself Nugget and recall that my sisters and I were frustrated that regular Barbie clothes would not fit “Nugget” and we stretched out several things trying to make them fit on her including shoes lol. Good memories! 😋

  5. Hello! I have a Skye trade-in doll from 1975 and would like to know more about its present price? I cant find anything similar on ebay so it must be pretty rare. Thank you!

    1. Hi. These dolls are valued based on their condition. Factors to consider is the regular release doll or trade; in the original BOX (MIB); ‘the glue ooze’ issue; working /attached limbs; face paint & hair – lots of factors. Skye was rare enough being a very early sporty African American doll. I have seen her valued for $25 – $125US, again depending on condition factors.[2020]

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