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.

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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 vintagedollcollector.com. Excerpt from Dolls by Kenner.
[2] by dollreference.com 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.

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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…

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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 probably (accidently) took him out with her tennis racket.

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

 

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