Before she was Cinnamon...

...She was almost Rusty!

Have you ever wondered why Ideal called little Cinnamon Velvet's Little Sister and not Cinnamon, the first year that she was available in stores?

Of course, this is all theoretical, but we've long known that Velvet's Little Sister went to market in 1972 before they finalized her name. And anyone that has a mint in the box example of Velvet's Little Sister knows this fact. Even the doll's box admonished the buyer, "YOU GIVE HER A NAME."

For the 1973 release, Ideal finalized their decision calling her, Velvet's Little Sister, Cinnamon with a Hairdoodler. So now, to this day, you know her as Cinnamon.

However, please take a look at the following evidence that the name "Rusty" was probably considered for Cinnamon. This unpainted doll head has never been rooted or attached to a body. It is a prototype head. The proof that this head is a prototype piece lies in the head itself. I bought it from a seller who knew the history on it. You will note that the writing on the doll head says GH-12 "Rusty." Writing directly onto a prototype piece is a common occurance in a prototype department.

The markings "GH-12," as you may know, are part of the final markings found on the Cinnamon doll. ("GH" at Ideal stood for Growing Hair.)

Rusty is very much different than the final product that we know as Cinnamon. There is considerable sculpting, two lines below her eyes, that the final doll does not have. Using a caliper to measure the width of her cheeks, Cinnamon is chubbier. Rusty has laugh lines! Rusty’s chin is much more defined. And finally, Rusty does NOT have individual teeth like Cinnamon does. One can run their fingernail across Cinnamon’s upper teeth and feel the definition between the two. Rusty has a single ridge along the top of her mouth where her teeth would be. It appears that Rusty has more “teeth” than Cinnamon. Overall, Rusty’s head is smaller and not as round as Cinnamon.

Above and below: Notice the "giggle" lines below Rusty's eyes, that Cinnamon does not have.

One can see the differences in the chin modeling on each doll head.

Her markings are the same as Cinnamon’s but Hong Kong is not molded in at the bottom of her marks. This alone is the best evidence that Rusty and Cinnamon are the same doll.

Other evidence that this is a pre-production prototype:

The fact that Rusty is not marked Hong Kong like Cinnamon is a big indicator. When the original sculpts were sent to the Orient to be “molded,” they were not marked Hong Kong. This was added to the final mold before it was used to create the vinyl heads. This is due to United States laws that require a product to be labeled with its country of origin. When the original sculpt was created and then cast, mold markings were added here in the States for planning while in the prototype stage. However, there was no reason yet for Ideal to mark the piece with its country of origin.

I own another prototype that also is not marked Hong Kong. It’s an extremely early piece, a black Crissy doll head. Her lips and teeth appear to be painted in the usual way (with a template and an airbrush) but her eyes are painted by hand, quite beautifully, one might add. There are seven large brushstrokes on each eye that create her eyelashes (the hand painted lashes) and the eyebrows are artfully painted with several brushstrokes. Like Rusty, she does not have hair rooted in place, nor does she have “follicles” for hair. After some consideration, I am of the opinion that Ideal was finalizing how Crissy’s eye make-up would look before she was mass-produced. This doll head, like all Crissy heads, is marked 1968, a year before she was released for sale. Which stands to reason… it takes about a year for a concept to become reality in the toy world and naturally, they would start with Crissy’s face.

Here she is:

Rusty's head is indeed a rare find, a pre-production piece. Perhaps this head was passed around the table by the designers and decision makers of Ideal's prototype department. One may never know, and truthfully, this is a bit of conjecture. But the facts are, this little girl didn't have a name, Ideal was trying to think of one, and Rusty apparently was one of the choices.

Cool, huh!

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All text & photos, © June, 2007, by Beth-Ellen Colvin