the doll games
shelley and pamela jackson


interview: babette and bruce jackson

Br: I didn't ever know anything much about the games, other than when you'd sometimes show off some particularly silly looking doll you thought I would be amused by.

Did we show you Harvey?

Br: Who was Harvey?

Harvey’s the big head one. He was Little Red Riding Hood and Willy, his white haired brother, was the grandmother. We even found what we think were their original dresses. I was going to ask if you remember getting him for us, because we don’t remember where they came from.

Br: Were they supposed to look like trolls or something?

No, I think they were supposed to be cute. They have huge heads and tiny little feet with pink slippers — wait, I have Harvey with me, in fact. [gets Harvey]

Ba: I don't remember him at all.

Br: Didn't you switch heads on some of these?

On some of our dolls we did, but not on this one.

Ba: I suppose we could have picked them up someplace and not really cared about them much.

Well I don’t have a sense we liked these dolls until we turned them into Harvey and Willy. And I don’t know why we would have, because they’re horrible. They can’t have ever been cute.

Br: But I have trouble imagining that we would have bought them and not remember them at all, even though presumably they had fancy clothes on. But still it's a bizarre shape. I bet you found them in a free box somewhere.

I don't know, Shelley's pretty sure we got them in Europe. I just remember when we discovered their true inner natures as Harvey. And Willy, but Willy never took on quite as well developed a personality. But Harvey was one of our most important characters.

Br: So who was Harvey?

He was a horny fop, he had a romantic poetic soul, but he was also a vulgar lout. He was always trying to have sex with all the beautiful girls and writing them poems and singing them love songs. His sensibility mixed great crudeness with fanciful romanticism.

Br: That sounds like a late development, a late version of Harvey.

Well I don't think he existed until late. I mean my first memory of him is turning him into this weird dandy where we drew the mustache on him and slicked back his hair and he took on his whole personality right away, fully formed.

Br: Well when did he come in? How old were you?

I don't know, but it was in the later phase. Once we had a regular stable of characters he was always one of them, and I don't remember if he was around at all before that. Because everyone became permanent later, they all had their same identities. But that wasn't true early on... Do you remember Laurie? And the tragedy?

Ba: Laurie, what was that?

Laurie was my original Skipper doll. My Skipper doll had become Laurie at some point, a boy doll, but with the original head, and we decided at some point to dye the hair black so we put magic marker permanent magic marker on its hair which then stained his face this kind of dark blue color

Ba: And then you tried to shave it off his face. Yeah, I remember that was sad. But I didn't see it until after you shaved it, when it was all terrible looking. [Laughter] It was just so awful!

Br: How did you shave it off?

Well Shelley thought she could just delicately shave off the outer layer of the blue face–

Br: You mean to reveal the pink underneath again.

Ba [laughing] And it had all these little gouges, it looked like some poor thing that had small pox

It was the worst thing we ever did. It was so tragic.

Br: Do you still have that one?

Ba: No, they threw him away.

Br: You never told me about this at all.

We put another head on him and he continued to have a life. He became Jesse. With this blond head that we had gotten from some other doll. But that was very tragic. That was my original Skipper, one of the first of the dolls.

Ba: You must have gotten that then at the same point when everybody else was getting B*****s, when you were in about second grade. We were willing to go with a Skipper but we weren't willing to get a B*****.

Br: Did we ever buy them a B*****?

Ba: No, I absolutely refused to.

Br: But they found one.

Yeah, we found one. And cut the legs off.

Ba: [Laughs] See, even then you showed good sense.