Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Happy Family

The Happy Family was Mattel's African-American version of the Sunshine Family. I give kudos to Mattel for really being the first to do this. And also to give them their own identity instead of just the black Sunshine Family. In the 1970's it was rare to have black versions of popular dolls. Barbie hadn't gone black yet in the early 1970's. The Happy Family came out in 1975 a year before the second series of the SF. This Happy Family consisted of Hal the dad, Hattie the mom and Baby Hon.

One thing I never understood was why Hal is wearing a tank top. Steve is wearing a turtle neck and a long sleeved shirt. I remember driving my mom crazy with questions like that. Odd. Well anyway Hattie is wearing a very colorful skirt and top. Baby Hon is wearing a little outfit when Baby Sweets at this time is still in a sleeper. Baby Sweets outfit for the 3rd Series is the same as Hon's but with a brown bottom. This 1st version is pretty common and easy to find.

The Happy Family used the exact same mold as the Sunshine Family. The only difference being the skin and eye color and the dark curly hair.The Happy Family also had a 2nd version. It is super rare and when they come up for auction is always pricey. The last complete set I saw recently went for around $70 and really I've seen them go for much more. I don't have a complete 2nd series, I only have Hal and Toddler Hon seen below.
 Toddler Hon is hard to find and I jumped for joy when I finally scored her! I found a photo on line somewhere to show you what the original set looks like, shown below. The baby in the 2nd series is just the same baby Hon so you can add anyone that you have. I do have more but I don't have that baby outfit. Hattie is also basically the same with a little color to her lips. She wears the same original shoes and the same hairstyle but her outfit is crazy hard to get!
I drove my mom nuts with begging for another Sunshine Family house so that the Happy Family could have their own house but she wouldn't go for it and said "They can all live together Jenny, what the big deal?" She never understood I wanted them to be neighbors and visit each others houses and stuff. Besides how do 4 adults, 2 babies and two sets of Grandparents live in a 4 room house when one of the rooms is a patio with 1 bed and 2 chairs? The Happy Family ended up living in Barbie's fold out townhouse but I always thought that Stephie was jealous of the Barbie furniture. ;0)

I'll post about the Grandparents next then I'll move on to the House and the kits and the other play sets. I hope you are enjoying my ramblings and please ask questions if you have any.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Introducing the Sunshine fun family!

Well Mattel for some unknown reason went nuts and decided on the Sunshine Family Series 3 to completely make over all the dolls and even changed their name to" the Sunshine Fun Family". The African-American version was called "the Happy Fun Family". Mattel decided to change the whole Sunshine Family idea from slightly hippie, make it yourself, organic, handmade to a more materialistic 1980's idea. I guess they were going with the changing times but I really feel they ruined the dolls by doing this. Other must have felt this way too as the line of dolls ended soon after and Mattel went to a Barbie sized, looking doll line called ironically the Happy Family (the African-American version of the Sunshine Family was called the Happy Family).

This will be a longer post as I point out the changes made to the dolls. I hope all of this is informative to you. As a collector myself I need to learn these things to collect the correct pieces and series.

New box design and new name. Unfortunately this is the only box I have from any of the series. If you check out my very first post I have a photo of the original box for comparison.
On the box it says: "And now there are 4! Mom, Dad, big sister and baby brother having fun together!" The best thing about this series to me was that baby Sweets was now a little girl and there is another slightly different baby in the family.

Big change huh?

O.k. Steve has a new outfit and shoes and a Brady Bunch Dad Fro going on. Stephie has a new dress and shoes, longer hair (back to a more natural color) and eyeshadow and lipstick! Sweets is now a little girl. (I really love this doll) She has little orange shoes but they are super hard to find so mine is barefoot for now. And the new baby who is apparently a boy doesn't have a name and is a redhead. The baby's original outfit is a one piece jumper with a white top and brown shorts and kind of matches the dad's clothes.
Steve's curly fro.

Stephie has blue eyeshadow, eyelashes and lipstick.
The new baby is the same "Sweets" body just
with red hair.
Big Sister Sweets as she's known now has an outfit that coordinates with the mom's dress. Sweets as a little girl is hard to find and in her original outfit almost impossible. The ribbons in her hair are original too.
Mattel started offering different outfits sets for the Family at this time as shown on the back of the box. I do have some of them and will get to them at a later date. These sets were different than the DIY sets they previously offered for the original Sunshine Family that you had to finish making yourself. More to come on those later.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sunshine Family Series 2

As the Sunshine Family became more popular or perhaps to make them more popular Mattel did a re-design of the clothes. 

Steve was given jeans instead of khaki pants and another red turtleneck in a brighter color with different fabric. His shoes were also a darker color. Stephie had the more significant change. Her old fashioned dress with the apron was replaced with a more modern jumper dress over a short sleeved red shirt. Her hair was a little shorter on this version and styled differently too. She also had more blond color than the more natural blond of the original series Stephie. Baby Sweets remained the same and in the same yellow sleeper outfit.

The Third Series will be shown in my next post and had the most radical change for Steve, Stephie and Sweets of all. As a child I only had Series 1 dolls and never even knew about the second or third Series until I was an adult.. Which Series did you have? Which you you like best?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Changes to Stephie's Dress Series 1

The original dress was a two piece outfit with a long sleeved bodysuit and a long to the feet skirt. The apron had pockets and was long. Then Mattel changed the apron to one without pockets. And finally changed the dress to a short sleeved one piece dress that was a little shorter and a smaller apron that was in my option very cheaply made. You can see the difference in the materiel when you physically compare them.