Bisque doll

The Kewpie doll was prized in popular culture – Loveland Reporter-Herald

The motto here at “Trivally Speaking” is “EIE”, not “Farmer in the Dell” (EIEIO). Ours stands for “Educate, Inform, Entertain” – or the best two out of three, no, just kidding; we take humor seriously.

So today, if you weren’t aware of the topic, we’re in Educate mode. If you knew, we are probably informing information that you did not know. And assuming you meet one of the above criteria, we hope to entertain you.

With that customer disclaimer in place, let’s talk (or read in your case).

Frequently, to open my mind to creativity or at least ideas, I listen to “old” music (it’s all in your mind) while I research topics. Yesterday on one of my special CDs – yes, I’m still mired in that technology – I listened to a Perry Como hit from 1958.

The record went to No. 6 on the “Billboard” charts and was Perry’s last Top Ten for 11 years. Incidentally, Ray Charles was an uncredited singer as a backup on the cut.

I am referring here to “Kewpie Doll”.

The song was written by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett. They based it on the popular (turn of the last century) Kewpie comic book characters created by Rose O’Neill (more on Rose later).

Here’s how Sid and Roy wrote it:

“Well, I took my baby to the carnival/ and I heard that barker scream (Hey!, Hey!/”Come on!” I swung the hammer as hard as I could,/ and you should have heard the wild applause… (Hooray!) / When the ‘bong’ rang the bell / and the man said ‘Well, I guess the Kewpie doll is yours!’ (Yeah, yeah!) I said, “Give me a pooch or a teddy bear / or a high school banner for my wall, / because I have a real, living Kewpie doll / and she’s the cutest of them all.”

Perry continues to sing at a shooting range where he hits all five ducks but still has the cutest, so refuses a doll.

On the third trip through the game arcade (pew-video), her date asks for a chance to knock over the pyramid of wooden milk bottles and nail it.

Then she refuses the Kewpie Doll toy and sings “Because I have a real, living Kewpie doll and HE IS the cutest of them all.”

So, it’s a nice turn for women’s freedom in a time before it happened. And for all we know, she could have rung the bell and knocked the ducks down and then looked for a better date.

Let’s go back to the premise on which the song was composed.

Rose O’Neill came to New York from the Midwest to work as a writer and illustrator.

In 1909, she conceptualized the Kewpie as a cartoon intended for a comic strip. The idea came as a dream in which she saw little guys like Cupid named after the Roman god of love.

The comic was first featured in the December 1909 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal.

Rose described the characters as “A sort of round fairy one idea of ​​which is to teach people to be cheerful and kind at the same time.” I believe the thought probably worked then; today would be a challenge.

Rose found encouragement for her Kewpies and began illustrating and selling paper doll versions of her little guys.

The next step was to develop a line of dolls and action figures and a German toy company gave it a try. OOPS! Rose did not approve of the first run because she felt they “didn’t look like her characters”.

To ensure that the released dolls were made to her liking, she traveled to Germany. She had the company destroy the molds they had made and oversaw the final redesign. They then released the new guys in nine different sizes.

These each had a heart-shaped decal on their chest, and Rose even signed some of them (making them more valuable to collectors in years to come).

The Kewpies became an international hit.

Within five years, Rose O’Neill had become the highest paid illustrator in America.

His Kewpie brand has become a “household name” and has been used in promotions for Colgate (smile like a Kewpie?), Sears, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Jell-O.

Rose hit it big when Kewpies appeared on rattles, soap, pepper shakers, tableware and stationery (to happy and kind notes).

Things were going well then Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot in Sarajevo (and chest).

The Germans decided war was the right answer and the war to end all wars – just kidding – began.

Germany was not a good place to produce Kewpies cookies; they weren’t intended as kind and cheerful for the troops in the trenches. Thus, the production moved to the United States

These Kewpies all included poseable arms (better for cuddling).

In the mid-1920s, small celluloid Kewpies appeared. These were the ones that were distributed as prizes at carnivals.

We’re back to where we started with “because I got myself a real live Kewpie doll and she’s/he’s the cutest ever.” It’s a delightful song and suited for kinder, happier times.