Favorite Christmas Toys Over the Last Century: 1930's Part I

1930: Stuffed Mickey Mouse Doll Walt Disney’s first film, Steamboat Willie, launched Mickey Mouse into stardom. By 1930, he was already loved by children everywhere. Disney commissioned a woman named Charlotte Clark to design and create a stuffed Mickey Mouse doll, modeled after the popular stuffed Teddy Bear. The large stuffed doll hit the toy shelves in 1930 and became an instant number one seller for children across the U.S. The success of the doll is just another testament to Disney’s great business sense and ingenuity. Even as an up and coming filmmaker, Disney knew that films and merchandise go hand in hand. Over the next several decades, he would grow his brand accordingly, releasing lots more animated films and then making toys and games based off of the characters in his films. Now Disney is one of the largest brands in the world.   1931: Finger Paint Finger paints were first introduced to school children in 1931. Ruth Faison Shaw, a passionate art education teacher from the U.S. created the child-friendly paint so that children could express themselves through art. While studying in Italy, Shaw developed her own system of child therapy through art and wrote a book in 1934 called Finger Painting, a Perfect Medium for Self-Expression. The book encouraged parents and teachers to let children discover colors and art through hands-on learning, allowing them to make messes and experience art materials in their own way. Within a couple of years, most educators had adopted this theory and were incorporating Shaw’s finger paints into their classrooms. The makers of the Crayola Crayons, Binney & Smith Company, saw an opportunity to expand their art supply line and started mass producing finger paints in 1936. Soon finger paints would become accessible to everyone and could be found throughout classrooms in the U.S. education system and in homes across America.   1934: Shirley Temple Doll The Hollywood darling of the 1930’s, Shirley Temple, became the first celebrity to have a doll made after her. At only 3 years old in 1932, her first movie War Babies, was a huge success. She continued to dazzle the movie screen with box office hits from 1936 to 1938. By the end of the 30’s, she was one of the most famous actresses in the world. It wasn’t long before companies started to see an opportunity in selling Shirley Temple merchandise. The most successful item was the Shirley Temple doll produced by the Ideal Toy and Novelty Company of New York City. The company was able to license out her name and produced the first Shirley Temple dolls in 1934, right after the movie Stand Up and Cheer! came out. The doll had her golden curls, dimples, sparkling eyes, and even the same polka-dot dress from Stand Up and Cheer!. It was an instant success and the Ideal Toy and Novelty Company made over $45 million in sales from the doll by 1941.