Elise of 1963 was in a unique position in the Madame Alexander doll line-up. With both 21 inch Cissy and Jacqueline taking their final bows in 1962, this years 18 inch Elise got star treatment. She received the attention of a portrait doll, and was presented in a number of stunning outfits. This particular doll featured above is a rare example is of Elise with a Marybel face. The No. 1740 Elise Scarlett also came in the more familiar Elise mold. 1963 would be the last year for the 10 inch fashion doll Cissette. Madame Alexander seemed to be in a flux of what direction to take herself with the overwhelming success of Barbie's 1959 debut. Alexander would give a go at this market with the short lived introduction of 12 inch Brenda Starr in 1964 - renamed Yolanda in 1965. Regaining leadership in the ever changing doll industry with the American fashion doll seemed an elusive effort. Into her 60s by now, Madame still had a few surprises up her sleeve, and would regroup with the success of the eight inch American and International dolls.
The Scarlett Legacy -1961 for The Review
Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind had a profound effect on Beatrice Alexander. It would become an event of morphing the creator with the artist. Both women, when inspired, worked with a passion for creation of their vision that is remarkable. The legacy of Scarlett would make a long lasting impact on both of their lives.
Now celebrating it's 75-year anniversary, I felt the 1961 portraits deserved a shout out, and I used them as the focus for my current article for The Review. The book and movie came out in a controversial period of our national history. The 1961 Scarlett and Melanie also appeared in a time of extremes, both socially and nationally. This anniversary is celebrating in a very similar, if different, arena of national and world wide events. Change and unrest perhaps makes tradition and the familiar more endearing. Gone With the Wind, the book, its characters and the iconic movie are embedded in our national culture.
With these dolls, we saw the progress of Madame Alexander move Cissy into her new position of a portrait doll, now named for the character she represents in the company catalog and promotional materials - the name "Cissy" does not appear any longer. Cissy had one year left to be included in Alexanders line of dolls... she would exit as a beautifully costumed and wigged portrait doll. Change was in the air, and it would be a cultural revolution.