Fashion Doll Restore2: Bionic Woman Doll
By: Roselyn Gadia-Smitley
Lindsay Wagner, photo source: internet, photographer: unknown.
Headshot of Bionic Woman Dolls, photo: Roselyn Gadia-Smitley.
Bionic Woman Dolls (left to right: "Flower Power", "Sophisticate in Polka Dots", and "Paisley Classic"), photo: Roselyn Gadia-Smitley.
In July 2010, through Ebay, I purchased a nude fashion doll lot of sixteen dolls. Each doll costs at $1.78 each, including shipping, which was a very inexpensive purchase. Among these dolls, were three action type fashion dolls. The third doll of the same type did not have arms, so this was a bonus doll and sent to me without charge. After researching the internet, I found that these dolls were "Bionic Woman" (1974- 1976) dolls. I researched these dolls through the marks at their backs as follows:
General Mills Fun Group, Inc. 1976
By Its Div. Kenner Products
Cincinnati Ohio 65800
Made in Hong Kong
Universal City Studios, Inc. 1974
All rights reserved.
At first glance, the doll is rather plain. The body is muscular, with an athletic build. Jointed areas are the ankles, upper leg sockets, elbows, knees, waist, upper arm sockets, elbows, wrists, and neck. The head turns fully at 360 degrees with sounding clicks. The doll has rooted soft nylon blonde hair (straight with slight shaping). This doll has flat footed feet.
This action fashion doll has a soft vinyl face and the rest of the body and limbs are of hard plastic. The face has painted features with hazel eyes, soft salmon painted lips, with blush applied to the cheeks. The open smiling mouth has white paint to simulate the teeth. It is interesting to note that the eyes have a charming and confident gaze. This is the best feature of the face of the doll. The face sculpture is made to resemble the main character, actress Lindsay Wagner, of the television series "Bionic Woman" of the mid-1970s.
Photo4 Photo5 Photo6
Photo4: 1st Edition Bionic Woman Doll (With Original Clothing), source: internet.
Photo5: Upper Legs Bionics , source: internet.
Photo6: Six Million Dollar Man Doll and Bionic Woman Doll (1st Edition), source: internet.
Notable characteristics of this doll is the structure of the arms and legs. The upper right arm and the lower part of the arms (towards the inside) have a rectangular cavity, featuring the simulated "bionic" (electronic) insert. The same features are found on both sides of the upper legs with the added rectangular flaps (which opens), showing the simulated "bionic" leg mechanisms.
The "Bionic Woman" doll was sold in two editions. The first edition (1974) is taller at 13" tall and the second is slightly smaller. The first edition was sold with a white jogging jacket with stripes in red and blue at the front and a matching navy blue jogging pants with outside cargo pockets, to access the "bionic" mechanisms of the legs. These mechanisms are merely acrylic decorations and not functional. The second edition (1976) was sold with a blue one-piece jumpsuit.
The "Bionic Woman" doll was sold with gym equipment, hair dressing salon and equipment, and designer outfits. The articles mentioned were sold separately from the doll. This doll appeared at the toy market with its action figure counterpart "The Six-million Dollar Man" (sculpted after actor Lee Majors).
In researching the internet, I found that the dressy articles of clothing for the "Bionic Woman" doll are hard to find. When one is offered for sale, the cost is very high. Following my fashion preferences in 1974-76, I decided to customize the designs of the clothing based on three of the most popular styles of the time: the peasant maxi dress, the double knit polyester dress, and a classic long gown. These styles are described as follows:
Doll #1: First Edition "Bionic Woman" doll. I named this dress "Flower Power". This peasant dress sports the maxi length which is a full-length dress. The tiers of the skirt is typical of the fashion at this time. The fabric exhibits the favored look of flower prints This was the era of the "hippie look", a nostalgic return to nature. The peasant dress is comprised of vintage (print fabric in polyester) of the 1970s and staple white cotton fabric. The dress is embellished with hand embroidered feathered stitching and hand embroidered French knots. To complete the ensemble, I added a hand crocheted (filet) shawl with hand knotted fringes and a white satin choker necklace with a flower button. The dress and satin choker have snap closures at the back.
Doll #2: First Edition "Bionic Woman" doll. I named this dress "Sophisticate in Polka-Dots". This empire waist gown is at the height of fashion in the 1970s. The sleeve openings are halter cut with a rolled collar. The skirt is cut at the bias which gives it an elongated and elegant look. The fabric of jacquard polka-dotted double knit is in black and gray fabrication (black dots on gray background). The empire seam below the bust is embellished with silver sequins and transparent seed beads. The gown has snap closures at the back. The fabric is vintage 100% polyester double knit from 1970s.
Doll #3: Second Edition "Bionic Woman" doll. I named this dress "Paisley Classic" for the popular paisley print fabrics and ruffled collars in formal wear and dress wear in the 1970s. I selected a remnant of lightweight woven 100% polyester (imitating wool), leftover from a favorite dress of mine in the 1970s. This fabric was purchased from an upscale department store (The May Company in Los Angeles, California - now a part of Macy's Department Stores) when such stores offered fabrics and patterns. This dress is a nostalgic glance at the past, when sewing was a common activity. This doll is without arms, so I designed the gown with deep pockets and extended long sleeves, so that I could insert the sleeves through the pockets. I stuffed the sleeves of the dress with lightweight nylon netting to simulate the missing arms. The skirt of the dress is cut at the bias to give an elongated and elegant look. The dress is fully lined in cotton and utilizes snap closures at the back. To complete the ensemble, I created a layered, long necklace of glass beads (red and gold). Layered long necklaces were popular during the 1970s.
My effort in restoring these dolls to their splendor has been time well spent. I enjoyed researching the background of the "Bionic Woman" doll which allowed me to relive my teen years in California. It was worth the journey back in time.
Happy Doll Collecting!
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FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, CLICK AT THESE LINKS:
HISTORY OF THE DOLL
COLLECTING BARBIE DOLLS ON A BUDGET