Strawberry Shortcake dolls were an unforgettable cartoon and toy line for girls in the 1980’s. The original design of the character Strawberry Shortcake and her pet cat Custard were created in 1977 by artist Muriel Fahrion during her tenure as a greeting card illustrator at American Greetings.
The idea was then presented to Bernie Loomis who worked for General Mills. Fahrion then designed thirty two other characters for Those Characters From Cleveland, which was American Greetings’ toy & licensing design division. Cindy Moyer Patton and Janet Jones designed the later characters for the Strawberry Shortcake line. Kenner was the company who manufactured the Strawberry Shortcake dolls during the 1980’s. Five inch tall jointed hard plastic dolls were sold as well as rag dolls and baby dolls.
The first five Strawberry Shortcake dolls were issued in 1979 and included Strawberry herself, Huckleberry Pie, Blueberry Muffin, Apple Dumplin’, and the villain Purple Pieman. Other than Purple Pieman these dolls had flat hands and did not come with pets, except for Apple Dumplin’ and Purple Pieman. In 1980, five new characters were issued: Orange Blossom, Lemon Meringue, Raspberry Tart and Tea Time Turtle and Apricot and her bunny Hopsalot. The dolls now had curved hands.
The dolls were artificially scented to smell berry nice. Subsequent series of the first line of dolls came with adorable pets to match each of the characters. Raspberry Tart came with a monkey named Rhubarb, Huckleberry Pie adopted a dog named Pupcake, Blueberry Muffin picked up an adorable mouse named Cheesecake, Lemon Meringue was sold with a frog named Frappe’ and Orange Blossom’s new pet was called Marmalade. Plush dolls of the pets were sold which are highly sought after today.
Additional characters were added to the toy line in 1981. These dolls were Lime Chiffon, Cherry Cuddler, Butter Cookie, Angel Cake and a female nemesis, Sour Grapes. In 1983 the International series was released. This adorable set included Almond Tea and Marza Panda, Mint Tulip and Marsh Mallard, Cafe Ole and Burrito, Lem and Ada with Sugar Woofer and Crepe Suzette with Eclair. Additional series include the Sweet Sleepers with open and close eyes, Party Pleasers with fancy party dresses and the ultra rare Berrykins with long hair and elf-like pets. The Party Pleaser and Berrykins sets featured the hard to find characters Plum Puddin’, Peach Blush and Banana Twirl. The Berry Princess was sold briefly, a taller doll that is closer to Barbie doll size.
Stay tuned for part two of this article which includes information on Strawberry Shortcake licensed products, foreign dolls, miniatures and other accessories. A wonderful website reference for SSC collectors is Mint Tulip’s Garden Tea Party. http://www.strawberry-shortcake.net