Thursday, August 13, 2009
Skeezix and Nina Wallet Had a Baby! Born In a Taxi!
Clovia Wallet was born May 15, 1949 to Skeezix and Nina Wallet. That is, she was born in the newspaper comic strips or "funnies" as we called them. Daily newspapers had a short black and white strip. The Sunday papers included a half-page full color display.
The Gasoline Alley series appeared in nearly every newspaper in America. What is interesting about Gasoline Alley is that the cast of characters aged with the times. New babies were born, characters became grandparents, life continued on.
Clovia was "born" in a taxicab in 1949. She grew up and married and had a child of her own.Her birth was such a sensation that toymakers created a new doll named Clovia.
In the "Toledo Blade" newspaper (Toledo, Ohio), dated Friday, June 17, 1949, page 35, columnist Kaye Quealy mentions the new Clovia doll. Here's what she wrote...
"Every year recently there's a new doll, and this year there's another one who owes her life to the comic strips. She is Clovia the daughter of Skeezix and Nina Wallet, the little girl with the lucky four-leaf clover on her hand. Lasalle's will have her within a few days."
You can view the newspaper here. This 57 page newspaper sold for five cents! Imagine that!
Later, in October 1953, LIFE magazine featured a three-page spread on "Comic Strip Dolls". The Clovia doll featured therein differs from the doll I had in that mine had long red hair (as in the first image above.) At least she did for awhile...somehow in combing her hair I plucked out enough that she became bald at the back of her head. I was a bit saddened by that but I didn't mind...she was still my doll.
My brother who was a year younger than I decided that he, too, wanted a doll. I vaguely remember that Mom pulled one out of a dresser drawer for him. I don't know if she had it stashed for a later gift for me? At any rate, it became his and he handled it exactly as a boy child might do, dragging it around wherever he went, grasping it by one ankle, dragging the poor babe's head in the dust, and leaving it totally unclothed. I might add that his season of the doll did not seem to hinder him in his becoming an excellent father to his own children. And I doubt that he would find as much pleasure in finding his old doll as I might in finding myself a "Clovia".
If any of those Clovia dolls still exist I'm certain they are in poor condition. The head was of a hard material but the body was a rubber type which by now would be badly deteriorated.
I'm posting what I know about the Clovia doll here as there is very little info on the net about her. Here's an image from the LIFE magazine article...dolls include Ricky Jr (son of Lucille Ball), Joan Palooka (daughter of Joe Palooka), Bonny Braids (born to Dick Tracy and Tess Trueheart in 1951), Sparkle Plenty (daughter to Gravel Gertie and B. O. Plenty of Dick Tracy fame), Cookie (daughter of Dagwood and Blondie), Alexander (born to Blondie and Dagwood), and Clovia (lower left in photo).
By the way, B.O. Plenty and Gravel Gertie were two of my favorite comic characters. Their names described them well.
You can read all my posts about Clovia here .