It didn’t take long for the clone companies to catch up with Mattel, and by 1971 clone Kens and clothing in the new Mod-look dimensions were readily available. While most US department store catalogues still sold the genuine Mattel Kens, many of them now offered this cheaper clothing, usually produced in Hong Kong. Occasionally a clothing set is offered together with a Ken doll at a reduced price, but mostly the clothing is sold independently “for Ken or similar 12″ doll”. Sears seems to be the only exception – Mattel worked with Sears throughout the 1970s, producing exclusive clothing and gift sets.
The Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogues for 1971 and 1972 sold clone clothing which was also available by Mego. The 1971 trench coat outfit was packaged as Tan Trench and the denim suit as Captain Cool for Mego’s 1971 Richie doll (see further below). The two other outfits from the 1972 Ward Christmas catalogue (below right) had been packaged in 1970 as Bachelor 1 and Eligible Receiver for Mego’s Joe Namath doll.
JOE NAMATH & HIS MOD-ABOUT TOWN WARDROBE BY MEGO
Between 1970 and 1971 Mego produced the Broadway Joe Namath doll and his Mod-About Town Wardrobe. The outfits are great, well-made and perfect examples of high Mod fashion. He is one of the very few male dolls ostensibly aimed at boys to come with a purely fashion wardrobe. As with Ken, these outfits were available with some great variation fabrics.
RICHIE BY MEGO /RICKY
Richie by Mego is dated 1970 on his back (the mold was originally used for Mego’s 1970 Fighting Yank doll), and the packaging is dated 1971. His wardrobe is an extension of Joe Namath’s range really (also produced by Mego). The outfit Snow King even appears both on the packaging for Richie and as a Joe Namath outfit in the 1971 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue. Richie has a kind of light flocking on his molded head/hair. Rather than develop a unique and convincing-looking black doll, or even copy Brad, Richie (like many other clones) was simply available with the same head-mold in light and dark skin versions.
There is an almost identically-packaged clothing range for a doll called Ricky. The Mego logo doesn’t appear, so he was either a clone of Richie or the version of him as sold through one of the store catalogues. The 1972 Aldens Christmas catalogue sells him as Posin’ Adam (see further below), and he also appears in the Canadian Eaton’s Christmas catalogues of 1973-75.
Note too that the dark suit with frilled shirt appears identical to the one sold by Peggy-Ann Inc. for their Happening Hank doll (see further below).
Posin’ Paul, featured in the 1971 Aldens catalogue (below left), was actually Randy by Totsy.
BRUCE AND CHUCK BY TOTSY
Although not featured in any of the catalogues I’ve found so far, Totsy produced other boy dolls, such as Bruce and Chuck. I’ve yet to establish exact production dates for these dolls, but they are presumably from the 1970s to judge by the packaging design. Chuck’s similarly-packaged clothing range also mentions Brad, so it’s most likely to date from the early ’70s. I have seen advertising featuring a differently-packaged Chuck from 1980-81, so Totsy obviously produced him over a long period.
This clone was presumably to be found in Las Vegas gift shops. He bears a strong resemblance to the doll sold by Peggy-Ann Doll Clothes Inc. as “Happening Hank”.
The Boy Doll featured in the 1972 JCPenney Christmas catalogue is a classic Mod Ken clone. He reappeared for several years in various guises, sold by companies in Europe and the US (see Best Buy and Superstar mail order clone clothing sections).
FRED BY PLASTY (GERMANY)
In the Plasty catalogue for 1969 Fred still looks like the vintage painted hair Ken. The packaging for 1970 shows a new look Fred for the first time. This version was sold until 1972. The ‘leather’ coat is from his 1972 collection, and the reverse of the packaging shows all the other outfits available that year.
As in the US, many, even cheaper, clone outfits were sold in Germany. They are often the same clothes from Hong Kong simply packaged differently. These outfits presumably date from the early 1970s. More can be seen in the section Best Buy Clones & Clothing.
The outfit below right is interesting as it is the only one I’ve so far discovered which shows a picture of the genuine Ken on the packaging.