1967 - 1968 Sindy's new friends
Paul was discontinued at the end of 1967, but Sindy and Patch were given some new friends to play with.
Mitzi and Betsy were introduced first in the Autumn of 1967. Their introduction was heralded in an early 1967 Sindy Fan Club letter. The letter explained the new friends’ backgrounds and their relationship with the Sindy Set. The letter told how Sindy, Paul & Patch were very busy getting ready for the big welcome they planned for the arrival of Mitzi & Betsy. Never shy of missing a marketing trick, Pedigree exhorted its Fan Club members to ensure that the new visitors were made to feel welcome and told them:
“Don’t forget the big Mitzi and Betsy welcome which you’ll see on the television soon.
Sindy, Paul and Patch are really looking forward to spending some very happy times with their two new friends.”
Both the Mitzi and Betsy boxed dolls originally came with a leaflet for a painting competition. Paint, coloured pencils or crayons could be used and the picture could be painted any way the competitor liked.
As a tiebreaker competitors had to complete the following sentence in 12 words or less…
My favourite personality in the Sindy Set is: …….
It was a clever piece of marketing, not only did the prizes giveaway Paul dolls which would soon be discontinued, but the monthly winners’ names were published in four of the most popular 1960s comics for girls: Bunty, June and Schoolfriend, Judy, and Lady Penelope providing additional publicity for the new dolls.
The competition closed on the 31st of January 1968, pointing to the earlier release of these two dolls.
The completed competition entry shown right was sent to the Museum by a lucky little girl who received Betsy as a Christmas present in 1967. She still treasures her boxed Betsy who is now over 50 years old. And the reason she didn’t post her leaflet was because she didn’t have a stamp!
These two new girls were joined in 1968 by Vicki and Poppet and all four new dolls were officially advertised in the 1968 style catalogue.
Apart from Betsy, the new friends each came with a charm that could be added to Sindy’s new golden medallion charm bracelet. Sindy’s friends Mitzi and Vicki could wear Sindy’s clothes, and Patch’s friend Poppet could wear hers. Betsy was much smaller and she had to have her own set of clothes.
1967 - Mitzi (Ref 12GMH)
Mitzi, Sindy’s French friend, was introduced in Autumn 1967. This is what the Fan Club letter said:
“Mitzi is Sindy’s continental friend and Sindy met her whilst she was on holiday last year. They have written lots of letters to each other since then. Mitzi has decided that she would like to live over here for a while so she is working as an Au Pair Girl (this means that she lives with an English family and helps with the housework and shopping). Sindy is going to show her all her new outfits. Mitzi can wear any of Sindy’s clothes, so I expect they will be swopping.” and “Mitzi decided after her brief visit earlier this year, that she would definitely come over to stay in the Autumn.”
As noted from both the Fan Club letter and her box, Mitzi was simply described “Sindy’s continental friend”, it was the 1968 style catalogue which identified that she actually came from France.
“Mitzi is Sindy’s continental friend. She comes from France and has that mysterious, exciting French look. She has attractive long, straight, hair and big blue eyes.”
Mitzi was most commonly found with bright shocking-red, straight, long hair with a choppy cut and a centre parting. Less commonly. she could also be found with blonde hair. She came wearing a cornflower blue, finely ribbed, knitted cotton long-sleeved jumper, with a matching elasticated beret. The jumper was knitted in one piece and then stitched together under the arms and down the side seams. It fastened at the back of the neck with a popper. Three popper colours have been found. One is a flat white painted metal popper, one is a brass coloured metal popper that matches the one on her skirt and the third is a silver coloured popper which also matches a silver popper on her skirt. The jumper was worn over a lime green cotton wrap-over kilt-style skirt which fastened with a brass or silver coloured metal popper and which was secured at the knee with a little brass safety pin. She wore matching lime green flat lace-up shoes on her feet.
There is also a lovely variation of Mitzi with a side parting.
Shown left with her shocking red hair beautifully displayed against Mam’selle Crochet Look (Ref DR355).
Shown right in blonde in her boxed doll outfit Mitzi (Ref 12GMH), looking very pretty against the blue.
1967 - Betsy (Ref 6GBS)
Patch’s little American friend was launched in Autumn 1967 with Mitzi. The Fan Club introduced her to members as follows:
“Betsy is Patch’s American friend who is going to stay over here with the Sindy Set. Her father has to travel all over the world on business and when Sindy suggested that Betsy could stay with them, arrangements began at once and everyone agreed that it was a marvellous idea. Patch is really excited about the two new arrivals and asked me to tell you all to join in the welcome when they arrive.”
The 1968 Style Catalogue described her as:
“She’s pretty and great fun.”
The side of her box described her very well.
Betsy was available as a blonde or a brunette. She wore a little sleeveless cord red dress trimmed with white cotton lace at the neck and hemline. It fastened at the back with a white painted metal popper. She wore a narrow red grosgrain ribbon hairband, little white cotton ribbed knickers, white nylon socks and red shoes with a moulded bow.
Betsy came with a red, white and blue metal badge with her name and two white stars on it.
Betsy came in a new style blue box with a window front. The bright red, white and blue colours together with the Betsy emblem on the box and her badge all alluded to her American heritage.
Like Mitzi her box orginally included the painting competition leaflet shown above. She was not updated to include a charm.
Betsy was a 6 inch, wire armature covered in vinyl doll. She is very similar to Mattel’s Tutti, Barbie’s younger sister (1965-71). Maybe that’s why she was described as Sindy’s American friend?
Because she was so small, she had to have her own very cute set of clothes. The back of her box showed the three outfits that could be purchased for her, and they were also shown in the 1968 Style Leaflet.
Shown left are all three outfits still mint in little bags. They would have been affixed to a Betsy backing card for sale. Shown above is the back of Betsy’s box.
Sleep Tight (Ref 6GB 01)
A long floral cotton nightdress with long sleeves trimmed with white cotton lace at the neckline, hem and at the end of the sleeves. She is described as having a blue brush, comb and mirror set. However this being Pedigree although the nightdress is shown drawn as having a yellow floral pattern, we have only seen pink and a blue versions. We also we have seen a Mint in Packet outfit with a pink brush, comb and mirror set.
Fun and Games (Ref 6GB 02)
A sweet little casual outfit consisting of blue and white gingham pull-up trousers (much was made of the fact that Betsy called them “pants”) and a sleeveless blue denim top with the same blue and white gingham trim on the armholes. The top fastened at the back of her neck with a white painted metal popper. Her little dog “Hector” together his lead, bone and bowl were also included (which looks like Ringo and his bowl and bone re-used from Sindy’s 1963 ‘Country Walk’).
According to the 1968 Style Catalogue, Betsy couldn’t pronounce the name Hector so she just called him ‘Heck’.
Party Time (Ref 6GB 03)
This outfit was described as “Betsy goes to parties American style”.
A beautiful frilly pink and white lacy party dress. The dress was sleeveless with a full skirt and it fastened at the back with a metal popper (we have seen white painted and chrome metal poppers used).
There was a little matching pink lace party bag with a white grosgrain ribbon handle, filled with a posy of creamy white flowers (see inset photo). For her feet she had a little pair of pink shoes with moulded bows.
1968 - Vicki (Ref 12GSV)
“a bubbly personality“
The 1968 Style Catalogue described her as:
Vicki’s charm was a sporty tennis racquet (shown bottom centre on Sindy’s charm bracelet).
Vicki came in a newly styled box with a London skyline silhouette scene behind her. The sides of the box included pictures of sidepart Sindys, Mitzi and Vicki modelling various Sindy outfits. The Mitzi bottom left is very interesting, look at her hair colour!
Vicki was also given extra clothes, the white polo-neck knitted jumper and orange stretch pants from ‘Winter Holiday’.
Poppet (Ref 9GPS)
Poppet was a new friend for Patch. The 1968 Style Catalogue described her as:
“Poppet is the little girl with the cheeky face and loves getting into trouble – just like her friend.”
The first version of Poppet came with a short “urchin” hairstyle, and interestingly even though her hair colour was always the same, both silky and coarse hair has been found on these dolls. Whether this was merely a result of different batches of hair, different factories, or how Poppet was played with, we can’t say.
She came in Patch’s ‘Half Term’ outfit of a red jumper, tartan skirt, white socks and black shoes.
Poppet’s charm was a double-heart (shown bottom left on Sindy’s charm bracelet).
Poppet also came in the newly styled box with a London skyline silhouette scene behind her. Just as Mitzi and Vicki could wear Sindy’s clothes, Poppet could wear all of Patch’s clothes and various Patch outfits were modelled on the side of her box.
Patch’s ‘Half Term’ blazer and a pair of Patch’s white shoes with moulded bows were provided as her “extra clothes”, but sadly there was no kitten (see 1967 Patch for a fuller description of this outfit 1967 Patch Outfits and Separates).