As a tie-in to Walt Disney's 1964 film Mary Poppins, at least three companies were licensed to produce a Mary Poppins teenage doll in the 1960s.
- Horsman, an American doll company who made Mary Poppins Dolls from 1963 through the early 1970s. The 12" Mary Poppins doll by Horsman is quite popular among collectors and she is quite easy to find in her original clothing of a purple dress and navy coat. You could also buy two additional outfits for her. Her striped dress nanny uniform and her pretty white going-out dress. Because the Horsman dolls were made for quite a long time there are some variations in the fabrics used for their outfits.
- Reliable of Canada, who sold under license by Ideal in 1963-64, a black-haired Tammy dressed as Mary Poppins in Canada. She wore a outfit similar in style, but her dress and bag were bright red and she wore a royal blue coat (lined in red) and a blue hat trimmed with red flowers and a ribbon. She wore a white lace scarf around her neck. She did not carry an umbrella.
- Pedigree, a subsidiary of Lines Bros (NZ) Ltd of Panmure. They were the sole licensee of the Mary Poppins doll for New Zealand. Obviously they dressed a Sindy. She wore a similar outfit as Horsman. These pretty dolls are quite a rarity, and in the 1960s they were highly prized by little girls in NZ. Below is an advert for the Mary Poppins Sindy from the 1966 Tri-ang NZ catalogue.
Above left a boxed Mary Poppins doll believed to be correct. She is so mint her clothes have never been removed her from her body. So for example, her pants are stuck to her, and the ribbon on the back of the apron looks to have never been undone. Her body is perfect. Above right her extra dress and shoes.
Details of the box.
Above left a brown haired version with umbrella which may not have originally come with the doll, but which was included with the Horsman outfit. Above right Sindy dressed in the Horsman outfit but wearing Sindy black kitten heel court shoes.
Horsman stockings and boots for comparison.
The Mary Poppins Sindy was the usual NZ Sindy Doll. As collectors probably know, to comply with local market protection laws, Pedigree sent Sindy parts to New Zealand to the Line Bros factories, where the dolls were put together. These dolls can be a little different and harder to identify with complete certainty. However they often have yellower bodies and hard plastic arms and big pink hard plastic hollow legs - having said that the dolls in the photos above have pink bodies, no markings, hard plastic arms and legs. The Mary Poppins Sindys had black/very dark brown or chestnut brown hair styled into a bun at the back of the head. Everyone agrees that they had beautiful faces.
One of the most important things about this NZ MP Sindy is the outfit. It is different in colour to Horsman and in particular the stocking and shoes are not the same.
Work dress - Dark Blue Striped Work dress - Light Blue Striped
Coat - Darker Blue Felt Coat - Lighter Blue felt
Hat - Felt on hard plastic, plastic flowers Hat - felt with fabric flowers
Stockings - Black nylon Stockings - Black heavier striped type
Shoes - Black plastic lace-ups Shoes - Black boot type
- Carpet Bag - Same design but different pattern of fabric.
- Both had pinafore aprons made of white cotton with "Mary Poppins" written in red on the bib.
- It is uncertain as to whether NZ Mary Poppins came with an umbrella. The NZ Tri-ang catalogue of 1966 does not show it, an NZ collector has told us that they do not recollect an umbrella, and the boxed NZ version shown here does not have one.
In addition to the elaborate Mary Poppins described above, there was also a much simpler dressed doll. She is normally found with a miniature head (sometimes described as a "small face" or "pin head" Sindy). Because she has the smaller head, she is generally believed to be a slightly later issue. She was dressed in a red striped work dress and wore a white pinafore apron with a larger printed design on the apron identifying her with the Mary Poppins franchise. She also wore the black nylon stockings and black plastic lace-up shoes.
There is very little information on either of these Mary Poppins Sindys, and we love to hear from anyone who can add to this description. Despite the lack of information, we feel sure you will agree, the Mary Poppins Sindys are lovely dolls.