The number 1 model, 1959-60 or often referred to as, the "Prototype" year has a round cloth cover speaker and no markings on the lower back. She actually isn't the "Prototype". Only the very first actual working doll to be used for production can be the actual prototype Chatty Cathy.
The number 2 model 1961-62 has a round cloth covered speaker and has the Mattel logo with little Matty Mattel sitting atop the M and has the patent pending label.
The number 3 model has a round speaker without the cloth cover with a hexagon shape inside the circle. The lower back says Mattel and Patent in California etc.
The number 4 model has a hexagon shaped speaker and has the Patent information on her lower back. This is the year when they introduced Patent in Canada on the backs of American Chatty's. So all Chatty's from this year on including the Chatty Baby series, say Patent in Canada on them and other foreign Pat's pending. This does not mean your doll is a Canadian. Some of these have a white cone flimsy plastic speaker when you look inside the her front grill. Then some have red cone speaker made of a very thin canvas type of material which was meant to help the sound. Some say 11 phrases and some say 18. Typically this year has whiter colored limbs. This is normal or typical for this model. It is thought of as being undesirable by collectors. However, if you are a true blue collector, I feel it is a good idea to try to find a nice clean one to add to complete your collection Mattel used a different type of vinyl mix in this model which caused this undesirable effect of the light to white limbs within as early as 10 years from date of manufacture.
Also typical for the number 4 model, are those that do not have white colored limbs that tend to talk clearer and say the 18 phrases. These are made later in 1964 when Mattel improved on the voice box again. These tended to have better talking mechanisms than the early 1964 models.
This limb color change was due to flaws in the materials used and environment at the factory (i.e being hot and humid etc.). But, if you can find an all ghostly white Chatty like this, including the torso; then you have yourself a true treasure if she's in excellent and clean condition.
The last of the 1960's model of Chattys is the number 5 model. This model has a hexagon shaped speaker with four holes underneath the hexagon. This model often talks the louder & clearer than the rest of them and says 18 phrases. This is usually the most sought after model after the first year in the blue and white outfit, referred to as the "Prototype" year (again incorrectly).
There should only be soft faced Chattys on the first 2 models. A "proper" number 3 model, will have either a hard or soft face.. However, she was brought out as a hard-faced, longer hair, bob cut Chatty. It is the first year to come out with the hard face. While most of these are indeed the hard faced bobs, Mattel did use extra parts and thus may have put soft faced, shorter bob heads on this year. This was due to Mattel saving costs by preventing the throwing away of any extra perfectly good parts. Due to this, you will sometimes see soft face shorter bob cut heads on this particular year and over the next year or so afterwards.
The number 4 model is when the first pigtail Chattys came out. This year is typically a pigtail doll with either a hard or soft face but you will sometimes see either a hard or soft faced bob on this body although it's unclear to me whether this was really done by Mattel or if someone switched heads later out of the factory. I believe it's possible for a soft faced bob to be on a number 4 body, but I remain a bit skeptical as to her being this way by Mattel workers. I'll leave that open for now as yes it's possible for her to still be a proper Mattel original.
The number 5 is typically always a hard or soft faced pigtail Chatty. The soft faced Chattys are rarer than the hard faced pigtail Chatty's. However, it's more common to see the eyebrows and freckles and lip colors faded.
The Collectors rule of thumb:
- Brunettes are more rare than blondes.
- Auburn's are rarer than brunettes but not by very much.
- I seem to find more brunette pigtails these days than auburn haired Chatty's.
- There are no short haired auburn haired Chatty's.
- There are strawberry blonde, to an almost red color, and frosted blonde bob Chattys.
- There are no hard faced brown eyed Chattys that are Mattel originals. They only put brown eyes in the soft faced bobs and in the brunettes.
I have seen a few brown eyed soft faced blonde bobs but they are super rare. If you see one be wary. Mattel may have put brown eyes in the soft faced pigtails, although I have never seen an Mattel original brown eyed pigtail from America.
This now leads us to the often confusing, Canadian model.
The Canadian Chattys are always soft faced, and have either pinwheel, glassine eyes or decal eyes. While they did make the decal eyed Canadian, she has different a eye color and a different decal eye than the American Chattys have. The decal eye like I mentioned earlier, is what American Chatty Cathy dolls eyes are called. It is a decal of an eye under a hard plastic lens. When you look at an original Canadian decal eye next to the American version, can see a difference between the decal as well as the dolls coloring. You will know your doll is an original made Canadian by the slightly larger freckles, which are in a very distinct figure eight pattern.
This is unlike the American models, which have more of a thin sprinkling of freckles across the upper cheek American Chatty's but these are not in as a distinct figure eight pattern, across the nose and upper cheek. There is a faint hint of a figure eight pattern on the American model but it is more sprinkled across and not such a distinct figure eight, like the Canadian models have. They also have more distinct eye liner and shiny lip color, unlike the American Chatty's where the lip color is a matte finish with no sheen to it. The Canadian Chattys also have a higher arched eyebrows. Lastly, are the eye differences of the Canadian models. The eyes of the Canadian Chatty's are different than the American Chatty Cathy's eyes. "Typical" Canadian Chattys have three types of eyes. Most notable are the "glassine" or "pinwheel" eye types. I will put photos up soon for you to see the difference between them. Where allot of the confusion comes in, is the fact that they also made a "decal eyed" Canadians. The Canadian decal eyes have a darker blue color and have a more distinct black ring around the iris and a deeper blue to the eye color. It can vary depending on whether the dolls eyes have been exposed to water or humidity etc. They can discolor. The Canadian Chattys have sable lashes instead of the harder one piece plastic that the American Chatty's have. These are individual sable eyelashes. They have a more realistic look and feel to them than the American Chatty Cathy dolls have.
These are the norms. You will run across anomalies or ones that may have been altered by someone. Doll sellers might do this to make a doll appear rare when in fact she is not or, someone has made a "one of a kind" Chatty and is selling her as their rendition of a Chatty or a one of a kind "OOAK" doll.. Please contact me prior to purchasing any such doll or If you believe you have a rare Chatty on your hands, Situations such as where you are thinking of purchasing a Canadian are good times to contact me or any other rare expensive Chatty or other doll.
Barbie's also are commonly altered to appear in better condition than they actually are and are targets of other alterations as well. If you'd like go and talk to a antique doll expert or another actual Chatty Cathy or vintage doll expert. There is a lot of misinformation out there especially on the web. . All this information I have provided, is what is "typical" and is not intended as absolute information. This is what I know that was created, manufactured, and produced by Mattel Corp. There are some strange or different Chatty's that were made by Mattel. In fact I happen to own a few of these Chatty "anomalies". For example, one of my dolls, has the the strangest "original" eye color I've ever seen on any Chatty anywhere (that are original that is). I purchased her years prior to the now often seen practice, of people frontally inserting strange eye colors into our beloved dolls. This was also prior to, folks doing the host of other things they do to dolls to fool buyers and collectors. Additionally, I purchased her from a "Chatty Pal" who is I knew and is a reputable and avid collector of our beloved doll. I trust her completely. She would never changed out eyes nor buy one that had the eyes swapped. However, because I'm naturally curious and now suspicious of strange eye colors in Chatty, I just had her eyes checked three times for authenticity. And I just sent her to a voice repairman who has been repairing and selling Chattys for over 25 years. I had him triple check her eyes to see if they are truly original eyes put in by Mattel. They are indeed original eyes. I would still be wary as to her authenticity if she was a soft faced Chatty. It would be near impossible to insert eyes into this particular doll without me being able to detect it. One reason is because she's a hard faced Chatty Cathy instead of a soft faced Chatty. There are very subtle, tiny little things I can see that tell me if eyes have been frontally inserted. In this case, I have an Original Mattel pigtail hard-faced Chatty with sapphire bright, almost neon colored eyes. Maybe, I will put a photo up of her face. I'm extremely pleased to find out that she is probably only one of maybe two like this ever made by Mattel. I'm so lucky!
I learned some interesting things from talking with Jody McIntyre. She was the wife and partner of the now deceased, Kelly McIntyre. He was (and still is) well known in the Chatty Cathy and Mattel world. They were known for being the foremost place that repaired talking dolls, namely Chatty Cathy's. They had a great write up about their business, in a L.A. Times article. They repaired Chatty's under the name of "Chatty Cathy's Haven". They had purchased the already operating business, taking over operations which began in California. Together, they built up the business up to the point where they were able to get to know some key Mattel folks. Because of their prominence in the field they were able to earn not only a great reputation, but also obtain a nice stock-pile of Mattel and Chatty treasures. I learned a lot of great information from both of them. Jody shared some great little known information with me that I'll never forget. There are very few people still alive, that even know about the most of the following information.
Did you know that: Mattel actually made a few cussing records for Chatty Cathy and a several other of the Mattel talking toys from that era. I just happen to have one cussing record that was made by Mattel back in 1964 for a Chester O - Chimp. It is true treasure and a one of a kind item. I don't believe there is another one out there for him. Jody gave to me as a special thank you gift. I am very lucky to have it and I know I still owe her for that and more. She also told me that Mattel made a "several a solid gold Chatty Cathy records" (that work). She had at least one given to her by an former Mattel employee. If I remember correctly, they were only made for Mattel executives or top Salesmen.
Chatty Cathy's Haven has been out of business for at least five years now. My reason for mentioning this is that they are still shown, as being in operation on a collecting web site. I'm merely updating this information for anyone who may wonder why they can't reach Chatty Cathy's Haven or may be looking for them.
They used to be the only known place to send your Chatty or Mattel talking toy to for repairs. Now there are a several places out there. Personally, I will only use my trusted repairman. He has been repairing Chatty and Mattel talking toys for over 20 years, and is an artist at his work and in life. If you need a professional repairman please talk to me. If you need help please see my information donation pay button on my Parts & Repair page.
If you're wanting to purchase a Chatty then there is no need to make a donation. Just ask away!
I hope this information helps clear up most of the confusion about Chatty Cathy dolls that were actually made by Mattel or the Dee and Cee Company in Canada. Hopefully, most if not all of your questions have been answered here.
It needs to be said that all Chatty Cathy dolls made in the 1960's (and possibly the newer models, are very, very slowly degrading over time. The best practice is to store any vinyl doll out of the sunlight, out of humid areas and places that are prone to be hot. Keep her cool, dry and protected preferably in a display if at all possible.
Do not use harsh or abrasive cleansers to clean her. If she is really dirty, then carefully clean her using warm water with a bit of simple diluted dish soap.
Harsh cleansers have harsh abrasive chemicals that will only further deteriorate the doll. This is true with most all dolls made during this time period to include Barbie etc.