Everytime I think of that ad pitch, I can’t help but think of that one Geico commercial where Smartass Chatty Cathy dares you to pull her string one more time.
I love that.
While working on my Flashback Friday article, extolling the horrified wonder of Mattel’s trio of talking pull-string dolls that were not Chatty Cathy, I remembered I had the Chatty Cathy commercial in my collection. So I felt it was only proper and natural that, well, being me, I would have to talk about the whole Chatty Cathy thing, as only I could! And on Throwback Thursday, of all days!
Again, as only I could!
Chatty Cathy was the first talking doll introduced by Mattel, hitting shelves in 1959 (with advertising beginning in 1960), and was produced until 1965. She was the second most popular doll on the market, behind Mattel’s favorite eternal beauty, Barbie.
But did Barbie talk? Nope, no she didn’t. At least, not in the 1960s.
Chatty Cathy was responsible for several other “Chatty” dolls (Mattel trademarked the word with the incarnation of Chatty Cathy), including Tiny Chatty Baby, Tiny Chatty Brother (because I guess there has to be some type of male figure around), and Charmin’ Chatty. Singin’ Chatty was the last doll to be a “Chatty” doll. There were several other talking dolls marketed by Mattel in the 1960s – Drowsy, Baby Cheryl, and Tatters.
Yes, apparently there was something called Tatters. I don’t name these things, I just research them.
This is Tatters. And yes… “I TALK!”
But the point is, someone had to be the first, and Chatty Cathy was The First. She was also less creepy than the competition. See Exhibit A – er, Tatters – if you don’t believe me.
Seriously, no harm will come to you if you look at her.
Anyway, Chatty Cathy.
The product launch commercial, from 1960, has this cute little jingle that tells you all about Chatty Cathy, her clothing line, and all the things she says (eleven things in all!) just by pulling the ring! Not string, ring.
And all things are said through a mouth that doesn’t move. And if you’ve been around long enough, you know how I feel about things with dead, soulless eyes and mouths that do not move under any circumstances.
Why was that ever a thing?
Before I go off on tangent #10000.5. Yes, 0.5…
Chatty Cathy’s commercial shows the doll…
Here’s a story, of a doll named Cathy…
Seriously, do you see this and immediately think The Brady Bunch opening credits?!
And her perfect outfits…
And the perfect little girl who owns not one, but TWO, perfect Chatty Cathy dolls, who command her to tell them a story.
“I’m Blonde Chatty Cathy, and I want to tell you a story…about how perfect people like us can overtake the population. You’ll start by ridding of the brunette Chatty Cathy.”
The product of my overworked mind, ladies and gentleman!
Listen folks, if The Twilight Zone episode with Talky Tina didn’t teach me everything I needed to know about the horrors of owning a talking doll (years after owning two), seeing a Chatty Cathy commercial fifty-six years after she became a thing will.
Oh, and she has so many outfits for you to buy her!
And something about how if you can tell it’s Mattel, it’s swell.
But don’t take my word for it, click play, and watch the night terror come to life!
And if you are really jonesing for what happens when ad wizards/gods have a great idea on how they can bring an old idea into contemporary standards of smartassery, watch how Geico treated Chatty Cathy (which is worse than how I did!).
Throwback Thursday gives way to Flashback Friday tomorrow!