Friday, September 4, 2009

isn’t she charming ~

I grew up with her just like my mom did. She was sophisticated and had a strong sense of style. She was both modern and classic. With her tattered corners and frayed edges, she still knew how to hold a pose and was a timeless figure.

Grandma’s brother Cliff’s first wife Genevieve clipped her first. Probably back in the 20s and 30s. As a matter of fact, Gen looked a lot like her ~ that may be why she saved her for all those years.

Known to most as Toots’ cousin, never the main character and far from being the star, we loved her the most ~ ………………………………… …..… Mabel Charming


Mabel was a part of the Toots and Casper strip created by Jimmy Murphy in 1918. I don’t know when Mabel first came on the scene, but she was was most likely there for the duration (which looks like it was a full 40 years). Sometime in the early 1930s, Murphy started to add a paper doll to the strip ~ a “cut out”. This “cut out” usually appeared in a box to the right of the top part of the strip.


Mom told me that Mabel Charming was her favorite paper doll of Gen’s. Gen then made a copy of Ms. Charming including all of Mabel’s stylish clothing. Traced and cut from the original newspaper clippings (this is way before the days of photocopying), Mabel Charming was treasured by mom.


This is the “Mabel Charming” pose I remember.

Not knowing Ms. Charming’s history, I did a bit of a search on the web and quickly discovered that there are bits and pieces out there about Toots and Casper (the strip’s main characters), but no real mention of Mabel. There are a few relics for sale on the web ~ I found these:



This version of Mabel may have been a later edition since her arms are modified. By drawing her with her arms tucked in, she could wear a variety of clothing drawn with the arms in place. So clever!

Below is a close up which shows Mabel being credited as Toot’s Cousin Mabel Charming ~



Here, Mabel’s clothing has been cut to expose her hand. Could these dresses originally belonged to a different character doll?


The lovely and charming, Ms. Charming, was paired up with the cool Danny Hoofer on these “Lucky Bucks”. Hummm…was somebody getting lucky?

Gen’s hand-drawn Mabel Charming has been treasured so much that she was hiding in a “secret” location at Mom’s house. A call to Mom this morning and a long discussion about the last time we had seen her initiated the search…. I said Mabel Charming was in a box that had a Cupie Doll on it ~ Mom said she was in a box that had strawberries on it. Now, two hours after I initiated this post, Mom called. She has been located!

Ms. Charming was high on a shelf in a old hat box containing bits and pieces of memorabilia ~ my “little girl” white Easter gloves, Mom’s old celluloid toys, and a box with a cover illustration of a Cupie doll lookalike surrounded with fruit including strawberries ~ yep, we were both right.

Mabel Charming is now on the “bench” waiting to be picked up later today. I’m so lucky! Mom just told me I can have Mabel Charming ~ she’s so charming!

1 comment:

  1. Juliet how lucky are you now that is a real stash.

    Love Renee xoxo