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In the wake of Little Mermaid fever, Playskool cashed in by producing a line of unique mermaid dolls. These dolls are known as My Pretty Mermaids, but because of lack of internet interest, they're often referenced as simply "Playskool Mermaids". They came out in 1991, the same year as Mermaid Barbie, Li'l Miss Singing Mermaid, and a regular glory hole of rip-off mermaid toys with "Made in China" stamped in the bottom. Everyone was cashing in on the mermaidmania that Ariel blew across the market. Playskool made their mark with 8" color-changing dolls.

symbols

The dolls themselves didn't change color, but rather the fin produced a secret emblem when immersed in cold water that gave clues to the name of the mermaid. They were all females with the exception of one merman that came in the Seaside Wedding set, which also included a surprise boy or girl Merbaby. Each doll came with a nautical comb and the original dolls came with a hairbow. Other series, such as the Rainbow and Princess collections, came with hairpieces and tiny outfits.

doll

Occasionally mistaken as Sea Wees, My Pretty Mermaids were much more impressive in comparison. They had cuter forms as well as greater articulation, a unique marking, and better accessories. In fact, many if not all of the combs were made from old My Little Pony comb molds. Although some of their clothing, like the bikini tops, were painted on, there were also removable fashion pieces available. If that's not enough, they're also about the right size to swap outfits with Lady Lovely Locks and friends. Some collectors have even designed exclusive lines of dresses and outfits. I preferred to just take mine in the bath sans-clothes.

splashing

Aside from dolls, there was a lamentable lack of playsets or themed merchandise. There's a lunch bag and thermos available, which can be used for keeping your fresh catch on ice. In '93 Scholastic produced one book called Wave Dancer is Missing in which one of the mermaids is caught in a fishing net and released by an empathetic young flute player. Instead of being accompanied by a aristocratic crustacean or floundering flounder, there's a smarmy Dolphin named Dolp serving as sidekick.

Jump baby jump

Several different types of My Pretty Mermaids were released including Rainbow, Princess, Neon, Gembright, Moon Glow, and Spicy Grilled Cajun. The most superior were Gembrights because they not only had the cute outfits, but a gem brooch on their bikini top and a sparkly fin. This made them look even more like Vegas showgirls, but everyone prefers the sexy mystical mermaids as opposed to the gilled scaly demons portrayed in movies like Harry Potter.

Although the fandom of My Pretty Mermaids falls very short, there's small pockets of collectors out there, mainly seated within the confines of My Little Pony fanatics. This proves both positive and negative because while a mermaid may only cost about $5, most sellers have no idea what they are and thus finding dolls can require a lot of fishing around. But, I think this mental taser may be enough to bring some mermaids to the surface.

 

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mystie@crowncombo.com