The Penny Brite doll was released in 1963 by Topper Toys, a subsidiary of Elizabeth, New Jersey-based toy manufacturer, Deluxe Reading. Penny was presented as a more wholesome alternative to Mattel’s Barbie Doll, which at the time was getting a bad rap in some parenting circles for being “too adult” for young children. Specifically, Penny Brite was less curvy than Barbie and had a more conservative clothing line.
At 8-inches tall, Penny had poseable jointed arms and legs and a head that swiveled on a ball joint. Rooted blond hair, side-glancing black and white eyes, and dimples rounded out her facial features. She was dressed in a red and white pleated dress, red hair bow, and flat white shoes.
Penny Brite was sold in a plastic carrying case with a clear plastic front. The carrying handle could be swung down into the box, transforming it into a clothing rack for Penny’s outfits. A slot in the back of the case housed a clothing pamphlet and other advertising.
Penny Brite was on the market for seven years, eventually disappearing from store shelves in 1970.
For a glimpse into the doll’s clothing line and related playsets, check out The Wonderful World of Penny Brite, an advertising booklet from 1964.
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