All About
 Old Toys

Parent Page History Scarey Anns List Collections Jim's Scareys Scarey Ann Patent Re-Hairing

 

Scarey Ann List

by Gene Metcalf

 

SCAREY ANN LIST

Scarey Ann dolls were produced between 1923 and the early 1940s by four companies: Poppy Doll Company, Atascadero Wood Products, Atascadero Mill and Lumber Yard, and Poppy Doll Company of Blue Rapids, Kansas. This list indicates the dolls that were made by each company. It shows all the dolls that are known to exist, either because examples have been found or because they appear in advertising copy. Yet, undoubtedly, many other dolls were also made which have not been found. Please contact me if you know of other dolls, or if you have dolls to sell. Contact Gene Metcalf at: metcalew@miamioh.edu

Photos below were contributed by:

Ron of antiquestoyscollectibles
Sandy Gast
Francie Owens
Joanne Cubbs
Kent Kenney
Richard Babcock
Landers Toys
Steve Mayo
Jim Sneed

POPPY DOLL COMPANY Atascadero, California. Produced dolls between 1923-1930.
Scarey Ann Girls (Produced from 1923-1930.)

Advertisement from Toy Kraft
magazine, 1927

Early Composition Scarey Anns

 Between late 1922 and early 1924 Scarey Ann dolls were made of composite materials instead of the solid redwood that was later used. In many ways these early dolls are identical to the later wood dolls, however there are a few differences. Unlike the later wooden dolls whose arms and legs were attached to the body by small nails after the body was shaped, the composition dolls were molded in two halves, front and back, with the arms and legs attached to the body. Consequently, one can often see a line where the front and rear halves are attached that goes up the side of the doll. Finally, unlike the later dolls whose feet were attached with two small wire brads, the feet of the composition dolls were attached with one large, flat head nail that extended up the leg into the body of the toy. (The pictures below were taken by Kevin McGuire of toys from the collection of Francie Owens.)

 

Scarey Ann Girls (regular size)

The most common Scarey Ann dolls. Five inches tall. Sold with a paper cylinder around its head that trained the hair down. When a lever in the back of the doll was pressed, the hair was pulled into the head and stood up creating the appearance of fright. According to a 1923 advertisement, "When you say ‘boo’ her hair stands on end by pressing a lever."

Scarey Ann Girl

With hair standing up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scarey Ann Girl (large size)

One known. Probably a store display. 10 inches tall. Shown in display cabinet at Atascadero Historical Society with two regular size Chinese Scarey Ann dolls.

Scarey Ann Girl (small size)

One known. 2 inches tall.

  
Scarey Ann Mechanical Family (The ten dolls below are the only ones for which specific names are known since they were advertised together as a "Family." Produced by the Poppy Doll Company between 1927-1930)

 

Ching Chang

Lever operates queue on back of head and hat.

 
Clown

Lever operates hat and nose. Many versions of these were made.

   
Ducky Daddle

An Easter promotion. Lever in back operates hat and wings that flap. No examples have been found. Pictured is a model of the toy created  from a  newspaper advertisement by master woodworker and toy maker Kevin McGuire for collector Steve Mayo.

Mule

Pushing tail down makes ears move. Two examples known.

Jack Tar

Lever operates hat and nose.

Pumpkin Head

A Halloween promotion. Lever operates nose and top of pumpkin head.

 
Santa Claus

A Christmas promotion. Lever operates hat and beard.

Scarey Hobo

Lever operates nose and hat. Many versions made.

   
St. Patrick

A St. Patrick’s Day promotion. Pipe in mouth. Has shamrock in his articulated right arm. Lever operates hat and right arm. Shown in display cabinet at Atascadero Historical society. (This is one of only two Scarey figures made with an articulated arm. The other was Duckey Daddle that has two articulated wings that flap.)

Witch

A Halloween promotion. Different witches display a variety of Halloween images on their chest: brooms, bats, cats, etc. Lever operates hat and nose.

   
 

Miscellaneous Dolls (Few advertisements or boxes are known for the following dolls. Consequently, most of their names, with the exceptions of the "Pilgrim" and "Picaninny" for whom an advertisement and box have been found, are not known. Probably produced between late 1926 or 1927 and 1930, but after the Poppy Doll Company had first made the dolls in the Scarey Ann Mechanical Family.)

Al Smith Donkey

In 1928 the Poppy Doll Company is said to have produced an Al Smith Donkey as a Democratic symbol for the November presidential election. Presumably the donkey was created from the mule already in production. No example has been found.

 

NEED IMAGE

Boy Scout

This is the only example known. Lever operates hat.

 

 

Chinese Man

Similar to Ching Chang, the Chinese doll introduced in the Scarey Ann Mechanical Family, but with a different hat. A lever operated the hat and a queue on the back of the head. This is the only example known.

 

 

 

 

 
Chinese Woman #1

Similar to other Scarey Ann girl dolls except she has different eyes. Lever operates hair which stands up. This is the only example known.

Chinese Woman #2

An unusual version of this character in that the facial painting is quite different than the other Poppy girls and the costume has no decorative flowers or designs.

Clown

Unlike the clown produced in the Scarey Ann Mechanical Family which has a conical hat and small nose, this version has a large, bulbous nose and a mushroom shaped cap. Lever operates hat and nose. This is the only example known.

Happy Hooligan

Represents the popular cartoon figure. Lever operates can on top of head.

Happy  Hooligan
with Tin Hat

This unusual Scarey Ann is a Happy Hooligan with a tin "coolie" hat. Hat raises when the lever on the back is pushed. The paint used on the hat is the same paint and color as that on the body of the toy and the interior mechanism that raises the hat is identical to that on other Scarey Anns. Because of this, it is possible that the toy was not altered after it was produced but was instead a factory production.

Hoover Elephant

In 1928 the Poppy Doll Company is said to have produced a Hoover Elephant as a Republican symbol for the November presidential election. The elephant’s trunk moved up and down and its ears wagged when a lever was pushed. No example of this figure has been found

NEED IMAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irishman

Similar to St. Patrick except his arm is not articulated. Lever operates hat.

Mickey Mouse

 The most interesting Scarey Ann character, probably produced by the Poppy Doll Company, remains at the center of a mystery. In 1978 Michael Moore, the grandson of Rew Troxell who worked at the Poppy Company, wrote to the Atascadero Press claiming that in late 1928 or early 1929 his grandfather traveled to Burbank, California, to meet with Walt Disney, who had just released “Steamboat Willie,” featuring the soon to be iconic “Mickey Mouse.” According to Moore’s account, Troxell returned immediately to Atascadero where he produced a Mickey Mouse prototype. However, although drawings and models for this Mickey doll were said by Moore to be forthcoming, they never arrived. Moreover the prototype said to have been made by Troxell was later misplaced, and Michael Moore has not been located.

 A year later, in 1979, a box of Scarey Ann parts and dolls was discovered on its way to the Central Coast Landfill near Atascadero. In this box was a figure of Mickey Mouse. The figure was taken to the Atascadero Historical Society and shown to curator Marjorie Mackey. A picture of Ms. Mackey holding the Mickey figure, as well as a large Scarey Ann store display, appeared in the Atascadero News in 1979.

 
Marjorie Mackey and Mickey Mouse

Yet the Mickey doll found in the box with Scarey Ann parts and pictured with Marjorie Mackey was not unknown. Called a Borgfeldt Mickey, since Disney signed an early contract with the George Borgfeldt Company as the sole licensee and distributor for Mickey and Minnie Mouse toys, this doll is thought by collectors to be the first Mickey Mouse doll. Yet Borgfelldt did not manufacture the toys they distributed, and they did not become Disney’s distributor until 1930, after the tag attached to the front of the Borgfeldt Mickey says the patent was applied for. (The decal reads, “Pat Applied for: 1928-1930 by Walter E. Disney.”) In addition, during this period the Poppey Doll Company produced a number of unlicensed toys based on popular culture and cartoon characters like Happy Hooligan and Duckey Daddle, and this Mickey is remarkably similar to other toys they were making. The same size as the other dolls produced by Poppy Company, the Mickey doll also features the same interior mechanism which animates the other Scarey Ann dolls. This mechanism moves Mickey’s head up and down when a tab, which is identical to those on other Scarey dolls and to which Mickey's tail is attached, is pushed.

 The maker of the Borgfeldt Mickey has never been identified. It was probably manufactured in 1929  by the Poppy Doll Company.

   

               The Borgfeldt Mickey

 

Picaninny

Many of these were made. They came in a variety of costumes, colors and versions. Most had black hair, but a few had red hair. Lever in back operates hair which goes up and down.

 
Picaninny Black Farmer

Unusual and rare version. Dressed in overalls. Expressive face with eyelashes.

Picaninny with Bolo Tie and Picaninny box

The Picaninny is one of only two Scarey characters, not in the Scarey Family, whose name is known because a box has been found.

  
Picaninny Advertising Figure

Scarey Ann dolls were often used for advertising. This doll was used by the owner of a grain storage business in Kansas. The sticker on the doll sought to allay farmers’ concerns about the prices they might receive for their crops in a precarious market. It read: "Not Scared When Consigned to George E. Gano." This is the only example known.

 
Pilgrim

A Thanksgiving promotion. Very similar to the Scarey Hobo except that he is always dressed in a black suit and does not have a scruffy beard. Advertising illustration from 1927 advertisement. This is one of only three Scarey Ann dolls, not included in the Scarey Ann Family, whose name is known due to this advertisement. Lever operates hat and nose.

 
Policeman

Lever in back operates hat. This is the only example known.

Professor

Lever in back moves beard and hat up and down

Sailor

Unlike Jack Tar, which was produced as a part of the "Scarey Ann Mechanical Family," this sailor has a flat hat. Lever operates hat and nose.

 
Prototypes (The following toys were never put into production by the Poppy Doll Company.)
Large Scarey Ann (on right)

Over 7 inches tall, this doll has painted hair and no arms, or interior mechanism to raise the hair if it had any. Probably a prototype.

Scarey Ann on a Platform

This object was purchased on Ebay in 2019. It consists of a Scarey Ann doll attached to flat eight-sided, stand. Since the paint on the stand is identical to that on the doll, it must be assumed that the two were made together. This is the ONLY example of a Scarey Ann doll where both the arms mechanically raise up in conjunction with the hair raising via the lever on the back.

 
Atascadero Wood Products Company. (When the Poppy Doll Company went out of business in 1930, the patent rights to Scarey Ann dolls were purchased by the Atascadero Wood Products Company. The dolls made by Atascadero Wood Products were similar to the dolls produced by the Poppy Doll Company except that the arms, legs and feet were painted separately from the body, and they are often painted in a different color from the body. These dolls were produced between 1930-1932.)
Scarey Ann

Only one doll made by Atascadero Wood Products has been found. The legs, arms, and feet, colored red and black, were painted separately from the body and then attached to the body after it had been painted. Lever in the back operates the hair.

Atascadero Mill and Lumber Yard The Atascadero Mill and Lumber Yard purchased the Scarey Ann patent rights in 1933, on the demise of the Atascadero Wood Products Company. The dolls made by Atascadero Mill were slightly different than the dolls made by the Poppy Company, in that they had swinging arms attached to the body by a single nail, longer and narrower legs, and their interior mechanisms were simpler, enabling the head of each doll to move up and down on a wooden dowel. Also, instead of being hand painted, most of them were painted with stencils. These dolls were likely produced between 1933-1939.)

Advertisement for Atascadero Mill and
Lumber Yard, January 20, 1933

 

Chinaman #1

The Chinaman, as all the other toys made by the Atascadero Mill and Lumber Yard, were simplified versions of the dolls that had been produced by Poppy Doll Company. Instead of a spring mechanism to raise the hair or hats of the doll these dolls had a dowel which raised the head up off the shoulders of the figure. Also swinging arms, each attached by one nail.

 
Chinaman #2

An unusual version of this Atascadero Mill character in that it does not have swinging arms, but rather stationary arms that stick out horizontally from the body. This is the only example known.

Clown

Head raises on a dowel. Arms attached with a nail and swing.

 
Grandfather

Has a hair goatee attached to his chin. Head raises on a dowel. Arms attached with a nail and swing.

 
Grandmother

Presumably made to be a partner to the Grandfather. Head raises on a dowel. Arms attached with a nail and swing. This is the only example known.

Policeman

The buttons and belt appear to be done with a stencil. Head raises on a dowel. Arms attached with a nail and swing.

Porter

The paint stripes on the front of the suit as well as the facial features appear to be done with a stencil. Head raises on a dowel. Arms attached with a nail and swing. This is the only example known.

Hobo

This figure was probably made by the
Atascadero Mill and Lumber Yard since it has legs and feet that are similar to those of other dolls made by this maker and, like them, its head raises on a dowel. However, its arms appear fixed and do not swing like other Atascadero Mill dolls. This is the only example known.

 

Poppy Doll Company, Blue Rapids, Kansas. (The dolls made in Kansas are identical to the ones first made in Atascadero by the Poppy Doll Company, except that their eyes are larger and instead of having a dot painted on the front of each leg like the dolls made by in Atascadero these dolls have a dot painted on the front of each foot. It is likely that they were made by members of Dr Chin’s family who lived in Blue Rapids. Chinn, who developed the Scarey Ann doll in Atascadero, California, is known to have visited Blue Rapids often in the late 1930s and early 1940s. These dolls were produced in the early 1940s.)

Scarey Ann girl