Madame Alexander Doll - Scarlett
By Joyce Boulan
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One of my favorite vintage Madame Alexander dolls is Scarlett. December 1939 was the debut of the new line of Madame Alexander composition Scarlett O’Hara dolls. These exquisite dolls were the first creations to portray the beauty and intrigue of our favorite Southern Belle.
Madame Alexander was inspired by Scarlett’s character from the moment that she read Margaret Mitchell’s book. After reading the book, Madame requested and received permission to make a Scarlett O’Hara doll. While there is some question as to exactly when the first dolls were made, there were official Scarlett O’Hara dolls by Madame Alexander advertised in the Atlanta newspapers on the day of the film’s premier in 1939.
Legend has it that when Madame Alexander heard that David O. Selznick was bringing Margaret Mitchell’s fabulous book, Gone With The Wind, to the screen; she, hoping to gain the market rights, made a Scarlett O’Hara doll and sent it to him. Long before the part was given to Vivien Leigh, Madame Alexander received a contract from MGM to do the dolls. It was uncanny how closely Madame Alexander’s conception of how Scarlett looked matched the actress that would eventually play her.
Madame Alexander chose to launch her Scarlett doll line with a mix of colors and fabrics reminiscent of the ante-bellum era. Hundreds of dresses and coat and dress combinations were created between 1939-1943. The composition Scarlett dolls were attired in dresses of various prints and trim detailing. Most Scarlett dolls wore either a straw hat or a fabric bonnet.
The popularity of the Scarlett doll led Madame Alexander to make even more dolls based on the movie. The Gone With The Wind Collection dates from the early days, when the movie was released, right up to the present day. You can now find a doll for nearly every character in the movie.