Saturday, March 17, 2012
4439. Troll Blue Hair Russ Berrie
Troll dolls, originally known as Leprechauns and also known as Dam dolls, Gonks, Wishniks, Treasure Trolls, and Norfins, became one of the United States' biggest toy fads from the autumn of 1963 through 1965. The troll doll is sometimes mistakenly referred to as a Kewpie doll.
Trolls became fads again in brief periods throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, with as many as ten different manufacturers (such as Russ Berrie, Jakks Pacific, Applause, Hasbro, Mattel, Nyform, Trollkins and Ace Novelty) creating them.
In 2003, Toy Industry Association named Troll dolls to its Century of Toys List, a roll call commemorating the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th century.
Originally created in 1959 by Danish fisherman and woodcutter Thomas Dam, the dolls became popular in several European countries during the early 1960s, shortly before they were introduced in the United States. Dam, a poor woodcutter, could not afford a Christmas gift for his young daughter Lila and carved the doll from his imagination. When other children in the Danish town of Gjøl saw the Troll Doll, they wanted one as well and Dam began selling them locally. The originals, also called "Dam Dolls", were of the highest quality, featuring sheep wool hair and glass eyes. Their sudden popularity, along with an error in the copyright notice of Thomas Dam's original product, resulted in cheaper imitations and knock-offs which flooded the North American shelves.
The DAM company never stopped making the trolls in Europe, where they were always a popular item. In the late 1980s the DAM trolls started making another come back in North America. The E.F.S. Marketing Associates, Inc (located in Farmingdale, New York) was one of the few corporations which was granted permission to import and market the Thomas DAM trolls for re-sale in the United States. These DAM Trolls were marketed under the trade name of 'Norfin (R) Trolls', with the Adopt A Norfin Troll logo on the tags.
Some imitations, also known as Uneeda's Wishnik Trolls, Treasure Trolls and other trade names, commonly shared the signature tall hair, lovable face and pot belly. It was not until 2003 that a Congressional law allowed the Dam family of Denmark to restore their original U.S. copyright and become the only official manufacturer once again. A division of Uneeda, a company that made millions of dollars various times by manufacturing Troll Dolls in the U.S., challenged the restoration of that copyright in court. They lost when the court ruled that the Dam Company was the sole owner.
Many people collect trolls; the originals maintain the highest value. Some collectors have thousands of troll dolls, ranging in size from miniature gumball machine prizes and pencil toppers to dolls over one foot tall.
During the doll's period of popularity in the early-mid 1990s, several attempts were made to market the concept to young boys. This included action figure lines such as the Troll Warriors, Battle Trolls, Stone Protectors (which also had a brief animated series), and even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Trolls. The popular Mighty Max line also had a series named Hairy Heads, also known as Dread Heads. Success at these endeavors was marginal at best. Treasure Trolls were also marketed through other merchandise like T-shirts and even a gummy candy. A platform computer game, simply titled Trolls was released in 1993 on Amiga, PC and C64. Other games were released for the NES and SNES (Super Troll Islands). This fad capitalization even saw a 1994 re-release of Dudes with Attitude simply modified into Trolls on Treasure Island.
The troll doll franchise also included The Trollies Radio Show, which was a direct-to-video musical with trolls singing hits, such as "Kokomo", "Woolly Bully", and "Doo Wah Diddy", as well as some original songs.
In 2005, trolls were modernized in an animated series called Trollz, which stars five trolls who live in a world of ogres, gnomes, dragons, and a bit of magic, but who have the same problems to deal as teens everywhere: boyfriends, pimples, clothes, money, school, and figuring out what it means to grow Trollish.
The new Trollz campaign made no impact in the aisles of toy stores and on USA's children. It was soon dropped. In 2007, the Danish company filed a lawsuit against DIC Entertainment claiming that the company financially misrepresented its ability to create and market a modern troll doll toy campaign and destroyed the image and goodwill of the legendary doll.