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Betsy Wetsy was one of the most popular drink-and-wet dolls of the Baby Boom era, originally issued by the Ideal Toy Company of New York in 1935. Named for the daughter of Abraham Katz, the head of the company, the doll's special feature was simulating urination after a fluid was poured into her open mouth.
The doll was made in several sizes in the 1940s. It saw a spike in popularity in the 1950s. Betsy Wetsy was produced with either molded plastic hair, caracul wigs, or brown, blond, or red plugged hair. It had blue sleep eyes with eyelashes and its arms and legs were jointed.
A layette, baby bottles, a plastic bath tub, and other accessories were available. Effanbee had previously manufactured a similar doll, "Dy-dee," and a patent infringement lawsuit resulted. The judge ruled that drinking and urinating are natural movements and cannot be patented. A made-in-China version was issued in the late 1980s by Ideal to boost sales, but the doll never reached the success of the original Betsy Wetsy was one of the first major dolls to be produced in black versions.
In 2003, the Toy Industry Association named Betsy Wetsy to its Century of Toys List, a compilation commemorating the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th century.
I restored a 16mm sales film called A TALE OF THREE TOYS. IDEAL TOYS used this sales film to promote the line of dolls at Toy Fair in 1959.
Scenes showing the designing, construction and packaging of Betsy Wetsy the play & wet doll.- click
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