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Dapper Dan, Prince of Toyland

The (restored) Prince of Toyland 2020
The Prince prepares to go to the hospital.
August, 2019


28” Dapper Dan – composition head massive lifting and cracking, composition hands chipping and dirty. Clothing original felt suit, brown with worn spots and dirty, original oil cloth shoes with sole detached on both and oil cloth finish missing in large areas. No cleaning will be done to cloth body.


This movie is one of Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy's early film performances. Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy made their debut on "Royal Gelatin Hour" in 1936 and were an instant success. Soon after they were given their own show for Chase & Sanborn. The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show was a huge hit. One wonders at the exceptional personality and humor that could make people want to "watch" a ventriloquist on the radio.

Once upon a time... there was a puppet, a very famous puppet, named Charlie McCarthy. He worked with a very funny man named Edgar Bergen. (Edgar's daughter, Candice was so influenced by her older brother, Charlie, she went into acting.) During the 1930's all the way to Charlie's retirement in 1970, there were millions of Charlie McCarthy dolls sold all over the country. Charlie and Edgar were very famous for their work in radio, movies, and television. 


In Gouverneur, NY, in the 1940's lived two little boys named Ronnie and Donald Simpson. We speculate that their mother and father, Oira and Edward, got this Charlie McCarthy doll for them. All of them may have listened to Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy on the radio. History is sometimes/often written by speculation.

The Effanbee toy company was only one officially licensed company that sold Charlie McCarthy dolls. The dolls were an exact copy of Charlie McCarthy and they came in two sizes: 15″ tall and 20″ tall. Both sizes had lots of outfits, ranging from the detective outfit to a full tuxedo. Both sizes had the monocle which attached in a tiny hole in the head.


On May 6, 1949, long before Charlie would become part of the collection at the Gouverneur Museum, the Simpson's puppet participated in a pageant. The event was sponsored by the American Legion to benefit the American Legion Band. Charlie was awarded Second Place: The Prince of Toy Land... he also has another ribbon which tells us more about his achievement that day, as he was awarded the ribbon for "Largest Doll" in the contest. 


It is lucky he has the ribbons to remember his achievement by, because what he doesn't know is, he isn't a real Charlie McCarthy doll. Unfortunately, this guy is a Charlie McCarthy doll in nickname only. In August, 2019, we sent a photo of our "Prince to Janie Nafsinger of Antique Child Doll Restoration. She said our Prince was a "Dummy Dan" or "Dapper Dan." We (and he) prefers "dapper."  

And how dapper he is... now.


April, 2020 - The Campbell Kid and Dapper Dan return to Gouverneur, happy, pulled together and clean. Thank you Janie Nafsinger of Antique Child Doll Restoration.

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