Talk Up Dolls

What the Heck is this Big-Headed Doll?

It was 2000 when I first heard of these toys. My friend Rob was sniping a Mickey Mouse on eBay. Looking at the picture, it was clearly the goofiest thing I had ever seen. Tiny, stumpy body, oversized head… Rob, what were you thinking? And then I learned the tale of the Talk Up….

A Little History

Once upon a time (1971, actually), Mattel manufactured a series of talking dolls called Talk Ups. These aren't your ordinary talking dolls, however; rather than having a pull-string located in their backs, these dolls pulled apart at the neck: The head pulls away from the body and retracts in the same way. Mattel obviously saw the humor in this, because Funny Talk, the brunette girl in the series, says things like, "Whoops! I lost my head for a moment!" Funny Talk is made even funnier when you realize that her voice was supplied by Joanne Worley of TV's Laugh-In.

Not All Big-Headed Talking Dolls Are Created Equal

Okay, so that sort of thing appeals to my odd sense of humor. I felt compelled to help Rob with his quest for the Talk Ups. Immediately, I found a talking Mickey with an oversized head at auction. Then another. Then another. Boy, was I good or what? I sent all of the links to Rob, thrilled that my superior research skills had helped in his quest. Alas, I was mistaken; I had fallen for the Chatter Chum, a similar-looking pull-string chatty toy manufactured in 1976. The Chatter Chums were all well known characters (like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse), and were double the Mattel size at nine inches tall. They were loosely based on the Talk Up dolls, with similarly oversized heads, but the unique pull-up head had been replaced by your run-of-the-mill pull string at the back of the character.

Rob took this opportunity to educate me on the traits of the Talk Up doll to prevent further confusion. True Talk Up dolls are about 41⁄2" tall, able to fit into even the smallest child's pocket. There were nine dolls in the series: Silly Talk, a blonde girl; Funny Talk, a brunette; Dressy, a redhead, who came with seven dresses for each day of the week; Sheri (also spelled Sherri, Sherry, and Shere, depending on what resource you consult), a woman; Casper the Friendly Ghost; Donald Duck; Daisy Duck; Minnie Mouse; and Mickey Mouse. Funny Talk and Silly Talk are the most abundant of the series.

Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing

Think you might be in possession of a real, bonafide Talk Up? Here are some sample phrases that you could expect to hear (some funnier than others):

  • "That's quite a stretch!" — Funny Talk, as her pulled-away head rejoins her body
  • "I can fit in your pocket." — Silly Talk
  • "I like Sunday to be sunny." — Dressy (all her comments refer to days of the week)
  • "Here I am, Mickey Mouse! — Mickey Mouse
  • "(Oooh) Oh, I scared myself!" — Casper
  • "I lose my head over you!" — Daisy Duck
  • "Oh Boy! Qqquuuaaakkk!" — Donald Duck, in that angry slurring Donald voice

The dolls are in relatively short supply. They were only manufactured for one year and few seem to have survived two decades of obscurity. Not that they sold well in the first place: Rob's mother is rumored to have picked up his for $1 at a Mattel outlet bargain bin sometime during the Carter administration. Talk Ups rarely appear on eBay, and the few that do are usually misidentified, making them even harder to track down (it takes some creative keyword combinations and a lot of patience to separate an unidentified Silly Talk from other chatty dolls).

The Going Rate

An unopened, mint-on-card Funny Talk sold for $91 in 1999. An auction for a MOC Minnie Mouse closed in 2000 at $86 with five bids without meeting the seller's reserve price. A poorly classified Donald and Daisy Duck (the ad did not mention that they were Talk Up dolls!) were a steal, closing at $40 for the pair with just five bidders. Most Talk Ups in good condition seem to run more than $30 and can go far higher, depending on how many bidders enter the fray.

So next time you're rummaging through your childhood toy box and stumble across a pocket-sized talking doll with an oversized head, don't throw it out! List it at auction and make a collector's day.

Comments 59 comments

Wally 8 years ago

I have a Joanne Worley doll that says many phrases. My dad had this in his workroom hanging in the doorway and we spent many hours having silly contest of who could pull the string and get her to say "here comes my body".. he had no luck and I always seemed to pull the string and she would say it. Its such a classic doll. Since my dad's death, I have the doll and carry on the tradition with my kids. Still in excellent shape!


Jenny 8 years ago

I have one -- faceless now. Sort of fitting since it has gone so long without a name. Thanks for the run down/history and such. I've often wondered what it was. Got it for my fourth birthday -- 1971, am now nearly 41 and every now and then pull it off the shelf to show my 4 children. Still yet the hardest phrase to get it to say is "here comes my body."

Jenny


Andrea 8 years ago

I've got a Daisy Duck, she's not in a box but she's all there in in working order. I don't know if I could get rid of her though, i'm not sure how I acquired her but she's been with me for years!!


yvonne adamson 8 years ago

i hav a joanne worley doll wearing a pretty pink, orange & yellow dress.. im glad to know she has family out there..


Jennifer 8 years ago

thank you for the write up. i found it so informativei have 2 talk up dolls both in working order, say all phrases well and clearbrown hair and blonde hair.. brown has her clothesi was wondering if you know the best place to sell them..all the collectors are hiding somewhere lol =)thank you very muchJennifer


Amanda 8 years ago

Thank you for this information. I have a Funny Talk doll. I have had her since I was little and remember the day I threw her dress away thinking it didn't look nice! She is in excellent condition as when I got toys I didn't like other kids to play with them nor myself! So she looks like she has come straight of the toy shelf!

Every now and then I pull her out (as I just have always kept her in my draw) and give her a pull to see which saying she might say and then put her back for another year or so before I go looking at her again!

So thank you again, I never knew what her name was!


Tomrah 7 years ago

My Mom has 'Funny Talk' in her bedroom drawer. When i was little she would let me play with it. She still has it- the thing is in perfect condition. I just Googled it to see if in fact it was the lady from Laugh in's voice.


Jillian 7 years ago

Sounds like we all do the same thing... leave it put away for a year or more at a time then pull it out & listen-n-enjoy before putting back away. Course- I don't know what else you would do with such a funny little doll. I find her VERY amusing.. especially... "Here comes my body"


Jelly Bean. 7 years ago

OMG I was talking about this doll the other day.

I had one of these for christmas when I was a little girl.Her paper face peeled off and my big brother stuck it back on with jam.

My used to say Oppps there is a cow over there.

Ooops her comes my body.

Ooops I lost my head over you.


sara' uk 7 years ago

hi im casper, tell me a story, will you be my friend, i remember the phrases and the little voice. i still have this doll but its in my garage in a box i remember one phrase it makes ghost sounds at the end, it used to make me giggle when i was a kid. i found this site by accident and saw this i dont know where the doll came from but i can remember having it when i was very small may have been my aunts i was born '78 but yes i forgot all about that doll till this just reminded me think i might dig it out for my son to play with it used to make me laugh as a kid :0))


barbara 7 years ago

I have a mini mouse one with a broken ear, she says "I'm a mini mousekteer" "oops Ive just lost my head" I wear a mini skirt" "oooh mickey""squeek squeek squeek" and several more. she was given to me many years ago when I had my first child by a lady who had it for her children. It is well used and still is very amusing


Connie 7 years ago

I have this doll which I received a few months before my mother died. She says, "That's Glida Stretch", "oops, there goes my body", among others. Does anyone know what her name is?


susan 7 years ago

i have a funny talk talk up doll it says silly things like goat, that's quite a stretch, i lost my head for a moment and other stuff she was bought for me by my grandma back in the 1970s cant remember when but she is well played with and my granddaughter is now trying to get her hands on her she has no chance


Renee 7 years ago

I have had the brunnette ("here comes my body") since I was 3 years old (1971) and she still works perfectly and is still wearing her little 3 toned pleather dress. 37 years later, and she still makes me laugh.


Elaine Hames 6 years ago

I was given a talking pull up minnie mouse years ago when i had ny first baby,she says i,v just lost my head and mickey funny giggle and i,m a mikey mouse kiteer and squeek squeek squeek,shes been pulled many times,is she worth anything?just like to know.


Karen 6 years ago

I still have the Funny Talk. I remember receiving it for Christmas in 1971 when I was 5 years old. I remember "Laugh In" somewhat, but it was pretty much over my head. It is definitely Joanne Worley's voice, and mine is still in excellent condition-- face intact, still wearing the original dress and she works great. She says "That's quite a stretch", "I've lost my head over you", "Here comes my body"(still my favorite thing she says) and "gulp!"


mandy hunter 6 years ago

Oh i used to have a funny talk we used to giggle like mad when she laughed that funny giggle i wonder what ever happened to mine and the Mrs Beasely doll (that my mom made)


Cheryl C 6 years ago

I had a Funny Talk when I was a child- they were made the same year as me-1971.

I now have my own children, and my oldest son is autistic and LOVES the interactivity of my funny talk.

I have purchased others for him as they do wear out from his overuse.

I continue to look for any I can get my hands on, so we don't run out of them!

If anyone ever wants to sell, I am buying!!


Jessica Burns 6 years ago

We have the oops i lost my head for a moment Doll i used to play with her when i was a baby. She is sitting in a glass container at my house


Pammi3096 6 years ago

Hi...to Cheryl C...I have a talk-up doll (the brunette). She still works great!!! I can provide you with a pic if you are interested in purchasing same???!!! Let me know...


Debbie Fenn 6 years ago

Hi, I have been trying to figure out the name of these dolls. I have the redhead one, she doesn't have any of the clothes, but she still works. I can send you a pic of her if you would like to see it.


Cheryl C 6 years ago

Debbie Fenn,

I am very interested!! I cannot find a way to post back to you though.

If you can figure out how to get in contact, do let me know!!


Rhian Alley  6 years ago

I have a mickey mouse in good condition. I just cant find it.


KittyKat 6 years ago

Debbie Fen hello!

The red headed one is as rare as hens teeth my dear! Her name is Dressy Talk. I am a collector. Sell her on ebay, you'll make a small fortune within a week! Regards


earloeb 6 years ago

I was just cleaning out a box of toys from when I was a little girl when I stumbled across my old favorite brunette doll. I pulled her head to see if she still worked and first thing she said was " here comes my body" I gave away the rest of the dolls in the box as I have two boys but this one I will be putting in my drawer to pull out once in a while to show my boys what REAL toys were like!


christine taylor 6 years ago

I've got one of the dolls you have pictured. My husband used to sell them on his market stall in the early seventies and we kept one for our daughter who is now 41. She still work perfectly (the doll that is). The phrases she says are, "I lost my body, I lost my head over you etc."


Donna 5 years ago

hi, i have the silly talk up doll, used condition but still works very well, she says : i can fit in your pocket, hehehe im happy, carry me im portable, are you silly too, im sooo silly, achoo whoops. she still has her felt dress with bow, stickered face, little bit missing under her mouth, chin area and a tiny bit above the mouth, nose area. i would realy like 2 sell her to the highest bidder and can see ebay is the place maybe..


April 5 years ago

I have a Talk -Up Doll !!! Thanks for telling me what she is called. I have the blonde, silly talk. She is great shape. Dress/face..... I love her and would never sell her. My little girls love her too but we only play with her every now and then. I'm afraid her string is going to break. Thanks for the info.


April 5 years ago

Mine even still has the plastic strap attached!


kirstie roberts 5 years ago

Ive been looking for a talk up doll for years. I had one as a child and loved it. She had a really big head and you pulled the string for silly phrases...like..carry me im portable. If anyone has one for sale let me know please!

kirstiegold@msn.com


Raw-B 5 years ago

I have the casper, and it is the same age as I am. He is sitting right in front of me now.


Jimae Worthy 5 years ago

I am interested in purchasing all 3 dolls if anyone knows of any for sale.


LAM 5 years ago

I had one of these dolls and absolutely loved it, have always wondered what they were called. mine said something like oops I'm losing my head over you. Does anyone know where you can get them from?


mad*cyril 5 years ago

Jimae (or anyone else interested) I have just listed my near mint and super rare Dressy Talk on Ebay (UK site)

Not sure if I can post the link, so I won't but she is the only one on there. : )


Belinda 5 years ago

My Grandmother had a Silly talk doll at her house, it has been pulled so many times and yet it still works, and still makes us laugh. So many catch cries for me and my sister! "Are you silly too?" and "I'm soooo silly"


AL 5 years ago

I have the Joanne Worley one and I have a Casper one as well and a Bullwinkle but its string is on the side of the body any intrest let me know here with a comment


KittyKat 5 years ago

Wow that Bullwinkle doll may just be one of the best collectibles of Bullwinkle ever made! Extremely rare I believe ... hold onto him ... or ask for top dollar if selling. Upto $300 USD. Not an official talkup tho


annette grant 5 years ago

Im looking to purchase the "silly talk" talk up doll. anybody know where please ??


Zo 5 years ago

Hi,

I have a brunette talk-up in original packaging- never opened. I am not exactly sure which of the dolls it is as I have never heard it speak! Wondering what would be the best way/place to sell it?


Angela 5 years ago

OMG I have seached the net for one of these doll, I had one when I was little and had it right through till 4 years ago, when moving house it got put in the wrong pile and thrown out.....I was gutted and in tears. I really really want to replace it as I was hoping to pass it on to my daughter who also thought it was fab. I had the brunette haired one. Can anyone out there help me to purchase one or find a one.


greenangeleyes 5 years ago from Tyne and Wear, UK

OMG I have seached the net for one of these doll, I had one when I was little and had it right through till 4 years ago, when moving house it got put in the wrong pile and thrown out.....I was gutted and in tears. I really really want to replace it as I was hoping to pass it on to my daughter who also thought it was fab. I had the brunette haired one. Can anyone out there help me to purchase one or find a one.


Amanda 5 years ago

I have one of these dolls which still works, am looking to sell her. Anyone interested?


greenangeleyes 4 years ago from Tyne and Wear, UK

Hi Amanda im desperate to get my hands on one, how much you looking for it ? is it the brown hair talk up doll ? OMG excited now get back to me, cheers (Angela)greenangeleyes xxx :-)


Clare Miller 4 years ago

I had 2 talk up dolls as a child, the one I remember used to say here comes my body, but the one phrase one doll used to say was 'i'm falling apart ha ha'. great toys and I would love to buy a working one if anyone is selling, the one which says here comes my body!! Please contact me on lilypersian@hotmail.co.uk. would be very happy to get one, many thanks


joann 4 years ago

Trying to find a talk up doll from mATEL- pull the head and she says- i lost my head over you, here comes my body- looking to purchase one. contact with information joannheinz@aol.com


Mandy 4 years ago

I used to have a minnie mouse talk up doll which i now cant find. i am looking for one for my daughter now as she loves minnie mouse. does anyone know where i can get one from?


marianne 4 years ago

I had one of these and love it so much. my dad thinks its still in his attic, I must get to there and look for it sometime.


glenis 4 years ago

I have a silly talk up doll, perfect working order with dress my grandfather bought it for me when i was 7years old. i wish to sell if anyone is interested


Annie 4 years ago

I am Desperatevto buy a dressy talk doll if anyone has one, in any condition anyone help?


john 4 years ago

I have the Casper doll. Very cool and it still works like it did when I was a kid.


Brooke 4 years ago

Looking to buy a "Dressy Talk" Orange Hair Mattel 1971 Pull String Doll

Will pay good $ for it.

Please contact me at BROOKELLWHITE@YAHOO.COM.AU if you're interested in selling?


Virginia 4 years ago

I got a Funny Talk doll for Christmas, and at the time thought it was weird but it's probably the only toy that I still have from my childhood. My siblings and I can quote all of the lines and still crack up whenever we do! I gave the doll to my daughter who is learning to love the humour of it. Thanks for this articles as I had no idea of the doll's history. I asked my Dad about it tonight and he recalled that he and my Mom had seen it as a gag gift, that somehow ended up in my Christmas stocking. Good times.


Virginia 4 years ago

Oops, I guess I have the Silly Talk, the brunette, not Funny Talk..."I lost my head for a moment", "my feet are moving closer"!


marianne 4 years ago

Has anyone got one of these dolls for sale? Please email me .... Marianne3838@hotmail.com with any info, thanks in advance :)


mrbizzzle :P 4 years ago

selling one for £90 email me if intrested mrbickley@hotmail.co.uk


ycromartie 3 years ago

Ha! I never played with dolls as a kid, but I have had my Tircksey forever, I let both my kids play with her. She still works, the only toy I kept and still have. I love this doll, she looks just like the first photo posted except she has yellow hair.


bunkybear 3 years ago

So, along with the 2 Sillys and 2 Funnies we have, we also have a Dressy, mint in the box/card (it's half of each!) with all the dresses. Been trying to discover what she's worth these days, as we bought her YEARS ago, but can't find anything really other than 'facts' about the dolls and what they say. Any clues anyone? If anyone is interested in seeing pics, let me know!


Eileen 2 years ago

My sister and I had these as kids. I remember phrases like. "... I lost my head over youuu" & "ooo lost my head for a moment".


Steve 16 months ago

I have Daisy Duck but with Donald Duck's mechanism inside for some strange reason! I have had it my entire life but only just realised this recently.

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