A Look Back at Tonner’s Wonder Woman
Part 1 – Porcelain WW
by Jason Wright
It’s no secret that the Tonner Doll Company has a love for pop culture. Movies, animation, celebrities and even comic books. But only one character in particular has managed to be offered in every format they have, and she happens to be my favorite character of all time: Wonder Woman! I’ve been a fan since the very first airing of the Lynda Carter tv show and after many, many years before Tonner there were lots of WW toys, but not that many dolls. Ideal had a limited run of their “Super Queen” WW from 1967. Mego had an 8″ WW as well as their 12″ based on Lynda Carter back in the ’70s. Mattel even had three Barbies but that was it. Tonner, without even realizing it, made history in the world of doll collecting and at the same time in Wonder Woman merchandise by continuing to offer an ongoing stream of dolls based on her various looks as well as her allies and adversaries.
This is part 1 in a series of posts that will take a look at every Tonner doll one by one and hopefully serve as a reference for potential buyers of these older dolls, as well as a fond look back for those of us who have saved, sacrificed, and had many bidding wars on Ebay to complete our collections. I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve been able to collect each and every Tonner WW as well as her companions. Each doll is from my personal collection. I don’t claim to be an expert on all of them so additions, corrections and especially behind the scenes info are most welcome!
First up, is Tonner’s very first WW, the 19″ porcelain limited to 500 pieces from 1999!
I’m the second owner of this doll and I was able to get her off Ebay in her box and shipper, but her previous owner no longer had her stand. It didn’t matter one bit to me about that since she had been well taken care of and I finally had my “grail” doll after searching for many years to get her.
The first thing I noticed was that she didn’t feel as fragile as I had imagined her. I was expecting a very light weight doll that I’d be too afraid to touch. Boy, was I wrong! Taking her out of the box I couldn’t believe the weight of the doll. It was pretty substantial and I knew that this was a high quality doll I was holding in my hands!
She has 5 points of articulation, at the neck, shoulders and hips. Since she’s porcelain she’s wigged and has curly bangs and a little flip in the back. Her tiara appears to be brass with a painted star. It can fit over her hair with no problem but I wouldn’t try to force it on too snug for fear of damaging her neck. She has hand painted make-up as well as bearing a striking resemblence to the original Tyler Wentworth. Plastic red ball earrings finish out her look.
She’s wearing her signature red, white and blue outfit and this one is from the way she dressed in the late ’60s. Her eagle emblem is embroidered on a red satin bodice and looks exactly the way it did in the comics. Blue shorts with white appliqued stars round out her iconic costume and are attached to the top part of her outfit making it a one piece bathing suit. A white patent leather belt with attached lasso of truth hangs at her side. Her silver leather bracelets are glued to her wrists so there’s no worry about one of them falling off and getting lost.
Her shoes, the high-heeled sandals she wore in the comics at the time, are glued to her feet. The straps for the sandals are seperate and glued to her legs. There have been reports among collectors that the glue used to adhere the heels to the shoes had come undone. This was most common with dolls early in the production process and is nothing to worry about. A small spot of glue fixes the problem right up!
Robert Tonner signed and numbered each doll on the right buttock (not pictured), and a hang tag with the corrsponding number serves a certificate of authenticity.
As noted above, my doll didn’t have the stand that was originally included. It was a cherry-brown base with a telescoping rod that fit into the loop on the back of her belt:
So, there you have it! Tonner’s very first Wonder Woman doll! Next week we’ll examine Tonner’s first plastic and vinyl WW, the 16″ version that launched the popular DC Stars line!