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Possible Charlotte Clark Pinocchio Doll

April 6th, 2009 · 11 Comments

Possible Charlotte Clark prototype Pinocchio doll
While the history of this particular Pinocchio doll is unknown, it's possible that it could be one of the very highly coveted hand-crafted dolls that Charlotte Clark used to make for Walt Disney himself!

This is a reader question that I'm posting because it's just such an interesting looking Pinocchio doll with huge potential to be a real collectible! The history of the doll is unknown, but it would appear to possible be of the style and construction similar to those made by Charlotte Clark in the very early years of the Disney company. Charlotte made at least one known 18 inch tall prototype of Pinocchio and as you can see from the photos, this particular example looks very hand-made with the Sharpie drawings of the joints in the legs/etc.

I am working on an investigation into a possible Charlotte Clark Pinocchio doll for the PBS program History Detectives. The contributor worked as an artist for the University of Disneyland back in the 1960s and says she bought this doll from the estate of Don W. Graham. She believes Clark made the doll and then Walt Disney gave it to Graham as a gift. We are trying to determine if that is in fact the case.

I have attached several photos of the doll that the contributor sent to me. She describes the doll as constructed with primarily velveteen fabric and wooden legs. It is about 16 inches tall and has a 1939 Walt Disney copyright stamped on the bottom of one of its feet (which is nearly illegible in the photograph). If you need a more detailed description, please let me know.

Is it possible that this a one-of-a-kind object and the only Pinocchio doll that Clark ever created? Also, is there an explanation for why the doll is copyrighted 1939, but Disney’s animated feature was not even released until February 1940.

Imagine if this was one of the dolls that Clark made for Walt and which he then handed-out to friends and family! What an incredible treasure for a Disney collector to have in their collection!

If you happen to know any of the history of these dolls or this one in particular, I'd love to hear more. The person who asked me the questions and sent the photos is researching the history of the doll, so please use the Contact page to keep money values private as this is to be a secret for the owner.

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Tags: Collectibles · Reader Questions

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dawn // Aug 31, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    YES, I am certain that this is an one-of-a kind
    CHARLOTTE CLARK PINOCCHIO?DOLL
    Featuring Pinoccho with velveteen face with black floss mouth, applied pie-cut eyes (one eye restored) and distrincitive elongated nose. With applied ears and wire framed cloth “curly bangs” on a cloth body. Has wooden arms and legs having painted black ‘joints’. Dressed in yellow felt hat with red felt feather, light blue cordory shorts, black velvet vest, grey-blue bowtie, and brown felt shoes. All fabric matches the colors,
    and textures of other CC dolls. And her signature embrodery brows and mouth are
    CC undisputed trademark.
    Stamped on under soles:
    PINOCCHIO
    trademark Walt Disney Production 1939.(CLARK)
    height is 16.5 inches.
    Gently faded patina but in SUPER MINT
    condition.

  • 2 DisneyMan // Sep 1, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks so much Dawn! It’s very nice to get some follow-up on this wonderful Pinocchio doll!

  • 3 compass // Sep 26, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Having just finished reading Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by author Neal Gabler, I believe that the copyright issue was standard with Disney productions due to the fact that Walt had been taken advantage of in earlier deals with other producers in the early days. This is of course was a standard practice then. (1929) By the 1940’s it was in Walt’s best interest to secure copyright for everything they were doing. His brother Roy had a good head for business and was probably the one who enacted this practice in order to secure solvency. This way when a movie and its associated products were ready to be marketed, the copyright would already be in place. This is now standard practice today.

  • 4 jody // Oct 12, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    I have a similar doll with red shorts and I have the history about how my family got the doll.

  • 5 Dorothy // Oct 23, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    I have a very old, perhaps 65 yrs.+, Pinocchio doll. He has blue velveteen shorts, a red felt hat, moss colored felt shoes with red ties, blk yarn hair , red yarn mouth, and a satin shirt with suede gloves. He has red satin suspenders. This doll has a stuffed body and is 26 inches long. I would like some information on him.

  • 6 Sue // Jan 7, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Charlotte was my grandmother’s first cousin and sent us dolls when we were young. We have a Pinocchio almost identical except for some different color fabrics used for the clothing. Your doll must be one of hers.

  • 7 Susan // Jan 29, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Charlotte was my great-great-aunt. (She was my grandfather’s aunt. Her maiden name was Geis and her actual first name was Carolyn. Charlotte was a nickname).

    Sue, I wonder if we are relatives somehow! We have one of her Pluto dolls and my cousins at one time had a Mickey and Minnie.

    Pluto’s photo can be seen on Charlotte’s Wikipedia page:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Clark

  • 8 Sue // Apr 10, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Susan, We must be relatives. Actually, we have a pluto, too. (other dolls as well) Charlotte used to visit when I was little. It would be interesting to figure out the family tree.

  • 9 Dawn // Jan 14, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Dear Susan and Sue,
    Have both of you come together as relatives due to this Pinocchio research? You both have interesting bits of information about Charlotte.
    I have four dolls hand made by Charlotte that I obtained when I was working for WDP. The craftsmanship of Charlotte’s work is so extraordinary I feel she must have been exposed to the craftsmanship of the Steiff Company in Germany. Is there a history of doll making in your family? I would like to see other dolls that Charlotte personally hand crafted. She was the best! Dawn

  • 10 Linda // Apr 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    I have a very old 11 1/2″ Pinocchio Doll made completely from felt with a long 1 1/2″ nose and is carrying an ABC book in one arm. He has no hang tags nor manufacturer markings on him. Does anyone know anything about him? Please email me if you do. Thank you!

  • 11 Jim // Apr 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Is this site still alive???
    We found in my mothers things a Steamboat Willie doll that looks like the same art as the Pinocchio doll; hands, eyes, boots, face, faded info on the bottom of one foot. Do we have a CC doll???

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