Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Margaret O'Brien Dolls'

Another article on celebrity dolls.

Margaret O'Brien was not a typical child actress. She did not sing 
or dance, but she had a very good dramatic acting ability. Her 
talent also lay in the fact she had great screen presence. She was 
in great demand for realistic drama roles.
Margaret was born in Los Angles on January 15, 1937, weighing in at 
only four pounds. She was christened Angela Maxine O'Brien.
Margaret's career as an actress began quite by accident. Her Aunt 
Marissa was an actress performing at the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel 
in New York City and at age two Maxine as she was called followed her 
on stage and in back of her Aunt copied each and every step. The 
audience wildly applauded. Shortly Maxine proclaimed to her Mother 
Gladys O'Brien, "I want to act in the movies instead of watching 
them". Her mother realized her talent and great potential. When 
Gladys read in the paper an ad for child models she immediately took 
Maxine. They met famous photographer Paul Hesse who hired Maxine on 
the spot. A photo from the session led to a role in a 1940 small 
government film titled, "You, John Jones" starring James Cagney. Her 
mother after seeing the film realized the great ability Maxine had 
and when she heard of an audition at MGM for the 1941 movie "Babes on 
Broadway" starring the famous Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. The 
talented Maxine won a role as one of the children helping Mickey put 
on the big show. It was a small role and went unnoticed. 
Mrs. O'Brien learned that MGM was casting for the lead of their next 
big movie titled: "Journey For Margaret". The unique role called for 
a child to play a child shattered by the bombing of London during 
WW11. It was a very difficult role and over 200 children 
auditioned. MGM was not looking for the typical child beautiful, but 
one that was sensitive and intelligent. Twelve young girls including 
Maxine were selected to have a screen test. Maxine was sure the part 
was hers and later said, " I prayed for the role". 
Winning this coveted role made Maxine Hollywood's newest child star. 
On Maxine's insistence, Mrs. O'Brien petitioned the Los Angles 
Superior Court to Change Maxine's name to Margaret O'Brien.
Margaret O'Brien was then signed to a seven-year contract and made 
many movies. In 1944, she received a special miniature "Oscar" as 
outstanding child actress of 1944. Her popularity as with most child 
actors began to decline as she approached her teens. Her MGM 
contract ended abruptly in 1949. In 1951 Columbia Pictures tried to 
establish Margaret as a young adult and made a movie where she 
received her first screen kiss, but it was a failure and Margaret 
soon retired from movies all together.
The Alexander Doll Company first made an all-composition Margaret 
O'Brien doll in 1946 and an all-hard plastic in 1947. The dolls were 
very well made and greatly resembled the young star. The dolls were 
jointed at the neck, shoulders, and hips. They had blue glass eyes 
and an auburn wig with pigtails drawn in loops and tied with a ribbon 
that matched her clothing. She is marked on the back of her 
head "MMEALEXANDER" or simply "ALEXANDER".
The dolls were well dressed and the clothing made with special 
attention to quality and detail. Each outfit was available in many 
colors and was made of the highest quality fabrics, laces and trims. 
The dresses were tagged, "Alexander/New York U.S.A.".
Many other dolls were made using these same doll molds. The Margaret 
O'Brien dolls today remain a favorite with collectors and remain one 
of the finest most beautiful dolls ever made and collectors are 
willing to pay high prices for them.


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