Sunday, December 1, 2019
Bild Lilli was an fashion doll based on comic strip from German that became a doll (not for children) but as a gag gift for adults. Mattel bought the rights to Bild Lilli and stopped production of Bild Lilli.
Billy Boy is or was a doll designer. I am not sure what he is up to now a days. His Wikipedia calls him a jewelry designer, which could be more accurate. Anyway he created a number of dolls and doll fashions. He created some of them for Mattel, which is big league. He wrote a book about Barbie called “Barbie: Her Life and Times” which I have had a copy of for many years. He added an asterisk to his name so his name is now BillyBoy* which prevents confusion with other Billy Boys.
His website was up as of April 2019, and was saved many times in the Wayback Machine. I assume Billy Boy wanted to save his website or maybe a fan of his wanted to save his website? I am not able to get on the website right now as of Sunday, December 1, 2019.
Julian Stanley Kalinowski is said (by BillyBoy*) to be the creator of the Lalka Doll, but I began to wonder if this person exists when I looked for his name online. He also is said to have a number of allies. I can’t find him on Fast People Search which is a free website that helps you look up people who live in the USA. I assume he lives in Europe, and he is likely Polish due to the name he picked for the doll. Julian Kalinowski named his reproduction Bild Lilli doll “Lalka” which is Polish for doll. He also sometimes called her Lola and talked about her being a woman of ill-repute. The character Bild Lilli in the German Comics is not a prostitute, but she has gentlemen who “support her” in return for dates and favors.
At the time when I first found Lalka Dolls I thought it was kind of rip off. I could not figure out what the name “Lalka” meant and what it was all about.
The reason given for the secretly and allies according to Billy Boy (according to Julian Kalinowski) is the patent for a Lilli Doll belongs to “someone”. I have read up on the history of Bild Lilli that Mattel bought it. But who knows if Mattel later sold it?
Barbie Dolls clubs were all threatened with legal action by Mattel until they had to remove the name “Barbie” from their clubs and call them the Fashion Doll Clubs.
There is a new 75 anniversary Barbie Number One coming out, but I have not been able to see her, as no photos of her out yet. The first Barbie, called “Number One” looks the most like Bild Lilli of any other Barbie Doll. I don’t like the red nostrils which really creep me out. I don’t own any Bild Lilli Dolls or any reproductions myself. But if Mattel still owns Bild Lilli they could make reproductions for the collectors adult market. If they don’t someone else could. The concept is still alive.
The Lalka dolls were sold on eBay as Lalka dolls not as Bild Lillis. I can’t see how Mattel could sue for that. But, on the other hand Hasbro made a doll that looked like Barbie too much and they were sued and lost. The doll Hasbro made was an version of Sindy after Hasbro bought the name Sindy. I still could not see Mattel suing an individual doll artist over the Bild Lilli Name, as they do not make any Bild Lilli Dolls. Mattel can’t prove that the small amount of Lalkas created harmed the profits of Mattel. If we all listened to lawyers there would be no more art as almost everything artistic has already been created. Any creation is likely to be similar to an earlier creation created by someone else.
Update: This Flickr Group has an information page with a summary of Lalka. I think the group is inactive now, but it has the best summary I have seen. I was not aware of this group when I wrote this blog. I don’t really use Flickr anymore after Yahoo bought it.
According to BillyBoy* the reason that Julian Kalinowski created the Lalka doll was because he wanted to paint the dolls himself, and it gave him a fun project that he enjoyed. He did not do it to make money, but one has to mix a little bit of both fun and profit together to give a project legs. BillyBoy* wrote that (according Julian Kalinowski) to using multiple names (Lalka, Lola, Penny and Saucy) was to make the doll more edgy. Having many different names made the doll hard to pin down. Saucy seems like a weird doll name, but there was a popular 1950’s dolls called “Saucy Walker.”
Only a few hundred Lalka dolls were created because Julian Kalinowski grew bored with the dolls and wanted to move on to other projects (according to BillyBoy*). The original Lalka dolls were sold and then people who bought them were selling them, and slowly they became harder to find and more rare.
It used to be that if you found a Bild Lilli doll with new paint that it was either a Lalka or a repainted Bild Lilli. If you found one with faded paint that looked like it has been in basement or attic for years then it could be a real doll. The more beat up the doll looks the more likely it was a real Bild Lilli. Hopefully when you buy a doll you can check for a trademark on the doll. Many sellers on eBay don’t show the trademarks. If the doll is on a “Buy It Now” option should you buy it now or wait and see? There are many considerations if you are shopping for Bild Lilli so just follow your heart and your budget. If buy you a beat up looking doll you may be able to find someone to repaint the doll, if you are inclined to repaint the doll yourself.
Lalka is an interesting doll in itself to collect along with a the rest of a Bild Lilli collection. I saved a couple of photos on eBay that were for sale marked “Lalka.” I don’t know if they are real or not. Here is a few photos saved of dolls called “Lalka” to give you an general idea of what they looked like. Thank you BillyBoy* for providing us information about Lalka. I wish you happiness and success.