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Doll - L. J. Sterne Doll Company, Gerry Gee Junior, 'Pug Faced', 1959 Object Reg. No: HT 24950

Summary:
Moulded plaster ventriloquist doll in the form of a boy.

Manufactured in Melbourne by the Sterne Doll Company as part of a range of toys based on the TV ventriloquist doll Gerry Gee, star of Channel 9's 'The Tarax Show'. It is the first version of the doll produced, using a previous doll mould. Complaints from consumers that it bore little resemblance to Gerry Gee meant that it was soon scrapped and replaced with a second version, using a specially designed mould.
Description:
Painted plaster doll with painted eyes and movable mouth mechanism. His arms and legs are stuffed cloth, and his hands are painted plaster. Fitted with a light brown mohair wig, and dressed in a green, blue, red and black checked shirt, orange open-weaved pants, striped socks and black lace-up moulded shoes.
Statement Of Significance:
This doll is significant as it represents the output of Melbourne toy manufacturer L.J. Sterne Doll Company. Leo Sterne arrived in Melbourne as a refugee from Austria in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. Noticing a wartime shortage of imported dolls and toys in Melbourne, he began experimenting in his East Malvern garage with various forms of papier mache to produce partial and complete dolls. The enterprise was so successful that by 1946 the business was expanded to a full-scale factory in Carlton.

In 1958, Sterne was approached by TV ventriloquist Ron Blaskett, who performed on the children's program The Tarax Show on GTV Channel 9, to produce replicas of his doll 'Gerry Gee' for sale to the public. The 'Gerry Gee Junior' doll was born, and can be considered the first real example of television merchandising in Australia.

The doll was enormously popular, and in 1960 the 'Geraldine Gee' doll, Gerry's sister, was added to cater for female viewers. Throughout the early and mid 1960s several new styles of 'Gerry Gee Juniors' were produced to reflect contemporary fashions, interests and events. These included the Football Supporter, Cowboy and Cowgirl, Beatles Gerry, Space Gerry and Geraldine.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Mr Michael Reason, 2010
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 580 mm (Height), 220 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: dolls, television publicity, australian television industry, performers
Themes this item is part of: Childhood & Youth Collection, Information & Communication Collection, Leisure Collection
Primary Classification: GAMES & TOYS
Secondary Classification: Puppets
Tertiary Classification: ventriloquist
Inscriptions: Printed on yellow label on front of shirt: 'Gerry Gee/ JUNIOR'
Manufacturer: Sterne Doll Company, Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 1959
Person Depicted: Gerry Gee, Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 1959

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