KISS Dolls

KISS Dolls

While many kids may hold certain pop stars and rock bands in awe, few, if any, ever spent hours at a time saving the world with their John, Paul, George, and Ringo dolls. Few, if any, Elvis action figures ever hip-swayed before rocking the imaginary enemy to a pulp. There was no remote control REO Speedwagon and Flock of Seagulls never had a cuddly plush. No girls looked forward to the Sunday paper containing all new fashionable cutouts to dress up their Boy George paper doll. The rock band, KISS, on the other hand, was a different story.

While various bands and rock stars have come and gone in collectible toy form, only one has proven to have staying power through the years. Leave it to the super-hero styled members of KISS to create a doll (or action figure, if you prefer) that could thwart living room villains not only with power, but with rhythm. There they were, custom molded plastic complete with individual makeup and their leather super-heroish outfits. Plus, those familiar with KISS knew that while the band’s music was good, the shows were legendary. The band members spit blood, breathed fire, and performed to pyrotechnic wonders. Bassist Gene Simmons would soar above the audience on wires and lead guitarist “Ace” Frehley shot rockets from his guitar.

1977 was the year when KISS dolls first hit the market. In addition to Simmons and Frehley, rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley and drummer Peter Criss were released as twelve inch tall dolls destined to become collectible classics. Part of that allure was the indelible impression made upon each doll by the members themselves who had retained likeness approval. For example, instead of plastic molded hair, Each KISS doll had long locks of actual rooted hair. The silver and black costumes were also perfectly modeled after the band’s touring outfits (worn from 1977 to 1979) right down to the authentic platform boots. While not sold with any accessories, toy manufacturer Mego made cut-out instruments available on the back of every box.

As a part of the likeness license, each doll also had to have a unique head. Despite Mego’s initial balking (wanting to use the same head for each doll), they eventually designed separate heads for each doll. Paul Stanley’s head was actually taken from a failed Mego series of dolls based on the pop music duo, Captain and Tennille. Of course, Gene Simmons signature extended tongue made his doll the standout.

KISS dolls were essentially released for collectors, hence only a small number of them were made. Today, these originals are valued like El Dorado among toy collecting enthusiasts and considered just as difficult to find. A single boxed KISS doll can fetch hundreds of dollars on the open market. The scarcest of these are the Peter Criss dolls, of which fewer were made because of a rumor ciculating at the time that the drummer was leaving the band (Criss and Frehley both eventually did leave).

When the originals members of KISS got back together in the mid-90s, new dolls were made to commemorate the event. This time, McFarlane Toys produced them with even greater design and a plethora of accessories. Paul and Peter’s guitars both shot missiles, helping to bring the music icons back into the battle against those forces who would threaten life, liberty, and rock ’n roll.

Were you the proud owner of a KISS doll or two as a kid? We’d love to hear about all of your playtime adventures in our comments section below.

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