Velvet and Crissy
common complaint with the Look-Arounds is that their heads don't move.
A careful examination of the mechanism reveals that they never could
very much at all; the illustration in the 1972 Sears
Christmas catalog is a gross exaggeration. Before repair, the
below barely moved her head (maybe two or three degrees); the
movement was only visible if you held her torso still during operation.
no wear or damage to the parts in this doll that could account for this
lack of movement; the problem
is that there's just so much play
designed into the plastic parts of
the linkage (see picture below) that the "wiggle room" absorbs almost
all the movement of the crank arm from the driving clockwork mechanism.
experiment I inserted an aluminum bushing into this linkage to remove
the play--with the result that the mechanism was unable to work
at all. It didn't have the power to work without the looseness in the
parts. My failed experiment did yield, however, the torso opening
instructions below, which will be useful should you need to open the
torso to replace the hair.
torso opening instructions for Look-Around Velvet
are essentially a subapplication of the instructions in the Chatty
and Talking Barbie manuals. The instructions below are NOT a complete
treatment of torso opening and closing techniques; please refer to the
instructions in those manuals
The first thing to do before opening any unfamiliar glued toy is to
much as you can how it's held together inside and find the sections of
seam that will be more difficult to separate. Hold it up to a bright
light. Holding the toy between you and the light will reveal dark spots
that correspond to the thicker areas of the seams, reinforced by
interlocking tabs and pins.
If you then hold the toy so the light just skims the surface, the
shadows created will often reveal dimples and depressions where the
reinforced areas of the torso shrank more than the thinner torso walls
as it cooled just after leaving the mold. These dimples are often the
locations of interlocking pins and sockets that align and reinforce the
When you hold a Turn-Around Velvet to the light, you'll see two darker
rectangles on the side seams and a dark line just below the armpit. The
line is an alignment pin and its socket (see photo of the torso interior, below). The dark rectangles are
flanges; these flanges will probably give you the most trouble opening
this particular doll.
Some Turn-Around Velvets are barely glued together; you'll hardly need
these instructions. In such a case, flexing the side seams with your
thumbs will often pop the flanges free of the inside surface of the
torso. If they don't pop free, you'll have to cut through them. The
Velvet pictured below was very well glued together
and should be considered an extreme example.
Pour boiling water over a shoulder for four or five minutes; twist out
the arm. (You'll have to help the arm flange come out with a small
screwdriver.) Repeat on the other side.
Looking through an arm hole,
you'll be able to see a flange on the shoulder seam. Reach into the arm
X-Acto knife (not pictured) and cut through the flange along the seam line (it won't
Wiggle a single-edged razor blade into the seam and work it toward the
neck until the seam pops open. Work slowly and carefully, and keep your
free hand far away from the blade. If the seam doesn't pop open all the
the neck, just leave that part for now. Open the other shoulder seam
If your Velvet is well glued together, wiggle a razor blade about this
far (as pictured above) into an
armpit seam, then very slowly, gently and carefully trace along the
an X-Acto knife. Gradually deepen this cut until you can cut through
the pin and flanges. Cut through both side seams.
If the seams haven't popped open all the
way to the neck, place a razor blade in the crack between head and
torso (to protect the vinyl head), and cut with an X-Acto knife until the
seam can pop open.
Now all that holds the torso together is the hair adjusting knob.
Place the doll face down on a cloth. Remove the knob by inserting two
1/8" screwdrivers under the head of the peg in the center of the knob.
(Note that the molding seam in the peg head is vertical between the
screwdrivers during this process.) Simultaneously press the
tips of the screwdrivers down and in, then push the handles down to
lever the head up. Pull the peg out, squeeze
together the barbs in the center of the knob, and pull the knob out.
Pull off the back of the torso.
Now you can repair any hair problems, and you can see the cause of
the lack of head movement. In the center of the photo there's a
plastic arm that connects the long neck tube and the mechanism.
The pegs at either end of this connecting arm are near-cylinders, but
those cylinders fit into cones instead of cylindrical bearings. This
results in a very sloppy fit that absorbs most of the movement.
Before reassembly, lubricate the linkage with plastic-compatible grease.
You may wonder how the factory avoided gluing the torso to the neck
tube, since you certainly don't want to do so. If you'll look
carefully at the top and bottom surfaces of the torso's neck ring
(above), you'll see from the rough surfaces that the factory did
glue the torso and
tube together. It looks like they twisted the head during the drying
time so the neck ring didn't adhere to the torso. They probably needed
break them apart once the glue was dry.
Scrape off any
rough extra plastic on the neck
ring, and very slightly bevel the torso wall where it'll meet the neck
tube; this will give the squeezeout a place to go before contacting the
torso as described in the Chatty Cathy and Talking
Barbie manuals. If you had to cut the side flanges, there's nothing to
guide alignment of the
torso walls, so you'll want to reseal the torso walls a section at a
time (allow curing time between each section). First do both shoulders,
do the sides, one side at a time. Be sure to insert the clockwork
mechanism into the its recesses in the torso before sealing the last
seam of the torso.
© Talky Tina Press, Medford, Oregon