Gene's Final Curtain Call ~ Part I

Last night I dressed two of my Gene dolls in fashions recently acquired. They are waiting to be photographed and I visualized them looking over their shoulders as they retreated from the front of a stage on the last night of their performance.
In a few days I will have begun to attend my first and last Gene Marshall convention. There, amongst the 400 or so attendees, I may be in the minority because I have not been a "real" Gene collector. I was aware of Gene, of course, during her Ashton-Drake years but never veered away from my Tonner collections until getting involved with Integrity Toys' Fashion Royalty dolls. Prior to that, I had purchased a basic Gene and a dressed Gene and that was it.
Simply Gene

Perfect Match Gene with Tiny Kitty

During my early Tonner collecting days, the Gene fashions I purchased disappointed me because they usually did not fit Tyler. Obviously I knew very little about that line. I did buy the wonderful furniture and accessories like the gazebo, the the patio set, the dresser, the swan bed, the clothing rack with wooden hangers and several room dividers. Fabulous items every one of them.

Tyler Wearing "A Shorts Story" Gene Outfit

In February 2007 Integrity Toys held an event at FAO Schwarz in NYC. That was the first time I met Mel Odom. Gene had been picked up by IT and the line was on display at the store. I had not begun my second round with the 16" dolls yet. That Gene was "Suited To A T. " The doll reminded me so much of my mother when she was young. At the time, Mom was in the final stages of Alzheimer's Disease. That was February. I couldn't get the doll out of my mind and decided to ask my husband to get her for me as a holiday gift that December, which he did. My mother died that month. I photographed that doll endlessly and began buying Gene fashions which led to buying Gene dolls which led to more and more. I bought Ashton-Drake Gene and IT Gene dolls and fashions and had a ball. I discovered another huge group of collectors who were so very different from the Fashion Royalty crowd.

She's been a wonderful doll—hair still perfect; eyelashes attached and she's still (sort of) smiling. STaT has been on the pages of FDQ!
That's my Gene story. Why do I say that I'm not a "real" Gene collector? I say that because I am not emotionally attached to the doll as so many are. Gene has been the force that has brought thousands of collectors together and has cemented their friendships. Gene has been a business for some of the very talented as well. Most of the hard core Gene collectors are film buffs and I am not. So I dabbled and I played and I am about to rub shoulders with the cognoscenti. I'm excited.

In my next installment on this topic, I will post my favorite Gene photographs.


  1. The convention sounds like a blast! I too am a "Gene-Lite" collector, although I collected her mostly in her early Ashton Drake days. Your story is very touching and a lovely tribute to your mother.

  2. @Laura: "Gene-Lite" I like it.