Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Saranade a creepy Part 15 doll

"This year's news in toys is mainly noise.. The dolls of of 1962 tend to be loquacious: Blabby (about $10); Chatty Baby, Crying Thumbelina, Belle Telle, Saranade, and Little Miss Echo ($15 up). Long past mere infant habits like sobbing, blowing bubbles and waggling arms and legs, they answer phones, sing, converse one-sidedly, even repeat the admonitions addressed to them.." --Life magazine Nov. 16, 1962 page 29

What's with the dolls you ask? Well todays subject concerns a particular doll which Life magazine had so briefly mentioned.. her name was/is Saranade.

WARNING: This post won't be useful to you.

Saranade came to my attention via Tim in Bovery of KEBS 1620AM (part 15) located in "Iron Range Country". Tim introduces us to Saranade in this excerpt of his post at part15.us titled:
Part 15 Record Player Transmitter with Creepy Doll!
"Every now and then I stumble upon something I can't resist.  Such is the case with the "Saranade" Doll.  Made by Westinghouse in 1962. Saranade is the name of the doll, a typical 21" plastic girls toy doll.  With a receiver in her tummy! She comes with her own record player and record.  A real, kids 4 speed electric record player.  It plays records through a speaker or you can turn the knob to "doll" and it shuts off the speaker and sends the audio to an AM transmitter within the record player and transmits the record being played to the radio in the doll! 
This appealed to all my interests: record players, low power transmitters, oddball records, and creepy dolls.."
- Tim in Bovey, KEBS 1620AM

Saranade in the KEBS studio

I couldn't agree more, the idea of a doll that talks to you via Part 15 was delightful to me - not that I have any affectation for dolls, mind you, but unique uses of part 15 always catches my attention. Sure, there's been countless toys thru the years which had, and do utilize miniature transmitters, but, a little girls doll from a half a century ago?
What most intrigued me is that this part15 doll by chance fell into the hands of a part15 broadcaster, who put her on the air of his part15 station, and then told the part15 community, so now we all know about Saranade.
If you've come this far, you might as well listen to this part15 doll sing:

Besides the above audio clip, Tim took about a half dozen detail photos, with descriptions in this pdf  of his "creepy doll", its companion record player, and of Saranadee as she worked her shift at KEBS studio.
I don't actually think she's creepy, if she was it would be even better, but I think he's talking about her voice, which almost seems to have a sinister vibe behind the sweet voice.. She could play a good part in a horror movie.

"..I assumed it would transmit in the AM broadcast band, but it appears not to. The receiver in the doll seems to work fine, no repairs needed there, except she takes a round 9V battery that they don't make any more. She runs on a typical square 9V but the battery doesn't fit in the battery holder molded into her stomach. The radio in the doll has no controls except an on/off switch. No tuner, no volume.."  - Tim in Bovey

The  Radio  Museum provides schematics for this doll and states  it uses a 180 kHz transmitter in phonograph, and a 3 transistor USA made radio chassis tuned to around 185 kHz in the doll.

The model ED-1 is blonde and the ED-2 in brunette... Why no ED-3 redhead?

"..The record player needs work. Motor bearing, spindle bearing, cartridge is weak. But the transmitter seems to work fine. Checking it out on my spectrum analyzer it transmits from about 158 KHz to 220 KHz. Theres a tuning adjustment knob that moves a slug up and down inside a small coil.  Best signal is at about 171 KHz. It's pretty rich in harmonics, too.  I'm not familiar with the Part 15 rules from 1962, or even if this qualified, LOL.   Uses a 25C5 tube.  The short antenna inside the case actually connects to one of the hinges for the lid!.."  - Tim in Bovey
Based on John Reeds information in the preceding blog post,, I suppose in 1962 it would have been operating under 15.202.

"..The receiving antennas for the radio in the doll are wires in her legs!.."  - Tim in Bovey
That's  hilarious. She might  get better reception if you  stand her on her head.

Popular Mechanics featured Serenade in their November 1962 issue with a full page intro "drop test" to determine Serenade's durability.. She passed with flying colors..
"When you drop a doll containing a remote control radio speaker from table top height (and how many times has your youngster knocked something off the table?) you might wonder whether she could survive. Westinghouse's Saranade Doll not only survived the ordeal--she kept on singing! So did the record player which supplies her "voice"--when it was drop tested.. ..Saranade Doll ($40) comes with phono which broadcast remotely through doll speaker. 
--Pages 96, 101
Though it was nationally advertised and featured in many publications, it's unclear how popular Saranade actually was in her day, but there is one collector, Yvonne Barr of Vintage Pretties on Ruby Lane, who had received one when she was young; "..a few years ago; in fact five to be exact I was a new seller to RubyLane and was spending time looking at the items offered for sale. Suddenly a doll appeared on my screen and I was flooded with childhood memories..". She goes on to tell how all she wanted for here 13th birthday was a record player, and that she was angry and embarrassed when she received a Saranade. She gave the doll to her sisters and kept the record player. You can read her full account here: https://www.rubylane.com/blog/...

Cincinnati Enquirer Dec. 15 1963
It appears Westinghouse had done some heavy promotion of Saranade for about year, then it just seemed to disappear, and evidently no more were produced. They were pretty expensive at $40 when they first came out in 1962,but by 1963 the price dropped 50%. The 1963 ad at left says: "We have 50,000 dolls on hand, and the only way we can sell them this season is to sell them directly to you . . "
Seem surprising that Saranade even appeared in Billboard magazine:

"I have the original Saranade record AND the instructions, warranty card, etc all the paperwork. It says it will transmit up to 12 feet. If reception gets weak supposedly it will help if you hold the doll by her legs! LOL.
[I need to] get the motor repaired. I'll have to salvage a motor bearing from my record player graveyard in the basement."
- Tim in Bovey
Based on several antique sites and forums, Saranade appears to be in a strong demand these days, with some asking as much as $600 (insane ain't it?). Currently there's one on ebay asking $299, but another in lesser condition just sold having three bidders for about $130 a few weeks ago.

Get yours today!
Saranade's not quite enough transmitter for a part 15 station, but at least you'd be sure it's within regulations.

Life-like "Saranade" doll and phonograph. Lifelike Saranade sings songs, tells stories, teaches how to dance, count and practice good habits as you carry her around indoors or out. Just play any record and, without wires, Saranade's magic voice box will pronounce every word just as it's recorded. Operates on one 9-volt battery (not included). Complete with Westinghouse 4-speed phonograph which can be used with or without doll, and I Saranade record
The Cincinnati Enquirer, Wednesday, December 12, 1963 - Page 10 

Newsweek, Volume 59, 1962


No comments:

Post a Comment

Add your comment..