Hot on the heels of the flower child era, back in 1974, Mattel introduced a set of dolls that were sort of the anti-Barbie: The Sunshine Family. Though the new family members (the parents, at least) were about the same size as Barbie and Ken dolls, fashion and luxury living was not their thing.
Instead, the cute little mom, dad and baby — Stephie, Steve and Sweets — did stuff like riding around on their tricycle built for three, and running a craft shack out of the back of their camper. (They probably also made their own granola and wove macrame plant-holders.)
Despite the dolls’ hippie roots, there was nothing “free-love” about the family’s wardrobe: Stephie typically wore a very conservative long flowery dress, white apron and flat sandals; while Steve was perpetually attired in a sweater, khaki slacks, and brown work boots.
After the original toys achieved some success, the grandparents and some pets were introduced, and, soon thereafter, the neighborhood welcomed “The Happy Family,” the SF’s African-American counterparts — Hattie, Hal and baby Hon. Various other sets and family incarnations followed.
Sure, the Age of Aquarius doll concept sounds a little hokey now — but believe me: I adored the fold-up house, and was the happiest 6-year-old on the planet when Santa delivered the SF truck one Christmas. (That’s me to the right, intensely working to assemble the truck.) And on my next birthday, when I got the tricycle, too? Nirvana had truly been achieved. – NJP
The Sunshine Family Van with Piggyback Shack
A van full of fun sets out for the fair with crafts & things to make ‘n share. Belts & purses, flowerpots, too. There are so many things that you can do! There’s even an Idea Book of at-home projects from your own materials, too.
The Sunshine Family Home (dollhouse)
A 4-room home you help design & decorate! Kitchen/patio/bedroom/living room