Debby the Ragdoll has – “psychological” issues so she’s a misfit?

(For my friend Karen)


Come on, admit it. You’ve wondered why the cute little rag doll was on the island of misfit toys in the Rudolph Special.

So have I and was surprised to find out by researching the reason she was considered a misfit.

According to One of the producers Arthur Rankin: The doll barely appeared in the original script, so the author did not explain why she was on the island. But over the years, as the special was revised, the doll got more screen time and lines. He believes her problems are “psychological.”

One of the supposed reasons for adding her at all was that in the Song The Most Wonderful Day of the Year you find these lyrics –

A jack in the box waits for children to shout,
“Wake up, don’t you know that it’s time to come out!”
When Christmas Day is here
The most wonderful day of the year!
Toys galore
Scattered on the floor
There’s no room for more
And it’s all because of Santa Claus!
A scooter for Jimmy, a dolly for Sue
The kind that will even say “How do you do?”
When Christmas Day is here

Three toys are specifically mentioned–two of them, the jack (Charlie) in the box and the scooter, are prominent among the clearly misfit toys and could credibly voice some of the sentiments expressed in the song; but a Dolly seems called for, even necessary, and in the event sang the line “The kind that will even say ‘How do you do?”‘

So they created her but didn’t want to give her a noticeable disability or deformity. The two toys most recognizably human, Dolly and the Cowboy, are both without bodily flaw (the Cowboy is a misfit only because he rides an ostrich).

It makes sense: here is a show aimed at kids and among those children were bound to be ones with physical deformities. Very likely someone saw that it would veer into insensitive territory to have Dolly or Cowboy without an arm or walking about on a tiny peg-leg, so instead they claim she’s a misfit because of “psychological” issues.

That would not play well in today’s society!

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