Eva's Retro 60s Flashbacks
Those "Dam" Trolls
Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder when it comes to those Dam Trolls! Originally known as
Leprocauns, and also called Wishniks, Thomas Dam’s creation became one of America’s most lovable dolls
for the short duration of 1963-65 and through surges of popularity thereafter. Though some Trolls were short in stature—mere miniatures-- others were over a foot
tall! An invasion of ogres!
As necessity is often the mother of invention, purportedly the
folk lore behind the Dam doll is that Thomas Dam, a poor Danish fisherman and woodcutter could not afford a
birthday gift for his daughter Lila, so using his imagination, carved his version of a troll. As trolls
frequent Scandinavian fairy tales, it might explain Dam’s creative outlet. Certainly no Barbie doll wannabe, storybook trolls are fictitious, humanoid,
forest/mountain dwellers which can be huge as giants or small as dwarves. Generally portrayed as dim-witted and
having crude mannerisms, bulbous noses, long arms, and excessive hair, it goes without saying they’re not
considered easy on the eyes…except for certain females. Lila loved the feature creature, showed it to
her friends, and a fad was born in 1959.
By the early Sixties, three factories produced Dam’s trolls,
and one of them was in Florida. Nearly all trolls are manufactured in hard vinyl, though some have been made
out of ceramics, rubber, porcelain, and even hemp. The originals, which featured sheep wool hair and glass
eyes, are marked with Dam, Dam
Things, Scandia House, or Royalty Designs. As the trolls
rolled, gathering moss throughout the land, there grew breeds of imitations without markings to avoid
copyright infringement lawsuits even though Dam Things Establishment sued over this and lost. Hence, other
companies sprung like mushrooms on a forest floor: Russ Berrie, Jakks Pacific, Hasbro, Mattel, Nyform,
Trollkins, and Ace Novelty. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association added Troll dolls to its “Century of Toys
List,” commemorating the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th century.
Perpetuating the lore that capturing a troll would bring good
luck to any human who could catch one of them, should you have a troll or two or more in your captivating
collection, their mischief might be marketable. Common trolls can fetch prices ranging from a few dollars to
fifty. Certain vintage Nyform trolls from Norway can earn you over $500. Produced in the hundreds of
millions, a marvel to look at and precious to hold, some aren’t worth a Dam.
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Signed copies of the Paperback, 40 % off suggested retail,
may be acquired at the Authors Den Signed Bookstore via Eva’s web page: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco