Dapper Dan

Dapper Dan

One toy and one toy only taught me how to dress myself in the mid-’70s. That toy was the Dapper Dan Doll from Playskool. As suggested by the oxymoronic/ironic name Playskool, Dapper Dan was intended to be both fun and educational. And he totally was. Teaching me everything I needed to leave the house as an adult without getting arrested.

There were many models of this fun doll, some having more features, some having less, but mine was the model pictured above. He had 1) a zipper, 2) buttons, 3) metal snaps, 4) a belt buckel, and 5) shoe laces. You could do and undo and do again all these clothing fasteners and learn how to do your own clothing fasteners in the process.

Beyond that, he looked a lot like me: dirty blond hair, cowlick, rosy cheeks, slightly wicked smile, crazy non-focusing eyes. How could I resist playing with Dan for hours?

There is absolutely no doubt that I am able to walk in clothed society today thanks to Dapper Dan. Were it not for him, I would have had to resorted to wearing simple burlap sacks with nothing more complicated than arm and head holes, or, even worse, become a nudist. Thanks, Dapper Dan.

I could not find a commercial for this wonderful toy, but someone was nice enough to post one of themselves using one.

Watching someone play with Dapper Dan


Doug is a child of the 80s who was raised in Ohio and is now living the life of oblivion in the bay area of California.

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4 thoughts on “Dapper Dan

  1. That is nightmarishly hideous. Intuitively, I always knew there was some really good reason to be glad I wasn’t born too early. Thanks for showing me that reason.

  2. Joanna Wilson says:

    I had Dressy Bessy–the female version of Dapper Dan. AND, I still know how to use a zipper and buttons. IT WORKS!

  3. Joanne says:

    Is Dapper Dan available for sale anywhere? My students n learned to dress himself with it, and I’d like to buy it for my grandson. I should have kept it!

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