The Living DollDo you remember what toys were like in the late 80s-early 90s? Back before every kid had their own iPhone or PSP?
Girls had My Little Pony toys, stuffed Care Bears, Rainbow Brite Dolls, and of course, Barbies. Boys had Transformers, Micro Machines, Ninja Turtles, and G.I. Joes. And everyone in the house played with the Lego sets.
Toys were pretty simple back then. And we loved it.
But then came the Teddy Ruxpin craze. You remember Teddy Ruxpin, don’t you? The talking bear whose mouth and eyes actually moved as he told his stories?
Everyone wanted a Teddy Ruxpin. But I guess 70 bucks for a stuffed bear was a bit extreme for some parents. Not to mention the additional 20 bucks you had to shell out for each new accessory. I didn’t get a Teddy Ruxpin and neither did any of my friends, so life went on.
Until one year at Christmas, that is…
We drove out to my grandparents’ farm for one of our annual family gatherings. I was maybe five or six years old, so I was most excited to get to see one of my favorite cousins, who is three years older than me and the only cousin I had anywhere near my age-range growing up.
My excitment died when I saw her.
She didn’t have a Teddy Ruxpin, but she had another talking doll. And this one was even better! (I don’t remember too much about the doll. But let’s use Julie: The Talking Doll by Worlds of Wonder as our reference.)
This doll was amazing! She was well over a foot tall! And her books came with metal sensors and when she touched the sensor she’d recite that exact part of the story. She asked you questions and you could actually answer her and she’d respond.
She was spectacular!
And I was instantly jealous. Life couldn’t go on any longer. Someone I knew had one of these amazing talking dolls.
I had to have my own.
I begged my parents. I’m sure I cried. I probably threw a fantastic hissy fit – I was good at those. And I knew I couldn’t give up until I had my own talking doll.
And finally, all my hard work paid off.
She was everything I had hoped for: she was beautiful, sweet, and loved to be carried around everywhere.
I had two of the accessory/tape sets: sleeptime and camping. So she had pajamas and a pillow with her name embroidered on it, and she had overalls for camping.
I was overjoyed with Pamela. I loved her! I tucked her in beside me at night with her little pillow. We “read” her books and talked endlessly about the campfire and how much we liked to play with the ball…
Then everything went terribly wrong.
One day I mistakenly came across the TV as “Chucky” (Child’s Play) was playing. It was horrible!
This disfigured doll was strangling people with phone cords (you know, back when phones weren’t wireless?), he was stalking adults through the shadows and stabbing them to death!
It was hideous, and I couldn’t bear to watch it! Of course, my dad never would have allowed me to see as much as I did if he had known it was on. But it was too late. I had seen it and it was the scariest thing ever.
And what was worse was that my older brother knew I had seen it. At roughly like 11-years-old, he was a rotten little shit. The first chance he got, he asked me if I knew the truth about Chucky.
“What?” I asked.
“Pamela is Chucky’s little sister, and he sent her here to get you.”
But don’t think that it ended there. Because, oh, no! Not with my brother. He had only just begun.
As I was getting ready for bed that night, my brother had left me a surprise. I crawled under my blankets, my parents kissed me good night, and then shut off the light, leaving me alone.
I snuggled into my bed and glanced up at the ceiling. Now, lining my walls was a series of shelves that held all the stuffed animals and baby dolls that I wasn’t “supposed” to play with. And there she was…dangling from this shelf…
Pamela, the Living Doll.
Her beady little eyes staring down at me.
A rubber toy knife taped in her hand.
Chucky had sent her after me…
And I was done, it was all over. That was the end. Pamela, my sweet, precious, fascinating doll…Pamela, who I had begged and pleaded for…who I had screamed and cried for…who I had been so proud of: She was out to murder me.
For months following this incident, my brother capitalized on my new fear of Pamela. She turned up randomly all over the house. I would open my wardrobe and she would be sitting on the shelf, glaring at me with her devil eyes.
I would be brushing my teeth in the bathroom and reach into the cabinet for a towel, she would be lying on top of the towels, mocking me with her smirk of death.
Under my bed. In my dresser. On the back of the toilet. Under the sink.
Pamela was everywhere. I would burst into tears at the sight of her and my parents would take her away. I wouldn’t be satisfied until I knew she was stowed away in the bottom drawer of their dresser, in their bedroom, faaaar on the other side of the house.
And still she would escape.
I would be in my room playing contentedly on my bed and I would suddenly hear, “I love you.” And I would freeze. Surely, SURELY, I had just imagined it. I had become overly paranoid, after all. I would continue playing and then…
“Will you play with me?”
Oh, God. She’s here.
I would panic. That terrifying giggle… How was she talking to me!? You have to push her to make her talk. She didn’t just talk on her own…!
And then it would hit me. She had to be close. I would shift my weight and from beneath my comforter I would hear it:
“Do you want to give me a kiss?”
And then that giggle…always that creepy giggle!
Over six years later, when I was about thirteen years old, I was cleaning up my closet, and I found Pamela.
I hadn’t seen her for years.
And upon closer inspection, I found a four-to-five inch gash on her head, exposing the wires inside that controlled her facial movements.
The best part of all? I don’t recall how this happened. I have this image in my head of me heroically swinging Pamela by the ankles, bashing her head against the doorjamb – repeatedly – until the giggling stopped. And then to descecrate her further, I take my art scissors and I hack away all of her hair, flinging her into the dark corners of my closet to be forgotten.
It’s just a nice thought, though. I don’t know how she ended up in such a poor state. If I still had her today, perhaps I’d take her out from time to time to remind myself that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
I mean, sure, I still can’t watch a Chucky movie to this day. And for years I couldn’t sleep with those dolls on my shelves staring at me through the dark with their demon eyes. But in the end, I survived Pamela.
Pamela, however, did not survive the May 3rd Tornado.
I like to think she got what she deserved.
BONUS – The Commercial for Pamela from the 1980s:
[Even the commercial was creepy…]