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July 1, 1996: Highlights from interview of Judy Schizas, doll specialist (Mattel)

This was provide to me by the person who conducted the interview with permission to use
exclusively on this website


QUESTION: Prior to February 1970 were 22" saran fibers used in Barbie Dolls, specifically?


QUESTION: Do you know what was used?

JUDY: In Barbies?

QUESTION: In Barbies ... at that time. Shorter saran?

JUDY: Definitely shorter. Oh yes. I think the average length probably would've been ... I doubt much more than 7 inches. For Barbie, we're talking.

QUESTION: Now, I've also heard, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, that some of those dolls, then, the hair was looped in to make 3.5" long hair? Out of say, using your example of 7"

JUDY: It's a possibility, because, like I say, the shortest hair we ever had, I believe, was like .... uh ... half an inch. But we don't ever count that as one inch. Its considered half an inch. We say the hair is 6" long, it's 6" long from scalp to where it's cut of at the end.

QUESTION: It was refuted that a saran fiber ... several fibers ... were found in a hairbrush. One fiber was 24" long, one was 22" and there were several shorter of varying lengths. It is our understanding that they are saran, although we have never tested nor seen them. What would have had, in 1970, a 22" long.

JUDY: In what year?

QUESTION: Before 1970. Prior to 1970.

JUDY: 1969 and 1970. We get our toys out in 69 for the 70 year. So I don't know. Maybe I should tell you how I was approached by the FBI about this same type thing.


JUDY: (Looking somewhat at documents in my lap ... her 302 and Mellie Phillips' 302)

QUESTION: Yeah, I just don't want to color your memory. That's the only reason I'm not showing these to you now.

JUDY: Okay, because it was very very confusing. Because when they came, and they wanted to talk to me about dolls and doll hair, and they said, do I know of any doll or any hobby horse ever had hair, saran hair, you know, that would be that long. So I started mentioning a few, but they said that was way before what they wanted. They wanted something between like, 1969 and 70. I said, do you know how many dolls there are? In the world? And you're asking me to give you a doll? I said tell me something else .... Oh, he didn't even tell me the date then. He just asked for a blond doll, so I started in on older dolls, and he asked what was the hair made out of? I said, horse hair, or mohair... He says, no no no that's too ... I need something else. I said, well give me a date. I says, you know we can go back to the 1800s. So he did tell me in the years '69 and '70 that would be a child's toy with blond hair. I said, again we're talking hundreds and hundreds of dolls. I said do you know if it's a Mattel doll? And they said, no because we don't know anything about it. And then they said, uhmm ... so I was mentioning a couple which didn't mean anything to them. And I said, well if I tell you what it is, and you don't even know it, how are you going to know. You've gotta give me something to go on. So, then they said, okay, it's ... do you know of a ballerina doll? A ballerina doll in the 60's? I said, Little? Tall? What? They said, approximately 2 feet. And they had never explained what this was about. I think they didn't really want to tell me anything, because they did not want to lead me, you know, but the thing is, there are so many billions and billions of dolls in this world, that it's like ... give me something.

QUESTION: That was my same argument.

JUDY: So, what I did, which I knew about but I'm gonna show you what doll it is. I told them about this particular doll and they said, that's it .... See? It's a Dancerina. Her hair, it's blond, she came out in '69 and in '70. He said it would be a child's toy. It was supposed to belong to one of his daughters, MacDonald's daughters. So this would be also the longest hair, saran, we ever did.

QUESTION: How long was the hair?

JUDY: 11 inches.

QUESTION: Scalp (from the scalp)?

JUDY: Scalp to down yes ... double 22". He asked me if it could, if it was 22", was there a possibility that it could've gone 24". 1 told him most likely not. But, because hair does have a tensile strength, and it does have lubrication in it, it will stretch. But we're talking a 2 inch stretch and that's a big stretch. You know, it will stretch to a degree, but you have to have enough lubrication on it, otherwise it will snap. Or it will draw itself out so thin, that it just curls up on itself.

QUESTION: How did they find you specifically, Judy?

JUDY: I think they were going to different toy manufacturers, and they didn't have ... no one had any knowledge. But because I've been a doll collector for, you know, 30 years, so then when they went to Mattel, a few people said, if you want to know about dolls, go ask Judy.

QUESTION: Which, in fact, is what they did with me.

JUDY: The FBI came here, I don't know who they talked to originally ... but I don't believe it was the operator. My boss came to me and said Judy there are 3 FBI agents here to see you. I must have mentioned 10 different dolls that I could think of, and they'd say what color hair is that and I'd say, brown ... and they'd ask, what length is that and I'd say, short or whatever. Finally I just ... you know ... give me something. Give me something, 'cause you just don't realize how many dolls are out there. I have over 6000 dolls in my collection.

QUESTION: The Pollyanna Doll ... she had saran hair? I don't know how long its hair was.

JUDY: Well, Pollyanna was bigger than the Dancerina. I mentioned that, and they had told me that it was, I believe they said 2 feet. Pollyanna is like as large as a 3 year old child. And they told me that it was a ballerina and that it was approx. 2 feet, so that's why it was easy for me to zero down on this. Because it's the right year.

QUESTION: But didn't they come looking for Pollyanna? Did they mention that doll?

JUDY: They never mentioned any name to me whatsoever (referring to a doll). They gave me absolutely no name. If they'd have given me a name, I could've shown them a Pollyanna. But they didn't mention any names. It was sorta like a hit and miss type thing. I'd have to keep asking them and then when I showed 'em ... So then we went to my house ... the three FBI agents and myself, because they couldn't seem to understand what I was talking about. I showed 'em a picture, but it didn't really mean anything to 'em.

QUESTION: It didn't?

JUDY: No. Cause they said they didn't really know what they were looking for. They wanted me to come up with the doll.

QUESTION: Like eventually if you name enough dolls, you'll get one that...

JUDY: Because now we've got it narrowed down from 10 billion to a 1969 Ballerina blond hair, long hair.

QUESTION: Is Pollyanna saran hair too?

JUDY: It probably is.

QUESTION: But you don't know that for sure.

JUDY: No, I never paid any attention.

QUESTION: Okay. Now if we pull the hair out of this doll's head, all the way, if we manage to get the full 22" strand out, are the odds, that it would come out or would it snap.

JUDY: I doubt that you could get it to come out entirely unless you were very careful. It can be done, if you do it gently, because I did it for the FBI.

QUESTION: Okay, if we do that, can we see, either thru the naked eye or under a microscope, do they ever put a coating on the hair.

JUDY: Well, the lubrication that's in it.

NOTE: At this point you should know that we have different info re lubrication. In the sheets that I sent to you re: the rooting process, etc. there is mention of the lubricating sleeve, etc. Also my conversation with Mellie Phillips revealed that a coating was (is) in fact put ON the fiber in order to keep the "hair" from being "flyaway". In this area, Judy is informed as to the size of the doll, the wardrobe, years of production, etc., but not quite so reliable with regard to the rooting process. That is an entire department itself, at Mattel, because it is very specialized.

She explained the rooting process to the extent she understands it and proceeded to cut open a doll head for me (Barbie) to show me the inside and how it looks. I discovered that even pulling it out (a "hair") there is a demarcation where the fiber was bent. If it is stretched, then, under a microscope you will see a "thinning" of the fiber (from the other fibers in the head) and even note the mark. In other words, whatever you do to a fiber, it is going to show up somehow. The fiber length is dependent upon its tensile strength. The doll head was sent to Cormier and Lindsey Kaser at S & G.
The hairs and the interlocking style of the "hairs" can be visually examined by them.

Further, according to Judy, she honestly believed that the "specs" indicated saran, not from her own firsthand knowledge but rather hearsay. To cover all bases, I asked that if the specs say saran but at the plant, for whatever reason, nylon gets used, how would we know that. Judy confirmed that any changes have to get written up on a spec sheet, and then the revised specs would indicate the fiber "hair" change.

Judy confirmed also that her info came from Mellie and that she told the FBI what it was and then Judy recalls the FBI saying to her (Judy): "...the FBI then told me that Mellie told them it was saran" (In fact, Mellie did NOT say that at all. Reread her 302)

JUDY: Well, I said, if that's what Mellie said, she's got the papers. She knows.

QUESTION: Okay, okay ... very good. Now, did one of the agents in his specifically ask you about a hobby horse?

JUDY: Yes. I told him (FBI agent) that the hobby horse most likely would not use hair. It could've been anything.

NOTE: More discussion about dolls follows. Re: Alexander dolls, Poor Pitiful Pearl doll which used saran. We further discussed a particular doll which had an apparatus that allowed the doll to "grow" hair. The hair was not saran, but the point was that even with constant, daily brushing of the "hair" by a child over a 2 year time period plus subsequent playtimes over the years, hair never came out of the doll head unless it was aggressively pulled as single hair by single hair. The point of this discussion was confirmation of the difficulty to remove doll hairs from the head due to the extraordinarily tough rooting process. (My daughter owned the growing hair doll.)

QUESTION: So the agents really didn't tell you the case?

JUDY: After a while, I was, like, here you are asking me questions, telling me nothing and the questions don't make any sense to me. I said could you let me know something, and that's when they told me it was about the MacDonald case. Like I say, they did not lead me on. In fact, it was sort of an irritant, until I could finally get some answers. It was not like they were making me say something.

QUESTION: They wanted you to get to your own...

JUDY: They wanted me to, but like I say, it was just too hard without them giving me something. But the minute they told me, you know, blond and the length, and the size and everything else, you know.

QUESTION: So, basically, Mellie confirms by her specs, actually by her memory, yes?

JUDY: I don't know ... I don't know.

QUESTION: Do you know if they bought ... Did they buy saran in spools?

JUDY: Yes. You know, it's not like a spool like you're thinking. But is a big spool.

Note: Here Judy confirms that saran was purchased at Noguchi and Asahi Dow, and is unaware of any other company at that time.

QUESTION: At one point you said something interesting to me on the phone. You were being asked about your expertise by these individuals (FBI). You asked them the question as to what your role in this case was ... in other words ... what were they doing talking to you ... and was your role to be ....

JUDY: Railroading?

QUESTION: That was your word (to me on the phone)

JUDY: I did say that. Because I had asked them the same thing because they told me they needed a doll and this was the longest hair at the time that was going on a rooted doll, and I told them yes it was 22". I told them about the tensile strength, and I also told them that it would be kind of hard to brush it and get the whole 22" (without breaking it). He said, but could it be done. I said, Well of course, anything could be done, you know. Just like I pulled that (one hair fiber) out for them. It could be done. I just pulled that out for you. It can be done.

QUESTION: So, you get yourself to where you are trying to be honest and literal but still be..

JUDY: I said, it can be done, but ... uhmm ... and then I said, are you trying to railroad this guy? I said, because, it's just something that is not a logical thing. And they said no, we just have to prove that it can be done and I said, well, yeah, it can be done.

QUESTION: So you know, and being open with you, Judy, they had ... the other side contended that there were no wigs for humans made of saran.

NOTE: At this point we pursued the discussion of the history of saran. Now we might as well as go on to Mellie's statement. From what you said it seems as though Mellie was acting out of memory as well.

JUDY: I don't know that, after I talked to the FBI. I told them, what it was made of and I said it was either nylon or saran, cause I don't really know for sure, cause at that time they didn't ask me. I mean they had not told me anything. I said, you will have to get that information from the hair rooting department. Because they are the ones who do the rooting, and they're the ones that order the .... and its done in wherever this was done at the time.

NOTE: Here I am reading material from 302 to her and she comments that there was no 7.5" Barbie but only 11" and that the 302 was erroneous in this regard (Mellie's).

QUESTION: So, she is essentially saying that saran was used ONLY for Barbie (at that time).

JUDY: Yeah, well she told me that she used it for the Dancerina. And that is why I couldn't even give an answer. But to sit here and talk and to say the doll had this kind of hair ... I couldn't...

QUESTION: So without the specs of the doll, there's no way you could know?

NOTE: Here is where reading the 302 reveals the FBI opinion of Judy as an expert, according to her job, experience on the job, collection of dolls, history of her collection, etc. In other words, it is this document, as much as all of the publicity she had gotten in print and TV that validates Judy as an expert. That is, the FBI affirms her as an expert.

JUDY: It was the FBI that kept asking me about a doll on a pedestal.

QUESTION: (Reading Judy's 302 ... which states that Judy's recollection of hairs was 16"-18" in length. Also elaborates on Ideal doll which was tall.)

JUDY: The only thing I can't remember is ... I really should, but I don't remember the length. I know I measured it at my house. But I'd have to remeasure it in order to be sure.

NOTE: Further discussion continues re: strands of "hair", specs, etc.

JUDY: I kept asking them well what do you know about the doll ... what do you know about the doll? If it's the mother's ... or if it's... and they said they were assuming it was the child's and that it could've been, you know, this present type thing.

NOTE: When saying "the child's", she is struggling to express to me that the information given to her at that time was so sketchy that she had to virtually attempted to guess her way thru a maze of endless dolls in order to try and accommodate Malone, Madden and Evenson. In other words, they weren't attempting to "lead" her to any conclusion, type of doll, etc., because they had no conclusion to go to themselves. They were "fishing" and thought that they would be able to find a doll, any doll, to fill the need for a 24" long saran hair, by simply looking at enough dolls. Regardless of the text info on saran that bolsters the "doll hair" theory more than the "wig" application, the FBI agents quickly discovered that doll "hair", even in the late 60's was not commonly made from saran at all. It was quoted so often in texts because the formulators of the texts went to the big chemical companies, Dow among them, and asked what the fiber was used for. Dow had a big contract with Madame Alexander, and according to internal Dow (Michigan) were proud of that, so they would have logically mentioned doll hair whenever asked.

JUDY: I asked if they recalled colors or anything and they said that they had no idea. They don't know of anyone who had seen it, I guess except one ... somebody had seen a hobby horse and someone had mentioned a doll. A ballerina doll - on a pedestal.

(More discussion follows.)

JUDY: I asked how do you know it's a doll (fiber) and they said, somebody told them.

NOTE: One of the things that Judy recalls clearly is that the agents asked her if the dolls have their own hairbrushes. Judy replied that all Barbie dolls come with a little brush. Then they asked her if it is common for a child to use a regular hairbrush on a doll. Then Judy responded that it was very common for a child to use a parent's hairbrush to "style" the doll's hair. The FBI seemed to think this was a "nugget" because it puts the fiber into the brush easily.
We further discussed the quality of the fiber. To the extent that Judy was able to discuss it, she did confirm that a lubricant goes ON the fiber between the spool and the actual rooting/sewing process. So, the "hair" has a coating of sorts on it, and that concurs with Mellie's information about the coating which prevents the fiber from being flyaway hair. It sounded like Mellie and Judy were speaking about static electricity type of behavior from the fiber.

JUDY: If the fiber is too dry, it's frizzy. Too much lubricant and the hair would clump together like. If it was too little the hair would stick to the pvc in the box. It (the lubricant) is in a tube. Maybe I can say it looks like a condom.
(Judy is drawing a sketch here) So the hair comes off of the spool and thru the condom thing and then to the rooting process. The lubricant is applied to the hair while it passes thru the tube.
I told them (FBI) that if they test it and it's not what you want, then let me know and I'll go further and try to find it. I gave them a bunch of doll books, each of them had a book. I said when you come across something that seems right, let me know. When I came back into the room there was still nothing. (They were all in the "doll room" at Judy's house.) When I came back into the room they were all talking and when I asked what they were doing, they admitted that didn't know what they were looking for, so looking in doll books wouldn't help.



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