Nénette et Rintintin were originally toy dolls for children that were first produced in France in 1913. The boy doll is Nénette and the girl doll is Rintintin. In the tradition of romance in France, they’re seen as a couple!
These dolls were little -only about an inch tall – so they could be pinned onto clothes, worn on hats, in buttonholes or around the neck like a necklace. They could be found in all different colors… Yet they were often made in the blue, white and red of the flag. Eventually, you could find these dolls made out of different materials too like straw and silk.
Monique wrote from France, “I remember now making those dolls. I remember sewing eyes and a mouth on the face, but it’s so long ago.” When she was making them it was well after the war, in the late 50’s or early 60’s.
Monique wrote, “I remember making the dolls bigger than 1” tall since by the time I was making them it wasn’t about being a good luck charm, but just about making some doll and keeping us busy! Ours were made to be about 3 or 4 inches tall.”
Interestingly, the name of the dog in the old TV show Rintintin comes from these dolls. Here’s how that came about: An American soldier named Lee Duncan found a litter of live pups in a bombed out kennel in Lorraine a couple of months before the war ended. He kept two of the pups and named them after the good luck charms Nénette and Rintintin. When he returned home to California he taught Rintintin tricks. The dog was able to leap to very great heights. His friend filmed the dog jumping 11 feet and Duncan decided to get him into a career in Hollywood. The rest of Rintintin’s story is history!
There’s a French rhyme about Nenette et Rintintin that you can learn on Mama Lisa’s World’s French song pages.
P.S. We posted instructions for making Nénette and Rintintin Yarn Dolls here.
Photo of soldier is from “Popular Mechanics Magazine”, Volume 30 from 1918.
Photo of the Poulbot Pair Nénette et Rintintin is courtesy of SLHDolls on eBay.
This article was posted on Monday, June 11th, 2012 at 3:58 pm and is filed under Arts and Crafts, Countries & Cultures, Customs and Traditions, Dolls, Folk Lore, France, Good Luck, Good Luck Charms, Nenette & Rintintin Yarn Dolls, Superstitions, Toys, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
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