Troll doll

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Troll Doll
Wizard troll doll-low res.jpg
A "wizard" troll doll, manufactured by Russ Berrie in the 1990s
Inventor(s)Thomas Dam

A Troll Doll (Danish: Gjøltrold) is a type of plastic doll with furry up-combed hair depicting a troll, also known as a Dam doll after their creator Danish woodcutter Thomas Dam. The inspiration came from trolls in old Scandinavian folklore.[1] The toys are also known as good luck trolls, or gonk trolls in the United Kingdom.

The dolls were first created in the late 1950's, and introduced in 1959, before becoming one of the United States' biggest toy fads in the early 1960s. They became briefly popular again during the 1970s through the 1990s and were copied by several manufacturers under different names. During the 1990s, several video games and a video show were created based on troll dolls. In 2003, the Dam company restored the United States copyrights for this brand, stopping unlicensed production. In 2005, the Dam company licensed the brand to DIC Entertainment, who attempted to modernize the brand by creating a cartoon under the name Trollz,[2] but only lasted one season.[3]

In 2013, the brand was bought by DreamWorks Animation,[4] with an animated feature film called Trolls being released in 2016 and a sequel released in 2020.[5][6]

Toy history[edit]

Troll dolls were created in 1959 by Danish fisherman and woodcutter Thomas Dam. Dam could not afford a Christmas gift for his young daughter Lila and carved the doll from his imagination. Other children in the Danish town of Gjøl saw the doll and wanted one.[7][8] Dam's company Dam Things began producing the dolls in plastic under the name Good Luck Trolls.[9] It became popular in several European countries during the early 1960s, shortly before they were introduced in the United States. They became one of the United States' biggest toy fads from the autumn of 1963 to 1965. The originals were of the highest quality, also called Dam dolls and featuring sheep wool hair and glass eyes. Their sudden popularity, along with an error in the copyright notice of Thomas Dam's original product, resulted in cheaper imitations.

A collection of troll dolls.

The Dam company never stopped its production of trolls in Denmark, where they were always a popular item. In the late 1980s, the Dam trolls started making another comeback in North America. E.F.S. Marketing Associates, Inc. was one of the few corporations granted permission to import and market the Thomas Dam trolls for resale in the United States. These Dam Trolls were marketed under the trade name of Norfin Trolls, with an "Adopt A Norfin Troll" logo on the tags.

During the period of popularity in the early to mid-1990s, several attempts were made to market the troll dolls to young boys. This included action figure lines such as The Original Battle Trolls from Hasbro, the Stone Protectors franchise, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Trolls. The popular Mighty Max line also had a series named Hairy Heads, also known as Dread Heads.[citation needed]

In 2003, the Dam copyright was restored by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. The Uneeda Doll Company, a company that made millions of US dollars by manufacturing troll dolls in the U.S., challenged the restoration. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the lower court's preliminary injunction, enjoining Uneeda from manufacturing, distributing, or selling "Wish-nik" troll dolls.[10] The Toy Industry Association named troll dolls in its Century of Toys List, a list of the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th century.[11]

In 2005, the troll brand was licensed to DIC Entertainment, and products such as fashion dolls and fashion accessories were sold as Trollz.[12] The new Trollz campaign was unsuccessful.

In 2007, DIC sued the Dam company, claiming that they alleged claims of fraud in the inducement and negligent misrepresentation in connection with Dam's troll doll, and DIC's Trollz, which was created after DIC licensed the brand from Dam.[13] Dam counter-sued DIC, claiming that the company financially misrepresented its ability to create and market a modern troll doll toy campaign and destroyed the image and goodwill of the doll.[14]

Television, film and video games[edit]

The Magic Trolls And The Troll Warriors was a 1991 cartoon special made to promote the Troll doll toys, featuring Trolls battling against King Nolaf and his Troll Warriors.[15]

In 1992, Buena Vista Home Video and DIC (who would later produce Trollz in 2005) made a half hour special called Super Trolls. The special featured three heroic trolls who fight an evil troll named Craven.[16]

Also in 1992, a direct-to-video sing-along special was released titled The Trollies Radio Show, with puppet trolls singing somewhat dated hits such as "Kokomo", "Woolly Bully", and "Do Wah Diddy", as well as some original songs.[17]

A platform video game simply titled Trolls was released in 1993 for Amiga, DOS, and C64.[18] Other games were released for the NES (Trolls on Treasure Island (a modified re-release of Dudes with Attitude) and The Trolls in Crazyland (a localized version of Doki! Doki! Yūenchi: Crazy Land Daisakusen) and SNES (Super Troll Islands).

In Disney/Pixar's Toy Story, 1, 2, and 3. Andy had a troll doll with a blue bikini with white flowers. Toy Story 3 also had trolls in Sunnyside Daycare.

In the Fox show The Simpsons, Bart Simpson was playing with a troll doll in church.

In another Fox show, King of the Hill, Bobby Hill had a collection of troll dolls in his bedroom.

In the Adult Swim show Robot Chicken, there featured a treasure troll going on a date and found out he had troll AIDS.

The 2005 DIC line of dolls also produced a cartoon called Trollz. The series stars five teenage girl trolls who call themselves the “Best Friends for Life.”, they also use magic to help them throughout their everyday life, as well as living in a city within a magical world.

In 2013, DreamWorks Animation acquired the intellectual property for the Trolls franchise from the Dam Family and Dam Things and became the exclusive worldwide licensor of the merchandise rights, except for Scandinavia, where Dam Things remains the licensor.[4] DreamWorks produced a 3D computer-animated musical comedy film based on the Troll dolls, Trolls, released on November 4, 2016.[19] It was directed by Mike Mitchell and co-directed by Walt Dohrn, with Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake providing the voices.[20] A sequel, Trolls World Tour, was scheduled for theatrical release on April 10, 2020 in North America. The film was originally planned to be released theatrically in the United States on this day, but the film was released simultaneously in drive-in theaters, as regular movie theaters closed due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and through Premium VOD in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, South Korea and Italy.[21][22] This affected the number of projections and the box office performance of the film. As the pandemic receded, the film was released back in regular theatres.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jacob Osborn, Peter Richman (5 December 2022). "Top holiday toys from the year you were born". Top holiday toys from the year you were born. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  2. ^ Sheff, David (2005-01-04). "New Babes in Toyland: Trollz". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-12-26.
  3. ^ Trollz (Animation, Adventure, Comedy), DIC Entertainment, Dam, Mélusine Productions, 2005-10-03, retrieved 2022-12-26
  4. ^ a b "DreamWorks Animation Acquires IP For Trolls With Plans To Take Iconic Dolls' Brand (And Hair) To New Heights". DreamWorks Animation. April 11, 2013. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  5. ^ "DreamWorks Animation to Bring Trolls Out of Hiding". DreamWorks Animation. June 23, 2010. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  6. ^ Chitwood, Adam (May 16, 2013). "DreamWorks Animation Moves B.O.O. Release Up to June 5, 2015 and TROLLS to November 4, 2016; Fox Dates ANUBIS and FERDINAND". Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  7. ^ "". Good Luck Trolls. Archived from the original on February 13, 2009.
  8. ^ "Learn About Troll Dolls Including History and Collecting Information". The Spruce Crafts. Retrieved 2022-12-26.
  9. ^ "Timeline". Good Luck Troll. Retrieved 2022-12-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "FindLaw's United States Second Circuit case and opinions". Findlaw. Retrieved 2022-12-26.
  11. ^ "Toy Industry Association Announces Its ``Century of Toys List". IndexArticles. 2021-06-30. Retrieved 2022-12-26.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2012-07-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "DIC Entertainment slaps Troll Company with US$20 million lawsuit".
  14. ^ "Lawsuit Charges Fraud In Deals for Iconic Troll Doll; DIC Entertainment Cynically Concealed Financial Woes - 31/10/07 - 305539". 2007-10-31. Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2010-06-23.
  15. ^ The Magic Trolls and the Troll Warriors
  16. ^ DataBase, The Big Cartoon. "The Super Trolls (DiC Entertainment)". Big Cartoon DataBase (BCDB). Retrieved 2022-12-26.
  17. ^ Page, Greg (1992-01-01), Trollies Radio Show Sing-A-Long (Short, Family, Musical), Inspired Corporation, retrieved 2022-12-26
  18. ^ Trolls 1993 Computer game at MobyGames
  19. ^ DreamWorks Animation SKG (June 23, 2010). "DreamWorks Animation to Bring Trolls Out of Hiding" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  20. ^ Lieberman, David (September 15, 2015). "Justin Timberlake To Add His Voice To DreamWorks Animation's 'Trolls'". Deadline. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  21. ^ Fuster, Jeremy (March 16, 2020). "Universal to Release 'Trolls World Tour' for Digital Rental on Same Day as Theatrical Release". TheWrap. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  22. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (April 9, 2020). "'Trolls World Tour' Straight to Streaming — Sign of the Times or the New Normal?". Variety. Retrieved April 9, 2020.

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