Whatever Happened to Mrs. Beasley?

Mrs. Beasley from Family Affair
Everett Collection

Growing up, my family would take an annual trip down to Arizona for spring break in order to get away from the cold and to visit my grandparents. Throughout the years of doing this, many things changed, including the places we would go, and the activities we would partake in. In fact, seemingly only one thing remained consistent: that Mrs. Beasley doll. I can still picture her blue eyes that matched her blue polka-dotted dress like I saw her yesterday.

Every morning the sun would peek through the semi-open blinds just enough to wake me from my deep sleep. As I opened my eyes, staring back at me in those rectangular-framed glasses as she had been doing all night, was that Mrs. Beasley doll.

FAMILY AFFAIR, Anissa Jones, Mrs. Beasley, Johnny Whitaker, 1966-71.

© Everett Collection / Everett Collection

So Where Did This Doll Come From?

This now-megastar doll was first introduced to most of the world in the sitcom Family Affair, which debuted in 1966 and ran for five seasons. In the show, Bill Davis (Brian Keith) is a wealthy bachelor who works all over the world as a civil engineer. When Bill’s brother and sister-in-law pass away in a car accident, they leave behind three children who then become the responsibility of both Bill and his manservant “Mr. French” (Sebastian Cabot). One of the children now under the watch of Bill is a young girl who goes by “Buffy.” Buffy (Anissa Jones) was the proud owner and best friend of Mrs. Beasley. She was always seen with her doll, and Buffy would even answer her family members with phrases spoken to her by Mrs. Beasley.

This doll became so popular from the show that Mattel decided to reproduce and sell the doll. Near the end of the 1960s when the doll came out, the original price was around $10-$15, depending on the size. Although different versions of Mrs. Beasley have been created over the years, nothing beats owning an original. If you are lucky enough to find an original Mrs. Beasley doll with all the working pieces (the voice box and the pull-string chord), expect it to cost anywhere from $100-$500, depending on the condition.

So What Exactly Does Mrs. Beasley Say?

One thing about this doll that made it stand out and a big reason it is still around after all these years is Mrs. Beasley’s ability to talk. The toy doll is able to communicate with whoever is holding it simply by pulling its string. As advertised, the toy is capable of saying 11 different phrases, voiced by Georgia Schmidt that range from fun-loving and cute to downright creepy.

Creepy or Comforting? You Make the Call!

These are some of the classic conversation starters of Mrs. Beasley:

“Would you like to try on my glasses? You may if you wish.”

“Long ago I was a little girl just like you.”

“Gracious me! You’re getting to be such a big girl.”

“You may call me Mrs. Beasley; would you like to play?”

“I do think you’re the nicest little friend I ever had.”

“If you were a little smaller, I could rock you to sleep.”

But, really, it’s her “Do you want to hear a secret? I know one” that can be enough to cause any little boy or girl to stop talking to Mrs. Beasley. What do you think?

Today, the Ashton Drake company offers a replica doll that says all of her classic phrases for $119 (installments available).

Perhaps a Mother’s Day gift for someone?

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