As part of my 101 in 1001 list, I decided to start a “20 interesting things” series that’ I’m calling Tuesday 20. You can find my list of 101 things here and all Tuesday 20s here. On with the fun facts…
- Created by Ruth and Elliot Handler in the late 1950s and named for their daughter, Barbara, Barbie has her origins in the German Lilli doll, a quasi-pornographic toy intended for men.
- Barbie’s full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts. She is from Willows, Wisconsin and went to Willows High School.
- If you lined up every Barbie, head to toe, sold in its first thirty years, you could circumnavigate the globe four times.
- Ken hit shelves in 1961 and was named after the Handler’s other child.
- In 1975 Mattel debuted Growing-Up Skipper. With a thrust of her arm, Skipper grew breasts. this garnered much attention and generated concern.
- Mattel has a Barbie Exposure Gauge. It’s a headless doll with a blue mark across the chest and rump. New outfits are fitted against this standard, if any blue is revealed the outfit is nixed.
- In 1993, Teen Talk Barbies and Talking Duke G.I. Joe dolls were stolen from shelves by the Barbie Liberation Organization. The voice boxes were removed, switched and returned to shelves free to be purchased by unsuspecting Christmas shoppers.
- Also in 1993, Mattel introduced Earring Magic Ken. Ken came with a pierced ear, lavender mesh shirt and faux-leather vest. He also had, what many called, a doll-sized cock ring around his neck. He wasn’t on store shelves for long but, word is you can still find him on Christopher Street in New York City.
- Barbie has the equivalent of a eighteen-inch waist.
- In fact, if Barbie were life-size her measurements would be 40-18-32.
- Barbie has had more than 80 careers including rock star, paleontologist and presidential candidate.
- Share a Smile Becky was the first Mattel doll introduced with a wheelchair.
- After Share a Smile Becky was introduced in 1997, a 17 year old high school student with cerebral palsy contacted Mattel because Becky’s wheelchair did not fit into the elevator of Barbie’s Dream House. Mattel announced that they would redesign the house to accommodate Becky.
- Barbie has had over 43 pets including a panda, lion cub, giraffe, and a zebra.
- Barbie has five sisters – Skipper, Tutti (her twin), Stacie, Kelly and Krissy.
- Babie’s best friend Midge married Allen and they have two kids, three-year old Ryan and Nikki. You may know Midge as “Pregnant Midge” as she was sold with a removable belly and a tiny baby Nikki inside. I won’t go into it but, there was a lot of controversy about this one.
- In 1967, “Colored Francie” was debuted. She was said to be the first African-American Barbie doll. However, in production they used the same head as the white Francie doll so she didn’t have any African features leading to many upset consumers.
- Who doesn’t remember the Aqua song “Barbie Girl.” Mattel wasn’t thrilled with the song and sued.
- In February 2004, Barbie Roberts and Ken Carson ended their relationship after 43 years. Two years later, Ken got a makeover and the two were hoping to rekindle their relationship. Mattel actually put out a press release about both of these life changing events.
- In 2009, Barbie celebrated her 50th birthday which included a runaway show in New York for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The show included fifty designs by such designers as Diane von Furstenberg, Vera Wang, Calvin Klein and Christian Louboutin.
Additional fun facts are always welcome in the comments!
All facts have been taken from various, reliable sources but, nothing is ever fool-proof. If, for any reason, you’d like to know the source of these facts, I’d be happy to share.