Ken and Brad are best of friends. They’ve likely bonded because they both know what it feels like to be living in their girlfriends Barbie’s and Christie’s shadow. You know, the purse holder at a Red Carpet event, while the women do their step and repeat, haha! I have to admit, among my extensive Barbie collection, I only have two Kens and one Brad. So, I’ve decided to give them some love and let them be in the spotlight for a change!
Ken Carson was born on March 11, 1961 and stood at 12” high. Ruth Handler, prior President of Mattel and inventor of the iconic Barbie, named Ken after her son and Barbie after her daughter. I remember my first Ken doll in the early 70s. It was 1971 blonde Malibu Ken #1088. He wears red swim trunks and comes with a blue towel. He and Malibu Barbie made a powerful “it couple” cruising Malibu beach in their yellow dune buggy with their beautiful tans, bright smiles and laid-back surfer vibes.
The other Ken in my collection is 1971 Live Action Ken #1155. He joins my Live Action Barbie, Christie and P.J. so now they make up a band and, man, can they groove! They have a new body construction that allows them to dance on their Touch ‘N Go stand. Ken wears flashy, satiny gold pants (sa-weeeet!), a multicolor shirt, a brown suede fringed vest and brown shoes. Later that year, they added a stage with a microphone, mod stickers you could apply, and a record with two hit sides with a sheet of lyrics. He was Live Action Ken on Stage #1172. There was also a Live Action Barbie and P.J. on Stage.
Ken’s bro Brad
I recently acquired a 1970 Bendable Leg Brad #1142, the first black male doll in the Barbie line. He was introduced in the latter part of 1970. Such a handsome dude. My Brad is looking pretty groovy in his denim shirt flanked with flowers and jeans. He comes in an orange shirt with orange and brown print shorts. Earlier that year, Brad debuted as New Talking Brad #1114 and was introduced on the box as Christie’s boyfriend. He wore orange shorts with a colorful orange, yellow and olive jacket to match 1970 Talking Christie’s outfit. #CoupleGoals Unfortunately, he was only produced from 1970 – 1972. In 1975, a black male doll was introduced by Mattel and his name was Free Moving Curtis #7282. He had the Brad head mold and his outfit was identical to Free Moving Ken’s (see below) but in orange.
Ken’s history from 1961 – 1975
Ken #750 was introduced in 1961 as Barbie’s boyfriend. According to toy maker Mattel — Barbie met Ken on the set of a TV commercial in 1961. He’s 12” tall with flocked hair (blonde, brunette or light brown) with blue eyes and wears red swim trunks and cork sandals. Later in 1961, Mattel swapped out his yellow beach towel for a red and white striped beach jacket. Mattel felt he was under-dressed in just his swim trunks! The following year in 1962, Ken wears the same outfit but has a newly sculpted head with painted hair in blonde or brunette. In 1963, he remained the same except that he was 1/4 inch shorter; the only time Mattel produced a shorter version of Ken. In 1965, Ken #1020 had lifelike, bendable knees that clicked. Available in blonde or brunette, he wears a blue jacket with a “K” decal and red shorts and sandals.
No new Ken doll was produced in 1968 but Talking Ken #1111 was introduced in 1969. He now came with a more bulked-up buff body (he must have spent 1968 lifting at the gym!) with bendable legs and a new painted head mold with a more current looking face. He wears red shorts with a red jacket. 1970’s Talking Ken wears orange shorts with a blue jacket and orange stripe. 1970 also brought New Good Lookin’ Talking Ken #1124. OUCH. Were they implying Ken wasn’t good looking before? They wouldn’t be wrong, ha!
1972 brought a number of Ken dolls. Busy Ken #3314 in an orange or red tank top worn with a brown belt, jeans and white sneakers. The new holdin’ hands feature had jointed elbows, thumbs and wrists that allowed the doll to realistically hold things including a portable TV, a soda set, a travel case with stickers, a record player and a telephone; the kind you had to use your finger to dial! His inner circle included Busy Barbie and Busy Steffie. Mattel produced a 1972 Talking Busy Ken #1196 wearing a blue and red print shirt with a brown belt, red corduroy pants and brown shoes. The last Ken doll produced in 1972 was Walk Lively Ken #1184 who wears a blue polo with plaid pants and brown shoes. Joining him was Walk Lively Barbie and Walk Lively Steffie.
Other Kens in the 70s include 1973 Mod Hair Ken #4224, the first Ken doll with rooted hair. He only came in brunette and had facial stickers to give him a mustache, sideburns and a beard When he wears the 'stash, he gives off a Freddie Mercury vibe! He wore a brown and white plaid jacket, white shirt, brown pants and brown shoes. 1974 brought the Sports Set Sun Valley Ken #7809 who wears a blue ski suit with a red turtleneck, and red skis. The Sports Set also included Sun Valley Barbie, Newport Barbie and Yellowstone Kelley. In 1975, there was a Funtime Ken #7194 in blue swim trunks. The set also includes Funtime Barbie, Funtime Cara (who is identical to 1973 Malibu Christie), Funtime Skipper and her girlfriend Funtime Skooter.
1975 Free Moving Ken #7280 wears a red and white striped polo and attached white shorts. Basically, a onesie! No judgment here. :-) His ensemble includes a red belt, white sneakers, white socks with red and green stitching, a gray plastic golf club and tennis racquet with a ball. There was also a Free Moving Barbie, Free Moving P.J. and Free Moving Cara. From 1975 – 1976, there was a Gold Medal Ken doll skier #7261; commemorating the 1976 Winter Olympics in Montreal, Canada.
Way back in the start, Mattel introduced a friend for Ken in 1964, Allan #1000, and he was touted as “Ken’s buddy.” He has painted red hair and rust-colored eyes, wearing blue swim trunks and a multicolor striped shirt. Allan came with bendable legs the following year, just like his pal Ken.
But we were on a break!
Interestingly, in the past 60 years, Barbie and Ken have never gotten engaged nor married. In fact, they were on a bit of a break from February 2004 to February 2006. Barbie started dating hunky Australian surfer Blaine. Ken resurfaced with a makeover in 2006. Coincidence? Hmmmm… Not to fret, our love birds reconnected and have been living happily ever together since – probably in different apartments. There’s still no ring on Barbie’s finger. Ken, you know what Beyonce has to say about THAT. Then again, knowing how independent Barbie is – she probably doesn’t want a ring. You go girl.
#KenDoll #Ken #BarbiesBoyfriend #Mattel #BradDoll #NewTalkingBrad #CurtisDoll #VintageKen #ModKen #FreeMovingKen #LiveActionKen #ModHairKen #BusyKen #TalkingKen #WalkLivelyKen #FreeMovingCurtis #Barbie #ModBarbie #VintageBarbie
Trend-setting Barbie was living in her 3-story posh beach townhouse tooling around town in her pink Star 'Vette sports car. Dawn sashayed down her fashion show stage and zipped around in her pink convertible action car. Fashionista Tuesday Taylor entertained her highbrow, cosmopolitan friends in a beautiful penthouse apartment. Then... there was The Sunshine Family. A fashionable and luxurious lifestyle was definitely not their vibe!
This salt-of-the-earth hippie family wove macrame belts and purses and made pretty flower pots. They probably also embroidered jeans, baked granola and tie-dyed vintage T-shirts. They made their living selling these treasures to local folks from their mobile craft store in the Piggyback Shack on the back of their far-out yellow van.
Mattel produced The Sunshine Family (SF) from 1974 - 1978 and they were 9" tall. The first set of dolls included Dad Steve, Mom Stephie and baby Sweets. All of the adult dolls were made of soft, posable vinyl with jointed knees. They wore prairie dresses, peasant blouses, bell bottoms, turtlenecks, cords, rainbow striped tank tops and sandals. I'm willing to bet they recycled and were vegan! Next came The Sunshine Family's white-haired grandparents and family pets, a friendly cat and playful dog. In 1975, before the second issue of SF in 1976, Mattel added groovy African-American neighbors, The Happy Family, along with their set of grandparents. The Happy Family set included Dad Hal, Mom Hattie and baby Hon. One doll you don't hear much about is SF's red-haired aunt and cousin (a baby). All SF dolls were made the same size and shape.
Initially, the dolls' fashions were DIY and you could customize the threads yourself. The second series SF fashions were redesigned and looked a little more modern. Steve wore jeans instead of khaki pants and another red turtleneck but in a brighter color and different fabric. Stephie had a more noticeable update. Her granny-style dress with the apron was replaced with a cooler jumper dress over a short-sleeved red blouse. Her hair was shorter, blonder and styled a bit differently.
In the last year of production in 1978, the third series of The Sunshine Family was updated and changed its name to, "The Sunshine Fun Family." The African-American dolls were renamed "The Happy Fun Family." Baby Sweets grew up to be big sister Sweets Sunshine and the family added an unnamed cute, freckle-faced baby boy with red hair. The box the new family came packaged in says, "And now there are 4! Mom, Dad, big sister and baby brother having fun together!" Dad Steve had a new outfit along with a funky, tight-curled hairstyle. Mom Stephie wore a new dress, had longer hair with a more natural color and upped her game with eye shadow and lipstick! Blonde-haired Sweets had orange ribbons in her ponytails and wore a cute orange jumper with matching orange shoes. The baby donned a jumper with a white top and brown shorts that matched the Dad's new outfit. The Happy Family also came in a family of four with big sister Hon Happy. The little girl versions of Sweets Sunshine and especially Hon Happy are probably the hardest to find of the SF dolls because they were only produced for about a year.
The Sunshine Family's modest (vinyl fold-out) one-bedroom home had a wood-burning furnace, rocking chair, kitchenette set, bed and other accessories and furniture. The house was comprised of a bedroom, kitchen, patio and living room. The Sunshine Fun Family got an updated house that included a kiddie pool and swing set. Each Sunshine family of dolls and each family accessory came with its own things-to-make Idea Book. It gave kids suggestions on how to creatively decorate The Sunshine Family's home with odds-n-ends around the house. You could grow potato plants in tiny paper cups, braid yarn to make a rug, make a sofa out of a milk carton or build an ice cream stick fence.
The eco-conscious Sunshine Family had other cool things like a Craft Store that came with a functional spinning wheel and pottery stand, a 2-story farm complete with a cow you could milk, a baby's nursery and a 3-wheeled Surrey bicycle the family could ride together. You could also purchase separate fashions, coloring books and paper dolls.
In our bicentennial year, 1976, a set of dolls were released called the Star Spangled dolls. These were my least favorite. The collection included blonde-haired Miss Alison Thompson (Colonial Girl #7941) in a long blue and yellow dress with a white wrap; Rosa Lee Linden (Southern Belle #7939) with long red hair wearing a floral dress and straw hat; brunette Sara Jane Benson (Pioneer Daughter #7940) wearing a pink bonnet, long purple dress and floral purple shawl; Indian Maiden #7938; Regina and Richard Stanton (Liberty Patriots #7944); Jazz Performers #7945 and Thanksgiving Pilgrims #7943.
Thank you dolls for tripping down memory lane with me! xo
#SunshineFamily #BabySweets #TheHappyFamily #70sdolls #StarSpangledDolls #BabyHon #SteveandStephie #HalandHattie #HonHappy #SweetsSunshine #sunshinefamilydolls #Mattel #MattelSunshinedolls #70ssunshinefamily
Do you remember World of Love fashion dolls? Hasbro introduced this doll line in 1971 during the Mod Barbie era. Hasbro touted World of Love dolls as "She's what's happening. She's today's American teenager and she's part of the World of Love." These dolls have a hippie vibe and are aptly named for the era - Love, Peace, Soul and Flower! They had a catchy TV commercial where the little girls say they want to be like the Love teenage dolls and rap "I got Love, I got Flower, I got Peace, I got Soul!"
Each doll wears a colorful outfit to match their colorful world. These 9” dolls have rooted hair and eyelashes, a twistable waist and bendable legs. Two new dolls were added to the collection, Music #4420, and a male doll named Adam #4425. Every doll needs her Ken! Or another Barbie. No judgment here. :) Allegedly, Adam was named after one of the doll designer's sons.
Love #4400 is a blonde while Flower #4410 is a redhead. Peace #4405, Soul #4415, Music #4420 and Adam #4425 all don jet black hair. The first issue World of Love dolls came in cardboard boxes with lids. The second issue came in wider cardboard boxes with cellophane around them. All of the Love dolls have “MADE IN HONG KONG” marked on their back and “HASBRO/U.S. PAT PEND” on their lower body.
The Deluxe dolls were introduced in 1972. The dolls didn't change but each came wearing a personal t-shirt with her face imprinted on the front, along with an extra outfit. There's Deluxe Love #4402, Deluxe Peace #4407, Deluxe Flower #4412, Deluxe Soul #4417 and Deluxe Music #4422. Also in 1972, there was a 2nd edition Love doll wearing a different fashion. She remained product #4400. There wasn't a Deluxe version of Adam.
The dolls were also sold in Europe under the name of Miss Matchbox Disco Girls, who also produced Matchbox cars. The Disco Girls are blonde Britt, brunette Tia, redhead Dee and African American Domino along with Tony. He reminds me of Mod Hair Ken, both creepy IMHO!
The Beautiful Hair Bonnie Breck doll promoted Breck shampoo in 1971. Miss Breck is made from the same mold as the Wolrd of Love dolls. Her dress uses the same material as Flower's dress but it's a different prairie style. “2/HONG KONG” is marked on her back and “HASBRO/U.S. PAT PEND” on her lower body.
Hasbro had another line of dolls that debuted in 1972 called Leggy dolls. These long-legged, 10” vinyl dolls include red-haired Kate, brunette Nan, African-American Sue and blonde Jill. They are marked “1972/HASBRO/HONG KONG” on their lower body.
http://www.nrfbfashiondolls.com/store/catalog/index.php?cPath=71&osCsid=q5b5tbfplro7avfn2pmppa0nr1 and http://plaidstallions.com/hasbro/love.html
Tuesday had a unique gimmick: you could rotate her scalp (see photo on left) transforming her from a sun-streaked blonde with short bangs to an exotic brunette - all with a quick twist of the top of her head.
Hair play with dolls was very popular in the 70s. When you look closely at my photo, you'll see a line on the top of her head. That's the part you twist and she flips her hair colors.
Ideal also produced an African-American counterpart, named Taylor Jones, with black and bright auburn hair. She's valued higher than the white doll. Ms. Jones reminds me of one of my favorite Barbie dolls, 1974 Malibu Christie.
The second iteration of Tuesday is 1977's posable Suntan Tuesday Taylor. She still had the color-changing hair but her new gimmick is she tans. When you place little doodle stickers on her body and put her in the sunshine, cute tattoos show up when you remove the stickers - fun! The tan does go away after indoors for a while. Malibu Barbie has been known to say, however, 'A plastic tan never fades.' That line cracks me up every time! Suntan Tuesday is highly sought after with her vertical, oval-shaped sunglasses. A European version also had the same sunnies but came with a shorter, Marlo Thomas flip hairstyle (like Barbie's "Marlo Flip" Twist 'n Turn doll!)
One of Skipper's friends from the early 70's is Dramatic New Living Fluff #1143. I'm so excited to add her to my collection. Fluff dolls are very hard to find!
Dramatic New Living Fluff was introduced in 1971 and was the first friend of Skipper's since Skooter and Ricky "retired" in 1967. Skipper followed big sis Barbie everywhere which was a bit annoying, lol! Dramatic New Living Skipper and Living Fluff are only available as blondes. Fluff styles her hair in two pigtails held in place with orange hair bows, and she has bangs with cute pin curls on the sides. She dons a colorful yellow, orange and green striped one-piece jumper with a bright orange vinyl skirt that has two yellow buttons and attached shorts. She has pretty brown eyes with rooted eyelashes.
Fluff had a new face mold, which she shares with 1972 Pose 'n Play Tiff. Fluff came with a yellow skateboard showing off her athletic skills and prowess! Her body is identical to Dramatic New Living Skipper and has the same body markings.
In 1971, a Sears exclusive "Living Fluff Sunshine Special" gift set #1249 debuted. It came with a Living Fluff doll (with what appears to be lighter blonde hair) with the same markings as the original Living Fluff. She wore her original playsuit but also came with a cool five-piece fashion ensemble with Skipper labels. The wardrobe included red velvet pants with yellow and blue rickrack, a knee-length ruffled skirt with a matching red head scarf, a gold velvet vest with red trim, coordinating opaque gold tights and a white peasant blouse with yellow, red and blue rickrack. The set also includes flat gold shoes and her infamous skateboard. This set is VERY hard to find.
Skipper added a few other friends in the 70's; 1972 Pose 'n Play Tiff #1199 and 1976 Growing Up Ginger #9222..
According to Hillary James, author of The Complete and Unauthorized Guide to Vintage Barbie Dolls (2nd edition,) a Dramatic New Living Fluff doll never removed from the box (NRFB) is worth around $275 - $350, mint with no box can garner $75 - $125, and. the average doll, in the range of $50 to $75.
Hi dolls! The newest addition to my Mod Barbie collection is Busy Barbie (#3311) who debuted in 1972; the year maxi dresses, mini skirts, knee socks and patterns happened in a big way!
Her "busy" hands can hold a number of accessories including a phone, record player, color TV, travel case and a soda set of a brown tray with two glasses. Her hands can bend and turn at the wrist, and also grasp and carry.
While the innovations on this doll were designed to make Barbie more active and powerful, with her gripping hands, she ultimately didn't last long. Production costs were prohibitive, and the doll's joints a bit too fragile to survive a lot of play. Personally, I'm not a fan of the mechanical-looking hands.
Busy Barbie has bendable legs and elbows, a twist-n-turn waist, and painted lashes. She's wearing a blue denim halter top with attached white panties, a patchwork gingham long skirt with a ruffle on the hem, white pilgrim shoes and has a pretty brass barrette in her hair.
Seven Busy Barbie dolls with the holdin' hands feature were released in 1972. There are three talking versions; Talking Busy Barbie #1195, Talking Busy Ken #1196 and Talking Busy Steffie #1186. The four who couldn't talk are Busy Barbie #3311, Busy Ken #3314, Busy Steffie #3312, and Busy Francie #3313. A European Busy Francie was released at the same time, German Busy Francie.
Talking Busy Barbie has short blonde hair and real lashes, not painted lashes like #3311. She wore blue satin hot pants, a red tricot top with a chartreuse belt and knee boots. Talking Busy Steffie said things like, "I dig having my own TV," "The new fashions are wild" and "That music is groovy."
According to Hillary James, author of The Complete and Unauthorized Guide to Vintage Barbie Dolls (2nd edition,) a Busy Barbie never removed from the box (NRFB) is worth around $475 - $550, mint with no box can garner $275 - $350, and. the average doll, in the range of $175 to $275.
The latest edition to my Barbie collection! Dressed in a tricot tangerine one-piece swimsuit, the 1977 "Barbie and Her Super Fashion Fireworks" gift set #9805, was a Kresge (Kmart) exclusive. Each pack had four colorful outfits, and with three fashion packs produced, added up to twelve cute outfits. One set included fashions #9552, 9559, 9560 and 9561; a. second set had #9550, 9553, 9556 and 9558., and the third set included #9551, 9554, 9555 and 9557. In 1976, they were called Sweet 16 fashions.
She was included in another gift set in 1977, "Barbie doll Plus 3," #9953. Barbie came with three Best Buy fashions, #s 9153, 9160 and 9161.. This was an exclusive set sold at the dime store, Ben Franklin. Who remembers Ben Franklin?! It was the BEST place to score all types of candy!
1977 Barbie and Her Super Fashion Fireworks (#9805)
#BarbieSuperFashionFireworks #FashionFireworks #KresgeBarbie #BenFranklinBarbie #KmartBarbie
I'm so excited about the newest Barbie in my collection! I was having a not-so-great week, coming down with pneumonia. To cheer myself up, I looked at Barbies for sale on eBay lol! I came across a beautiful doll that the seller didn't know the name of. I was lucky this Barbie came across my search! I thought she was a perfect Yellowstone Kelley Barbie so I felt I scored, purchasing her for $150. When she arrived, I realized it wasn't Kelley. I blame it on my pneumonia brain, haha!
I did some research and discovered that she is a #8587 TNT European Barbie - wow! She was also sold in Canada but the red-haired version was only sold in Europe. I have the red-haired European Barbie (Italy); she looks like a hybrid of Yellowstone Kelley and Malibu Barbie.
She has the Stacey head mold, wears a one-piece turquoise swimsuit (the same maillot 1971 Malibu Barbie wears), and bending legs. She was produced in several versions from 1971 - 1976, like this this doll. In 1974, she wore a yellow swimsuit. According to Stefanie Deutsch's book, "Barbie, the First 30 Years," the Barbie I purchased is worth $150 - but this value was given in 2003. I'm hoping she's worth more now! She came in blonde and red hair, the latter being hard-to-find.
My doll came dressed in 1975's "A Busy Girl’s Ready-Set-Go Clothes! #7242." According to Mattel, Barbie® doll's bright crayon color mixers included striped tricot halter, long scarf, and knee socks. These pieces accented the woven yellow skirt and jacket with red stitching. The skirt had a yoke at the waist, and the jacket had pocket flaps placed vertically along stitch lines. The bottom was banded. Red woven knickers with an elasticized waist and yellow chunky shoes completed the look.
She KINDA looks like Yellowstone Kelley, right?!
Here she is, Miss America! Naturally, if your career starts as a teenage fashion model, and you're smart and want to make the world a better place - why not showcase those traits in a pageant?! Mattel came out with two different Miss America dolls using Barbie's body and the popular Steffie head mold; 1972 Walk Lively Miss America (#3200) and 1973 Quick Curl Miss America (#8697). You could curl and straighten her hair with the help of a special curling wand, comb and brush. Quick Curl Barbie capitalized on the popularity of hair play in the 70s. 1973 Quick Curl Barbie wears the same fashion as 1972 Walking Miss America but Quick Curl Barbie had painted lashes and Quick Curl hair. Quick Curl Miss America was produced from 1973 to 1979. All Miss America dolls are brunette with the exception of Quick Curl Miss America - the only blonde.
A fun fact... from 1973 on, outfits for Barbie were no longer named. Fashions are now known only by their numbers. Well, that's no fun! Bring back Glimmer Glamour, Intrigue, Movie Groovie, and Stripes are Happening!
Walk Lively Steffie (#1183) is one of three in the Walk Lively series (there was also a Walk Lively Ken and Barbie). The Walk Lively dolls came with a special Walk n' Turn stand which allowed the dolls to move their head and limbs when pushed. Barbie's same-sized friend, Steffie, was introduced in 1972. Steffie used a gorgeous new head mold that would be used for numerous Barbie family dolls over the years.
1972 Brunette Walking Miss America (#3200)
#WalkLivelySteffie #MissAmericaBarbie #QuickCurlBarbie #WalkingMissAmerica #QuickCurlMissAmerica #Steffie
If you enjoyed playing with Mod Barbies as a little girl, you probably remember the tiny doll stars of the early '70s, Topper's Dawn dolls! Topper Toys released Dawn dolls in March 1970. Compared to Barbie, these dolls were much smaller at 6 1/2" tall. Like Barbies of that era, they had rooted hair and rooted eyelashes. Three friends of Dawn were also released in 1970 - her girl squad Angie, Glori and Dale. Dawn and her besties were glamorous fashion model dolls with the most beautiful fashions. The initial line included 44 groovy outfits. The best Dawn Doll reference book I've found is:
The (anything but!) basic Dawn was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed doll with straight, waist-length hair parted in the middle. Her eyes glance to the left but there are some variations including brown-eyed Dawn dolls, side-parted hair, strawberry blonde hair and eyes looking forward or towards the right.
Dawn's friend, brown-eyed girl Angie, also had waist-length straight hair but in a dark brown shade. Another friend, Glori, is most commonly a redhead with straight, waist-length hair and cute bangs. Some Glori dolls have side-parted straight, waist-length hair without bangs and others have side-parted curly or wavy hair. Other Glori variations have blue eyes or no bangs. Dale is a groovy African-American doll with brown eyes and a black bubble cut hairdo, very popular in that era. Dale variations include many different eye colors and different lip colors. My favorite Dale has the rare green eyes, so pretty!
The second wave of Dawn dolls in 1971 included three men: Gary, Ron and Van, plus Jessica the flight attendant and Longlocks with, you guessed it, long hair! Jessica had short side-parted blonde hair and Longlocks showed off her extra-long auburn center-parted hair that went below her waist.
Also in 1971, the Head to Toe Dawn dolls were introduced. These cuties had a short bubble cut hairstyle with bangs and came with wigs; a floor-length fall, a sausage-curled ponytail, and a long braid. Head to Toe dolls became so popular that in the following year, 1972, Head to Toe Angie and Head to Toe Longlocks were introduced. These dolls were inspired by Crissy and Velvet dolls who had hair that "grew" from the tops of their heads. I had Crissy and loved playing with her hair!
The Dancing Dawn dolls were a hit in 1971. You could move their arm and the doll's head and waist would twist, appearing to dance. Almost every fashion on a Dancing Doll is trimmed with fringe or a chain that would swing while she danced. Dancing Dawn dolls came in Dawn, Angie, Glori, Dale, Longlocks and Jessica. Dawn's Dance Party set featured Fancy Feet Dawn, another set with her boyfriend Kevin, and the third - Dawn's Double Dance Party with both Fancy Feet Dawn and Kevin. The stage was battery-operated and had a handle of the side so the doll could move around on the stage.
1971 Flower Fantasy dolls are hard to find so mint in box dolls are highly sought after by collectors today. I have one in my collection that is so pretty. There were four styles; a yellow pot with red flowers, pink pot with pink roses, blue pot with orange and yellow flowers and a pink pot with purple flowers (this is the one I have). Only Dawn dolls accompanied the flowers, not any of her friends.
Competitor Mattel produced Rock Flower dolls in response to Dawn dolls' popularity, but they came nowhere near Dawn doll sales. In 1972, England's Palitoy produced Pippa, another pocket-sized doll who looked shockingly similar to Dawn. Some refer to her as Dawn's British cousin! They produced over 30 different Pippa and friends. Her first three friends were Marie, Tammie, and Britt. To reflect Britain's diverse ethnic population, Pippa later had an Asian friend named Jasmine and an African-American girlfriend, Mandy. More friends were added to the line - Gail (she looks like a small Malibu Barbie!), Emma, Rosemary, Penny and boyfriend Pete. The Pippa line outlived Dawn by seven years.
Dawn had a plethora of other fun play sets too. The most popular set was 1970's Dawn's Fashion Show. Dawn and her friends sashayed down the battery-operated revolving stage. The girls could practice modeling the latest fashions on the runway. Dawn had an aqua Action Car that could do turns. Dawn's Beauty Parlor play set kept Dawn looking her best. Dawn also had a Music Box and the Dawn 'N Me Pocketbook which was a purse with a long gold shoulder chain. If Dawn was inserted correctly, her head peeked out from a sliding window on the front.
Dawn introduced 8 new play sets in 1971: Dawn's Beauty Pageant which allowed the dolls to walk the runway, turn, and walk back along the other side. Also introduced was the DeLuxe Beauty Pageant (added a gold cape and Gary doll dressed in a tux), Dawn's Dance Party (3 versions), Dawn's Dress Shop, Dawn's Floral Stand, and Dawn's New Car in hot pink with flowers.
The last run of Dawn dolls was in 1972 which introduced two collections - the Majorette Dawn dolls and the Dawn Modeling Agency dolls. The Majorettes included Dawn, Kip and Connie (originally named April). The bodies were made with a set of hard plastic arms that would stay straight and help the doll twirl her glow-in-the-dark baton. Maybe these dolls inspired me to be a Twinkie Twirler back in the day haha!
The other collection that debuted in 1972 were the Dawn Modeling Agency dolls - these are among my favorites. There were five different dolls with unique hairstyles and fancy clothes that oozed glamour. Each model came with an evening bag, jewelry and a plastic portfolio that was color-coordinated to match their outfit. Each portfolio held a strip of 6 black and white photos of the model.
Daphne is a redhead with her hair in a pony with two sausage curls. Denise is a blonde with her hair in a bun on the top of her head. Dinah is a platinum blonde doll with two long braids tied with pink ribbons. Maureen is a side-parted brunette with a curled ponytail on the right side of her head, tied with a gold ribbon. The final Modeling Agency doll is Melanie, a dark brunette with a curled ponytail on the back of her head. I've been able to collect all of the Modeling Agency dolls in excellent condition!
Initially, Dawn dolls were very popular because Topper invested heavily in TV advertising, the dolls were easy for retailers to display, while the low price attracted the consumer. Also, at this time, Barbie sales weren't doing that great. She was suffering from an identity crisis and her quality wasn't as good as earlier years. Think Malibu Barbie vs Twist 'n Turn Barbie!
Sadly, Dawn Dolls were discontinued in 1973. They had a good run for a few years anyway! Dawn's popularity was short-lived because Topper went bankrupt in 1973 and they were not able to innovate such a small doll.
Checkerboard Toys reissued the dolls in 2000 making reproductions of Dawn, Glori, Angie and Dale as a 30th year anniversary commemoration. Checkerboard also released three new dolls in addition to Dawn, red-head Shannon (aka Maura), brunette Macy, and and African-American Denise in a line called Fab Fashions Fun. Their catchphrase was, "It's Groovy to be a Girl!" Then there were the Karma Cool Dawn dolls (Dawn, Denise and Macy but Shannon must have left town haha). They had super-long hair with colorful streaks. Dawn, Macy and Denise also came out in Go 'n Glo versions. Checkerboard produced other Dawn dolls too; bridal and holiday dolls, and special edition dolls like Totally Golden Macy and Seriously Silver Dawn dolls (photo from my collection). The dolls didn't really catch on and, due to a lagging economy, Checkerboard made its last Dawn dolls in 2003. Toy-O-Rama (the re-organized Checkerboard Toys) tried to revive the Dawn dolls in 2004 by repackaging the liquidated Checkerboard dolls but it was short-lived.
The advent of eBay catapulted Topper Dawn back into the consciousness of the youngest Baby Boomers and the oldest Gen Xers, referred to as Generation Jones (that would be me!). The Gen Jones are born from 1954 to 1967 and became the target market for Dawn dolls.
If you love Dawn and collecting her, there are many groups on Facebook - just search on Topper Dawn Dolls. There is also an annual Dawn Doll Convention! Check out this awesome site, Who is Dawn Anyway, for Dawn doll identifications.
Which were your favorite Dawn Dolls?! Would love to hear from you.
#dawn #angie #dale #glori #dawndoll #vintagedawn #70sdawn #dancingdawn #headtotoe #longlocks #jessica #flowerfantasy #modelingagency #fancyfeet #daphne #melanie #maureen #denise #70sdolls #majorettes #kip #pippa #topper
1974’s Yellowstone Kelley (#7808) was one of my favorite Barbies to play with as a young girl. I loved her tan, her cute pink lips and pretty red, shiny hair! She remains a difficult doll to acquire. In fact, I’m on the hunt for one! Mattel used the very popular Steffie head mold for Kelley. She came with blue and white striped camping shorts and pants, a red and white dotted shirt and adorable knee-high socks with sneakers. Kelley also came equipped with lots of fun gear to go on her camping adventures; a backpack, yellow sleeping bag, camping mattress, camp stove, cooking utensils, pots and pans and a brush and comb because a girl can only “rough it” so much!
Barbie dolls in 1974 were a shout-out to sports and physical activity. With the ‘76 Olympics just two years away and sports more popular than ever, Mattel created a Barbie sport series called the Sports Set. These dolls camped, sailed and skied their way into the hearts of children. There were only four sets of these active teens made; sailing Newport Barbie, skiing Sun Valley Barbie and Ken and camping Yellowstone Kelley. She was the only “new” doll in this line, as Sun Valley Barbie and Ken and Newport Barbie were 1973 Malibu dolls just dressed in sports fashions (sneaky!).
Barbie’s clothing in 1974 was influenced by the economic times and were less elaborate, featuring theBest Buy Barbie Fashions. Depends on who you ask, but many think 1974 was the last year of the “Mod” Barbie. I could also see it as 1972 or ‘73 when you consider their hairstyles and fashions. What do you think?
So dolls… does anyone have a Yellowstone Kelley for sale? I’d love to add her to my ah-mazing Barbie collection!
1972 Yellowstone Kelley (#7808)
#kelleybarbie #70skelley #yellowstonekelley #yellowstonebarbie #kelleydoll #70sbarbies
Barbie gained a new friend in 1972, Steffie. She had a gorgeous new head mold that has been used for numerous Barbie family dolls over the years. Walk Lively Steffie was brunette with brown eyes and had pretty rooted lashes. She came dressed in a pink and white print jumpsuit with a sheer pink scarf and red pilgrim shoes. What made Steffie unique is that when she is placed on her walk 'n turn stand and pushed along, her arms and legs move back and forth as her head looks from side to side! Walk Lively Barbie (#1182) and Walk Lively Ken (#1184) were also produced that same year in '72.
Barbie's vibe changed in the early 70s and this was considered the era of "action," whether it was talking, walking or carrying accessories. This new level of articulation allowed Barbie to pose in a more realistic fashion. The Live Action dolls could dance, Busy Steffie could grab things with her newly-designed hands and this Walk Lively Steffie could strut her stuff!
Moving bodies, extending hair, and a kissing mechanism were some of the added actions Mattel developed for Barbie dolls and her friends in the 70s. More examples of Barbies that could do things are Dramatic New Living Barbie, Barbie with Growin' Pretty Hair and Quick Curl Barbie.
Some considered these types of Barbie dolls gimmicky and, I have to admit, I much prefer the dolls produced before the action era. They seemed to be of better quality and the fashions were much cooler! I love, love, loved the 1969 Fab Fur #1493 (fake fur, of course, Barbie loved animals!), and 1969's Golden Groove with gold boots #1593.
What are your fav Mod Barbie fashions?
#walklivelysteffie #steffiedoll #walklivelybarbie #70sbarbies
Francie Fairchild was a fashion doll issued by Mattel from 1966 to 1976 and re-introduced in 2011. Marketed as "Barbie's MODern cousin", the doll had an amazing line of "mod"-style clothing. Her fashions highlighted bright colors and geometric patterns similar to fashions associated with London's swinging Carnaby Street in the late 1960s. At 11¼ inches tall, Francie was shorter than Barbie, but taller than Barbie's little sister Skipper, making the character presumably between the two in age.
In the late 60s, Mattel wanted their Barbie line to better reflect the times. However, fearful of losing their core customer base, Mattel decided to produce a "test" doll first, and introduced Francie in 1966. She featured a body reflecting that of a young teen, with a flip hairdo, rooted lashes and a slight figure. Some believe that the Francie doll may have been based on the character "Gidget", whose real name was Frances Lawrence (sometimes called Francie). Francie was such a smash hit that she led the way for Barbie's makeover and MOD debut in 1967.
Francie came in several models over her decade-long run, beginning with a straight leg model (1966–1968) who came in a red and white swimsuit and a "bend leg" doll (1966–1967) who was dressed in a geometric print swimsuit. "Twist 'N Turn" Francie was issued in 1967 and she could twist at the waist. She wore a striped one-piece swimsuit with pink bottoms. These three versions looked very similar. Then Francie was updated in 1969 with a short flip hairstyle and again in 1971 in a no-bangs hairstyle. All of these dolls were available in blonde or brunette and had rooted lashes, except for the straight leg dolls, who had painted lashes.
In the 1970s, several hair-related variations of the Francie doll were issued: a blonde "Hair Happenin's Francie" (1970–1972), a blonde "Growin' Pretty Hair" Francie (1971–1973); and a brunette "Quick Curl Francie" (1973–1974). A tanned version, "Malibu Francie", was produced from 1971 to 1976 with blonde hair and blue eyes. She used the Casey head mold. "Busy Francie" (1972–1973) was a blonde doll designed with a hand that was able to grip small objects. 1975's brunette "Baggie Francie", so called because she was sold in a clear plastic bag as opposed to a box, was the last of the Francie dolls produced.
This photo is of my 1970 Hair Happenin's Francie in the hard-to-find 1973 Best Buy Fashion #8644. She has a twist and turn waist, bendable knees, short blonde hair with bangs and a blue ribbon headband (my doll is missing the headband). She comes with four extra blonde hair pieces: Mini Curls, a topknot with large curls; Swingy Swirl, double flip curls on headband with an orange ribbon; Twisty Twirls, a braid on a headband with two banana curls and pink yarn bows and, lastly, Fluffy Whirl, a green riccon headband with short curls. Hair Happenin's Francie comes dressed in a blue dress with white crochet trim and aqua low heel shoes. The 1970 version has straighter hair while the 1971 and 1972 models have fluffier hair and paler lips.
"Black Francie", first issued in 1967, was the first doll in the Mattel line with a dark complexion. But, the doll did not have stereotypical African American features, since it was made with the same head molds as the white Francie doll. Because of this, a doll named Christie, first issued in 1968, is often considered the first true African American doll in the Barbie line.
A German variation of Francie (1972) was made with a different head mold, but the same body type as her US counterparts. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed German Francie was sold only in Germany and was only produced as a standard doll and a "Busy" variation.
There are also Japanese variations of Francie and she was hugely popular in Japan. Japanese Francie and her exclusive fashions are the most valuable and sought after items amongst collectors. The rarest of all the Francie dolls is the Japanese Sun Sun Malibu Francie. She is a Malibu Francie with a deep suntan, and uses the original Francie head mold with rooted lashes and long brunette, side-parted hair. American-issued Francies used the Casey head mold, with blue eyes and blonde side-parted hair with no rooted lashes. The Japanese Francie dolls were produced in a very limited quantity so command a price of up to $4,000!
Francie has been reproduced by Mattel three times: in 1996, as a brunette bend leg doll with a reproduction swimsuit and Gad-Abouts outfit; in 1997, as Black Francie (limited to 5,000 dolls) wearing a reproduction of The Wild Bunch; and in 2005, as a blonde, no-bangs Francie, wearing a reproduction of Smashin' Satin.
Which Francie is your favorite?! Would love to hear from you, dolls!
Article source: Wikipedia 2014
#hairhappeninsfrancie #hairhappeninsbarbie #franciebarbie #70sfrancie #franciedoll #vintagefrancie #modfrancie
Search for any Barbie or other 70s doll blog posts in the box below!