In 1968, Talking Barbie found her voice! New technology allowed her to talk with a pink flower pull-string behind her neck - although Barbie actually spoke through a voice box in her chest. She suggested fun things to do to inspire hours of play. Barbie said things like, "Let's go shopping," "I have a date tonight," "What's playing at the cinema?" and more. She chats about fashion, prom, shopping, parties and dates. Collectors score when they find a vintage talker than can still speak!
I was five years old when I got my first Barbie and it was the 1968 Talking Barbie. I was mesmerized by her beauty. My first love! Well, there was Benjamin when I was 3 years old but that's another story, haha. Now, many (many!) years later, I'm still in love with all things Mod Barbie. The photo I posted is of my current Talking Barbie, wearing Wedding Wonder, in front of my Christmas tree. Fashions can be worth as much as the dolls, as you can see at the end of this post.
1968 Talking Barbie #1115 has two Talking friends who also were introduced in 1968:
1. Talking Stacey #1125 / She is Barbie’s British chum and she spoke with a British accent.
2. Talking Christie #1126 / She is historically important because she is the first African-American friend of Barbie.
In 1969, Talking Barbie, Talking Christie and Talking Stacey are identical to the 1968 editions but have a new color box. Also in 1969, three additional Talking dolls debuted:
1. Talking Ken #1111 / He is the first new Ken doll, Barbie's boyfriend, issued since 1967 since Mattel didn't offer a Ken doll in 1968. Ken and Barbie were "on a break." haha
2. New ‘N Groovy Talking P.J. #1113 / She is identified as Barbie's best friend. She uses the Midge face sculpt, has brown eyes, rooted eyelashes, and pale blond hair pulled into two sections tied with beads and worn with bangs. Oftentimes the cute beads are missing because children pulled them off. The beads are one of my favorite traits of P.J.'s!
3. Talking Julia #1128 / She is a personality doll depicting Diahann Carroll, star of the NBC show Julia which aired from 1968 - 1971. I have this doll still in the box and just love her! She's wearing a groovy gold and silver jumpsuit.
In 1970, the Spanish-speaking Talking Barbie came out. She was sold in Spanish-speaking areas of the United States. There are two versions of English-speaking Talking Barbies in 1970. One is a rare variation using the Stacey head mold and can fetch upwards of $600+! Talking Brad #1114 debuted in 1970 and is Christie's boyfriend. The only Talking Barbie produced in 1971 was Barbie herself and she now has side-glance eyes. The last of the Talking dolls were produced in 1972; Talking Busy Barbie #1195, Talking Busy Steffie #1186 and Talking Busy Ken #1196.
In addition to Spanish, Mattel strategized to expand the Talking Barbie audience by marketing this doll as French-, German-, Dutch- and Italian-speaking. All of the Talking Barbies have bendable legs and the same head mold as the Twist ‘n Turn Barbie. The first Talking Barbie in 1968 has a side-parted, twisted pony with three pink ribbons and is available in blonde, brunette and a redhead. A few years later in 1970, Talking Barbie debuted a new short hairstyle called the “nape curl.” I actually prefer the long pony!
Of all the Talking Barbies, the 1968 Barbie is still my favorite with Talking P.J. coming in a close second. Interesting tidbit about P.J. – Mattel declares her initials don’t stand for anything, it’s simply her name!
Who’s your favorite?!
1968 Talking Barbie - Values: $475 - $550 NRFB; $275 - $350 mint/no box
Values from "Vintage Barbie Dolls" by Hillary Shilkitus James (2011)
1968 - 1969 Wedding Wonder #1849 - Values: $400 NRFB
Values from Barbie Doll Fashion by Sarah Sink Eames (2001)