Barbie's Best Friend P.J.
P.J. dolls are one of my favorite - I just love her adorable pigtails! She was introduced in 1969 as Barbie’s new best friend, replacing Midge… ouch! The first P.J. doll was marketed as “New ‘N Groovy Talking P.J.” She wore a pretty pink and orange floral dress and used the Midge face sculpt, but P.J. was more hip and mod. She had long blonde pigtails with beaded, colorful hair bands, brown doe eyes, pretty blue eye shadow and long rooted lashes. When you pulled the string on the back of her neck, she’d say fun things like, “Oh, you’re the grooviest!” and “Help me get ready for my date". Talking P.J. that still speaks is a real find for collectors! There are also Talking versions of Barbie, Christie and Ken. The second P.J. to arrive was the 1970 Twist ’n Turn P.J. in her cute pink swimsuit.
Live Action P.J., the third P.J. to be produced, was movin’ and groovin’! A special stand allowed P.J. to dance with the touch of the “touch and go” stand. Her box highlighted her many skills like, “I dance to your favorite music,” “I dance more than ever before,” “Start the action, touch my touch ’n go stand,” and “There’s lots I do - just like you.”
The final P.J. of the Mod Era was 1972’s Sun Set Malibu P.J. She used the Steffie face sculpt and wore a fab lavender one-piece swimsuit. She joined her other tan friends, circa 1971, Malibu Barbie, Malibu Ken, Malibu Francie and Malibu Skipper. Beach pal Malibu Christie joined the squad in 1973.
P.J. wore the same size clothes as Barbie so they could share closets. The only fashions that have a P.J. label are her swimsuits and the items from her two gift sets. Mattel tells us the initials P.J. don’t stand for anything, that it is simply her name. I find that odd so I like to think it stands for Penny Jane! What’s your guess?
Values from The Complete and Unauthorized Guide to Vintage Barbie Dolls, Hillary Shilkitus James, 2nd Edition, 2011
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