Did you know that Barbie turned 50 this year? March 9, 1959, teenage Barbie was introduced at a New York toy fair. Not popular at the show with buyers, Barbie became an instant hit in retail stores. And history was born.
Barbie was the idea of Ruth Handler who, in 1956, felt the world was ready for an adult doll based on the paper dolls her daughter played with. She wanted to create a 3-D doll based on the paper dolls. In fact, Ruth’s new doll would be named after her daughter, Barbie. But Ruth’s idea was initially rejected by male designers at Mattel. They felt nobody would buy a doll with breasts. Ruth persisted. It took her 3 years before the first Barbie was rolled out at the New York show.
Some highlights of Barbie’s history:
1961 – Ken Carson is introduced on a TV ad. Soon after he and Barbie begin dating.
1965 – Astronaut Barbie is the new doll a year after NASA scraps their female training program.
1973 – It’s medical school for nurse Barbie who eventually graduates as a surgeon.
1975 – Barbie wins a gold medal at the Olumpic Games in skating, skiing and gymnastics.
1980 – Enter multiracial Barbie with the first black and Hispanic Barbies as part of the new international collection.
1992 – Mattel gets into trouble when their new teen Barbie whines about math.
1992 – Could it be a sign of the future when Barbie runs for president.
1997 – People with disabilities are introduced with Share-a-Smile Becky in a hot pink wheelchair.
2004 – Barbie and Ken break up after 43 years! No worries, they get back together in 2006.
2009 – At 50, Barbie may be one of the richest women in the world earning $1.2 billion annually.
I remember having many Barbie dolls. My sister and mother used to make clothes for our Barbie and Ken dolls. I also remember the highlight of Christmas one year in a hot pink corvette. The photo here is of the modern Barbie transportation. Do you remember the first bendable legs? Finally, I couldn’t help including this photo of a Barbie cake! Yeah, the bridal Barbie is edible!
Wanna learn more about Barbie, or do you a sudden urge to check out collector Barbie’s? Check out Barbie.com.