The Quick 10: Happy Birthday, Barbie!

barbie-home.jpgShe's 50 next week, you know. I feel like she's probably had some work done "“ she looks way too good for being five decades old. If plastic surgery (plastic surgery, haha) is one of her secrets, though, I'm not sharing that here... but I do have 10 other Barbie factoids for you.

1. Barbie's birthday represents her public debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York in 1959. Despite the fact that she's 50 years old, Barbie just got her first bellybutton in 2000.

2. She was created by an engineer who used to work for the Pentagon. Jack Ryan (yep, there's a real Jack Ryan) not only helped design Barbie, he also worked with Mattel on Chatty Cathy. And in an unrelated fact, he was Zsa Zsa Gabor's sixth husband. Rumor has it that when their marriage started going downhill (which was quick, since they were married for less that two years), he once disassembled her Rolls Royce, piece by piece, and refused to put it back together for her.

lilli3. The lady behind the actual idea was Ruth Handler. She on a trip to Europe with her kids when she came across the Bild Lilli doll (that's her in the picture. See a resemblance?). She had mentioned the idea of an adult doll to her Mattel-exec husband before, but he wasn't interested. She bought three of the Bild Lilli dolls and brought them back to show him; he was sold. Mattel bought the rights to Bild Lilli and the rest is history.

4. Barbie is named after the Handlers' daughter, Barbara. Ken is named after their son, Kenneth. Her parents are apparently George and Margaret Roberts from Willows, Wisconsin. Other family includes her siblings, Skipper, Tutti, Todd, Stacie, Kelly and Krissy. Tutti and Todd are twins... but so are Todd and Stacie. Tutti mysteriously disappeared in 1971, so we can only assume that Stacie (introduced in 1992) is Tutti reincarnated. She also has cousins named Francie and Jazzie. She also apparently has a cousin called LuluBelle, but LuluBelle has never been merchandised.

5. Barbie has obviously been at the center of body image controversies throughout the years due to her ridiculously svelte-yet-busty figure.

Mattel makes Barbie at a 1/6 scale, which is standard scale for action figures. This would make Barbie's measurements 38-18-28 (reports vary based on versions of dolls).

Slumber Party Barbie of 1965 came with your very own "How to Lose Weight" book "“ one of the tips included was "don't eat."

She also came with a bathroom scale that put the 5'9" Barbie in at 110 pounds. Well, 5'9" if you consider the 1/6 scale, which makes Barbie about 35 pounds underweight and probably unable to have a period. If you consider 11.5" Barbie at 110 pounds, she's a total fatty.

6. The first Barbie was $3. In mint condition, the same one is worth $27,450 today.

lucy7. Celebrity Barbies have included Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor, Twiggy (the first celebrity doll), LeAnn Rimes, Cher and Lindsay Lohan.

8. Barbie's first career was a teen model. Since then she's been (in order), a fashion editor, a stewardess, a ballerina, a tennis pro, an executive, a candy striper, an astronaut, a surgeon, Miss America, a gold medal gymnast, an actress, an aerobics instructor, a reporter, a rockstar, a UNICEF Ambassador (hey, I had that one!), an army officer, a rapper, a chef, a police officer, a Rockette, a baseball player, a SCUBA diver, a U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Squadron Leader, a paleontologist, a NASCAR driver, a pilot, a sign language teacher, a presidential candidate, an American Idol winner, a zoologist, a Space Camp instructor and a fashion magazine intern. And this list is by no means exhaustive - she's had a total of 108 careers so far.

9. Barbie's signature color, in case you haven't noticed, is pink. Barbie Pink, which the Mattel website pointed out is Pantone color PMS 219. The immature side of me snickered a little bit at that.


10. Barbie and her friends come in seven different skin tones and seven different hair colors. She wears brown eyeshadow the most often and apparently has more than 300 shades of brown in her "beauty kit," according to the Mattel site.

Creative Beasts
These Scientifically Accurate Dinosaur Toys Are Ready to Rule Your Desk
Creative Beasts
Creative Beasts

In May 2016, we told you about Beasts of the Mesozoic, a line of Kickstarter-backed dinosaur toys that would reflect the feathery truth about the mighty beasts and provide an alternative to the Hollywood-enhanced glamour of the Jurassic Park franchise.

Then, absolutely nothing happened. Having being fully funded on the crowd-sourced platform, Beasts seemed to be mired in production issues. Now, nearly two years after designer David Silva announced the project, the toys are finally ready to hit shelves.

A Beasts of the Mesozoic action figure in retail packaging
Creative Beasts

The Beasts line will initially consist of 11 figures due to ship this month, with six more expected to arrive in May. Included in the first wave are Velociraptor mongoliensis, Atrociraptor marshalli, Balaur bondoc, Dromaeosaurus albertensis, Zhenyuanlong suni, Pyroraptor olympus, Linheraptor exquisitus, Velociraptor osmolskae (red), FC (Fan’s Choice) Dromaeosaurus albertensis, FC Pyroraptor olympus, and FC Zhenyuanlong suni.

In his updates, Silva said the delay was due in large part to how quickly the scope of the line grew. At the time the campaign started, he was planning on just three figures that would ship by May 2017. By the end, he had 25 items, including accessory packs.

You can pre-order the first wave ($35 to $40 each) at BackerKit.

Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images
7 Shockingly Expensive Barbies You Can Buy Right Now
Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images
Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images

When the Barbie doll debuted in 1959, she flew off the shelves at $3 a pop. Today, though the price of some new Barbies can start as low as $10, the value of certain older models has skyrocketed over the years. Obviously, an original Barbie Millicent Roberts doll (yes, she has a full name!) in her black and white striped swimsuit will cost a pretty penny; this blonde version is currently on Etsy for $5800, while another is on sale at Ruby Lane for $4495. But even some that you may have played with as a child—like this $148 Talking Teacher Barbie from 1995 who is dressed like a glamorous Ms. Frizzle—will set you back quite a bit if you want to recreate your original collection. Check out these seven other surprisingly expensive Barbies that you can buy right now.


First released in 1992, Totally Hair Barbie had a mane of completely unreasonable Rapunzel-esque hair that went all the way to her toes. With more than 10 million sold, Totally Hair is the best-selling Barbie ever. But even with so many originals out there and a 25th anniversary doll that also sold well, there are plenty of boxed '90s dolls on eBay—both blonde and brunette—going for more than $50. Who knows if that Dep hair gel is still any good, though.


American Girl Barbie with bending legs
RomitaGirl67, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Barbie's stick-straight posture got a little more human when "bendable" versions began coming out in the '60s. Sure, it was just her knees that bent, but that little movement made her look much more convincing while "walking," like this Skipper doll who is ready to romp on the beach with her new-found mobility. (Now, of course, some Barbies are bendable enough to do yoga). Buying an early model of this new design can knock you off your feet though. This used, 1965 bobbed-hair American Girl Barbie with only one leg that still bends properly has set the opening bid at $400 (which seems like a lot, until you see the same doll in new condition asking for more than $3000).


Twist and Turn Christie Doll
RomitaGirl67, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The first Christie doll was a 1968 talking version, and since then, the African-American doll has been a consistent member of the Barbie family. Nice, boxed Christies can command several hundred dollars, like a 1976 SuperStar Christie asking $875 or this 1981 Golden Dream Christie priced at $300, but even a $100 Kissing Christie is a steep price compared to what she would have retailed for in 1980.

Pro tip: The black hair on the older vintage and mod Christies has a tendency to oxidize red, which is normal (like on this $295 Talking Christie from 1970). But, if you can find a doll that has retained its original black or brown hair color, those tend to be worth more.


In 1964, Mattel tried out a number of new techniques on one particular doll. "Miss Barbie" came in a box set with three wigs to alternately play with, so rather than having the "rooted" hair that is most familiar, she was the first to have "molded" hair—that is, hair painted directly onto the head mold. She was also the first and only Barbie to have "sleep eyes," or eyelids that could close while she was laying out in one of her three pink swimsuits. She wasn't a big seller then, but now a Miss Barbie without all of her accessories can go for $195 (this one, which is in a different vintage dress with none of the original swimwear, is asking $200). However, original sets—those including her three wigs and swimming cap, poolside swing, palm tree, mini magazines, etc.—can command around $1000.


Tinker*Tailor loves Lalka, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The earliest Barbie models didn't have long hair to brush or braid—they had the short curly bangs and elaborate ponytails of teens of the '50s and '60s. The first seven models, released between 1959-1964, were all variations on this look, and any original, Japan-made ponytail Barbie will put you back a few hundred dollars. This #3 in a colorful, custom evening gown is currently going for $725, while this blond "busy gal" #3 that has been partially restored is up for $650. A small subset of this ponytail group? The "swirl ponytail" Barbies, which featured slick bangs that were swept to the side and back into her ponytail. A mint original swirl doll could go for $799, while others are available on Etsy or eBay for under $300.


The My Size Barbie craze of the mid-'90s had 3-foot-tall versions that kids could stand up to play with, rather than kneel or sit on the floor. And to pre-program a generation of girls who would later watch marathon hours of Say Yes to the Dress, there was even a My Size Bride Barbie, complete with a bridal gown for 7-year-olds to play dress-up in. Today, many are available for around $150, though some, like this unopened Dancing My Size Barbie, can go for $200 or more.


Vintage Color Magic Barbie
RomitaGirl67, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

In 1966 and 1967, Mattel issued the extremely groovy Color Magic Barbie doll. She came with either blonde or black hair, and if you used a changer solution packet, her hair would transform to two shades of red. She also sported much more vivid makeup, which highlighted her bright yellow, pink, and blue swimsuit. A blonde one is currently available for $475, and a "Scarlet Flame" (the color the blonde becomes) is also listed for $200. But if you want the whole color-changing solution kit and caboodle, it could cost closer to $700 (though there's no guarantee that the hair will work the same magic as it did 50 years ago).


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