Friday, April 30, 2010

Robert Best Mad Men Barbie Interview

Barbie designer Robert Best recently discussed details of his design for the Mad Men Barbie dolls in an interview with AMC.

Check out the whole article here.

Here's my favorite part: AMC asked Best which accessories he wanted to include with the dolls but couldn't.

I wanted them to come with a bar cart and lots of liquor but clearly that is not something we'd like to promote and not very Barbie at all! Of course, everyone wants the office set, which I want as well. There are a lot of great details: Betty has a working evening clutch that has a working frame, and compact and lipstick... Don has a fedora, a trench coat.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Super Hair Barbie

I would like to give mad props to Frannie for pinpointing my favorite Barbie! She's a 1987 Super Hair Barbie.

The magic "clip" in the video is 80s-riffic. And the jump suit? Yikes.

Still...I might have to track one down that's still in the box.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meet My Favorite

This is my favorite Barbie of all time, the one I played with constantly. She lived in the best room of the biggest house in my collection. She wore the newest fashions, hung out with all the popular dolls and dated the best-looking Ken on the block (of course).

I didn't bring her home from a store. My mom found her in a garage sale one day and brought her home. I'm not sure why she became my favorite so quickly. Likely, I saw a little of myself in the blonde hair and blue eyes and wanted, in a perfect world in which we all could look like Barbie dolls, to be like her.

I pulled her out recently to check out how she is doing and got to wondering what type of Barbie doll she is. (Sadly, she's got a case of the sticky legs and doesn't hang out with the rest of the gals any more.)

Does anyone recognize her?

Those earrings are not hers. My best girl had to have diamonds, so I yanked those out of someone else's ears and gave them to her.

She also had a rather curious head attachment when I received her. It was a white...well...a white plastic thing stuck in the top of her head. It had a circular part that could expand or contract. I think it might have been for hair-styling purposes. Why else would it be stuck up there, right?

I cut it out so I could style her hair without it. I suppose the correct terminology is that I "sawed" it out with a serrated knife while my parents weren't looking (Shhhh). That bugger was really stuck in there!

Here's a shot of the hole in the top of her head from which the plastic thingy used to stick out:

I can not pinpoint exactly the year my mom brought her home. My best guess is early to mid-90s? I think earlier than 1994? But of course she'd already lived a life in someone else's home by then, which could place her in the 80s. Then again, the Superstar face mold came out in 1976, so she could be older than that.

Any ideas?

Monday, April 12, 2010

What's Your Age?

I have a theory: I think most Barbie collectors are older adults. Naturally, with age typically comes an increase in disposable income, which can fuel a collection. Also, older generations likely have fond memories of playing with dolls as children, unlike many youth of today (see here).

I guess I have trouble imagining many twenty-somethings and younger devoted to collecting a doll. It very much feels like an old-school pass time.

This is why I'm curious about your age! I've started another poll (look to right) that asks you to indicate your general age range.

I also welcome you to leave your thoughts on this topic in the comments section. I'd love to hear uplifting stories of younger generations getting into collecting.

Thank you for your help!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Much Ado About Nerds

Most of us who follow Barbie know her latest two careers are anchorwoman and computer engineer. The former career won the overall vote while the latter won the popular vote in a contest Mattel held to determine Barbie's next careers. (Read more about the vote here.)

The interesting part of the vote is many female engineers mobilized and encouraged others to vote for Barbie as a computer engineer, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

From the article:
Why grown women felt so strongly about having themselves represented by a doll--especially one that feminists have always loathed--speaks volumes both about the power of the iconic Barbie doll and the current state of women who work in computer and information sciences.
Read the entire article here.

Regardless of past faux pas ("Math class is tough.") Barbie remains "enduringly popular among young girls," states the article. The results of the career vote also show that Barbie remains important to adults as well, especially those who realize her cultural influence.

One woman in the technology field put it this way in the article: "I found the pink condescending, but if it will get little girls' attention and get them to play with computers, it's a good start."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

In Case You Were Wondering...

...Mattel's CEO Robert Eckert received $7.9 million in compensation in 2009.

That's actually down 8% from 2008.

You can find full details on what makes up his compensation package here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Reverend" Barbie

Another customized Barbie is making the media rounds: It's Reverend Barbie, created by an Episcopal priest in Ohio for her friend (who also is a priest).

Read about it here and here.

The situation here is not unlike the one surrounding "Burka" Barbie late last year. One person's unique Barbie creation is stirring up a media storm, likely because the headlines are too good to pass up.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

When I Was A Kid...

When I was a kid no one in my neighborhood had fancy technology. Cells phones didn't exist. We didn't have a computer. There was no Internet.

This left a lot of time for playing. Specifically, playing with dolls. I have a lot of fond memories of dressing my dolls up and concocting elaborate story lines for them to act out. As a child, I was never bored and could entertain myself for hours. Heck, I still can.

That's why this article made me sad.

This quote, from a little girl of 12, is particularly painful:

"I don't think I'm good at making up imaginary things," she said. "I didn't know what to do with dolls."


What sorts of children are growing up in the United States today if they can't figure out what to do with their imaginations?