How the Barbie doll began:
Soon after, Mattel began selling the Barbie doll in stores and advertising Barbie on television. Mattel was the first company to market toys directly to kids by sponsoring children’s television programs with ads targeted to young consumers.
How and why the Barbie doll was created:
"I believed it was important to a little girl's self-esteem to play with a doll that has breasts," Handler said.
Considering her stated goal, it seems ironic that Handler modeled her Barbie doll after Lilli, a sex toy for men, which she had seen during a trip to Germany.
Growing up Barbie:
Barbie loves animals. Her first pet was a horse named Dancer; since then she’s had 49 more pets including dogs, cats, ponies, a parrot, a chimpanzee, a panda, a lion cub, a giraffe, a zebra, and other horses.
How the Barbie doll got her name:
Handler’s daughter also helped inspire the idea for the Barbie doll, because Handler had noticed that as a young girl Barbara often chose to play with adult paper dolls instead of the baby dolls that were popular toys for girls after World War II.
In her first 50 years, Barbie held more than 100 jobs. After her debut as a fashion model, Barbie went on to become an astronaut, compete as an Olympic athlete (in both gymnastics and swimming), and run for president (four times, always as an independent) on a platform of “opportunities for girls, educational excellence and animal rights.”
Barbie has been a rock star, a doctor and a paleontologist; a police officer, a fire fighter, and a circus performer. She has been a cowgirl, a NASCAR driver and an American Idol Winner.
It seems there is nothing Barbie can’t do.
There were rumors that Barbie had dumped Ken for Blaine, a hot Australian surfer with blond hair and bendable knees, or that Ken was gay and had finally decided to come out of the Dream House closet. Despite all the fan and media speculation, however, two years later (in 2006) Ken and Barbie reunited. Now they appear to be just friends, but rumors are flying that Ken is pining for the past.
Despite the fact that 70 famous designers have outfitted her, including Versace, Gucci, Calvin Klein and Galliano, Barbie makes mistakes. Top vote-getter for tastelessness? Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Barbie.
Barbie first went international in 1961, entering Europe with an Italian doll, the first non-American Barbie. Since then, the Barbie doll has adopted dozens of different nationalities and is now sold in 150 countries worldwide. When the Berlin Wall was torn down, Mattel even introduced Freundschaft (Friendship) Barbie to commemorate the event.
Mattel introduced the first black and Hispanic Barbie dolls in 1980.
Barbie Doll Trivia:
- Since the Barbie doll was introduced, more than 105 million yards of fabric have been used to create her clothes, making Mattel one of the world’s largest apparel manufacturers.
- Mattel estimates that 1 billion Barbie doll fashions have been created over the years.
- It takes up to three hours to paint Barbie’s face. Her favorite shade of eyeshadow is brown.
- Barbie is the largest selling doll in the U.S., and the largest selling toy worldwide.
- In 1959, the first Barbie doll cost $3. Today, that same Barbie doll, in mint condition, is estimated to bring in more than $27,000.