Thursday, March 18, 2010

Barbie Origin

Raise your hand if you watch the American Movie Channel's "Mad Men" show.

Raise the other hand if you're a fan of Mattel's Barbie Doll series.

Now raise your wallet and you can be a fan of both.



Ruth Handler was the woman principally responsible for creating Barbie. She noticed that her daughter liked to assign adult roles to her baby dolls when she played with them. At the time (mid-to-late-1950s), the only dolls sold looked like babies and only paper dolls were drawn like adults.

Ruth's husband - Elliott - had co-founded the Mattel Toy Company and Ruth suggested to him that they begin manufacturing dolls made in adult images, but Elliott thought they would be a failure.

Then, on a fateful trip to Germany in 1956, Ruth found exactly what she had been looking for ... a doll based on an adult person. It was the "Lilli" doll. She was so excited she purchased three. What Ruth didn't know was that the "Lilli" doll had been based on a character in a European cartoon, and that in that cartoon she was a prostitute.

Nevertheless, when she returned home and showed her husband proof that an adult doll was marketable, Mattel changed the design of the doll, named it Barbie - after Ruth's daughter, Barbara - and debuted the doll in January of 1959.

Since then, over one billion Barbie dolls have been sold.

The doll's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

[researched and paraphrased from The Writer's Almanac and Wikipedia]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you." (Isaiah 44:22)


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