When I was a little girl, there was almost always something Barbie related under our tree. And so, for this last TT before Christmas, I focus on her. Much of the biographical material comes from Mattel press releases, a long-ago series of Random House childrens books and now fashion comic books.
1) Barbie's full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts.
2) Even though the Barbie best seller at Toys R Us this Christmas is her elaborate Malibu Dreamhouse, she was born and raised in Wisconsin.
3) Her siblings are kid sister Skipper and twins Todd and Stacy.
4) She was introduced to the public in 1959 as a "teenage fashion model."
5) Her mad success in the fashion industry is evidenced by the willingness of top designers to create clothes just for her. Over the years, Mattel has marketed Barbie clothes by such luminaries as Vera Wang and Diane Von Furstenberg.
6) Her younger cousin, Francie Fairchild, followed her into modeling in 1965. Francie was not as "well endowed" as Barbie, but my friends and I all agreed Francie had prettier eyes.
7) She is mysterious about her love life. I happen to know that in the mid 1960s (at least at my house) she had a secret romance with Beatle Paul McCartney that included many picnics, trips to the zoo and drives in her pink convertible with teal upholstery. Yet the only relationship she ever publicly acknowledged is with high school sweetheart, Ken Carson.
8) In 1965, well before Sally Ride, she became America's first female in space when "Miss Astronaut Barbie" was introduced. I imagine that when she went back into the sky years later as "Stewardess Barbie," being a flight attendant seemed very tame in comparison.
9) She has also been a NASCAR driver, a nightclub chanteuse (my personal favorite), and a doctor.
10) A decorated veteran, "Army Barbie" earned the rank of Sergeant when she served as a medic in Desert Storm in 1992.
11) Despite Barbie's uncanny ability to succeed at all these professions, no one is quite sure what Ken does for a living. This probably caused tension between them and could explain why they never married.
12) Strangely enough, though she and Ken never actually made it all the way down the aisle, Barbie had many bridal gowns designed for her. That's her 1965 "Wedding Day Set" at the top of the page. Francie and Skipper are her bridesmaids.
13) Barbie's figure is the subject of much debate. She is estimated to be 5'9 and 36-18-33. Being this top heavy, with feet permanently molded for high heels, would make it difficult for the average woman to keep her balance. Yet Barbie is imminently graceful.
PLEASE NOTE: Hot Wheels were not introduced until I was too old to care, but I did love my Tonka truck. Some of us girls cannot be pigeon-holed or defined by our toys!