Saturday, March 9, 2013

Barbie is 54 today! Here is my tribute

I got my first Barbie doll in 1963. She was a brunette bubblecut just like the one in the red dress.

For months I saved all the money that came into my hands to achieve my heart's desire. She cost the princely, or should I say princessly, sum of $3.00.

It was hard to accumulate, but I did it. I still remember the thrill of finding a nickel in the driveway and adding it to my stash.

Each doll is wearing a variation of the Vintage Barbie Fashion "Silk Sheath Dress" (1962-1963). This fabulous fashion is made of silk Shantung. It came in seven different colours: Turquoise, green, pale yellow, red, white, and not shown in the picture, black and a bright lemon yellow.

Each dress has a working zipper in the back.

The two lovely chairs were made by craftsman and furniture designer, George LeClerc, who designed many of the early Tynietoy dollhouse furnishings.

The backdrop is from the Barbie Little Theatre. It is for the Cinderella ballroom scene.

This lovely lady has bright red lips and brassy blonde hair. 
Although it may not be obvious to the casual observer each of the dolls is different. There are three variations of blonde hair shown here, but many more exist.

The density, texture and volume of the hair tells the experienced Barbie aficionado approximately what year the doll was made.

The width of the doll's face tells one how old the casting mould was and aslo gives a clue to the year the doll was made. The wider the face the more old and worn the mould was.

This sweet girl has the pink lips and yellow hair of a coveted " White Ginger" doll. The White Gingers had platinum blond hair when new, but the hair often oxidized over the years and changed to a bright yellow.

I have a soft spot for this lady. She has the same innocent expression of my very first  Barbie. I find her face looks different from the others

Recently I have been watching some of the TV shows that were popular in the early 60's Almost every woman in them had some variation of the Bubblecut hairdo. Look at the mother in Hazel, or Beaver's mother. And practically every woman on the Donna Reed show except Donna herself has a bubble do.

Red haired Barbies were referred to a Titian. There weren't as many titians made as blonde and brunettes.

This lady may or may not be a White Ginger. She may or may not be a side part bubblecut, which is very rare.  No matter how valuable she may be, if she is proved to be either of those, the nip on he nose knocks her value back down to ground level. No matter. I love her narrow face and the way it is painted, and I think she is beautiful.

The bubblecut barbie wasn't introduced until 1962, so they can't celebrate their 54th birthday yet. Maybe I can show you some of the Ponytail Barbies in my collection another time. We'll see what happens when she turns 55.


  1. I Knew we were souls in commom! My first Barbie was the brunette bubble head too! Happy birthday Barbrbie doll! (weren't the see through baby doll pajamas shocking???)C

    1. I still have my orignal doll. She is wearing a mint version of Solo in the Spotlight, and has a place of honour in my collection. Did you notice that the chairs are Tynietoy?

  2. Hi Shale! This post is Wonderfully nostalgic! My sister's first Barbie was the Brunette bubble cut! My first was the Blonde pony-tail! She came in a zebra stripe bathing suit! I am pretty sure it was 1963 when we got them! The Barbies got sold at a yard sale when I was a teen... How Could We do that?!!!

    1. Mine came in the red knit bathing suit. I still have her as she has travelled through the last 5 decades with me. I have added many more vintage Barbies to my collection, some purchased at garage sales, but she is still my favourite.