Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Barbies and Books

Today is "Barbie's" birthday!

Barbie the Fashion doll that is. She made her debut on this date back in 1959 at a price of $3.00!

Did you have a Barbie when you were growing up? My sister Nancy had Midge (Barbie's best friend) and I had Barbie and we would spend hours, I mean HOURS, pretending that we were Barbie and Midge ~ out on all kinds of adventures. We saved our brithday and Christmas money to buy the outfits-I think they were priced at about $1.99-4.99 depending on how fancy the outfit and how many accessories were included.

Ruth Handler watched her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls and noticed that she enjoyed giving them adult roles. Ruth's husband was a co-founder of the Mattel Toy company and when she suggested the idea of an adult bodied doll, he was unenthusiastic. During a trip to Europe in 1956 with her children Barbara and Kenneth, Ruth found a german toy doll called Bild Lilli. She brought it back to the US, worked with an engineer, reworked the design of the doll, named her after her daughter and Barbie made her debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. Over the years, Barbie's appearance had changed many times, most notably in 1971, when her eyes were adjusted to look forward rather than having the demure sideways glance of the original model.

  • Here are a few "facts" about Barbie that you maybe didn't know
    Her full name: Barbara Millicent Roberts
  • In a series of novels published in the 1960's she grew up in the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin and attended Willows High School
  • Her parents were George and Margaret Roberts and she had younger sister (Skipper).
  • Barbie has had over 40 pets and a wide range of vehicles including her pink Corvette convertible, trailers, and jeeps. (She also holds a pilots license)
  • She's had an on-off romantic relationship with her boyfriend "Ken" (Ken Carson) who first appeared in 1961. In 2004 Mattel announced that Barbie and Ken split up however, it was recently reported that they maybe they would be getting back together.

In the "Book Nook" segment today I spoke with Gretchen Rubin, author the #1 New York Times Best Seller- 'THE HAPPINESS PROJECT: OR, WHY I SPENT A YEAR TRYING TO SING IN THE MORNING, CLEAN MY CLOSETS, FIGHT RIGHT, READ ARISTOTLE, AND GENERALLY HAVE MORE FUN". It is now out in paperback and it is a GREAT read. Gretchen spent time exploring ways of "being happy" and broke her resolutions into 12 segments (one each month). When I asked her if she had found the "key" to happiness, she said that both the ancient philosophers and well as contemporary religious leaders agree that strong relationships with other people is really the secret. Check out her book and/or her blog at

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