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Barbie’s Favorite “Toys” of the 1960s and Early 1970s
When the Mattel toy company introduced Barbie© in 1959, little did anyone know how popular the teenaged fashion model and her friends would be! Along with her stylish clothes, Barbie Doll had a variety of sold-separately (and now, vintage) accessories; many sought by collectors today. Check out these 1960s-era treasures that were for Barbie Doll’s own use, or the children who loved her.
Barbie’s Own Sports Car. Created by Irwin Products, Barbie Doll loved to cruise around in her British Austin-Healey roadster. The two-seat car, mostly produced in a peachy-orange color, also came in red or blue. Inside the box was a colorful scenic view of some of the places where she and her boyfriend, Ken, would hang out. In the mid 1960s, Barbie got herself a Mercedes -- in bright green or baby blue. Irwin Corporation also released a “hot rod” -- blue with an exposed engine -- and a dune buggy. In the 1970s, Barbie Doll began driving a Corvette.
Barbie Sings! In 1961, our multi-talented gal released a set of six songs on three 45 rpm records. She invited Ken to add his vocal talents to the mix! Children could play these songs on Barbie’s phonograph, released the same year.
Barbie’s Dream House. (#816; 1962, #4092; 1964). The original ones were made of cardboard – furniture and accessories, too! The cardboard houses of the early 1960s, in various styles and colors, folded up for travel. Francie, Skipper, Tutti, and Casey also had their own cardboard “dream” and play houses. Later versions were made of plastic.
Susy Goose Furniture. (1963-1965). Barbie Doll had her own furniture; vanity dressers, armoire and wardrobe closets, chests, canopy beds and a piano. Accessories for the Susy Goose line included hangers, a picture frame (with Ken’s photograph, of course!), candelabra (for the piano), princess telephones in various colors, tissue box holders and bedding sets. The Susy Goose brand, which filed for trademark protection in 1941, produced toy brooms, vacuum cleaners, dishes and other kitchen items for dollhouses and child’s play. The Susy Goose trademark expired in 1986.
Carrying Cases. In the early to mid 1960s, there were many case designs for Barbie and Midge -- blue, black, white, red, pink, yellow, gray, multi-colored and shades in between. In the late 1960s, square, rectangular and round carrying cases were released for Barbie’s boyfriend Ken, her sisters Skipper and Tutti, and her cousin Francie Doll. (“Mod” Francie even had a case with a hexagon design!) As the dolls received updates and makeovers, new case designs hit the stores. In the mid to late 1960s, “mod” era case designs included Barbie’s friends Stacey, Casey and Skipper’s friend Skooter -- only to name a few.
Games and Make-Believe
Here is a look at some of the Barbie novelty items released in the 1960s.
- Barbie Goes to College. (#4093; 1964). This cardboard playhouse, about 36 inches long and 15 inches high, features a dormitory room for Barbie (and her best friend, Midge) and a “sweet shop.” An alley and drive-in movie are printed on the back of the box. The cardboard furniture includes a desk, beds, lamp, stools and restaurant booth.
- Barbie Jumbo Fashion Trading Cards. (#1702; 1963). Made in New York by the Dynamic Toy Company, the 35-piece Barbie’s Jumbo Fashion Trading card set featured drawings of America’s favorite fashion model in various outfits and poses. The backs of each card contain stories and advice.
- Clothing Patterns. Children could create fashions for Ken (pattern #834), Barbie, Ken and Chatty Cathy (#836) and a four-piece set for Barbie (#837).
- Electric Drawing Set. (1963/1965/1967). Released by Lakeside Toys of Minnesota, this set consisted of an electrical drawing surface (lit up by a 15 watt bulb), portfolio, stencil pattern sheets and instructions. Another set was released in 1965 for Barbie and Skipper and one in 1967 for Francie and Barbie.
- Fashion Shop. (#0817; 1963). Barbie Doll loved to shop! Made of cardboard, this dressmaker’s business included cloth drapes, a “mirror,” chair, display case, curtain and clothing rods, “invitations” and fashion magazines. It came in a specially-designed carrying case.
- Keys to Fame Game. (1963/1964). With instructions included separately and printed on the back of the box, children could find their dream careers. The object -- build up careers, spin the keys and add the scores at the end of the game to determine who is “the most famous Barbie of them all!” The set included eight keys (one to each career), 48 career cards, key cards (for the spins to fame) and a score pad.
- Make Believe Purse Costmetics. (1963). “For a date with Ken,” written on the box, this set had eye shadow, lipstick, a powderpuff compact and eye liner. Other early 1960s Barbie beauty sets included cosmetics, nail polishes and grooming tools.
- Queen of the Prom. (1961). Barbie is a busy girl -- she works as a model to help pay for the fancy formal dress she wants to wear to the big dance. The game, for 2 to 4 players, included a board, die cube, money and markers.
Some of Many …
As Barbie Doll’s popularity took off, so did the product merchandising aimed at little girls. Here’s short look at a long list of Barbie products.
- Barbie Beauty Kit. (1961). Contained lotion, a base powder and rouge Other items were a shower mitt, bubble bath and cologne
- Barbie Heirloom Service. (1961). From Irwin Toys, a complete set of gold-toned dinnerware -- paper box
- Case Items. (1961/1963). Assorted pieces (with Barbie and friends decals) from Vanity Fair: record player, tote bag and 45 rpm records; Barbie/Midge travel cases, thermos and lunch box, doll cases, photo albums, makeup cases and diaries
- Knitting Kit. (1962). The tall, round package included knitting needles, yarn and instructions for making a fitted coat and pillbox hat for Barbie
- Barbie and Ken Little Theater. (#0490; 1963/1964). The cardboard set contains a stage and scenery for Barbie and Ken to act out the drama of their choice
- Barbie’s Dream Kitchen-Dinette. (#4095; 1964/1965). The cardboard structure included “the most modern” of accessories
- Barbie and Skipper School. (From the 1965 Sears Christmas catalog). Made of cardboard with printed rooms. The set included cardboard chairs and desks, a flag, globe, wastebasket, “chalkboard” and books
- Ponytail Barbie wristwatches in various colors. Other timepieces included Barbie Starbright Boudoir Clock, the Barbie Electric Wristwatch Wall clock and Fan Club promotional items
- Miss Barbie Swing Set (including the doll, swimsuit, swing and wigs)
- Color Magic Fashion Designer Set. Use the magic solution to change the color of Barbie and Francie’s hair and clothes!
- “Mattel-O-Phone.” (#4859, 1968-1969); plastic dial telephone with Barbie’s moniker in the middle. Children could “hear and talk with Barbie and her friends!” The toy included five “Barbie’s Friends” records with songs and conversations.
Barbie Lit up the ‘60s!
Beginning with the first doll in 1959 and through the 1960s, little (and not-so-little) girls had plenty of Barbie to keep them busy ... including ...
Catalogs and fashion booklets; fan club jewelry; grooming and manicure sets; dress up paper dolls; carrying cases; playing cards; costume trunks; Sew-Free Fashion Fun pattern kits; fashion boutiques; magazines; story and cookbooks; hangers, wallets, Barbie and Francie Dressing Room; World of Barbie House; World of Fashion Game (#5452, 1967-1968); And of course, play items for Ken, Francie, Skipper, Tutti & Todd, Chris and all their friends!
Montgomery-Ward and Sears
Montgomery-Ward, a mail-order and department store business from 1872 until 2000, sold Barbie Doll items marketed especially for the retailer. On the Montgomery-Ward list: dolls (including the 1972 remake of the original 1959 ponytail doll), craft sets, jewelry, doll clothes, phonographs and records, costumes, books and beauty sets. Sears Department Stores also produced and marketed Barbie clothes and novelties, including: “Barbie’s Campus” (1964); “Barbie & Skipper Travel Vanity” (1965); “Barbie & Skipper’s Deluxe Dream House” (1965); Skipper’s Schoolroom” (1965); “Skipper’s Deluxe Dream House” (1966) and “Barbie & Francie’s Campus (1966).
A Look at the 1970s
In the 1970s, Barbie, her family and friends filled the shelves of toy and department stores with, not only dolls and clothes, but interactive play items and novelties. Barbie’s new decade featured ….
Barbie Miss Lively Livin’ game (#5481, 1970); Dancer (Barbie’s horse)(1970); Barbie and Ken Paper Dolls (1970); Dress Up Kit (Colorforms)(#510, 1070); Fashion Stage (#1148, 1970-1971); Garden Patio (#4282, 1972-1973); Camping Out Tent (#4288, 1972-1973); Deluxe Sew Magic (#7723, 1973); Sew Magic Fashion Set (#8670, 1973-1975); Pool Party (#7795, 1973); Sew Magic Add-Ons (#7726, 1974-1975); Sew Magic Machine and Carrying Case (#7800, 1974); Sweet 16 Fur Fashion Sew Magic (#7850, 1974-1975); Miss America Beauty Center (#7893, 1974); Olympic Gymnast Set (#7240, 1975) and Quick Curl Beauty Center (#4027, 1975).
And Friends ...
Skipper, Francie, Ken, Tutti, and all the rest of the gang had their own special items in the 1960s and 1970s; here are a few …
Skipper Game (#5415, 1964-1965); Skipper’s Dream Room (#4094, 1965-1966); Tutti’s Play House (#3300 and 3306, 1966); Tutti’s Ice Cream Stand (#3563, 1967); Tutti and Chris Sleep & Play House (#5038, 1967); Skipper’s Gym (#1179, 1972-1973) and Francie and Skipper Sew Magic Add-Ons (#7727, 1974-1975).
The World of Barbie©
Barbie© and her friends are definitely “Big Business.” Toys, games, apparel and accessories are just as popular as the dolls themselves; from the 1960s to today! If you love Barbie Doll, chances are you have (or had) one or two (or more) of the bits and pieces that make up Barbie’s world. The toys and games have changed over the past few decades but Barbie© continues to entertain (and, with some products, educate) children every day!
© 2015 Teri Silver