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What A Doll

Updated on June 7, 2013

Here Are The Stories Of The Most Popular Doll's In US History. Barbie and G.I. Joe

1959 First EVER Barbie Commercial

1992 Totally Hair Barbie Doll Commercial

History of the Barbie Doll

1961 Barbie Dolls Boyfriend First EVER Ken Commercial

The Story Of Barbie And G.I. Joe

The Barbie Doll

Children have been playing with dolls for thousands of years, but the most popular doll in the history of the world has only been in existence since 1959. Since Mattel's buxom fasion plate was first intorduced, more than 500 million Barbie Dolls have been sold, and the number grows daily.

Barbie's Roots

The real Barbie ( Yes There Was One ) was the daughter of Ruth and Eliot Handler, who founded Mattel after World War II. The ideal for the teenage fashion doll came to Ruth when she noticed that her daughter Barbie prefered playing with the shapely paper dolls to playing with baby dolls. The Handler's gambled that other little modern girls would feel the same also. And guess what the Handler's also had a son named Ken.

Barbie the doll , was originally called a three dimensional fashion drawing. But it wasn't long before Barbie the doll all the little girls have come to love was born. The Barbie Doll was created and went on sale in 1959. Ruth Handler, said Barbie was originally created to project every little girl's dream of the future, and to little girls the future means having breasts, clothes , a car and a boyfriend ( And That's Where Ken Came In ) It was no accident that a lingerie line was one of the first sets of Barbie clothes available for sale.

Barbie's Body

Collectors have revealed that Barbie's body was copied from a German doll named "Lilli" which was in turn based on a a cartoon character created for the newspaper, BidZeitung. Ironically, the German Lilli was not a wholesome teenager, but a winsome, sexually loose gold digger.

The rest of her apperance was based on the prevailing standards of beauty in 1959. Brigitte Bardot's perky ponytail and knock out figure, and Grace Kelly's patrician blondness.

Barbie's Debut

Barbie was introduced at the New York Toy Fair in February 1959. She was an instant hit. The first Barbie cost $3 and today those original Barbies are valued at $1500.00 plus and the price keeps going up all the time.

Ken was developed in 1961 and was released that year. Over to the side there is the very first Ken Doll commercial from 1961.  

G.I. Joe

History of G.I. Joe

The original GI Joe Astronaut tv commercial 1967-69

G.I. Joe commercial 1960's ( Hasbro )

G.I. Joe commercial

Adventure Team - Mike Power the Atomic Man TV commercial

Secret of the Mummy's Tomb

G.I. Joe

By 1963, Mattell's Barbie Doll was so popular that Don Levine, creative director of the Hasbro Toy Company, suggested manufactoring a boy's version. But instead of a fashion doll, he explained we'll make it a soldier, and we'll sell uniforms and wepons for the doll.

But would little boys buy dolls? Hedging his bet, Levine decided to never call it a doll, instead they would call it an action figure. And they decided to give it a scarred face to make it even more masculine.

His Name And Body

Hasbro planned to make different sets of uniforms for each branch of the service. ( Army,Navy,Air Force, Marines) and give each a different name, Salty the Sailor, Rocky the Marine etc but the marketing department insisted on one name. One night Levine, happened to see the 1945 film , " The Story of GI Joe " on TV and realized that the name G.I. Joe was perfect.

But unlike Barbie G.I. Joe had to be a movable action figure. One day Levine was walking past an art supply store when he noticed a display of the small wooden jointed models that artists use to draw different body positions. He bought a dozen and Hasbro copied the construction.

The Debut Of G.I. Joe

G.I. Joe was introduced at the New York Toy Fair in February 1964. But unlike Barbie, he was not an immediate success. At first, toy store owners avoided him, sure that American parents wouldn't buy their sons dolls. Frustrated, Hasbro managed to get a few stores to carry the doll, when the doll sold out quickly other stores ordered the doll. By the end of the year, over 30 million dollars worth of dolls and doll uniforms had been sold, including 2 million G.I. Joe Dolls.

Joe's Problems

In the late 1960s with the increasing unpopularity of the Vietnam War parents began to reject War Toys. Joe's sales plummeted to less than a third of their previous level. He was almost wiped out but Hasbro saved him by by transforming him from a soldier to an adventurer. But then in the late 1970s tastes changed again. Exotic Star Wars action figures were hot and no kid wanted G.I. Joe. Sales were so poor that Hasbro dropped Joe from their toy line.

But the political climate changed again in the 80's. Sales of toy guns shot up and G.I. Joe was resurrected, In 1982, he stormed the toy market with " G.I. Joe Team" and became the number 1 seller again. From 1982 thru 2008 he racked up almost a billion dollars in sales. And the rest is history.

G.I. Joe Videos

We hope you enjoy the G.I. Joe Videos we have for you above and to the right including the history of G.I. Joe and some of the original G.I. Joe TV Commercials. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.  


We Hope You Enjoyed The History Of G.I. Joe And Barbie And Hope You Will Post A Comment Below Now.

We Hope You Enjoyed The History Of G.I. Joe And Barbie And Hope You Will Post A Comment Below Now.
We Hope You Enjoyed The History Of G.I. Joe And Barbie And Hope You Will Post A Comment Below Now.

We Hope You Enjoyed The History Of G.I. Joe And Barbie And Hope You Will Post A Comment Below Now.

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      8 years ago


    • Sarah Songing profile image

      Sarah Songing 

      9 years ago

      Fun hub! Thank you for all the great information, Crazyhorseghost. I grew up loving Barbie dolls, I played with them every day. (Fortunately without any adverse side affects of thinking I was supposed to be shaped like that!) Great job on a very thorough, interesting hub.


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