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Let's Play Barbie..and Ken and Midge and Allan..

Updated on April 18, 2015

Let's Play Barbie!

What little girl hasn't said to their friends and family, "Let's play Barbies!" It was so much fun gathering Barbie and her clothes and meet up with friends to show off the latest fashions and accessories. We enjoyed mixing and matching clothes, accessories -- even Barbie parts! Going to the toy store was always fun --- we would run to the wall of Barbie fashions and purchased the best outfit that we could with the money we saved. Mom always made sure Barbie was also dressed in the newest fashions - she would create one-of-a-kind outfits that was the envy of all.

This lens is chocked full of memories about Barbie along with links on the history of Barbies and collecting Barbie plus ebay sites on adding to your collection and books that are available on Amazon about Barbie. The talk bubbles are quotes by Ruth Handler.

Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.

Barbara Millicent Roberts

Yep, Barbie had a full name!

By not being the typical doll marketed to girls in late 1950s, Barbie received a lukewarm reception at the 1959 American Toy Fair in New York City. American play dolls at the time were generally baby dolls so little girls could imagine taking care of an infant. Barbie was a doll with an adult figure marketed to girls; generally adult dolls were usually paper dolls. Once little girls saw Barbie in toy stores, the rest is history.

The first Barbie wore a zebra stripe one piece swimsuit, open toed shoes, sunglasses and earrings. Her hair was in a ponytail. The box featured many of the clothes that you can purchase. We tried our best to get them all -- they were all so beautiful and fashionable and we fell in love with the accessories.

Barbie was a woman's vision

..and she became the President of Mattel!

When on vacation in Europe, Ruth Handler saw exactly the doll she was trying to create earlier - a fashionable adult doll to sell to little girls. She purchased the doll and went to Mattel (again) with her idea of a grown-up doll. Mattel purchase the rights to the doll and with a few changes, Barbie was born.

A few years earlier, Ruth noticed her daughter gave her paper dolls adult rolls and thought that would be a good idea for a doll. Handler's husband, who was one of the three co-founders of Mattel along with Ruth, was not too keen on the idea and it was not pursued. When Ruth saw Bild Lilli, a German doll with an adult figure, she purchased three of them and took two back to Mattel; she gave the third one to her daughter.

Ruth always had an active role in Mattel: she was one of the co-owners; she was the Executive Vice President from 1948-1967; became President of the Company in 1967 and in 1973 she was name Chairman of the Board.

Barbie's Biography - For additional history of our favorite doll

We were walking down the street in Lucerne and there was an adult doll with a woman's body

Inspiration for the Barbie Doll

Bild Lilli Doll - the German Fashion Doll

When Ruth purchased Lilli on her Europe vacation, she did not know of her adult beginnings. Lilli was based on a cartoon character by Reinhard Beuthien for the German tabloid Bild-Zeitung. Beuthiem was tasked with creating filler for a blank spot on the newspaper and after many revisions a sassy Lilli was born. Lilli was blonde, shapely, tall and wore a ponytail. She was a secretary who was not afraid to speak her mind and enjoyed the company of rich and wealthy men. The cartoon ran from 1952 - 1961.

In 1955, the Lilli doll was marketed to adults in bars and tobacco shops as a gag gift. When she became popular with children and parents, accessories and doll houses were also produced. She was exported to neighboring countries and became a successful toy.

In 1976 Barbie was name Doll of the Century and sealed in the bicentennial time capsule that is scheduled to be opened in 2076 on the United States tri-centennial.

Fashions & Accessories - At times, more valuable than Barbie herself!

Barbie, then Ken, Midge, Allan...

We loved them all!

My Barbie years is a few years after she was invented. It was so exciting when Barbie had a boyfriend -- I did not like boys at the time and I knew Barbie did. Ken was so handsome and he looked great in his red swim trunks that he wore all the time on all occasions. He finally did have a pilot's uniform. Barbie was happy to share her clothes with Midge when she came to the neighborhood; I loved the way her hair flipped! When Allan moved to the neighborhood, it did cause a small ruckus: Barbie liked Allan a bit better than Ken so Allan wore the uniform. I was excited about Allan, Allan was my brother's name and it was spelled the exact same way!

Barbie was one of the first toy to have a marketing strategy based extensively on television advertising.

Keep Barbie and her Clothes organized - Carrying Case -- the must have item!

I loved my carrying case! I saved my weekly allowance for washing the weekend breakfast dishes. Once I had enough I took the money out of my globe bank and walked to the toy store and bought the case I have been wanting 'forever'. Boy, was my mom surprised when I walked through the door! It was white with a beautiful picture of Barbie of the front and back. It could hold 2 Barbies (although I made it hold four); it had two drawers and two clothes rod. When I was wasn't playing Barbie, I was organizing her clothes and shoes, purses, hats and gloves -- everything had to be just right. To me, it wasn't just her carrying case, it was her bedroom. It was always displayed in the corner of my bedroom.

Below are vintage carrying cases that are up for bid/sale by other ebay sellers. Carrying cases are still the best way to store your loose Barbie dolls, clothes and accessories. To view additional cases, just click on through and continue your search on ebay.

Barbie the Homeowner

If your Barbie had a house, she was considered a successful woman. After we would arrange the furniture just right along with the little accessories, we would start playing. Ken & Barbie would go to off work, come home, have parties, go shopping-just like our was all so sophisticated. We would also talk about how our lives would be when we grow up.

My Barbies never did have an official home when I was younger and I did finally own a 1962 Barbie Dream Home a few months after starting 2FriendsTreasures. It was a great find at a Town Yard Sale. My business partner walked by it without noticing and I scooped it all up. I must admit it did take me awhile to put it up sale; I did enjoy finally owning one even if it was decades later.

Barbie doll's collection of couture includes designs by Givenchy, Versace, Dolce & Gabana, Vera Wang and Gucci.

Enjoy these original Barbie commercials

Barbie and Ken were named after the real children of Ruth Handler.

Collecting Barbies - Helping you with the value and identifying your Barbies

Below are a few of the books Amazon has available to help you with your Barbies. If by chance none of these suit your needs, just click through on one of the books and continue your search within Amazon.

Barbie - More than a Child's Toy

Barbie will always be part of our lives.

The joy of owning a Barbie has been handed down from generation to generation to generation; to our kids, our grandkids, nieces even the neighbor kids! Barbie has shown little girls, as Ruth Handler wanted, that women have options. We can grow up to be whatever we choose: teacher, astronaut, NASCAR driver, nurse, doctor, lawyer, pilot, firefighter, police officer even President of the United States!

As we got older, we did put our passion for Barbie aside as other interests got our attention but we always kept tabs on her by visiting the toy section of stores when possible. We noticed that Barbie changed as we changed and she was always current. There was a little spot that still wanted to play Barbie and Mattel seemed to sense this and the Holiday Barbie collection was created. During the years, Barbie Collector series and grown to include Designer, Pop Culture, World Culture, Special Occasion, Vintage Repro and more.

A few decades later, Barbie is back in my life as I started to collect the I Love Lucy Barbie doll. With 2FriendsTreasures, my Barbie love continues by sharing her with others.

Adding to your Collection

Below is a partial list of what 2FriendsTreasures has up for sale in their ebay store. To see our complete line of Barbie dolls, just click on through and continue your search on ebay.

More fun Barbie Commercials!

Say Hello! - Stop by and share your favorite Barbie memory

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    • top101 profile image


      6 years ago

      Hey I featured your lens on my Ken Doll lens.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Great page. The other dolls must be so jealous when little girls say "Let's play Barbie.'

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What fun, I always thought she was just Barbie and now I learn she is really Barbara Millicent Roberts! I didn't have Barbie growing up with that but sure made up with it spending quite a lot of time with the Barbie gang when my daughter was little. A lovely tribute to the worlds favorite doll. My sister even brought Russian Barbie back from Moscow for my Nikki.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      So wonderful Barbie lens.. dear, 2FriendsTreasures. I love all you've presented here. Lensrolled to my Barbie House, Barbie Doll House, Barbie Dollhouse lens. 5 stars for you. Have a wonderful time.. always :)


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