Barbie, Ken and Chubby

I had a dang Chubby Checker song stuck in my head ALL DAY. Dancin’ Party. Then it would change to Quarter to Three by Gary U.S. Bonds. Probably because they sound almost exactly the same. At one point Mama I’m a Big Girl Now from Hairspray got stuck in there. Did you know that song has an anachronism in it?

Here is a set of lyrics from the song.

Once upon a time I used to dress up Ken
But now that I’m a woman, I like bigger men
And I don’t need a Barbie doll to show me how
‘Cause mama I’m a big girl now.

Hairspray takes place in the early 60s. Maybe 62 or 63 at the latest. The Ken doll was introduced in 1961. Tracy Turnblad is about 16. Ken was not around when Tracy was a little girl, playing with dolls.

Speaking of Ken! Not too long ago I read a biography about Ruth Handler and Mattel. Mattel was founded in 1946 by Matt Matson and Ruth and Eliot Handler. The got the name Mattel by combining Matt and Eliot. Mattel.

They started out selling picture frames. Eliot was good with his hands. Ruth was the business side. Then they started making doll furniture. After a few years Matt sold his shares to the Handlers, ostensibly due to ill health. Their first big hit was a thing called a Uke-a-Doodle.

Ruth and Eliot Handler with the real Barbie and Ken

Ruth and Eliot Handler with the real Barbie and Ken

Anyway Mattel grew into this big ass toy company. And then came Barbie which made it even huger. Barbie was all Ruth’s idea. She named it after her daughter Barbara. Ken was named after her son Ken. He hated the Ken doll.

The whole book was quite fascinating. I had no idea about all of their legal troubles and how Ruth almost went to prison.

Personally, I didn’t collect Barbies, or anything like that. I’ve just always been fascinated about the history behind her. My sister had quite a few, though. My thing was G.I. Joe, Major Matt Mason and Johnny West.

Anyway, the name of the book was Barbie and Ruth, by Robin Gerber. I got it cheap on Amazon.

Speaking of Chubby Checker (way up in paragraph one), I got out the portable record player and listened to an album of his earlier in the day. It was this one:

your twist party

It came out in 1961. I got it from a lady on Amazon. It was pretty cheap. 10 bucks. It had never been opened, therefore, never played. She said her parents used to own a record store back in the 60s and it was part of the inventory that she still had. It was just laying/lying (idk, pick one) around. When I got it, it looked brand new. Like it was just made. I laughed because she shipped it in a pizza box. Unused, of course. It was a perfect fit. I got it in less than a week. One of my better Amazon dealings.

I had no intention of talking about Barbie and all that mess; but, you know how thoughts just flow from one thing to another. And then you have to go on google and find pictures.
Anyhow, adios.

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Categories: The Bob Files

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