Having been around for 50 years, Barbie has certainly captivated the imaginations of millions – in celebration, here are 50 Fun Facts about Barbie that I found on the Mattel site via Bill Bam’s Collectibles.
Barbie® doll has kept up with the times and trends since her debut in 1959. In matters from career, to family and friends, to fashion, she is right there changing along with girls and the world. Some fun facts to boost your Barbie I.Q. . .
What glass ceiling?
1. Barbie® doll has had more than 80 careers — everything from a rock star to a paleontologist to a presidential candidate.
2. Barbie® doll’s first career was a teenage fashion model. (The Original Teenage Fashion Model BARBIE DOLL)
3. Barbie® Goes to College was introduced in 1964.
4. Army Barbie®, introduced in 1992, represented a medic Sergeant enlisted in Desert Storm.
5. The first Olympic athlete Barbie® was introduced in 1975; she is competing again as an Olympic swimmer in 2000.
6. Summit Barbie® dolls were introduced in the 1980s to commemorate the end of the cold war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
7. Barbie® doll represented a candidate for President in 1992 and ran again in 2000 with a platform of opportunities for girls, educational excellence and animal rights.
8. The military series of Barbie® dolls, Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps went through approvals by the Pentagon to ensure the most realistic costumes.
9. Barbie® doll represented an astronaut in 1965, 1986 and 1994.
10. In 1997, Share A Smile® Becky® was the first Mattel, Inc. fashion doll introduced with a wheelchair.
11. The Barbie(TM) Sport collection, including a clothing line and sport-related dolls, was introduced by Mattel in 1998 to allow girls to play out their athletic aspirations every day.
It’s a global village these days . . .
12. Barbie® doll was introduced in Europe in 1961.
13. Italian was the first nationality Barbie® doll represented in the Dolls of the World® Collection.
14. Quinceanera Teresa® doll was released in Mexico in 1994 to celebrate Girls Day.
15. The Barbie® doll is currently marketed in more than 150 nations around the world.
16. Placed head to toe, Barbie® dolls and family members sold since 1959 would circle the earth more than seven times.
17. Every second, three Barbie® dolls are sold somewhere in the world.
18. One of the latest nationality Barbie® dolls from the Doll’s of The World Collection is Princess of the Incas Barbie, released in 2001 wearing an ensemble inspired by the Inca tribe and is authentic in every detail right down to her headdress.
19. Barbie® doll has represented 45 different nationalities.
20. The first black and Hispanic Barbie® dolls were introduced in 1980. 2002 marks the debut of Kayla, Barbie doll’s new multi-cultural friend.
21. Freundshcafts (Friendship) Barbie® was introduced in 1990 to commemorate the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.
Life of the party . . .
22. Barbie® doll has had over 43 pets including 21 dogs, 14 horses, 3 ponies, 6 cats, a parrot, a chimpanzee, a panda, a lion cub, a giraffe and a zebra.
23. The best selling Barbie® doll ever was Totally Hair Barbie®, with hair from the top of her head to her toes.
24. The full name of Barbie® doll is “Barbie Millicent Roberts.” She is from Willows, Wisconsin and went to Willows High School.
25. Barbie® doll has five sisters, Skipper®, introduced in 1964, Tutti, a twin introduced in 1966, Stacie® in 1992, Kelly® in 1995 and Krissy(TM) in 1999.
26. Barbie® doll’s boyfriend, Ken® doll made his debut two years after Barbie in 1961 and in 2001 marks his 40th anniversary.
27. Ken® doll was named after the son of Mattel founders Ruth and Elliot Handler.
28. The first celebrity to join the Barbie® doll family was fashion model Twiggy in 1967 and the M. C. Hammer doll, complete with a cassette of his songs, was added in 1991.
29. Barbie® doll’s first pet was a horse named Dancer.
30. Barbie® doll’s best friend, Midge® was introduced in 1963 and then again in 1988 as California Midge®.
31. 1999 was the first year that a family member of the Barbie® doll was introduced into the line as a large-scale doll, Cuddly Soft(TM) Kelly®.
32. Doll collecting is second only to stamp collecting as the most popular collecting hobby in America — Barbie® doll is collected by women, men and children around the world.
33. The Barbie® Polaroid I-zone is an instant camera that allows girls to create postage-size sticky pictures of all their fun activities.
Fashion police sign off — Barbie® doll’s record is sparkling
34. Over 1 billion fashions have been produced since 1959 for Barbie® and her friends.
35. More than 105 million yards of fabric have gone into making Barbie® doll and her friends’ fashions, making Mattel one the largest apparel manufacturers in the world.
36. Barbie® doll has had more than a billion pair of shoes and over one hundred new additions to her wardrobe annually.
37. Barbie® doll’s signature color is Barbie pink.
38. The “Barbie® Fashion Designer®” CD ROM was the best-selling software title of the 1996 holiday season.
39. Barbie® doll’s collection of couture includes designs by Givenchy, Versace, Dolce & Gabana, Vera Wang and Gucci.
40. The Barbie® clothing line for real girls includes knit tops, bootleg pants, backpacks, sleepwear and accessories.
A dazzling debut . . .
42. The inventor of the Barbie® doll is Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel. She named the doll after her daughter, Barbara.
43. The first Barbie® doll sold for $3.00.
44. During the first year of her introduction in 1959, 351,000 Barbie® dolls were sold.
45. An original 1959 Barbie® doll in mint condition has sold for up to $10,000.
Right here, right now. . .
46. Barbie® doll is currently a $2.5 billion dollar-per-year industry including licensed products under Barbie Consumer Products.
47. In 2001, Barbie® doll stared in her first movie, Barbie in the Nutcracker; in 2002 she returned in Barbie as Rapunzel. A new Barbie movie has been released every year since then.
48. Barbie® doll is celebrating 50 years as the world’s most popular fashion doll in 2009.
49. Barbie® CD ROMs have been the best selling children’s software titles in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.
50. Barbie.com is the number one girls’ site with logging over 8 million monthly users who spend an average of 42 minutes on the site per visit.
I’m sure that Barbie will continue to be one of the most collected lines of dolls for years to come! If you are looking for retired or unique Barbies, I recommend eBay or Bill Bam’s Collectibles for a start.