Monday, August 22, 2005

Two By Two, Eyes of Blue

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of two of something. Two of what? I leave that to you. But they have to be two of the same type of thing. Don't just put, like, a cookie and a Hot Wheel in the same picture and say it counts as two things. Two cookies, two Hot Wheels. You know. Double your pleasure and all that.

John Scalzi used up the best idea with his double exposure trick, so I'll settle for showing you pairs of dolls from my Barbie collection.  Each photo has two versions of the same doll, more or less.  I'll explain each pair as we go along.

Two Barbies. 1.  Two Barbies. 

Which of these is the valuable one, the Bubble Cut Barbie (left) or the Ponytail Barbie?  If the one on the right were a vintage doll, it would win, hands down.  However, it's a repro from, I don't know, probably about five years ago.  The doll reproduced was the Blonde #3 Ponytail, circa 1960.

I bought the dark-haired one on eBay, about a year before the repro ponytail doll came out.  It's a 1964 straight-leg bubble cut Barbie, the same exact kind as the one I traded for with Cindy R. when I was about nine years old. In my childish ignorance I used to claim it was a Midge, because I "knew" that older Barbies had ponytails.  Cindy said it was a Barbie.  Cindy was right.  By then it was an older model, though, and Cindy had the latest and greatest, the twist & turn Barbie.  She was quite willing to trade away the relatively unposeable older doll.  I didn't really like it very much, but it was the only actual Barbie I had as a child.

The bubble cut doll shown here had "green ear," a condition caused by leaving metal earrings in a plastic doll for too long.  The discoloration was on about half of the face until I used something called Tarn-X to leech away the green.  (It's much better now, but not perfect.)  The doll also had a bad metallic odor, which I reduced but never quiteeliminated.  And on top of that, this Barbie has some baldness on the back of the head.  But even with all the condition issues, it's probably still a $100 doll.

Two Skippers.

2. Two Skippers.

Here are two versions of Barbie's oldest little sister, Skipper.  The one on the left is one of the 1964 ones, Model 950.  Another straight-leg doll, this Skipper is a little ahead of its time in that it sports a tan.  Barbie didn't get a tan until 1970, but Skipper had one right off the bat in 1964.  This particular doll I got by leaving a written bid at a local auction house and then hightailing it for work.  I ended up with Skipper, some clothes and a case, and, in a separate bid, a Fisher-Price wind-up "radio" that played "Jack & Jill."

The second doll in this photo is a twist & turn Skipper, Model 1105, from 1968. I also have a Malibu Skipper, not shown here.  Again, Cindy and Lori and I preferred the twist & turns at the time, but as an adult I like the look of the older Skipper much better, especially in the red sailor suit swimsuit it came with (not shown). 
Two Caseys - sort of. 
3. Casey and her double, Malibu Francie.

These two dolls are supposed to be friends, not twins, but they have the same head mold.  The one on the right is Casey, Francie's friend from 1966.  The one on the left is Malibu Francie.  Back in the day, Cindy and Lori had Francie, but I had Casey. I liked Casey better, so it all worked out. 

Casey came in a gold lamé fishnet swimsuit.  The swimsuits are very hard to find in really good condition nowadays, and Casey is subject to green ear from a trendy single dangling earring. 

This was another eBay purchase.  Before I got it, I spent a lot of time staring at pictures of brunette and red-headed Caseys, trying to remember which version I had back in 1967.  I eventually decided that the brunette one looked the most familiar.  This Casey has little or no green ear.  I upgraded the swimsuit later,but I usually don't have it on the doll.

Barbie's "MODern cousin Francie" first appeared in 1965.  This family relationship was de-emphasized in two black versions of the doll, which came out that same year.  Barbie herself did not have a black version until 1979, so Francie was a groundbreaker in that respect.

By the time Malibu Francie (left) came out in 1971, Casey was no longer being made, officially.  But look at the doll's face! The distinctive Casey features are there.  I've even seen this doll listed as "Malibu Casey" on eBay.  Officially that's incorrect, but sentimentally,it's true.  Again, this is an eBay purchase.

Two friends of Barbie. 
4.  Two Friends of Barbie (A Cautionary Tale).

Sad to say, in the late 1960s Barbie traded in her earliest best friend for one who was infinitely hipper.  See for yourself:

Midge (right) had curly hair and freckles, and kind of an odd, old-fashioned name. The box is dated 1962, but my book says the doll was around from 1963 to 1966.  This is another straight-leg doll, of course.

Talking Stacey was the 1968 successor to Midge's initial replacement, 1967's Twist & Turn Stacey.  Talking Stacey was incredibly cool, very much in step with the times.  Not only did she talk, but she had an English accent, very Carnaby Street. One of her spoken phrases pretty much sums her up:  "I think mini-skirts are smashing!"

This particular Stacey replaces the one I got for Christmas in 1968, which is of course long gone.  I had to send this eBay purchase away to get the voicebox fixed, and now pull the string only occasionally, and very carefully.  Even then, it doesn't always work.  Also, this doll's left leg has a tendency to fall off. 

Midge outlasted the competition.  Stacey was only around until 1970.  Midge disappeared for a couple of decades, only to re-emerge in 1987, still freckled but having had a serious makeover.  It must have worked out for her, because the most recent versions of the doll are part of the "Happy Family" series.  Alone of all of Barbie's peers, Midge is now married, with two small children of her own. 

Darn it.  I wasn't going to anthropomorphize these dolls by calling them "she."  But I had to acknowledge them as characters to tell the story of Barbie's first two best friends.



ondinemonet said...


This is a very cool entry! Imagine...Barbie drama! LOL. VERY cool indeed! :)

Always, Carly :)

nightmaremom said...

LOL too cute!

jabarett said...

Boy, those blue eyes are kind of ... scary.

I had the Skipper and the radio, too!

ryanagi said...

I had no idea! This is a pretty serious collection! I found a Tiffany Taylor on Ebay and placed a bid, but me and the 2 other bidders never met the guy's whatchamacalit level so the auction was killed. Tiffany was THE doll in the mid-70s. She was a larger doll with a scalp you could turn to change her hair color from blond to brunette. Anywho...I had a ton of Barbies in the 70s too. They might still be in my parent's attic. But maybe not considering they sold my childhood books in a yard sale. I do have a small collection of modern Barbies tho. Bob Mackie designs, classic TV icons and super heros. I love my Bat Girl Barbie. LOL And I Dream of Jeannie Barbie.

shellys555 said...

Some of the repro Barbies are fairly valuable because they were limited editions. My Barbie and Ken long ago bit the dust. They were the ones that had a bit of a plastic problem, in that what they were made of didn't go well with the chlorine in swimming pools and my Barbie and Ken loved to go swimming. They basically got the doll form of leprosy and their fingers fell off. And Ken's fuzzy blond hair came out, too. I had the black-haired, ponytail Barbie.

I still have my original Midge and Alan, but I have no idea where Skipper disappeared to. My Midge is blonde.

sassydee50 said...

Karen~What an informative and entertaining entry! If only I had my Barbie from the 60's plus Ken and Midge. For that matter, wish I still had all the clothes too. Sigh...I am having a nostalgic fit. I want my baseball cards back too! TY for making me cukoo here! ;-) Sassy

alphawoman1 said...

A Barbie collector!!! My first barbie was the first Barbie (don't tell anyone) hair, pearl earrings, black and white bathing suit, spike heels......probably worth a fortune if I had not played with her for years! I had a Midge too, and a Scooter. I don't remember having any other Barbies other than those.  Bridget, on the other hand, had Barbie World. She had 40 of those dolls at one time. I saved a bunch of them. She will want them when she is older.

salemslot9 said...

Francie's outfit looks very familiar...

chasferris said...


tc01hm said...

Barbie Lore! or should I say galore!
Great entry and fascinating.

fisherkristina said...

Oh, some of my childhood is coming back!  Well, I didn't have that black haired Barbie, but I did grow up with the blond Barbie and with Skipper!  Okay, I just dated myself, lol!  Cool collection  


fisherkristina said...

Oh, in case you thought I was REAL old, I grew up with the Skipper on the right, lol!


gullspirit said...


I'll send this link to my sister.  She collected Barbies for years!  She displays them (from labeled boxes inside of bags, insid of bigger boxes, etc.) between Thanksgiving and Christmas ... Each year she decides to wait another year before giving them to her granddaughter ... Somehow, I think she'll be displaying them for her great-granddaughters!

monponsett said...

G.I. Joe should spend his whole leave at your house with a pocket full of $1 doll bills.