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wonders never cease Thursday, March 10, 2011

WEDNESDAY, March 9th, 2011 52 years old? what's your secret, barbie?

BarbieCake During a trip to Europe in 1956, Ruth Handler, wife of Mattel co-founder Elliot Handler, purchased three toy dolls called Bild Lilli. She gave one to her daughter and took the others back to Mattel. The Lilli doll was based on a popular comic strip character, a working girl who knew what she wanted and was not above using men to get it. The Lilli doll was first sold in Germany in 1955 -- to adults. Back in the USA, Handler reworked the design of the doll (with help from engineer Jack Ryan) and the doll was given a new name, Barbie, after Handler's daughter Barbara. The doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. In honor of her fifty second birthday, here are ten songs inspired by the Barbie Doll, along with some details from her CV:

1. Barbie Girl - Aqua
Barbie's full name is Barbra Millicent Roberts. In a series of novels published by Random House in the 1960s, her parents' names are given as George and Margaret Roberts from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin.

2. Living Doll - Beach Boys
"Colored Francie" made her debut in 1967, and she is sometimes described as the first African American Barbie doll. However, she was produced using the existing head molds for the white Francie doll and lacked African characteristics other than dark skin.

3. Barbie Doll - Jack Ingram
In July 1992 Mattel released Teen Talk Barbie, which spoke a number of phrases including "Will we ever have enough clothes?", "I love shopping!", and "Wanna have a pizza party?" Each doll was programmed to say four out of 270 possible phrases, one of which was "Math class is tough!"

4. The Barbie Doll Song - Marcus Eaton
"Then he said 'That is that.' And then he was gone with a tip of his hat."

5. Not a Barbie Doll - Kerli
In 1997 Mattel joined forces with Nabisco to launch a cross-promotion of Barbie with Oreo cookies, manufacturing both a white and a black version of Oreo Fun Barbie. The doll was unsuccessful and Mattel recalled the unsold stock, making it sought after by collectors.

6. Barbie Doll - Michael Mangia
In March 2000 stories appeared in the media claiming that the hard vinyl used in vintage Barbie dolls could leak toxic chemicals, causing danger to children playing with them. The claim was rejected as false by technical experts. A modern Barbie doll has a body made from ABS plastic, while the head is made from soft PVC.

7. I Wanna Be a Barbie Doll - James Kennison
In September 2003 the Middle Eastern country of Saudi Arabia outlawed the sale of Barbie dolls, saying that she did not conform to the ideals of Islam. The Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice stated "Jewish Barbie dolls, with their revealing clothes and shameful postures, accessories and tools are a symbol of decadence to the perverted West. Let us beware of her dangers and be careful."

8. Barbie - Kenny & The Cadets (Brian Wilson)
In December 2005 Dr. Agnes Nairn at the University of Bath in England published research suggesting that girls often go through a stage where they hate their Barbie dolls and subject them to a range of punishments, including decapitation and placing the doll in a microwave oven. Dr. Nairn said: "It's as though disavowing Barbie is a rite of passage and a rejection of their past."

9. Dear Mattel - Cosy Sheridan
In April 2009, the launch of a Totally Tattoos Barbie with a range of tattoos that could be applied to the doll, including a lower back tattoo, led to controversy. Mattel's promotional material read "Customize the fashions and apply the fun temporary tattoos on you too", but Ed Mayo, chief executive of Consumer Focus, argued that children might want to get tattooed themselves.

10. Barbie Girl - Simple Plan
In July 2010, Mattel released "Barbie Video Girl", a Barbie doll with a pinhole video camera in its chest, enabling clips of up to 30 minutes to be recorded, viewed and uploaded to a computer via a USB cable. On November 30, 2010, The FBI issued a warning in a private memo that the doll could be used to produce child pornography, although it stated publicly that there was "no reported evidence that the doll had been used in any way other than intended."

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