Barbie's creator dies.

Dear old Ruth Handler has died.

The Hindustan times carried this story, which seems to have been picked up by USA Today as well.

You may despise Barbie or secretly fancy her. However, it’s undoubted that Handler’s creation made an imact on the world greater than any other childrens toy. Barbie is both a household name and a synonym for a kind of confident, happy but flawed materialism.

And certainly, whether it’s the huddle of three or four naked, tangle-hair Barbies that parents of young children are familiar with, or the absurdly overdressed and overpriced collectibles that middle-aged ladies and gay men covet, this doll has brought harmless fun to many millions.

And recently the face painting of Barbie has become gentler and subtler, the figures more realistic, (especially **Jewel Secret Barbie **2000), and some of the ethnic Barbies (like Generation Girl Nichelle) have a vigour about them that is light years from the old rigidly-smiling PTR (palms to rear) Barbies.

Or, er, so my friend who collects them tells me. Yes, that’s it. my friend.
Farewell and thanks Ruth.


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In honor of her legendary creation, Ms. Handler’s funeral will be open casket and she will be buried naked with half her hair pulled out and the other half tied into knots and painted with magic markers. Family members ask that in lieu of flowers that mourners scatter clothes all over the chapel.

I love Barbie.

Thanks, Ruth

Barbie’s Dream Coffin?

Does it come with Curate Ken?

Some assembly required?

I’m probably going to Hell for this, but several years ago, I thought of the ultimate Bad Taste Barbie:

Heaven’s Gate Barbie
You already knew what the accessories were.

Good thing I’ve seen the photo of you on G’dope, Redboss. Or you’d be beginning to look a lot like Waylon Smithers in my mind! :smiley:

Anyone ever see a Bild Lilli doll, the German hooker character Barbie was originally based on? I’ve seen them in antiques stores, for a fortune. I love the old “hooker with bad attitude” Barbies of the early years, not the modern “vacuous surfer girl” models. But Bild Lilli—yikes! Think Barbara Stanwyck in “Double Indemnity.”

You have to stand in awe of anyone who could look at Bild Lilli and say, “Eureka! Little girls will love this!”

I would be a rich woman today if the early Barbies had not looked to me then as Bild Lilli looks to me now. I was nine when Barbie came out and I could have owned her, but I hated her. Since I still have my 1957 8" Betsy McCall, including her eensy-weensy shoes, from when I was seven, and the Vogue Jan doll and the four outfits for her that I received on my eighth birthday, it isn’t unrealistic to say that if I hadn’t thought that Barbie looked like a hardened slut I would now have one or more first-issue Barbies in like-new condition. But no, I did not have the marketing savvy to realize that I was trembling on the brink of the Barbie doll revolution, and original Betsy McCalls are only worth about $200 whereas Barbie is worth thousands. Dang!

The casket, of coarse, will be hot pink and mourners will be provided with stickers that they may use to augment it.

And here is Barbie’s mean German hooker sister, Bild Lilli:

The wonderful quarterly magazine Barbie Bazaar carries stories on everything related to Barbie and Barbie collecting. For example, if you really want to you can find out why an original Brunette No 3 Barbie is more valuable than a No. 2 Blonde. Or whatever.

I am fascinated by it (whenever my friend who actually buys it (not me) shows it to me). I have learned much there and from the many websites devoted to Barbie. Especially Barbie Theory which works from a sociological, psychological perspective, and Barbie for Boys (alas, now defunct), which was Barbie for girly boys really.

I doubt that Bild Lilli was actually meant to be a hooker. She certainly looked like one, and one of the toughest , but my understanding is that she was the star of a daily cartoon strip in the newspaper “Das Bild”.

I surmise that this was essentially an adult strip, and that she was like a pin-up girl, and that her adventures and scrapes as a girl reporter involved her dress flying up fairly often (This is based on my recollections of the strip “Jane” which ran in the UK Daily Mirror for years during the forties and fifties).

Or it may have been a conventional little girls adventure strip.

I do think that the Lilli dolls were orginally intended to capitalise on her popularity and publicise the paper; the first dolls had miniature editions of the newspaper included in the packaging.

But before long there were snappy changes of outfit on sale, for both the sizes that the doll came in, current Barbie size and bigger (a lot easier to dress and undress, I imagine).

Ruth Handley became involved when in Europe she saw how little girls LOVED to play with this extremely adult doll. Like Pencepon most of the executives of her husbands toy company could not imagine that children would respond well. She had to battle to get it made.

Barbie Bazaar recently ran an article that was basically a picture gallery of Bild Lilli and her cheaper imitators. The japanese copies of Lilli are even meaner and harder and more deformed than the cast of “Chicks In The Slammer” or “Broads In The Big House”.

The genius of Mattel might well be taking a tough cookie doll and americanising her; that daffy vacuous smile (on what’s called the Jubilee face mould by collectors) is what makes those dangerous curves less scary, perhaps.

And don’t get me started on the Mackie face mould - oh, you’re all looking bored. Well goodbye. And goodbye from my friend too…