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…