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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ken - Barbie's boyfriend.

Ken Carson is a toy doll introduced in 1961 as the fictional boyfriend of Barbie doll. Similar to his female counterpart, Ken had a fashionable line of clothing and accessories. In the Barbie mythos, Ken and Barbie met on the set of a TV commercial in 1961. Since his debut, Ken has held at least forty occupations, from Olympic gold medalist (1974, 1997), to hair stylist (1991, 1992, 1999).

This is the original Ken doll, introduced in 1961, with flocked hair. Doll came with red swim trunks, yellow towel, cork sandals, booklet and stand.

From 1961 to the debut of Superstar Ken in 1977, Ken had straight arms and a head that could only turn left and right. Ken's hair was felt in his first year but replaced with a plastic, molded haircut when the felt hair was found to fall off when wet. Superstar Ken featured a dimpled smile, a head that could swivel, bent arms, a more muscular physique, jewelry, and underwear permanently molded to his body.

(a 1978 Ken doll version)

In 1993, a version was released called Earring Magic Ken. The style of the doll resembled fashions among some segments of the gay community, and the doll attained a cult following.

Ken's best friend, Allan Sherwood was introduced in 1964.

The first African-American male doll was introduced in 1981, in contrast to Barbie's African-American friend, Christie, who was introduced in 1968. Another male doll, Alan, was introduced in 1990 and married Barbie's friend, Midge.
The unrealistic physiques of Barbie and Ken caused comment. Yale University psychologist, Kelly Brownell, observed that to size up to what Barbie looks for in a mate, "a man would have to grow 20 inches taller and add nearly 8 inches to his neck circumference, 11 inches to his chest and 10 inches to his waist to resemble the muscular Ken."
In February, 2004, Mattel announced a split for Ken and Barbie, with Russell Arons, vice president of marketing at Mattel, saying that Barbie and Ken "feel it's time to spend some quality time - apart...Like other celebrity couples, their Hollywood romance has come to an end." Arons indicated that the duo would "remain friends." Arons hinted that the separation might be partially due to Ken's reluctance to getting married. In February, 2006 however, a revamped version of the Ken doll was launched, and it appeared that their relationship was official again. On Valentines day of 2009, on her type pad blog, Barbie announced the official reunion of the couple.
Like Barbie, Ken is named after one of Ruth Handler's children.

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