Barbie doll wiki: What to know about Ken, Alan and the other male friends

This week I continue my series with my little wiki of Barbie, her family and friends. I’m going to write a little bit of the male friends of Barbie over the last decades. Her boyfriend, called Ken, was available first in 1961. There was a big demand for something like a male friend or a boyfriend, as the literature says. I don’t know if it is true or not but some sources report about Ken that there were three prototypes of the doll with different male genitals or intimations but only the the weakest intimation made it into production. It was regarded as very offensive for girls at the age of 10 or older to see a replica of nature. The society was not ready to deal with replicas of nature. So the logical conclusion is that Ken and his friends are eunuchs until their end?

Ken doll, the first one

In 1961 Ken doll became available. He was designed as a male friend or more, depending on the fantasy of the girl who owned him. At first he was marketed a doll for boys. Ruth Handler did not want to limit the fantasy of children during their plays. This can, of course, seen as an attempt to sell a wider variety of dolls to different children (female and male ones). Obviously this did not work out as planned. Girls found the male doll as attractive as Barbie doll. The sales figures were not bad but the target group was refocused. Early TV ads are a good example for this theory. Only the 1961 Ken came with flocked hair. The later versions came with painted hair. There was almost every year a re-issue of Ken until 1966.

Flocked haired Ken to the left, 1962 Ken, 1963 Ken and Shortie Ken (from 1964)

Ken got a friend called Allan

In 1964 Allan was released as a male friend for Midge, Barbie’s best friend. So the four could go on a double date like in real life. I think from today’s point of view it’s a bit old-fashioned but I think in the 60s it was wide-spread. Allan disappeared in the late 1960s until he came back to a new generation of little girls when he and Midge celebrated their wedding (after a relationship of 25 years). Then he was suddenly gone for almost 10 years and came back in 2002 to become father (after almost 40 years of relationship). After the Happy Family play set time was over, he disappeared again. If you see him, greet him and say we kind of miss him.

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ALLAN (or how to steal your best friend’s husband headmold for your boyfriend). Jokes aside… In 1990 a handsome groom made his reappearence to marry Barbie’s bestie Midge with a facemold exclusively made for this ocassion. The flamant groom was Allan and his face became so successful that Mattel set aside the plans to launch him and Midge with their own family line as a replacement of the Heart Family (years before the Happy Family) to give Ken this new face because people prefered the Alan facemold (with a single L) than the 1988 Ken one. The 90s saw Ken with several faces, many created from Alan’s mold as a base with modifications, most of them in the way the hair was sculpted, although we can see some models with rooted hair too. Alan reapeared with Midge in 2001 with another face mold in the controverted line Happy Family and since this line we didn’t see him again. The boys: Sparkle Surprise Ken 1992 (Alan Facemold) Ken Secret Heart 1991 (Secret Heart Ken Facemold) Ken Hollywood Hair 1992 (Short Hair Alan) Ken Magic Jewel 2002 (Alan Rooted) #alanfacemold #barbiealan #kenalan #barbiemattel #kenmattel #alanmattel #kenhollywoodhair #kensparklesurprise #kensecrethearts #kenmagicjewel #fashiondoll

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The first afro-american friends

After Allan was gone, Brad came. Brad was the male friend or boyfriend of Christie. Brad, Christie and the black Francie were the first black Barbie dolls available. Today they are highly sought after. Then after Brad came Curtis, a male friend of Cara. His availability was also very limited to two years in the early 1970s.

Ken got real hair

Ken got eventually real hair (like Barbie doll) in the 1970s, one edition was the “Now Look Ken” in 1975 and the other one was “Sport and Shave Ken” in 1979. Groovy. The next Ken with real hair was the “Totally Hair/Ultra Hair Ken” in 1991 and “Shaving Fun Ken” in 1995 or 1996, then the Ken of “Butterfly Princess Barbie” also had real hair and a late 90s version of the Shaving Ken too. All the other editions had painted hair. Ken was constantly available and a reliable companion until 2004. Suddenly Ken and Barbie were separated and Barbie got a new boyfriend called Blaine but their relationship did not last that long. At the begin of this decade there was a reunion of Barbie and Ken.

Mod hair Ken prototype

In 1981 the Sunsational Malibu Ken (black version) was the first official black Ken. I read about it that it became possible due to changed laws in 1980. A hispanic version of Ken was available in 1983, the Sun Gold Malibu Ken (hispanic version).

More friends

In 1982 Ken got a friend called Todd ( not sure if Todd from Tutti and Todd grew up or if this is another character). In 1986 he got a new friend called Derek (Rocker Derek).

In 1987 a new friend called Steven ( also afro-american) was introduced. He was available until 1994 and then was discontinued again. https://www.pinterest.de/pin/622341242240814201/?lp=true

Skipper got male friends too

Skipper also got a male friend or boyfriend in 1979 called Scott but he disappeared again in 1980. Later in the early 1990s she got a new companion called Kevin from around 1990 until 1995. Unfortunately I was not able to find more information about Kevin.

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