March 9, 2012 - Barbie Day

 Not all Barbie dolls are named “Barbie.”

For one thing, Barbie has friends, siblings, and a boyfriend, all in doll form; so taking a walk down the Barbie Doll aisle at the toy store, we may encounter Whitney and Skipper and Ken—and more. Also, some Barbies are collectible celebrity dolls, such as William and Catherine, Dancing with the Stars dolls, and even Twilight saga characters.

(Note: A lot of Barbie's friends and celebrity dolls were only offered for a short time. Wikipedia has an impressive list of dolls—many of whom I've never seen or heard of in my life! Trust me, even though this list is long, it's not nearly complete. For one thing, it doesn't list the William and Catherine, Dancing with the Stars, and Twilight saga dolls!)

You may wonder why today is Barbie Day... Well, on this day in 1959, the first Barbie doll went on display at the American Toy Fair in New York City. Barbie's creator, Ruth Handler, had to overcome resistance from many who didn't think little girls would play with adult-shaped dolls. Even Handler's own husband, who was one of the two founders of Barbie's parent company, Mattel, didn't believe in her idea. But Handler was right, and she didn't just invent a toy, she invented an empire!

Did you know...?

  • For a couple of years, there was a SIX-STORY Barbie store in Shanghai, China—all Barbie dolls and accessories—which included a staircase decorated by 875 Barbie dolls and a Barbie bar! Unfortunately, the huge Barbie store closed down last year. Look at some of the photos of the fantastic former store here.
  • There are more Barbie dolls in the U.S. than there are people!

Find out more about Barbie...

  1. Was the first Barbie based on a European doll meant for children or a gag gift meant for adults?
  2. You may have seen Barbie school teacher, Barbie astronaut, and Barbie U.S. President, but what career did the first Barbie have?
  3. Worldwide, how often is a Barbie doll purchased, on average?
  4. Who did Barbie date while split up, for a few years, with her long-time boyfriend Ken?
To find out the answers to these and other burning questions, check out this earlier post

Also on this date:

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