"Ken, He's a Doll!"
...this was the first introduction in 1961 we heard from Mattel about Ken, the future steady boyfriend of Barbie, the teenage fashion model. He was named after the son of Ruth and Elliot Handler; inventors of the Barbie doll.
In 1961 he stood a tall twelve inches high and came with a flocked crew cut in brunette or blonde (M#:750). He had a six-piece jointed body with painted blue eyes. He wore red bathing trunks, cork sandals and came with a yellow towel. Because his hair flock came off in water, Mattel re-released him the following year with molded, painted hair instead (M#: 750 BD: 1962). In 1963 he went through another metamorphous and was shortened by ¼ inch (M#: 750 BD: 1962). His legs became a little heftier and leg joints looser.
Ken brought to the world of Barbie the possibility of adventure and romance. But, steady dating seems to be the result of this long lasting relationship. One sad note; Ken is only considered an "accessory" to Barbie by Mattel... making him the ultimate "boy toy".
Ken has garnered many images and scandal (Earring Magic Ken 1992); but to me he will always represent a healthy combination of innocence, boyish masculinity, playfulness and style.
BTW, Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. Did you know that Ken doll's full name is... Ken Carson? No middle name was ever given.