Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Z: Zoo Doctor

ZONKS! I can't believe it's now time for ...

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter Z



Among Barbie's many careers is that of zoo doctor, or pet doctor. On top of that, she's also been a regular doctor. The Pet Doctor was first released in the 1990s.







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And that's a wrap! Hope you have enjoyed this year's A to Z. A Reflections post is coming this week, and the Post-A to Z Road Trip is later in May.


WINNER badge #AtoZChallenge 2024

Monday, April 29, 2024

Y: You Can Be Anything

 

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter Y




"You can be anything" is a slogan used by Barbie to mean just that--you can be anything. The slogan is intended as a symbol of diversity and inclusion. This is the sort of positive message all kids need to learn.

Indeed, the many careers Barbie has held shows that slogan, even before it was a thing. At one time she was a nurse, but she later became a doctor, though she did become a nurse once again




Pictured below are just some of the careers represented in this line.





With all that has been said, I now wonder even more why there has not been an official Lawyer Barbie doll. 




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YOWZA!! Only one day left! Tune into tomorrow to see the finale.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Summer Reading Challenge 2024 @ Beyond the Bookends

Doing this one again.  Begins on May 1 and runs until Labor Day.

Summer Reading Bingo 2024

  1. Book Set at the Beach:
  2. Plane Book: The Clue of the Gold Coin--Helen Wells
  3. Biographical Fiction: Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker--Jennifer Chiaverini
  4. Book Featuring a Weather Event:
  5. Set in the Jazz Age/20s:
  6. Listen to an Audiobook: Cinderella Liberator--Rebecca Solnit
  7. Celebrity Book Club Pick: The Girl From the Train--Irma Joubert
  8. Animal Novels:
  9. Urban Fantasy:
  10. Locked Room Mystery:
  11. Dystopian Novel:
  12. Book with a Color in the Title: White Lies--Jayne Ann Krentz
  13. Book Featuring Women in STEM:
  14. Book with a Pool on the Cover:
  15. Ultimate Beach Reads 2024:
  16. Puzzle Mystery:
  17. Young Adult Fantasy:
  18. Wedding Book:
  19. 2024 New Release:
  20. Hotel Novel:
  21. Book Set in Scotland:
  22. Fashion Books:
  23. Next Book in a Series:
  24. Romantic Comedy Book:
  25. Free Space: Vanity Fare--Megan Caldwell


A Few More Things Before the End of the Alphabet Journey

Well, it's almost over. Only two days left for the A to Z. My last two posts have already been scheduled. I've enjoyed it so far and there are several blogs I have visited. When the Road Trip begins in May, I'll get to others I've missed and perhaps revisit those I've already seen. 

It was hard to decide what to include for each post. A friend mentioned Peaches and Cream Barbie, which I vaguely remember hearing about. I must not have remembered when it came time to decide what to post for each letter.  This one came out when I was 13, so I was only vaguely aware of it at that time.



The only Barbie I can ever recall having was this one. I was never that big on the line. I was more about other similar dolls, as I said in this post  (from last year's A to Z blogging event). The hype over the movie was mainly what made me choose this theme.



This blogging journey has also brought to mind several references to Barbie in other media. I wasn't sure how to fit these into the regular A to Z posts, so I will post them here while we are on our last Sunday break.

One that comes to mind is the movie  Never Been Kissed, where the three mean girls all show up as different iterations of the doll at the prom, with the theme of "Famous Couples Through History."  One of the girls is Malibu Barbie, and the others are Evening Wear Barbie and Disco Barbie (Not so sure that these ever were a thing, but it might be true). Disco Barbie's Date (Disco Ken?) looks a bit like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. And they think that Josie's Rosalind (from Shakespeare's As You Like It) is supposed to be "Medieval Barbie." Never heard of that one, either, but my friend found a collector Barbie in Victorian dress (she's fascinated by that era).


Another is from the movie Rat Race, when a girl sees a sign for a Barbie Museum, which isn't what she thinks:



Malibu Stacy, the Barbie parody on The Simpsons, who was the focus of an episode. The name brings to mind the annual Barbie swimsuit lines (which were known by the Malibu name until the mid-80s) as well as Stacy, a British friend of Barbie's from the late 60s/early 70s, who was in the Malibu line. But the doll depicted is based on Teen Talk Barbie from the early 90s, one of whose phrases, "Math class is tough!" generated controversy. 



The 1998 movie Small Soldiers, about interactive military action figures and monsters (smart toys), included a Barbie parody called Gwendy. The Gwendys (voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar and Christina Ricci) are turned into a new army for the soldiers.


And there still may be more I missed. This is only scratching the surface. This may be something to bring up in my Reflections post. The Reflections posts begin this Thursday.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

X: Barbie Extra

 

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter X


The ever-tricky letter X! This is the most I could find for this one.

Here is the description of the Barbie Extra dolls from the link above:

Barbie® Extra dolls rock bold fashions and bright colors, and they make big statements! Each Barbie® doll has their own unique style that's playful and over the top. And their pets -- each different and all adorable -- have tons of personality, too! Barbie® Extra lets kids explore self-expression through style and offers an exciting fashion and styling play experience with posable dolls. They are all about having fun with fashion with glitter, gummy bears, emojis and stand-out hair -- bringing EXTRA vibes wherever they go. Each sold separately, subject to availability. Dolls cannot stand alone. Colors and decorations may vary.

  • When it comes to fashion, Barbie® Extra dolls have a 'more is more' attitude, featuring 15 pieces that include clothing and fashion accessories, as well as a pet and pet accessories.
  • ​Play out Barbiecore style with the dolls that inspired the trend.​​​
  • A fun and playful look showcases her confident style with pink, teddy bear-print denim shorts paired with a matching jacket with extra-furry sleeves.
  • Barbie® doll's accessories -- an ice cream cone clutch, Barbie® nameplate ring, heart-shaped sunglasses and lots of jewelry, including a charm necklace -- add personal expression and unexpected moments of storytelling fun.
  • The pet bulldog figure is oh-so-EXTRA, too, with a removable bear-themed beanie, studded collar and adorably grumpy expression.
  • Barbie® Extra dolls make a great gift for kids 3 to 10 years old, especially those who love to be extra themselves!

A line of Barbie Extra Mini dolls was also made:




The line only lasted two years (2021-2023), making it one of the more obscure Barbie lines.

Friday, April 26, 2024

W: Walk Lively

 

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter W





This series came out in the early 1970s. The dolls in this line came with a walk-and-turn stand. No batteries were needed. Only Barbie, Ken and  Steffie appeared in the line, but the Walk Lively feature was also used on Mattel's Miss America dolls

 
 



Barbie's friend Steffie may not be well-remembered, as she only appeared in three lines. But Walk Lively Steffie (shown above) is notable in that her closed-mouth head mold has been reused many times. Barbie herself has used the mold, as have many of her friends, including Christie, P.J., Teresa, and Midge, and the one-time Tracy Bride doll. Miss America and the African American Mrs. Heart also used the Steffie head, as did one of Jazzie's friends, Stacie. The 4.5-inch doll line Dazzle from the early 1980s used a scaled-down version of the Steffie head for some of its girl dolls (other girl dolls in that line used a scaled-down Superstar Barbie head mold). I had most of this line.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

V: Video Girl Barbie

 

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter V


Video Girl Barbie

One of the more obscure iterations of Barbie seen in the movie is that of Video Girl Barbie. Released in 2010, the original toy was a real working video camera that was able to record up to 30 minutes of film and even upload to a computer. As shown with the live-action character, Video Girl Barbie came with a large hole in her upper body that featured the camera lens but was disguised as a fashionable pendant. The doll was discontinued for a unique reason: the FBI saw the doll’s hidden camera as a potential threat to children, saying that it could have been used for child pornography. Though no such incidents were ever reported, Mattel pulled Video Barbie from shelves in 2012. (from this link)

The doll was launched the same year as Instagram (link). The rise in social media most likely had a lot to do with the doll's controversy and cancellation. Had it been released in the 1990s or the early 2000s, would it have caused the same controversy? Though perhaps the FBI might have worried over porn at that time as well.









Wednesday, April 24, 2024

U: Unicorn

 

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter U



This was a tricky letter, and the most I could find was the Unicorn-themed movies, as well as the Dreamtopia Dolls.

Here are some of the unicorn movies:

 


And from the Dreamtopia series:


A commercial for the Dreamtopia Unicorn set: 


The Dreamtopia doll with a removable unicorn headband:


And one of the Dreamtopia unicorns:



Tuesday, April 23, 2024

T: Teresa

 

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter T



Teresa was the first regular Hispanic character other than the Hispanic versions of Barbie and Ken. Teresa's story is in this video:



Teresa first appeared as part of the California Dreams series in 1988. She has been with the Barbie line ever since, thus making her one of Barbie's longest lasting friends. She used an often-used head mold of Barbie's friend Steffie (more on this to come) before Teresa received her own head mold. 


Teresa's first appearance.

(From left) Beach Blast Dolls Miko, Barbie,
Christie and Teresa.

The Rollerblade dolls were recalled because the
light-up skates caused sparks.


She has also been in many of Barbie's animated videos. That being said, I now wonder why she wasn't referenced in the movie. But I guess they could only show so many characters in the movie.

Monday, April 22, 2024

S: Shani

 

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter S



"'Shani' means marvelous in the Swahili language and marvelous she is. ..." So began the tagline for The Marvelous World of Shani. Though it was a separate series, Shani (pronounced SHAW-nee) and her friends are retroactively considered friends of Barbie. Shani and her girl friends are the same size as Barbie and her boyfriend the same size as Ken, so they can share clothes. Shani was Mattel's attempt at creating an ethnically correct African American doll line. Previous AA dolls were criticized as having more Eurocentric than Afrocentric features, as many used the same head and body molds as their Caucasian counterparts. Kitty Black Perkins, who was responsible for designing the line, had also designed the Black Barbie doll in 1980. The video below talks about the creation of the Shani dolls and their releases and media reception:



The first wave of Shani dolls in 1991 featured the lead doll and her two female friends, Asha and Nichelle, in convertible gowns. Shani's gown transformed into a bathing suit and cover-up; Asha's into a mini dress and jacket; and Nichelle's into a ballerina outfit. Each one had a different skin tone, facial feature and hair texture. Four different fashion sets were also sold, and the packaging stated that the clothes fit Barbie, too.

(from left) Asha, Shani and Nichelle
in the first year of release.


For the second year, the girl dolls came in two-piece bathing suits (the Beach Dazzle series), and Jamal, Shani's boyfriend, was introduced, wearing a convertible yellow tuxedo. Originally, Jamal had a mustache, but was clean-shaven in subsequent releases. Three more outfit sets were produced, but none for Jamal. Shani's only accessory was also made: a gold-tone Corvette (pictured below), a repainting of Barbie's Corvette from the 1980s. Shani didn't last long enough to get a house or other playsets. 


The box back of the Beach Dazzle Shani dolls.
The bathing suits were made from material used in the dolls'
 first-year gown bodices, but Shani and Asha swapped material since
the original Shani already wore a swimsuit under her gown.


Jamal with mustache

Jamal's party tuxedo could be
converted into a casual outfit.



Two more waves of Shani followed. Another beach-themed line, known as Beach Streak, and a tie-in line to the hit music-and-dance show Soul Train, both with the now clean-shaven Jamal.



After Shani's own line was cancelled, she made one US appearance in the Barbie line as Sun Jewel Shani (below), the annual swimsuit series. She also appeared in the Jewel and Glitter line, sold only on foreign markets. A Dr. Shani doll shown in promotional catalogs was never released (an AA Dr. Barbie was made instead). 

Sun Jewel Shani was
 the last Shani produced.

 
Even after Shani disappeared entirely, reminders have popped up from time to time.  An unrelated line, Asha African American collection (not the same Asha who was Shani's friend), made in the late 1990s, was considered a spiritual successor to Shani. This doll named Asha used Shani's face mold, skin tone and hair texture. The head molds for Shani, Asha, Nichelle and Jamal have been used on other Mattel African American dolls, including Christie and Steven and AA versions of Barbie and Ken. The So In Style (S.I.S.) line from 2009 to 2017 is considered another spiritual successor to Shani. Like Shani, the Grace doll from S.I.S. was incorporated into the Barbie line after S.I.S. was cancelled. Also, the name Nichelle has appeared in the Generation Girl and Fashionistas lines. The Mystery Squad doll line had a doll named Shawnee, pronounced the same as Shani. Both Shawnee and Nichelle Generation Girl oddly used Asha's head mold. 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Procedure Last Week

Well, my colonoscopy went well. Last Monday I had an EKG and a urine test at the hospital hours before I began drinking the cleansing solution. I'd bought a box of adult pull-ups the night before at Dollar Tree and began wearing them that morning. As people had told me, I needed to be in the bathroom a lot! At first I sat in the kitchen to drink the stuff, then moved to the bathroom once the need to use the toilet began. I barely slept at all on Monday, and did not shower on Tuesday before the procedure. My cousin drove me to the hospital and her son picked me up afterward. I did not fell anything during the procedure. A day and half without solid food me very hungry and I immediately had some cereal once I got home. I immediately felt better as the rest of the day went on. I spent most of the two days lying in bed.

I'd begun scheduling my posts starting on the 5th, to see how it works. It's been great, and the rest of the A to Z posts have been scheduled for their designated letter days. This was especially a good idea for the timeliness of the posts and for day of my procedure. Originally, I was to have been up at 2AM that morning, per the instructions that were sent to me regarding the solution I was to drink. The instructions had been for a two-bottle, two-dose solution, that I was to have begun on Monday at 6PM, and Tuesday at 2AM. But the hospital sent a 4-liter jug instead. So I now had to begin on Monday at 3PM, taking a dose every 10 minutes until the bottle was gone. I no longer had to be up at 2AM, but I'm sure I was awake by then, since I barely got any sleep on Monday night. 

I'm glad it's over now. It was said to be normal, and they now recommend having one every five years. 

Bonus Post: Barbie From 2020

 While searching my Facebook memories yesterday, this one from 2020 came up:


I then looked up "quarantine Barbie memes," and came across this article, which contained a link to this photo on Instagram:


And even more in this article.

This was perfect for a Sunday post. Kind of an A to Z bonus. 

Saturday, April 20, 2024

R: Ryan

 

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter R


Ryan

Yet another confusing name in the Barbie world. Ryan first appeared as the name of one of Barbie's baby sister Kelly's little friends and was supposedly friends with Ken's little brother Tommy. Ryan was also the name of Alan and Midge's son in the Happy Family Line. According to this link, the Ryan in the Kelly line is Midge and Alan's son. Ryan was a toddler when the Happy Family line was introduced two years after the Kelly line, though there was no connection to Kelly mentioned when the Happy Family was produced. Confused, are you?

But the naming doesn't end there. The name Ryan appeared again in the My Scene Goes Hollywood movie from 2005. The doll is pictured below.


The Fashionistas line of 2011 reintroduced the Ryan name. This is the doll on the right in the photo on top of the page. This character also appears in the Life in the Dreamhouse and the Barbie Vlog videos. He was the twin brother of the character Raquelle, until she was retired. 

This is even more confusing. I have the feeling I missed something on this one. Anyone know otherwise? As long as Mattel holds rights to names, they likely will often be reused to the point of confusion like this one.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Q: Quick Curl

 

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter Q



"No setting! No wetting! No waiting!" was the slogan for the Quick Curl Barbie line. The dolls in this series came with thin wires in their rooted hair that could easily be bent into curly shapes. Deluxe versions of each doll were later released. The Cara doll (shown below in the Deluxe version) was among the characters in this line. P.J., Francie, Skipper and one-time friend Kelley (below) were also included.

Barbie's friend Kelley (right). 

Original and Deluxe Quick Curl Barbie

Cara in one of her appearances.

The Mod Hair Ken doll was also made around this time and is paired with Quick Curl Barbie in this commercial: 


Mattel also used the Quick Curl feature on its Miss America dolls, and on Quick Curl Casey, a 19-inch doll from the 1970s (not to be confused with Francie's friend Casey). 

Quick Curl Barbie is not to be confused with Magic Curl Barbie  of the early 1980s, which did require wetting the doll's hair. That would also mean waiting.

I'd also like to mention Sport and Shave Ken, from 1979, seen in this commercial:


EDIT (4/21): One of the videos I'd included was marked private so I removed it.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

P: P.J.

 

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter P






A long-gone and forgotten friend of Barbie, P.J. was introduced in 1969, when Midge was first dropped from the line. Children wrote to Mattel asking what the initials stood for, getting the reply, "Nothing! P.J. is her name!" She lasted until the early 1980s when Midge was reintroduced. 




The Dream Date line of 1983 says that P.J. is Barbie's cousin, though this is generally said not to be true. 



 

This blogger thought that P.J. and Fluff, one of Skipper's early friends, looked alike enough to be sisters. That was never said to be the case, but if it had been, and if P.J. had been Barbie's cousin, then Fluff and Skipper would have been cousins as well.

 

Skipper's early friend Fluff (pictured on the right). 
Any resemblances?