Top 10 Most Famous Barbie Dolls

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It’s amazing how much controversy a little doll, less than 12 inches in height, can generate. These days, the blonde beauty named Barbara Millicent Roberts, aka Barbie, is in the middle of a lawsuit. The controversy? Mattel claims Bratz, a line of dolls that has been stomping Barbie sales, was made by an employee at Mattel who had an exclusivity contract, and therefore, Mattel is entitled to some of the estimated $500 million to $2 billion in sales their rival is generating annually. Oh, well, Barbie has been to the moon, worked at McDonald’s been a fashion model and had countless babies. Bratz may come and go, but Barbie’s been around nearly 50 years and she can handle anything. So here is the list of the Barbies that have been the most fun to play with

10. The original Barbie – 1959

Original Barbie Doll

Original Barbie Doll

Let’s be real – you can’t even TALK about Barbie without discussing the O.G. (original) version. Teeny-tiny waist, a great swimsuit, and those eyes. What are those eyes telling us? Look out world, because I’m a skinny, bad-ass model and you can’t tell me nuthin’! Why she’s fun to play with: Quite simply, as a little girl, you can play with this doll and imagine the day that your mom and dad won’t go bezerk at the idea of you wearing read nail polish. Photo Credit: Flickr, Kathy DiPaolo

9. Day to Night Barbie

day-to-night-barbie

She can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, ever let Ken forget he’s a man. The cool thing about this Barbie is she showed little girls and women that the transition from job to “partay” time is easy. You wear the suit coat and the hair up in a bun during the day, and for the evening, whip off that coat to reveal a sleeveless, sequined shirt that helps you bring out your inner-sexy. And of course, the hair comes down in the evening too. Why she’s fun to play with: This Barbie planted a very important seed in the minds of little girls – the career seed. This doll showed us that being a Supermodel wasn’t the only cool job to have – working in an office could be cool too. Photo Credit: Flickr, fabiopoptrash

8. Western Barbie

western-barbie

Personally, I was a Dolly Parton fan for years before this Barbie came on the scene, and Dolly had introduced me to country-western culture. So when this Barbie came on the scene, I was really into it. Western Barbie, and her companion, Dallas, gave us a glimpse into life on a ranch. Cowgirl boots and cowgirl hat – totally awesome. Why she’s fun to play with: She winks! Seriously – she has a button on her back, and when you press it, she winks. Oh, and, she had pretty big 1980’s hair. What’s not to love? Photo Credit: Flickr, Gebrüder Grims Schlaraffenland*’s

7. Christie – Barbie’s first Black friend – 1968

Christie - Black Barbie

Christie – Black Barbie

Okay, this Barbie is a clear example of Barbie expanding her horizons. In 1968 Mattel introduced Christie, Barbie’s black friend. While her features are very similar (if not identical) to the white Barbie being manufactured at the time (she’s the white Barbie with tinted skin), this is clearly a very important step in the Barbie line. And, this doll was an example of how little black girls could aspire to the same dreams as their white counterparts. Why she’s fun to play with: This doll is fun because she leveled the beauty playing field with her white counterpart, showing the world that black is beautiful too. Photo Credit: Flickr, retrozuk (Olli)’s

6. Super Star Barbie

superstar-barbie

Now working 9-5 is cool and all, but Superstar Barbie was the bomb because when you played with her, you imagined you were one of the Supremes or Christie Brinkley or Brooke Shields. She represented glamour, glamour, glamour – and what little girl DOESN’T want to grow up and be glamorous? She was Kimora Lee Simmons before Kimora existed, and the boa-esque thing she wrapped around her shoulders was the icing on the cake. Why she’s fun to play with: The pink satin dress, and the bling on the finger, around the neck and in the ears just gave little girls room to fantasize about the day when they’d be able to be the same – all glam. Photo Courtesy: Flickr, superstar 77

5. Black Ken (Black – 1981)

black-ken-barbie

Not to be confused with Brad, Christie’s boyfriend who debuted in 1969, this black Ken doll is awesome because between 1969 and 1981, Christie had to just kinda chill by herself while Barbie went through a variety of Ken companions. Because it was 1981, and fashion was in transition from the 70’s, this Ken had a really awesome curly afro that was impossible to comb. Of course, his only clothing was a pair of unattractive, yellow gym shorts with a red stripe (or maybe it was orange), he was so fly it didn’t matter. Why he’s fun to play with: You could match this Ken with Superstar Barbie and act out several scenes from “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” and REALLY raise some eyebrows in BarbieLand.

4. Golden Dreams Barbie

golden-dreams-barbie

Okay – this Barbie was so much fun to play with, I remember the day I got her. Kinda similar to Superstar Barbie, this one was awesome because everything was golden – her hair, her clothes – even her jewelry. And as you can tell from the picture, the white doll had blue eyes that just jumped out at you. While Superstar Barbie was of the Diva variety, Golden Dreams was more the Barbie that you could imagine on a motorcycle, telling Ken to hop on the back (because, of course, Barbie would never let Ken drive Her bike!) Why she’s fun to play with: Superstar Christie had beautiful brown hair and a copper-colored streak in her hair just to let you know – she was pretty, and she had an incredible smile, but if you crossed her the wrong way, it was game on – she’d whip your butt! Photo Credit: Mauro M UK’s

3. Ballerina Barbie – Cara

cara-ballerina-barbie

Barbie the ballerina – seems to be a logical fit. Barbies and ballerinas, that is. This Barbie was another tangent of beauty. The ballerina is one of the strongest symbols of femininity and romance, and before Cara, black ballerinas were just a rarity. The pink tutu with gold accents, complemented with the pink ballerina slippers and the gold crown symbolize near royalty. Why she’s fun to play with: This Barbie represents the grace (and beauty) that many little girls lacked, and never even thought about, until we started playing with, and imagining ourselves as, Ballerina Barbie.

2. India Barbie

Indian Barbie

Indian Barbie

Introduced in 1982, India Barbie was one of the first “brown” Barbies of the International Collection (now known as “Dolls of the World.”) In 1982, few of us knew anything about India, and Mattel “went there” with the introduction of this collection. While Mattel definitely could have focused only on Europe for the International series, the company grew a pair and decided to branch out to cultures not well-known in America. Why she’s fun to play with: You could read the box to learn about India, then imagine what India Barbie’s life was like, and attempt to recreate it while assimilating Barbie and her friends to Indian culture.

1. Midge Hadley (the pregnant Barbie)

Midge Hadley, pregnant Barbie

Midge Hadley, pregnant Barbie

Midge is Barbie’s best friend. This Midge was part of “The Happy Family,” which of course included Midge, a daddy and two kids. This Barbie was cool because you could take off her pregnant belly, and inside of the pregnant belly, there was a baby. However, in the conservative town where I grew up, that didn’t go over very well with the parents who didn’t want to discuss where babies come. : -) Why she’s fun to play with: As a kid, you could bring Midge to slumber parties and show off the pregnant belly and the baby inside. Then, the next morning at breakfast, you could watch the slumber party host’s mom squirm when that one sheltered kid in the group said, “But I thought babies came from storks and cabbage patches – why is the baby in her tummy?” Photo Credit: Flickr, Violentz

Submitted by Holly Rodriguez

Now if we can only decide where Barbie should live?


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47 Comments

  1. Good picks! You certainly hit the nail on the head with these ones, even though there's a couple of my old favourites from the 80's missing. But what is so great about Barbie, is that we all can have our own favourites. 🙂

    But… Barbie hasn't had countless of babies. She hasn't had any. She has never married, even though there's tons of wedding dresses for her. However, Midge has had quite a few babies, and she's married to Alan! 🙂

      • I just found two Midge dolls at an op shop-and jumped at them, as i have freckles and red hair too, i thought my daughter will love these when she grows! i wonder if anyone could help me determine which kind they are though, as one has a fringe and a wider ‘structure’ [face and hips] ..BEST BARBIE EVER!!! -although i still love Skipper too :))

        • When Barbie first came out, she was the subject of a lot of criticism, some of which that claimed Barbie was too mature-looking for children. Midge was the first same-size friend of Barbie ever sold, and was created to oppose these controversies aimed at Barbie. She had a fuller, gentler face mold that was less sexually intimidating, although her body proportions were the same as Barbie and they both stood at 11 1/2 inches (292 mm) tall.[1] This allowed the two dolls to be able to share clothes and accessories. Her head mold was stamped “1958”, the same as Barbie. When Midge arrived, the markings on the straight leg body mold they shared changed to include both her and Barbie.[2] Midge had shoulder-length hair that flipped at the ends. Buyers had an option of buying a doll with one of three different hair colors: red, blond, or brunette. Her face was usually brushed with freckles. The dolls that were sold without freckles had a longer hair style and are now hard to find.[3] Depending on the doll’s hair color, the color of her two-piece swimming suit varied. If Midge had red hair her swimsuit was yellow and orange, for blond hair it was in two shades of blue, and if she was brunette it was pink and red.[4] The first vintage Midge dolls had a value of $175 MIB (Mint In Box) in 2007.[5]

          For the first two years that Midge was sold, she had “straight legs” that could not bend at the knee.[4] A rare Midge with teeth was sold the first year and is now sought after by collectors.[3] One year later in 1964 the dolls that were sold had slightly longer hair.[4] Midge’s boyfriend Allan arrived as well. Early in 1965, Wigs Wardrobe Midge was sold, and consisted of a Midge head with short molded hair and three wigs. This was the Midge counterpart of the Fashion Queen Barbie. Since she came with only a head, another doll had to provide for the body.[2] In 1965 Midge with bendable legs was introduced. She had shorter “bobbed” hair, like the American Girl Barbie, with a blue headband. Her swimming suit was different as well, and was now one-piece and striped.[4]

          From wikipedia 🙂

  2. Thanks for the Barbie list and your photos.

    However …

    the Twist 'n Turn and Talking Christies were made to represent Black women as Barbie was made to represent White women. Christie was NOT "the White Barbie with tinted skin." Christie is considered the first Black Barbie female doll made with an ethnic aka Black head mold.

    Francie is the Barbie … well, the Francie doll was the White doll who became "Colored Francie" by way of brown instead of pink plastic.

  3. I had the pregenant one… I'm 12 now, and I got her when I was maybe 8 or 9… I remember I really wanted her, mostly because I thought she was really pretty… I recently got rid of her because I moved… but since I was already "educated" before I got the doll, my mom didn't mind… Its funny how after I decided to pop Ken's head off, I stopped using them… I had 137 barbies in all… I was sooo spoiled… and I still am

  4. I don't actually remember any of my barbies… I know I had a bunch of them. Me and my friends were lazy to always remove the clothes, so instead of removing the clothes we'd just remove the heads. When we were done playing the headless barbies would be tossed around the room, and their heads would usually just get lost somewhere. My mom said my room used to look like a set from a horror movie XD

    • *Gasp*
      You sound mean to your barbies!
      ;(
      I remember my first barbie…
      Loved her <3

      P.S I'm ten.. I love my barbies with all my heart 🙂

  5. Octo-Dolls Nesting D on

    I remember when the pregnant barbie came out. You want to talk about reality, though? How's this – your belly doesn't go flat the moment your baby comes out. lol I never needed a pregnant barbie when I was a girl. I just stuffed the baby up her dress. Sure her belly was a little lumpy, but whatever – I used my imagination.

    My favorite was my Hollywood Hair Barbie and Ken, and I also still have a collection of Holiday barbie dolls – all different races, nationalities, and hair colors – that I keep boxed up in their original containers.

  6. The best ever was Earring Magic Ken, AKA, Gay Ken. My sister & I are still kicking ourselves for not buying a couple of these when we saw them on the shelf, about a week before Mattel pulled them.

    Poor Ken, yanked out of the public eye, simply for his flamboyant accessories!

  7. This list is wonderful, very interesting, anyway I just want to share this website I found in the internet its http://www.ThatsMyFace.com/f/custom_doll_head that can create a super-realistic doll heads of anyone from just a photo. Imagine making doll of yourself, your kids, your boss or your favorite celebrity!

    Apparently they can make the heads in many scales to fit Barbie-like dolls, Tonner dolls or even smaller figurines like Polly Pocket.

  8. I have Western Barbie, minus her horse (I had the white horse with the pink saddle that she had to ride “side saddle”). I got that Barbie at a school flea market, I think I was six.

    My Angel Face Barbie has a copper streak in her hair. She’s the one who came with a compact with three shades of eyeshadow and a “victorian” style dress. I also have Rockers Barbie (very curly hair, accidentally knocked her head off so she has a short neck, lost one of her shoes, and they were awesome, well made white pumps), Super Dance (very tanned, with a purple leotard and ballet slippers like the next one I’ll be mentioning), and an original Get in Shape Barbie.

    I also have a couple of brown eyed Theresas. I like Theresa because she looks most like me… brown eyed ones are more difficult to find. I bought the latest one a couple of years ago new (this one has subtle highlights in her hair), and the others are the older cast, smaller waist. One of them is dark skinned and hair down to her feet. I got her, and one other one, at flea markets.

    I have a surfer party Ken that came with black striped suspenders, white sneakers and a yellow and orange t shirt that had a slice of pizza on it (and some cardboard cutouts of food). I gave that to Joe McIntyre when he came along, he had no shirt other than his “high school” jacket. I asked for another outfit for Ken and got burgundy cords and a somewhat ugly sweater with burgundy loafers. he became Rockers Barbie’s boyfriend. 😛 Later on I got a couple of summer outfits and shoes for them, plus another male knockoff. I have several Barbie knockoffs, mostly Steffi Love, but there’s one dollar store brunette whose knees do not bend.

    One particularly interesting knockoff I have (my very first fashion doll) is one I know only as Joe G. She had the sideways glance and eyelashes, and her hands popped off! Mom stuck some tape in the sockets O.o and they’ve stayed on since, but it was kind of handy when you wanted to change her outfit and not get her hand hooked. Evidently she is super rare, I cannot find any information about her online. I probably devalued her somewhat by cutting her hair when I was small, as many girls do, but, you know, I was like three. I’m assuming she was a Canadian knockoff from the 70s, I think they were sold at Zellers here in Atlantic Canada.

  9. Top 10 RARE Barbie’s for Sale:
    1.) Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) Barbie for $150.00
    2.) Little Bo Peep Barbie for $150.00
    3.) Madame Du Barbie for $225.00
    4.) Coca Cola Soda Fountain Barbie for $250.00
    5.) Bob Mackie Circus Barbie Doll Barbie Doll for $275.00
    6.) Diana Ross by Bob Mackie for $275.00
    7.) Medusa Barbie Greek Mythology Gold Label NRFB for $400
    8.) Bob Mackie Barbie Doll, Platinum, 1991 for $400.00
    9.) White Chocolate Obsession Barbie~2005 PLATINUM for $500
    10.) Pink Splendor Barbie The Ultimate Ltd Ed 1996 NRFB for $650.00

    Contact me and ask about my other RARE Barbies like:
    1988 Happy Holiday Barbie for $900.00!

    I WILL SHIP WORLDWIDE! E-mail me at: [email protected] for details or to order.

    • I have a Medusa barbie doll and it’s still in it’s box unopened. All the barbie’s I get now I don’t open them. I just set them on my shelf and they’re there for looks only.

  10. RMC: Oh I have that Coca Cola Barbie. XD I always thought it was rather stupid when I was little.

    I have quite a few barbies, but some of my favourites would be, in no particular order:
    – Meg (?), a turquoise mermaid, she had long red hair and gold star-shaped earrings, a gold necklace and crown. The end of her tail could be pulled off and she had shoes to match her outfit.
    – Teresa the “Jewel Girl” one of the first barbies to come in the more modern shape with a realistic stomach made of rubber so you could make her pose or dance. The thing I loved about her was the outfits she came in: funky blue pants that you could turn into shorts, a long skirt, a bandana that also served as a top, and her green jacket, the stick on jewels were a nice touch, until they started falling off…
    – Tie-dye(?) Barbie, I had a Barbie magazine where she featured on the front page. Anyway, I had the fit barbie (or whatever she was called) and I never really liked her or her outfit, so I was thrilled to have another barbie that could move more like a normal human being that actually looked awesome. She came dressed in green and blue, with a little blue beanie on her head and green sneakers. I still think that she has one of the nicest faceups of all my Barbies. She also came with some blue dye, to make your own tie dye shirt or streak her hair, or both… I can’t remember exactly.
    – I also had a Strawberry Barbie, she smelled of strawberries and she wore a pink dress dotted with strawberries. She also came with a strawberry necklace for you to wear that smelled of strawberries too, and a small perfume bottle or the same scent.
    – My Sleeping Beauty Barbie was also a lovely one. She actually had eyes that closed, she had a switch on her back to open and close them, and she came with a blue pillow that played the Sleeping Beauty theme if pressed. Her dress and hair were so pretty that I never undressed her of messed with her hair, so she’s probably the one in the best condition out of all my Barbies.

  11. I don’t like what you said about Mariah Carey seriously uncalled for! She is the only singer in the entire world who can hit notes no other femaile singer can. I can see making fun of lady man gaga or katy perry who have zero talent but not Mariah and that was uncalled for.

  12. I Loved my pregnant Barbie i had the whole collection Midge, the baby, the grandmother, the grandfather and my sister had the dad and the little boy

  13. I had the Hawiian Barbie that came with the pineapple scented purfume. I loved her, but I lost her in the Suwannee River

  14. I love this post. I am all grown up and kept my millions of barbies for my daughters when I had them, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve got boys. I can’t bear to get rid of them though. I love Rocker Barbie and her bandmate Derek. (He was way hotter than Ken – all the dolls loved him). I also loved Whitney. She was a model, had waist length long hair and an outfit that changed 10 ways. I liked her the best because she was a brunette, like me. I also had Western Barbie but my horse was Prancer (white with pink saddle) And still loved driving the dolls around in Barbies pink corvette (even though one wheel fell off and couldn’t be glued back on) Aaah memories 🙂

  15. I loved to play with Barbies when I was a little girl, but in my opinion the author missed the mark when describing what Barbie shows little girls they can do.

    Barbie is typically criticized for having an unrealistic figure that no woman could ever possibly achieve, and while Barbie may have a few outfits for work (unless there is an entire office scene that I’m unaware of, which is entirely likely considering Barbie has been around for 50+ years), I don’t really think that makes up for all the negative things that Barbie has been criticized for teaching little girls about.

  16. Hi my name is bob :3 on

    I used to have that pregnant doll when I was little. I thought the lady eats the baby and the baby breaks out later though her tummy ninja style

  17. I had Midge and Alan. Loved those dolls! Though my favourite was a brunette Barbie…her name escapes me. I used to make Barbie towns using cardboard boxes for houses :). Good times!

  18. Seriously.. where do you get barbie babies from????
    I’d love one… make it a crib.. a bottle.. blanket…
    😀
    I like Midge. 😀

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You are never to old to play with dolls

    May Angels Walk Beside You /”(‘.’)”\

  19. alpha and omega 2 on

    Well i still play with barbies (i’m 9) and 2 or 1 day ago I set up a fashion show for my barbies and i still have it up i have 24 or more barbies oh and i got the princess and pop star dolls well i got Keira but she doesn’t sing lol i got her with the guitar and i got the princess doll what sings. 🙂 Anyway lol my niece has a doll like Midge Hadley well it was my sisters who was the oldest so its real old but hers is not a barbie i think. Oh and believe in Jesus!!!

  20. i have talk of the town black barbie doll in the box how do i found out how much she is worth. any information about this doll would be greatlly apperciated

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