Talking Busy Barbie is such a gorgeous doll. Her original outfit is one of the more interesting ones from this era as well. As her name implies, she has the busy hands with a talking mechanism in her back. She utilizes the Twist n' Turn face mold with an innovative short hair-do. Some dolls have a shorter hair-do such as this one, while others sport a longer 'fro. This doll isn't terribly expensive but isn't easy to find in wonderful condition. She's a beauty!
Yes, that's right! FREE MOVING Valerie! It wasn't until I deboxed her that I realized she had the pull tab in her back, and the usual Free Moving accessories were in the box. This friend of Barbie from Mexico is made under license by Cipsa with a box date of 1974. She features the Stacey face mold with peachy skintone and brunette and platinum streaked hair! Her eyes are a jade green. She is wearing the late 70's outfit City Sophisticate in the photo. Anyone have a spare hat? Her original outfit is an ivory empire waisted dress with orange rik rak trim, with a matching purse. What a rare delight!
all three lovelies from the collection of Michael Chambers
Bendable leg Midge is so adorable! That headband and short pageboy really accentuate the Midge face mold. Also, the bendable leg variety of Midge is much harder to track down than the straight leg Midges. Especially if you want all three hair colors, sandy blonde, titian, and ash brunette. I still need a titian one, ah well, someday I'll get around to it. Bendable leg Midge has the same body generally as Bendable leg (American Girl) Barbie, Miss Barbie and the Color Magic dolls. Her original swimsuit is a blue and rainbow striped knit one. Bendable leg Midge looks adorable in many of the 1600 series outfits, ranging from Outdoor Life to Atelier Fest! Have fun redressing her!
Barbie Activa is so rare, she wasn't listed on Barbie Bazaar's list of dolls which use the Steffie face mold! She is definitely a Steffie, with big blue eyes and a well-constructed Free Moving body. She was created in conjunction with a licensing agreement with Cipsa, who also made Valerie. She comes with similar accessories to the American Free Moving Barbie. However, her skirt has a different floral pattern on it. Her hair is in a similar style to the American Free Moving Barbie, but is thicker with a wave to it. She has Talker hands instead of the Palm to Rear (PTR) claws. She's lovely and so elusive!
One of only two gift sets for Stacey, this one has some tricks to it that make it very elusive to obtain complete. The jacket has three small brass rings on it, and the two striped socks are difficult to find as well. (they're not pictured, but the second one is on it's way to me so I will update the pic sometime! Ha ha!) This outfit came packaged with a long haired spit curled TNT Stacey in blonde or redhead. The blouse is short sleeved and matches the jacket's arms, skirt and socks. So groovy and bright!
In 1971, Living Barbie got the centered eyes that every Barbie now had instead of the side-glancing eyes of previous years. She also wore a new outfit and had a new box! Her new outfit was a chic polka dot ensemble. The fabric from this outfit was used on Best Buy outfits for years to come. This year's Living Barbie is distinguishable from Live Action Barbie by her lighter blonde hair and her bangs. Because she is a Living Barbie, she has the bendable elbows, wrists and ankles like all Living dolls. She has rooted lashes like most MOD dolls. Again, the dolls made in Japan are from either the Sears Action Accents gift set or are Japanese in origin, and are usually titian. Her original price was $5.77 at some retail outlets. She's beautiful!
Here's mine: she's NRFB, so I can't get a good shot of the doll, but you can see her box.
from the collection of Michael Chambers... a pristine out of box example.
Live Action Christie is a unique doll. Although collectors do not usually consider her extraordinarily rare, she doesn't turn up very often! Her outfit is way groovy with wide bell bottoms and a midriff top in shades of melon and violet. Included with her are also an orange headscarf, square toed shoes, and a touch and go stand, like all the Live Action dolls had. Unlike the other dolls in the series, there is no Live Action Christie on Stage set. She is different in that she uses the old Midge mold for her face! Her eyes are shocking orange with bright orange lips too. Her hair is dark brunette. Her body has the bendable knees, elbows, etc. like all Live Action and Living dolls do. A superfly gal!
Black Francie is a rare doll that was available in two variations. The first one, previously featured as a doll of the month, has oxidized red hair, and coppery eyes. Her skin tone is also more golden than the second issue. The second issue pictured here has dark brown eyes, brownish-black hair, and a nice chocolate skin tone. She also seems to be slightly side glancing. She came in the same swimsuit as the first black Francie, although some have Pajama Pow print fabric swimsuits, as opposed to the print with blue in it. Her markings are the same as the first black Francie. The outfit black Francie is wearing is 1968's The Combo. Finding a black Francie is a challenge in itself, but finding both versions is a MOD feast!
Hair Happenin's Barbie is one of those dolls that you never see in good condition out of the box. Usually she is faded beyond oblivion. I was lucky enough to find a nice one, and hopefully you can too. Only produced in 1971, Hair Happenin's Barbie is much rarer than Hair Happenin's Francie. It was once thought that she was a Sears exclusive, but some NRFB ones have been found with price tags from other stores, so she is now thought to be a department store exclusive. She has titian chin length hair a la Hair Fair, but with centered eyes and no bangs. The example I found had a mint body but no nail polish whatsoever, leading me to think that many Hair Haps Barbies have no polish. Otherwise, the body is similar to a Twist and Turn. Her original outfit is a dress with a white top and pink bottom with a black corset belt and black T-strap shoes. There was an Australian version, which used a straight leg body, the Hair Haps head, and the Japanese MOD fashion with the white turtleneck and red jumper. She also came with three titian hair pieces. She's a rare beauty!
THIS MONTH'S DOLL: BUBBLECUT BARBIES, 1961-1966
Busy Francie is an elusive doll due to the nature of her composition. Like many MOD era dolls, this particular doll is often a victim of her torso and limbs fusing and then falling off, even NRFB. It took me over seven years to find the pristine with workable limbs example pictured above. She has a shag haircut (a la Carol Brady), with pink skin and a beautiful 70's face. Her outfit is comprised of a green tank top, jeans, green square toed shoes, and a red belt with a hexagonal buckle. She came with the usual busy accessories, and has the usual busy hands that open and close with the bendable elbows. In my opinion, finding this doll mint is probably even harder than finding a pristine Talking Busy Steffie. Good luck!
THIS MONTH'S DOLL: BUBBLECUT BARBIES, 1961-1966
platinum, titian, brunette and raven haired bubblecuts
By popular request, this month's doll of the month is the bubblecut! Many people adore bubblecuts because you can have hundreds that all look different. Mattel produced bubblecuts for six years because they sold well, which resulted in all the variations in hair and lip color. Bubblecuts from 1961 are marked Barbie on the rear, while all later variations are marked Midge/Barbie. Some harder to find variations include White Ginger, which originally had almost white hair and are always marked Barbie with red nails and candy pink lips; and brownette, which have oily faces and red lips with lighter brown hair. In general, bubblecuts are one of the most common vintage Barbies and are easily found, and are not as valuable as ponytails or other early Barbie varieties.
Barbie's Dinner Dazzle gift set certainly lives up to its name, with its vibrant lame' pink and blue jacket and skirt. The trim on the jacket was brown sumptuous rabbit fur. Two rhinestone buttons detailed the blouse, which is prone to fading. The hose were pale pink thigh highs, and the shoes were hot pink closed toes. The doll included was invariably a 1968 Talking Barbie with the side ponytail, usually ash blonde or lemon. On the box a Twist and Turn Barbie was pictured; it was common in this era to feature a different doll on the box top depicting the outfit worn than what was actually included. A gorgeous gift set!
Like many Barbie and family members, Skipper had store exclusive gift sets as well. This one from 1970 features a green leatherette coat and the ultra hard to find blue culottes with green rik rak trim. The Skipper that came in this set was the sausage curl Twist n' Turn variety in either blonde or brunette. The swimsuit that came with this set was orange and hot pink squared in design, with a ruffle at the bottom. The best part of finding these sets in the box are the colorful, cheery graphics.
The Francie and her Swingin' Separates Gift Set was a Sears exclusive from 1966. The Francie included was a bendable leg Francie (this is the one with rooted eyelashes, long flipped hair, a non-twisting waist, and bendable knees) that was either blonde or brunette. The accompanying outfits were a shirt made from the same material as Barbie's Floating Gardens outfit, a red A-line skirt, blue low-slung bell bottoms (requiring modeling by a non-twist waist doll because her twist waist is visible otherwise), and a darling yellow half top with blue ruffle trim. This gift set is unique because it comes with exclusive pieces like the MOD era gift sets, but has mix and match variety like the earlier sets. A fun and beautiful combination!
Possibly the rarest Francie of all is the New Beautiful German Francie of 1972. There are two versions of this doll... one with busy hands, and another with a straight leg body with twist waist that was only available on this doll. She has long blonde flipped hair, big blue eyes, and a closed mouth pensive expression on her face. The original outfit for the straight leg version is a brown dress with white yoke, white knee socks, brown flats and a blue bow in her hair. For the busy hands version, the original outfit is a dress with a blue floral print bottom and a red and white bodice. There is a picture of both dresses in the Eames Barbie Fashion book, Volume 2. This doll has a face mold which was not used on any other Barbie or family doll, except possibly Japan's Living Eli of 1970. A rare delight!
Standard Truly Scrumptious is one of the most darling and interesting dolls of the MOD era. Really! I wonder what Mattel executive thought of the bizarre idea of "Let's take Francie's head and a Standard Barbie body and make it into Truly Scrumptious!" Sounds like customizing to me...anyway, when in mint condition, this doll is breathtaking. The hardest part to find is that hat! Be careful when buying this doll. The Standard non-talking version should have straight legs and a non-twisting waist. Also, the hair in the back, the top portion is shorter than the rest, so it is not cut. I believe this was done to add height for the hat to rest high on her head. She has the same markings as a Standard Barbie. Overall, an awesome doll :-)
Stacey, Barbie's British chum, was only made from 1967 to 1970 but is one of the most beloved Barbie friends of all time. Stacey was available as a titian (redhead) or a blonde, and as a Twist and Turn doll or a talking doll. Talking Stacey had long straight hair with bangs. The 1968 Twist and Turn Stacey had long straight hair without bangs with a spitcurl. The 1969 and 1970 Twist and Turn Staceys had a short flip hairstyle. Malibu Barbie was made with the Stacey face mold, making the Stacey face one of the most recognized Barbie faces as well. Stacey was never produced as a brunette, so the only way to get a brunette doll with the Stacey face mold is to reroot one or track down two very rare dolls, Valerie, Barbie's friend from Mexico, or a brunette Stacey face mold Talking Barbie. Stacey had two Sears gift sets; Stripes are Happening and Nite Lightning (see the previous dolls of the month section for information on Nite Lightning.) Talking Staceys with Twist and Turn type hands with individual fingers with painted fingernails and the Talker torsos are the Great Britain issue (see doll on bottom left above for a picture.) Groovy, baby, groovy!
The Montgomery Ward's ponytail was available only at Montgomery Ward's department store in 1972, in order to commemmorate their 100th anniversary. The doll was only available as a brunette. The original swimsuit was a black and white striped one, similar to the early ones, along with taped-on white open toe shoes. This doll is similar to a #5 ponytail, with the exceptions of higher eyebrows, lighter red lips, and no "greasy face". It was available in a brown catalog mailer box and a harder to find pink store box. These two dolls can be differentiated by the nail polish; if it is present, it is the store pink box issue. If there is no nail polish, it is the catalog version. Her markings were Midge T.M./1962/Barbie/1958/by/Mattel, Inc./Patented. For some strange reason, a little tuft of the hair is usually sticking out of the ponytail on most of the factory mint dolls. She originally had a wrist tag, whether it was the brown or pink box variation. The only molded eyelash Barbie of the MOD era!
Click on the picture to see the doll close-up...
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