She broke the plastic ceiling when she went to the moon in 1965, four years before Neil Armstrong.Since then, she has been everything from a doctor to a paleontologist to a rock star to a computer engineer.
Inspired by watching her daughter play with make-believe paper dolls of adult women, Handler realized there was an important niche in the market for a toy that allowed little girls to imagine the future.Barbie’s appearance was modeled after a doll named the Bild Lilli, which had been inspired by a German comic-strip character.(Note: There are a few rare 1964 Bubblecuts with bend-legs. It includes Miss Barbie, American Girls and Color Magics.This category will not include them, only straight-leg.) Where do you go from here? Miss Barbie is easy to identify, as she has molded plastic hair and came with three wigs, and she has the “sleep-eyes” that opened and closed. If your bend-leg doll has rooted hair, she is an Now, if you find your doll fits none of these categories, for example she has a twist-n-turn waist, rooted eyelashes, or other qualities--she may be a MOD Barbie (1967-73), a Midge, Skipper, Francie, or some other doll.Dressed to the nines in sparkles, gems and fur some see this fabulous doll as the first “drag queen” Barbie.
Mattel produced a bald friend of Barbie named Ella.In other words, if you bought a doll that was new for sale in the stores in 1999, removed her from her box and undressed her, she would have the 1966 patent date on her backside.Hundreds of millions of dolls out there have the 1966 date on their behinds but that doesn't mean the doll was sold in 1966.Originally marketed as a racy gag gift that men could buy in tobacco shops, the Lilli doll later became extremely popular with children.Mattel bought the rights to Lilli, and Handler created her own version.Created to help young girls with cancer, only a limited number were made and distributed directly to hospitals.