Sunday, September 27, 2015

Outside Malibu, 1980s

I know this photo is blurrier than the other one, but you can see more of the dolls' faces in this.

Roadside stands on Pacific Coast Highway, where the pink Dream 'Vette, the red Ferrari and the Tropical ATV cruise past the California Dream Surf N Shop, the Bubbling Spa and the Ice Cream Shoppe.  Animals welcome too!

If Barbie and her family and friends aren't in Willows, their favorite spot is, of course, Malibu.  All of the 1980s outdoor playsets seem to be meant for this famous beach community.
I'm separating my 80s playsets scenes in half, one set outdoors and the other indoors.  You will understand why after you've seen both sets of photos.

Willows in the 1960s

1969 Barbie Family House, 1965 Skipper Dream Room and 1963 Barbie Dream House
The houses in Willows feature a great variety of colors and trims.
"Grass needs cutting," Barbie thinks to herself.  "It's up to everyone's knees!"

The last segments of my attempts at photographing my houses will be to show what I own in street scenes.  Basically I am creating a pictorial history of Willows, Wisconsin.  Again I am breaking up the segments by decade.

When you were young and took your dolls outside, did you notice that sidewalks made perfect Barbie-size streets?  They were wide enough to hold cars going in both directions, and the sections on either side could be used as sidewalks.  I must thank my sister Joan for allowing me the use of her front lawn, which is almost flat and has both curved and straight sidewalks.

These pictures are of three ranch houses in Willows in the 1960s.  You've seen these houses and dolls before, just photographed individually indoors.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Oct. 4 doll show

I will be setting up a sale table at the Queen City Beautiful Doll Club Show on Oct. 4.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Boxes 1980s

No, Barbie doesn't actually play the keyboard
of her Electronic Piano!

I guess the word "toilet" was still taboo in Willows in the 1980s.

I like the outdoor Dream Furniture
more than the ones for inside the Dream House.

Please note: A pony is a breed of horse, not a colt.
The promotional materials from Mattel have that wrong!

I've met boys who won't play with my dolls but they want to play with this car!

Note that this is called Surf N Shop, not Surf Shop.

Skipper must get tired of seeing her sister on TV all the time.

From the 1980s, I have:

Electronic Piano (1983)
1982 Pink N Pretty Barbie in her original outfit is pictured on the box.

Dream House Commode and Towel Rack (1983)
Dream Date Barbie in 1982's Best Buy #3640 yellow bathrobe is pictured on the box.

Dream Furniture Patio Barbecue (1983)
1983 Dream Date Barbie in 1983 #5340 Summer Picnic is pictured on the box.

Dream House Patio Recliner (1983)
1983 Dream Date Barbie in 1982 Sunsational Malibu PJ's green swimsuit is pictured on the box.

Honey, Skipper's Show Pony (1983)
1983 Horse Lovin' Skipper in her original outfit is pictured on the box.

Barbie Ferrari (1987)
1987 Super Hair Barbie is shown on the box.

California Dream Barbie Surf N Shop (1988)
1988 California Dream Barbie is shown on the box in her original outfit.

Teen Time Skipper Sleep N Study (1989)
Teen Time Skipper and Courtney are shown in their original outfits on the box.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Boxes 1990s

I think the Cool Tops Skipper on the box is a prototype.
Skipper had a Vespa in 1990,
long before they became popular again.
I wish the actual pool was more sturdy,
the way it is shown on the box.
Unfortunately, neither the catamaran nor the jet ski stay afloat.
Oh, how I love the pool house!  Note the lake in the background.
Why does Mattel make horses with such ridiculously long manes?
The back of the My Sister Stacie Gift Set box.
It was a clever idea to make and sell an outfit and furniture together.
The back of the New Baby Sister Kelly box
I wish I knew what the audience was watching!  I think the audience consists of Midge, Ken, Skipper and Teresa.
If you put the Pizza Party dolls and playset together,
you end up with DOZENS of accessories!
The living room furniture is beautiful but it's too short!
1990s boxes

From the 1990s, I have:

Cool Tops Skipper T-Shirt Shop (1990)
Prototypes of Cool Tops Skipper and Courtney are shown on the box.

Skipper Motor Bike (1990)
1990 Cool Tops Skipper in her original outfit is shown on the box.

Wet N Wild Barbie Pool Set (1990)
Wet N Wild Ken, Wet N Wild Skipper and Wet N Wild Barbie in their original outfits are on the box.

Wet N Wild Barbie Surf Set (1990)
Wet N Wild Skipper and Wet N Wild Barbie in their original swimsuits are on the box.

Barbie Fully Furnished Pool House (1991)
1989 Beach Blast Skipper Skipper in 1990 #714-5 Barbie Club, 1989 Animal Lovin' Ken in 1989 Dream Date #719-4, and 1989 Cool Times Barbie in 1990 Yacht Club #8013 swimsuit.  Skipper's "hairband" is actually an inner tube from one of the Arco swim/pool sets!

Chelsie, Pretty Pony (1993)
1991 Hawaiian Fun Skipper (I think) in 1993 #2236 Find Out Who Won the Dance Contest is shown on the box.

My Sister Stacie Gift Set (1993)
1993 Party N Play Stacie models the outfit on the box.  Note the fenced-in yard overlooking the ocean.

Skipper School Days Playset (1993)
The Hawaiian Fun Skipper on the box wears the outfit prototype, pedal-pusher length white jeans, which were popular at the time.  The actual outfit has white knit stretch leggings.

New Baby Sister Kelly (1995)
The back of the box shows 1994 Camp Barbie in an outfit I can't identify and Kelly in her party dress.

Barbie Movie Theatre (1996)
1994 Camp Barbie, the doll in the concession stand, wears 1996 #14631 School Spirit with a replacement white turtleneck.

Pizza Party Skipper Pizza Shop (1996)
On the box are 1993 Party N Play Stacie in #10746 Swimsuit, Shorts and Top, Plus Beach Gear from 1994, 1993 Party N Play Todd in his original outfit, and 1995 Pizza Party Courtney, Skipper and Kevin their original outfits.  They're not uniforms, they're too revealing!

Barbie Folding Pretty Living Room (1997)
1996 Songbird Barbie in 1996 Fashion Avenue #14365 and 1996 Gymnast Stacie in 1995 #12613 Tea Set for Two are pictured on the box.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Boxes 1970s

It's not well-known that the rooms of the Lively Livin'/Live Action/Surprise House had names!
Barbie's feet reach the pedals of her Ten Speeder
only if she is almost standing.
For once, PJ gets more attention than Barbie!

This is the first version (1974) of the Pool Party box.
The second version (1975), a Sears exclusive, includes a mat.
Despite all the clashing colors, the 2-in-1 Bedroom is surprisingly attractive.
Play Paks were sold between 1979 and 1982.
Dolls are made of vinyl, accessories and playsets are plastic, clothing is fabric, and their containers in cardboard.  Only in toy collecting is the cardboard just as important as the vinyl.  All of that cardboard I've accumulated is in the basement, and I'm surprised it has not yet gone up in flames!
The following is a lot of trivia I've discovered regarding the Barbie houses and playset boxes.  Since I started collecting in the mid-1980s, most of my packaging is from after that, unless I was lucky to find an used item from before that in its box.

These are the boxes I have, and some details you might not know about them.

Live Action House (1971)
The dolls pictured are 1970 Living Skipper in her original swimsuit, 1969 Twist N Turn PJ in 1969 #1484 Mellow Yellow, 1970 Bend Leg Ken in his original outfit, 1970 blonde Living Barbie in her original swimsuit, 1970 Twist N Turn Stacey in 1970 #1465 Lemon Kick, 1969 brunette Twist N Turn Casey in her original swimsuit, 1969 Twist N Turn Christie in her original swimsuit and 1968 white Talking Stacie in 1969 #1806 Movie Groovie.
The rooms are called Friends N Family Room, Colorful Cookin' Kitchen and Beautiful Dreamer Bedroom.

Barbie's Pool Party (1974)
SunSet Malibu Ken, SunSet Malibu Barbie and SunSet Malibu Francie are shown in their original swimsuits.

Olympic Gymnast Set (1975)
1975 Gold Medal PJ in her original outfit, not Barbie, is the lead doll pictured on the box.

Growing Up Skipper's 2-in-1 Bedroom (1976)
1976 Growing Up Ginger and 1975 Growing Up Skipper are shown in their original outfits.

Campin' Out (1979)
A 1977 SuperStar Barbie wears 1979 Best Buy #2220 on the box.

notes about the houses

These are my notes about my various houses and play sets.

The 1963 Dream House
Why does Barbie have a painting of Norman Bates' house in her room?  The TV shows a blonde Bubblecut Barbie in Solo in the Spotlight.
The books and records that came with the house are actually too large to be properly proportioned for Barbie.  The red hardbacks look a lot like the series The Story of Civilization, by Will and Ariel Durant.  (I looked up the series in Wikipedia.  By 1961 there had been seven volumes published.)

The 1966 Skipper Dream Room
This thing is enormous!  It's bigger than the Barbie houses available at the same time.
Other Mattel items pictured on the shelves are Skipper's Red Sensation hat, the sombrero from Ken in Mexico, and three talking Mattel stuffed animals from 1964: Bugs Bunny, Porky the Pig and Larry the Lion.

The 1969 Barbie Family House
The black-and-white circular tile/brick first seen in this house proved to be a popular pattern, as it also appears on the bedroom floor of the Lively Livin/Live Action/Surprise House.
In the bedroom, the clock says 12:25--I assume it's afternoon.  If you look at the calendar, you will see that January 1 is a Monday.  New Year's Day was a Monday in 1968.
The chandelier in the living room hangs much too low!

The 1971 Live Action House
For whatever reason, the bed is the hardest piece of furniture to find for this series of houses.  It's actually easier to find a replacement bedspread than it is the bed itself!
This house is infamous for the interior and the front and back exteriors not matching up at all.  If I ever get a really damaged house, I'd like to try rearranging the plastic walls so that they actually coordinate.

The 1985 Great Shape Barbie Workout Center
A picture of the 1978 SuperStar Ken is glued onto the inside of the locker door.

The 1985 Heart Family Loving Home
The majority of Barbie houses are viewed from the back; that is, the back wall of the structure is actually the front of the house.  Two major exceptions are the Dream Houses and the Magical Mansion.  The Heart Family house is also an exception.  The larger area on the viewer's (your) lower right is the front foyer.  Directly in front of you are the kitchen and stairs and to your left is the living room.  Upstairs you see the back walls of the nursery on your right and the parents' bedroom on the left

The 1989 Teen Time Skipper Sleep N Study
The Sleep N Study came with two analog wall clocks with the hands pointing to 1:50; that is, the hands make a smiley face.  It also came with a fake chalkboard, although I think that Skipper would have been too old to want to play with one.  The TV shows 1988 Sensations Barbie performing.  I didn't put all the decals where they were supposed to be placed but rather where I thought they should be; for instance, I put the mirror inside the vanity.

The 1990 Skipper Motor Bike
This can be found in two different boxes.  The first says "Skipper Motor Bike," while the second reads "Babysitter Skipper Motorbike."  However, the bikes are the same, and Cool Tops Skipper is shown on both boxes, as her outfit coordinates with the bike.

The 1990 Wet N Wild Pool Set
The pool is large but does not hold water well and the sides flop over very easily.

The 1991 Fully Furnished Pool House
It also came in a variation box that just said "Pool House."
The pink frame fades to orange, even when kept in a cool storage area in a box.  The chaise longues break in half easily, as do all the Arco lounge chairs.  Numerous Arco accessories appear in more than one playset, in addition to many of the Arco outfits.
The pictures on the wall are of 1989 Cool Times Barbie in 1990 Yacht Club 8013-3 and another Cool Times Barbie in an outfit I can't identify.

The 1997 Folding Pretty Living Room
I believe the framed picture is of 1993 Party Premier Barbie.

Although the main structures of the Argo cardboard/plastic playsets and houses are sturdy, the sets of shelves sold with many of them are not.  The tables and chairs are fine, though.

Has anyone else noticed that many of the houses and furniture of the mid- and late-1990s are proportioned too short for Barbie?  She's often a head higher than her larger pieces, and tables that should reach her waist are just to her knees.  It was especially noticeable with the Pet Doctor accessories and the Folding Pretty furniture.  I assume Mattel was trying to cut costs, and hoping that children playing with the items wouldn't notice.

If you think about it, Barbie's houses, even the multi-story ones, are actually quite small compared to their real-life counterparts.  I've tried imagining them as actual homes, with important additions such as stairs and bathrooms, but even when seeing them in my head the square footage is still minute.  Each house usually has only one bedroom.  The rooms are rectangular, long and skinny.  There's not much leg room for sitting.   Ken's head is close to the ceiling (if there is one).

Monday, September 7, 2015

Houses et al 1990 to 1994

The Arco Pool House from 1991 was one of the most popular Barbie houses ever.
On ground level are Barbie, Belle and Ken and on the balcony are Nichelle and Fashion Friend.
Ice Capades Barbie must work out every day
before performing her skating routines.
Wet N Wild Kira and Skipper and Hawaiian Fun Christie
try out some of the Wet N Wild sports equipment.
Pep rally at Central Junior High School
The plain white T-shirts came
with the Cool Tops Skipper T-Shirt Shop.
If you're patient, you can make Stacie stand on her scooter.
The Starlight Motor Home came with accessories
too fancy for camping:
a candelabra, wine bottle and glasses, even a teapot!
The 1990s Skipper dolls' legs don't bend enough
to allow them to mount Chelsie,
forcing them to ride sidesaddle.
The motor bike came with a helmet and seat belt
but they do not fit Skipper properly.
1990 (dated 1989) #7426
Wet N Wild Pool
Made by Mattel
Blue vinyl pool.  For the Wet N Wild dolls.  The pool is not as sturdy as it looks; it does not stay upright when you add water.

1990 (dated 1989) #7427
Wet N Wild Surf Set
Made by Arco
Playset with sailboard and beach umbrella. For the Wet N Wild dolls

My dolls are Wet N Wild Skipper in Walgreens Fashion Starter #721-5 blue bikini and Wet N Wild Kira in Wet N Wild #1088.  Also, Hawaiian Fun Christie in Hawaiian Fun #7251, both from 1991.

1990 (dated 1989) #4955
Cool Tops Skipper T-Shirt Shop
Made by Mattel
Pink and yellow backdrop.  For Cool Tops Skipper and Courtney

My dolls are Cool Tops Skipper in Cool Tops #9080 and Cool Tops Courtney in part of her original outfit.  Also shown are the shirt and accessories for #9088 Ice Cream Fun and the shirt for Cool Tops #9059.

1990 (dated 1989) #7460
Skipper Motorbike
Made by Mattel
Pink Vespa.  For Cool Tops Skipper (who is pictured on the box) and Courtney

My doll is Cool Tops Skipper in her original outfit.

1990 (dated 1989) #7432
Dress N Play Exercise Center
Made by Arco

My doll is 1990 Ice Capades Barbie in Sporting Life #777 Tennis.

1991 (dated 1990) #7431
Fully Furnished Pool House
Made by Arco
Pink frame (faded to orange) with pink and white walls

My dolls and outfits are all from 1991.  They are Wedding Day Barbie in Fashion Find #2612, Costume Ball Ken in Active Wear wetsuit, Disney Classics Belle in Midge Wedding Day #9632, World of Beauty Nichelle in Shani Fashion #1969, and Kmart Party Dress Fashion Friend in Dress Collection #7488, the most beautiful sundress Mattel has ever made.

1992 (dated 1991) #7596
Dress N Play Cheerleader Set
Made by Arco
Cheerleading outfit, accessories and wall locker.  This was a Woolworth's exclusive.
My doll is a redhead 1992 Talking Barbie in the outfit.
1992 (dated 1991) pack
Skipper Trendy Teen pack outfit
Made by Arco
Blue and pink cheerleader outfit that matches Barbie's.
My doll is Sun Sensation Skipper.
1993 (dated 1992) #9333
Skipper School Days Playset
Made by Mattel
Came with a locker, desk, letter jacket and white leggings.  This was an Ames exclusive.  1991 Hawaiian Fun Skipper is pictured on the box.  For Teen Fun Skipper dolls.
1993 Mermaid Skipper is wearing the outfit.
Other dolls are Baton Twirling Skipper, Cheerleader Courtney and Basketball Kevin in their original outfits, all from 1993.

1993 (dated 1992) #9365
My Sister Stacie Gift Set
Lavender skirt outfit, scooter, skateboard, tennis racquets and ball and other items

My doll Little Sister Stacie from 1992 is wearing the outfit.  Skipper has an identical Trendy Teen outfit from 1993 (which I don't own).

1993 (dated 1992) #10081
Skipper’s Horse Chelsie
Made by Mattel
Palomino pony.  For Teen Fun Skipper dolls
My doll is Baton Twirling Skipper in #10077 Create Outrageous Fashions with Sweetheart Rhinestones.

1994 (dated 1993)
Starlight Motor Home
Made by Mattel
Fuchsia tent with yellow stars (I don't have the camper) and romantic dinner accessories.  For Camp dolls
My dolls are Camp Ken and Camp Skipper in their original outfits and the blonde 35th Anniversary Barbie in Greatest Barbecue Ever (no stock number), which came with fruit and a bowl.  Who said the commemorative Barbie had to remain in her zebra swimsuit forever?!