This Feature Story appeared in the Keeping Ken Ken News! on February 18, 2001.
Keeping Ken Ken News Feature Archive
at TOY FAIR 2001!
The biggest story of last week was the 40th Anniversary Ken unveiled at Toy Fair 2001! Last week during Toy Fair 2001 (Sunday, February 11th, to Thursday the 16th), pictures trickled in of the actual dolls in the 2001 lines. The Master Collector website had the most comprehensive coverage. (http://www.mastercollector.com scroll down, select Neat Stuff, select the Toy Fair 2001 banner, then the Barbie Collectibles banner). It provided information for most of the recaps this week. Their coverage was incredible, which included videos as they viewed each area. It was also easier to go right to the source as Barbie Collectibles http://www.barbiecollectibles.com posted pictures of the remaining 2001 dolls on February 12, 2001. The items shown at the Toy Fair are usually prototypes and if there is little or no retailer interest in a product or product line, the manufacturer will not make that item or that line. Toy Fair is essentially a trade show for the manufacturers to show their planned products to retailers. These retailers then decide which lines they want to sell in their stores.
I tried to update as much as possible throughout last week. Here is a recap of news related to the nature of this site.
Barbie Collectibles/Anniversary Dolls Collector Edition 40th Anniversary Ken Item #50722 (Caucasian) and #52967 (African American).
Available June 2001
ABOVE: The Barbie Insider includes a full page about the 40th Anniversary Ken.
Probably the biggest news for me was the announcement of this doll. I was not expecting an AA version in this doll either. After closer inspection, the AA version may prove to be the most prized if you look for newness in you collectibles equation. Not only does he have a new face mold, he uses a dark skin tone bendable body mold. He also has rooted hair. The Caucasian version uses the Harley Davidson Ken (1996 Ken head mold) with the bendable body. I think both versions will use the updated beefier body mold marked ©1975, 1999 Mattel Inc. CHINA and not the Hot Skatin' Ken body mold used previously on both Harley Davidson's and most of the Gift Sets that include Ken within the Barbie Collectibles line. I am basing this opinion on the theory that the last Frank Sinatra (Recording Years) and the Elvis (Eagle Jumpsuit) used the newer bendable body mold.
ABOVE: Actual prototype of the 40th Anniversary Ken AA.
There was also some confusion about the miniature replica Ken that would be included, probably due to the Barbie Insider story (pictured above) that shows a picture of the Flock Hair Ken and the Painted Hair Ken. I think it will include a replica of the Flock Hair only.
ABOVE: A miniature replica of the Flock Hair Ken will be included with each version of the 40th Anniversary Ken.
It was no surprise that this doll was made to "compliment" the 40th Anniversary Barbie from 1999 (Just remember, she had to wait two long years for her date). Ken answers the dating call in a outfit that matches hers. I think it is interesting that Mattel envisioned this doll, and then followed through with their "2001" vision of Ken. Personally, I think he looks brand new. The combination of Harley Ken head mold and Movie Date Ken hairstyle is cutting edge and something completely new, although the materials have been used before to create other versions. Who hasn't wondered what Harley Ken would look like if he were "clean-cut"? Well, now you know. While many of you didn't get your wish of a new head mold for the Caucasian version, at least Mattel finally made a new one for the AA Ken version. Now I wonder if they will use this mold in the play line for AA Ken or for Steven?
Barbie Collectibles/Pop Culture Collector Edition The Munsters Gift Set Item #50544.
Available August 2001
Right down to the green skin tone, Mattel captures Barbie and Ken as the lovable Lily and Herman Munster from the television series "The Munsters". This set was in (and quoted) as "the wall unit that most people jolted to a stop at. Many non-Barbie insiders just to stare at it. They had no idea Barbie Collectibles could ever be so ingenious as to create this set". Mattel description: "Ken as the frightful, but good-natured Herman towers above Lily. He has Herman's monster-like look, with an exaggerated forehead and brow, flat-top head that appears as if it can be opened and two bolts in his neck. He wears an authentic reproduction of Herman's brown suit, charcoal sweater and oversized gray boots".
It will be interesting to see if the top of the head is an addition to an existing Ken head mold, or if it was especially created for this version. And what can we expect as the body mold for this one? It has to be specially created for this Ken! There is a bunch of new things to look forward to in this version!!
Barbie Collectibles/Magic & Mystery Collection Limited Edition Tales of the Arabian Nights Gift Set Item #50827.
Available July 2001
Second in the series, this Gift Set follows last year's Merlin & Morgan le Fay Gift Set. The costumes look as elaborate and certainly will be worth the higher price tag. It is also a Limited Edition. Not surprisingly, it uses the Harley Ken head mold and a bendable body. But we all want to know...is he bald under that turban?? This question makes it well worth the wait, and a nice surprise if he is actually bald! Mattel description: "Ken as the Sultan is Barbie dollís dashing companion. He wears a pink tunic with golden and turquoise trim over billowy golden pants. A blue and purple sash ties at his waist and serves as a place to rest his trusty sword. His colorful turban shines with a faux ruby and is topped with a golden plume".