Friday, 10 July 2015

Gay Bob

Gay Bob
Bob comes packaged in his very own closet.

Back in 1977 Gizmo Development, a company owned by former advertising executive Harvey Rosenberg, marketed the very first openly gay doll as a gag gift for adults. By 1978 more than 10,000 Gay Bobs had been sold for $15 a pop, initially through mail order and was later stocked by a number of boutiques in New York and San Francisco. Esquire magazine gave him their 'Dubious Achievement Award' for the accomplishment.

Although it was all a bit tongue in cheek, Rosenberg stood by Bob - and his decision to sink $10,000 into his production - telling reporters: "we had something to learn from the gay movement, just like we did from the black civil rights movement and the women’s movement, and that is having the courage to stand up and say 'I have a right to be what I am.'"

I'd heard about Gay Bob quite a bit over the years, although he was later overshadowed by other gay dolls like Billy, Jeff StrykerTom of Finland, and, of course, Earring Magic Ken. When I came across Bob I knew I had to bring him home.

Gay Bob Article

Bob bears a striking resemblance to the Action Man (i.e. GI Joe) dolls of the time, but we won't hold it against him. Here are a couple of original 1970s ads for Bob:

Gay Bob Advert

Gay Bob Doll

Bob, almost uniquely among the 1/6 scale gay dolls on the market, is fully articulated. He is also anatomically correct, which is not such a unique feature. Still, for an idea of how he compares to your average male doll, here's a line up:

L to R: Generic 1/6 action figure body (Mattel Superman head), Liv Jake body (Mattel LitD Ryan head), Gay Bob, Monster High Jackson Jekyll body, Dr Who Cyberman...

Size wise, Bob is closest to the 1/6 action figure body. Here's a nude side-by-side comparison:

Bob is quite 'hippy'.

I can't decide what kind of outfit to get for Bob. None of the clothing I have on hand fits, bar the rather fetching flares and jacket combo in the above pic. Action figure clothing tends to fall into three categories - jeans and t-shirt, suit and tie, military combat wear. Which one to go for? Luckily Bob comes with a booklet to help you out in this regard:

Left: 'Ride-Em cowboy. Stay in the saddle with this King of the Rodeo cowboy garb.'
Middle: 'The Gay Mountain climber - for scaling peaks, or for hanging out in parks, this outfit will appeal to the strong silent type.'

Left: 'Because most business men, bankers, lawyers, stockbrokers, insurance men and politicians are secretly gay, if you want to get ahead and become part of the gay establishment, this up and coming gay ivy leaguer look is the the key to success.'
Middle: 'For the shy sensitive type who likes to spend a laid-back evening on the waterfront trying to pick up cruising policemen, this leather look is a fashion classic.'
Right: 'For men who love discipline and who get going when the going gets tough. This gay drill sergeant look is perfect to take on maneuvers.'

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