Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Top Ten Ken Dolls

Top Ten Ken Dolls

Today is Ken Day!

Kenneth Sean "Ken" Carson first hit store shelves in 1961 and, in a move that preceded reality TV by a decade or three, we all got to watch as Barbie met the man of her dreams.

Since then Ken has gone through almost as many incarnations as Barbie herself and had over 40 different careers. In celebration of all that fantastic plastic, here are just ten of the top Ken dolls produced over the years...

The 'fun' of shaving Ken has been a staple of his repertoire over the years; there are versions from 1996, 1999, 2010, and 2019.

But, as ever, it's the original that's best. Here is 1979's Sport & Shave Ken. Not only did he come with this spiffing tennis outfit, he also had a shaving mug, two 'razors', and a marker pen of your very own to draw on Ken's facial hair...

1979 Sport & Shave Ken

According to the brochure: "It's Ken with a whole new look for the 1980s. He's athletic. He's all man."


Cool Times Ken 1988
Cool Times Ken, 1988

Never has a name been quite so misleading.

There's a reason Pixar went with this Ken era for the Toy Story movies, and it certainly wasn't because of Ken's close relationship with the concept of cool.

Mod Hair Ken

Sometimes your problem is not that Ken has too much facial hair. It's that he just doesn't have enough. Luckily 1972's Mod Hair Ken had you covered. The same idea was utilised again in 1975 for The Now Look Ken, except this time around his hair was longer to capture the true essence of mid 70s cool.

1987 Dr Ken

Ken has been a doctor many times - 1963, 1992199519961997, 2011, 2018 - but 1987's offering beats the rest hands down. Not only is Ken a doctor, but you can fold the lapels of his shiny nylon medical coat down and he's ready for a night of wining and dining!

What a doll.

Wet n Wild Ken 1989Sun Sensation Ken
Wet n Wild (aka Aqua Magic) 1989 + Sun Sensation 1991

What more can I say?

Ken Doll Timeline

1993 Earring Magic Ken

In 1993 Mattel redesigned Ken to fulfil little girls' requests that Barbie's beau be cooler. Ken was now so cool he was attracting interest from all quarters, including the US gay community who were sure Ken's cock ring necklace came straight - heh - from the club scene. As a result Earring Magic Ken sold out for Christmas '93, and remains the best selling Ken doll of all time in spite of Mattel discontinuing and recalling the doll once they realised Ken's secret was out of the closet...

Sugar Daddy Ken 2009

In 2010 Mattel released Sugar Daddy Ken, so named - they say - because he owns a little dog called Sugar.


Blaine Doll

Back in 2004, just in time for Valentine's Day, Barbie ditched Ken in favour of Australian surfer dude, Blaine. Blaine O'Hare - or at least his face sculpt - began life in 1998 when Totally Yo-Yo Skipper was initially set to gain a new friend called Zach. Though he never actually made it into production, his features were used for 1999's Generation Girl Dance Party Blaine.

The Generation Girl line followed Barbie's time at high school in NYC, introducing a variety of new friend dolls and spawning another Blaine in 2000. When he returned in 2004 Blaine had wisely dropped the 'curtains' hairstyle and traded in New York for California. In this continuity the pair met through Blaine's younger sister, Summer, who was good friends with Barbie.

In fact, voting was held through the website to determine who Cali Girl Barbie ought to go for - Ken, Blaine, long time pal Steven, another newcomer named Diego, or stay single. We all know how that went. Ken went away to lick his wounds for a couple of years, but in 2006 he was back with a new look. It wasn't enough for Barbie to take him back though and the pair remained 'just good friends' until another PR campaign saw them get back together in 2011.

Ken Campaign 2011

Life in the Dreamhouse Ken

The Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse webseries is awesome. Launched in May 2012, it pokes fun at the entire Barbie mythos and did more to give Ken a personality than any other Mattel project. We learn that Ken loves inventing, is addicted to sherbet, and suffers from Hyper Cuteness Sensitivity Disorder...

Ken hyper cuteness sensitivity disorder

Ken Doll and Washing Machine

This year Ken is finally taking control of his own destiny. Well. His own laundry, at any rate...

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