The Barbie doll premieres in NYC
Back in 1959, the American Toy Fair in New York City made the debut of the Barbie, the eleven inches tall doll with a massive wardrobe. The doll was mass-produced by Ruth Handler and her husband who were the co-founders of the toy distributor Mattel. The idea of the doll was created due to their daughter, who preferred to play with dolls of adult women than baby dolls. The Handler's saw the importance of this type of doll, which allowed girls to imagine how they would be in the future.
According to history.com, “Barbie's appearance was modeled on a doll named Lilli, based on a German comic strip character. Originally marketed as a racy gag gift to adult men in tobacco shops, the Lilli doll later became extremely popular with children. Mattel bought the rights to Lilli and made its own version, which Handler named after her daughter, Barbara. With its sponsorship of the "Mickey Mouse Club" TV program in 1955, Mattel became the first toy company to broadcast commercials to children.”
Over the years the Barbie doll has had elaborate houses, cars and a massive wardrobe added to her toy world. Furthermore, Barbie’s best friend doll named Midge was developed along with a sister Skipper doll and boyfriend Ken doll (which was named after the Handler’s son) were developed under Mattel as well. The success of these dolls started the first television marketing campaigns and commercials geared for children.
History.com stated that, “Barbie's never-ending supply of designer outfits, cars and "Dream Houses" encouraged kids to be materialistic. It was Barbie's appearance that caused the most controversy, however. Her tiny waist and enormous breasts--it was estimated that if she were a real woman, her measurements would be 36-18-38--led many to claim that Barbie provided little girls with an unrealistic and harmful example and fostered negative body image. Despite the criticism, sales of Barbie-related merchandise continued to soar, topping 1 billion dollars annually by 1993. Since 1959, more than 800 million dolls in the Barbie family have been sold around the world and Barbie is now a bona fide global icon.”
Entertainer George Burns Dies at Age 100
Back in 1996, the legendary entertainer, George Burns died at the age of 100, just a few weeks after celebrating this milestone. Mr. Burns, known for his candor and cigar-smoking habits was born in Newark NJ in 1896. He would become well known for his vaudeville routines, along with his radio, television and movie appearances alongside his second wife, Gracie Allen. His first wife was dancer, Hannah Siegel.
According to history.com, “In 1988, Burns won an award for lifetime achievement from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He wrote two best-selling autobiographical works, including Gracie: A Love Story (1988) and All My Best Friends (1989), along with eight other books that earned him his well-deserved reputation as an invaluable first-hand observer of the history of 20th century entertainment.
Mr. Burns is well known for his appearances in movie such as “Oh God,” and also for his Oscar winning, best supporting actor role as Al Lewis in “The Sunshine Boys.” The movie also starred the late Walter Matthau.
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