Monday, February 4, 2013

Barbie of the Month: Straight-Leg Francie


#1140 Straight-Leg Francie Doll (1966)

Growing up, one of my favorite dolls was the 1966 Francie, who was Barbie’s “mod” cousin.  She was an instant hit the moment she arrived on store shelves.  She had fabulous clothes, which were very groovy and super hip!
It is also believed that Francie was based on the character “Gidget” a book series in the 1950’s.  In the story she was a teenage surfer. Also in the book, she refers to herself as Franzie Franziska, her German grandmother’s name. That is where it’s alleged that Francie got her name.  In 1959 the movie rights were sold and Gidget hit the big screen.  Sandra Dee played her in all three of the popular films, from 1959-1963. 

Larger Print Swim Suit Bottoms

Francie was young, cute, and looked like the all American girl.  She came with either blonde or brunette shoulder length hair, which was styled in a flip with bangs. She had painted on eyelashes.  In her box (marked #1140, which featured only the blonde doll on the front) she came dressed in a red and white two piece swimsuit.  The top had polka dots, and the matching bottoms were either a small or large check print with a draw string tie in front.  She was just slightly shorter than Barbie. 

Interestingly, both the straight leg and the bendable dolls were released the same year, but the straight-leg version came out second.

I’m sure some moms probably preferred buying this smaller breasted young teen for their daughters, over the large bosomed Barbie. Ruth Handler, the creator of the Barbie doll, liked the idea of giving girls (and their mothers) choices of which type of doll to play with. Barbie, who dressed in style and kept up with the times but was still very sophisticated, or Skipper who was a delightful grade school girl, or Francie, who was in between them both, there was a doll for everyone!

Smaller Checks
This trendy teen had her own style that reflected that of young teenage girls in the mid 1960’s.  Francie wore short miniskirts, bold colored dresses, and very trendy styles; which included wide belts, wild geometric patterns, unusual fabrics, boots, and crazy colored socks and stockings!  She could wear anything and always looked put-together!   And the great thing about the straight-leg version was that she was just a bit easier to dress with her smooth plastic legs, when small little hands were doing the work.  Since she was slimmer than Barbie and a quarter inch shorter, they did not share clothes.
Happy Hunting!