Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Barbie's Adventures: Heceta Head Lighthouse

Recently Barbie made a trek over to the beautiful Oregon Coast to visit Heceta Head Lighthouse, which had just completed its two year renovation and reopened in June of this year.  It has the brightest light of all the lighthouses on the entire Oregon Coast. 
The lens was made in England and is the largest lens of its type in the United States. The beam can be seen for twenty-one miles out to sea.
Before the Renovation
After the Renovation
Heceta (Ha-see-tah) Head Lighthouse is located at the mouth of Cape Creek, which is 13 miles North of Florence, Oregon.  It was built between 1892 and 1893, but it wasn’t lit until 1894.  The Fresnel lens was received in 1883, but the lamps didn’t arrive from New York until March of 1884.  Originally a five wick kerosene lamp lit the beacon, but today it has an electric bulb.  The tower itself stands 56 feet high, but since it is on a bluff, it is actually 205 feet above sea level.

Lighthouse Keeper's House
There is a lighthouse keeper’s house nearby, which dates back to 1894.  It was used as a living quarters for the light keeper who kept the light in working order.  Along with his lighthouse duties, he hunted, fished, kept a garden, raised chickens and cows, and tended his horses.
Heceta Head Lighthouse
In 1978 both the lighthouse and the lighthouse keepers house were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Heceta Head Lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States, and location where Barbie is sitting is one of the most famous shots on the entire Oregon Coast.

View as you make the 1/2 mile walk to the light house
If you get a chance to visit the Oregon Coast, try to include the 1/2 mile walk past the well maintained Keepers house and up to the lighthouse. 

 The recent changes have returned the lighthouse to its original condition, and tours are given including a walk up the spiral staircase to the turning light mechanism.  Who knows how many lives were saved by this early navigational aid?
One of the most famous shots on the Oregon Coast


Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Train Case

When I was a little girl my mom would bring her hard sided blue Samsonite train case on every vacation.  When you unlatched and opened it, you had yourself a mini vanity for the road.  The mirror lid on the inside was a necessity when you needed to touch up your makeup or hair.  There was a removable plastic tray on top that had several compartments that could hold all sorts of small makeup and toiletry items.  Once you lifted out the plastic tray from the case, there was room for more; stockings, scarfs, gloves, and even a nightgown.  The little pockets along the insides of the case made it even more helpful to keep organized.  I thought this was the coolest suitcase ever, and I remember how excited I was when I finally got one of my own (mine was a maroon color).  

Passenger train travel began in the 1830’s, but at first it was not a glamorous form of travel.  It wasn’t until 1890 when the first luxury train hit the rails.  By the early 1920's, train travel was at an all-time high.  Between the mid 1940’s and the mid 1960’s, the trains became even more luxurious. They added restaurants, lounges, sleeping cars, and dome cars.  It was a very popular and romantic way to travel.
The train case got its name simply because it was originally used mainly when traveling by rail.  I love seeing the women in the old movies when they are on vacation.  They're always shown with their hard sided train case.
Little girls were not any different during that time period. Back in 1961, Mattel introduced the first train case for little girls to put their things in for travel.  These cases didn’t have the compartments or removable tray, but they did have the mirror lid.   Some girls used them to carry their Barbie items exclusively, and others packed things for an overnight trip to a friend’s house.  These shiny vinyl cases with the zip around lid were manufactured by Ponytail, which was licensed under Mattel.  They all have various pictures of Barbie and friends on the front.
1962 Train Case
Mattel also had a four piece plastic Samsonite luggage set for Barbie, and yes, it included the train case.  Her case didn’t have the mirror lid, but it did have the plastic removable tray.  I’ve seen the set in red, white, lime green, teal, blue, cream, and pink.  I owned the red set as a little girl, and played with it all the time!
Barbie's Train Case from her four piece luggage set

Monday, July 1, 2013

Barbie of the Month: Dramatic Living Barbie Action Accents Set

This lovely but hard to find red-haired Dramatic Living Barbie doll was only available in the United States as a Sears Exclusive gift set.  She was also sold separately in Japan. 
This doll differs a bit from the Dramatic Living Barbie’s with the “Taiwan” marking that we are all used to seeing.  She has a little bit longer hair that’s a darker red color.  She has the same body, pretty face, and rooted eyelashes as the Taiwan doll, but what sets her apart is her “Japan” marking.
Notice the length of hair: (Left) Japan Marked doll, (Right) Taiwan Marked doll
These active dolls can pose in almost every way possible. Her original box says: “My elbows, knees and ankles bend, my head, hands and waist turn, my arms and legs swing up ‘n around!”   What a perfect doll to use for this action set.
Action Accents Dramatic Living Barbie
If little girls were looking for an excellent group of athletic clothes for Barbie, then the #1585 Action Accents was the one to buy!  This exclusive Sears gift set was only sold in the United States in 1970 and 1971.   The collection included the doll and sixteen sporty items for all her many adventurous activities. 
Front of the box
The doll came with a wrist tag, clear stand, and was dressed in her hot-pink leotard with matching tights for working out.  She even had a workout rope to use for resistance.  For skiing she wore her same tights and leotard, but added a vinyl pink and orange ski jacket.  There were a set of skis, poles and boots, too.  For snorkeling in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean she had her fins, mask, snorkel, and a one-piece orange and blue swimsuit. For ballet performances she wore her pink leotard and tights along with a pink tutu and ballet slippers.  When she went ice skating in Central Park she wore her tights and leotard again, but this time added her blue skirt with straps that was trimmed with pink faux fur along the bottom. A pink furry hat and matching blue ice skates completed her outfit.
The complete set

The Living Barbie that was sold strictly in Japan came in an open style box with cellophane covering the top.  It is the same box that the Japanese Living Eli doll came in.  They both were packaged wearing tights and leotard, but Eli’s were red.  The small little booklets that came in the box with both these dolls pictured the same clothes that were shown in the U.S. booklets for the Dramatic Living Barbie dolls.
Japanese Eli and Living Barbie Box

This wonderful gift set is very difficult to find mint in the box, and if you do, be prepared to pay a pretty penny for it.  It’s an amazing set for any collector!

1970 Sears Christmas Catalog Ad
Here is the advertisement in the 1970 Sears Christmas catalog.  The set sold for $9.99.  Even though she is shown with blonde hair, she never had it.  She only came in red.  I wonder what everyone's expression was when they ordered this doll for their little girls at Christmas!

Happy Hunting!