Saturday, February 1, 2014

Barbie of the Month: Malibu Ken Surf's Up Gift Set

Malibu Ken
From the Surf's Up Gift Set
The Sunset Malibu Barbie, along with her incredible tan, debuted in 1971 and stayed on the market until late 1976.   The Malibu dolls were a huge hit.  This California girl, blessed with long blonde straight hair, blue eyes, deep dark tan, and sunglasses that she wore on top of her head, would make any little girl dream about being a teenager. 
In 1971 Mattel also added Barbie's little sister Skipper and her boyfriend Ken, who all had that same bronzy tan.

Sun Set Malibu Barbie, Skipper and Ken (1971)

In 1972 a couple more cuties were added to the line; Malibu Francie and Malibu P.J., and by 1973 one more doll was born to complete the line-up; Malibu Christie.
Sun Set Malibu Francie, P.J. (1972) and Christie (1973)
In 1974 other dolls appeared using the same body as the 1973 dolls.  They were named “The Sport Set dolls”, and in 1975 the “Gold Medal dolls”.  These dolls did not have Sunset Malibu” in their name, but they were still the same doll with that wonderful dark suntan. 

Gold Medal Barbie (1975)
and Newport Barbie (1974) from the Sports Set dolls

Interestingly, there was only one gift set released that included a Malibu doll during all the vintage years these dolls were available.  And the set didn’t even include Barbie, but instead her boyfriend Ken.  This hard to find 1971 (date on the box) Sears’ exclusive set stock #1248 was called “Malibu Ken Surf’s Up”.  My set originally sold for only $3.99 at Sears.

The Ad for this gift set from the
1972 Sears Catalog


Malibu Ken Surf's Up Gift Set (Stock#1248)

This fun grouping came with a Malibu Ken doll who was wearing orange swim trunks.  Also included in the box were a floral shirt, yellow sandals, blue sun glasses, diving mask, snorkel, fins, beach towel, and skim board. 

Gift sets to me are one of the most exciting items to find.   I hope you find a few for yourselves too.
Oh, and be sure to check out this 1971 Malibu Barbie Commercial.  These are always fun to watch!

Happy Hunting!



  1. Hello from Spain: I really like your Malibu Ken. Nice collection. In my country it is very difficult to buy these vintage collections .. Keep in touch

    1. Thank you Marta! I really enjoyed my visit to Spain. It's so beautiful with so much history and art!

  2. Hi! This is a great Ken set, it's all about fun and sun :-). I still like Malibu Francie very much, because she has such a lovely smile. She was one of my favourite dolls when I was a child :-).

  3. Thanks!
    Now I know where that scuba set that came with my Dream Pool comes from !

  4. I just received the turquiose snorkel, today...... Holy Grail.... so excited


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