Thursday, May 8, 2014

Barbie's Adventures: Kauai

Kauai is located in the Pacific Ocean about 2600 miles from Los Angeles, California, and is one of Barbie’s very favorite vacation destinations.  

Just one of many coconuts Barbie found on the beach one day.

Kauai is not a big island, just 552 square miles (33 miles long and 25 miles across at the widest point), and only takes a few hours to drive around most of it.  The road ends on the west shore and begins again on the North shore. 

In-between is a wilderness area that encompasses the magnificent 22 mile long Napali coastline.   There are only three ways to see the Napali coastline; by helicopter, boat, or foot!  If you choose to hike it, the Kalalau trail is 11 miles one way and begins at Ke’e beach at the North shore.  It can be a very strenuous and often very muddy hike.

The Napali Coast

The island is called the “Garden Isle” for a reason.  There is an abundance of waterfalls, lushly vegetated valleys, beautiful flowers, postcard worthy sandy beaches, and gorgeous views everywhere you turn.  

Wailua Falls (left) and Opaeka'a Falls (right)

One of the most spectacular sites to see, which Barbie didn’t miss, was Waimea Canyon, on the Southwest side of the island.  It is nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”.  This breathtaking vista is 14 miles long, 1 mile wide and 3600 feet deep.   


Barbie loves the south shore (Poipu area) because it’s a perfect place for a yummy meal, locally flavored shopping, or just a lazy beach day.  You’ll also find art galleries and historic Old Koloa Town, which still has the remains of the first major sugar mill in Hawaii which opened in 1835, as well as St Raphael's Church which is the oldest catholic church on Kauai (1841). 

Fish tacos, an amazing appetizer, and shave ice (with macadamia nut ice cream) are just some of the treats found on the island!  Yum!

Nearby is Spouting Horn, which is a large blow hole in the rocky area near the shore.   When the tide is high, water can shoot up through the blow hole as high as twenty feet in the air.  It is also an excellent place to spot dolphins, sea turtles, and whales. 

Leaving the south shore you will pass through the “Tree Tunnel”, on Maluhia Road, which is lined with eucalyptus trees. 

Here's a monk seal doing a little sun bathing.

Heading north, towards the quaint little town of Hanalei (which is a cute little artist town with shops, restaurants, and other sites to see), be sure to stop and visit the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. It is home to the historic Kilauea lighthouse that was built in 1913.   It’s also a wonderful place to view wildlife in their natural habitat. 

Two other must stops on your journey to the north shore is Hanalei Valley overlook and Hanalei Bay. The Hanalei Valley overlook is one of the most photographed places on the island.  Looking over this rich valley, you’ll see taro fields, the winding Hanalei River, and native water birds.   Then, when you reach Hanalei Bay (a two-mile long half-moon bay) you’ll see a long wooden pier on the beach which stretches out into the beautiful water.  Be sure to take a stroll to the end.  It’s a good place to view the magnificent mountains and waterfalls of the area, and in the wintertime is an excellent surfer watching spot.

Hanalei Valley Overlook, Kilauea Lighthouse and Hanalei Bay

Barbie loves her trips to Kauai, and can’t wait to go back!

Happy Traveling!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Barbie of the Month - Standard Barbie - Additional Note!

I’m always learning something new when it comes to my blog, and this month wasn’t any exception.  For all you followers and subscribers, I wanted you to know that the May “Barbie of the Month” did not feed to your emails due to the length of the post (or technical issues with the feeder!).  To see the latest post, here is the link: 

And for all of you who are reading this from the blog, just scroll down to the previous post!

Happy Hunting!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Barbie of the Month: The Standard (Straight-Leg) Barbie

In 1967 my two favorite Mod Barbie Dolls were released; the twist and turn Barbie and the Standard Straight-leg Barbie. They both had a new youthful face with beautiful long unevenly cut hair.

The Standard Straight-leg Barbie, stock #1190, came on the same body as the later Bubblecut dolls, but her new body has a pink skin tone color rather than the tan tone color found on the Bubbles.  She has painted on eyelashes and is marked “Midge T.M. ©1962 Barbie® ©1958 by Mattel, Inc. Patented”. 

Over the five years she was sold (1967-1971), her swim-suit and box changed once, and her eyes changed from a side glance to a center glance in 1971.

Here are three of my Standards:
1967-1969 in two-piece suit, 1971 with center-glace eyes, and 1970 side glace eyes

The Standard Barbie dolls came in boxes similar to the early Barbie dolls, which I prefer because they make a nicer display box.  Kids could use the box for play, pretending they were bathtubs, boats, or even a car.  The early “rose” colored box, which was for sale from 1967-1969, featured the doll in a bright pink two piece swim suit with a white vinyl flower on the left side of her swim-suit bottoms.  In 1970 and 1971 her swimsuit transformed to a green and pink one-piece style with a pink vinyl rose on the left side towards the bottom. 


The box graphics weren’t a perfect description of what was in the box.  The later box shows a picture of Barbie with real eyelashes (which she didn’t have) and even reads “with real eyelashes”.  After the error was discovered in late 1970 and the wording “with real eyelashes” was omitted. the picture remained the same. 

1970  box (with real eyelashes) and late 1970's and 1971 box

Both versions of Barbie came in four pretty hair colors; blonde, ash blonde, light brown and dark brown.  The Standard didn’t assign fancy names for their hair colors as the twist ‘n turn dolls had, such as Chocolate Bon Bon for dark brown.  Sometimes you may see a red head, but they are usually light brown dolls that have oxidized over time to a red color. Nevertheless, in the Barbie world there are rarities, and you may find yourself a true red head!

End flap on box marked with the hair color

Just like the twist ‘n turn dolls, the Standards pulled up a little bit of hair on top of her their head and tied it with a cute little pink hair ribbon (the TNT dolls used a salmon colored ribbon).  In the box with the Standard doll came a clear X stand and her fashion booklet. 

The Standard Barbie with her beautiful hair and pink ribbon

This fabulous new modern head mold could be found on another doll besides the Twist n’ Turn version in 1967.  The Hair Fair Barbie head featured it as well. This was the first head mold change in eight years.  

Hair Fair Barbie (1967)

The first of three gift sets that featured the Standard Straight-leg Barbie was available by mail-in only in 1967.  It is the rarest gift set of them all!  “Barbie Loves the Improvers” was an Inland Steel Gift Set promotion, which was extremely limited.  There are only a few that have ever been found.  Barbie wore the same pink two-piece swim suit and had the pink ribbon in her hair.  She’s been found with blonde and red hair.  She also came with hot pink shoes and a cool metallic silver cardboard dress that looks like a tin can, that has a cut-out for her belly button (which she doesn't have!).  Also, there was a flier showing an actual model wearing the “Warrior Women” tin can dress.   All of this was packaged in a brown mailing box marked “Barbie Loves the Improvers”. 

Photo from eBay Community Page

This hip doll was fashioned after a design by Paco Rabanne, who was a Spanish Fashion Designer.  He was born in 1934.  He and his mother fled Spain in 1937 and moved to France, just after the Spanish Civil War broke out.  Paco studied architecture in Paris. He began his career in the 1960’s designing jewelry for big names like Givenchy, Nina Ricci, Pierre Cardin, and others. 

In 1966 he started his own fashion house, and created controversial fashions using mediums such as paper, hammered metal, fluorescent leather, and plastic, to name just a few.  His designs were wild, but they fit right in with the 1960’s teenage culture.  His first couture collection was named “12 unwearable dresses”.   

As he was designing this unusual clothing, he was also working on the wardrobe for the movie “Barbarella”, which is a French-Italian sci-fi flick that was released in 1968.  It was based on the French Barbarella comic strip, and starred Jane Fonda as Barbarella.  The clothing in the film was made of hard plastic, metal, and other uncomfortable fabrics, and was also quite revealing. 

Barbarella Movie

The comic Book (Left) and Jane Fonda poster and cover of Life Magazine

There isn’t a lot of information about this very limited edition doll.  It is believed that it was never released to the public and it was probably available for Inland Steel’s larger clients since there are so few ever found. I read somewhere that Inland Steel also thought of themselves as “The Improvers” at the time.

There are other rumors out there that say this promotional doll was based on the obscure band “The Improvers” and that the record label gave her to clients and others who played their record on the radio or employed “The Improvers” to play.   

If that’s the case, here’s a little history on that for you.  Don Mercedes (his real name was Rob Van Bommel) was a Dutch singer who began his career in the 1960’s with a band called The Improvers. It certainly wasn’t a well-known band, as there is very little information about it.  Don reached the Dutch record charts twice, first in 1965 with his #32 song titled “Just a Soldier”, and again in 1976, with his #12 hit “Rocky” which he recorded as a soloist.  Either The Improvers is a band that Barbie really, truly loved, or someone from the Inland Steel Company or Mattel thought this band was super groovy.  Otherwise, I’m thinking the box should read “Barbie Loves the Beatles”!

Whichever version you wish to believe, it’s a known fact that there are only a few of these special dolls in existence, and having one in your collection is like finding the Holy Grail!

In 1968 the #1544 Sears Exclusive Travel in Style Gift Set was released.  It contained the doll in her pink two-piece swimsuit along with a print coat, matching skirt, knit shell, travel hat box, sheer hose, blue one-piece swimsuit, and blue bow shoes.

Sears Exclusive #1544 Travel in Style Gift Set

From 1968 Sears Christmas Catalog

The 1969 #1592 Twinkle Town Sears exclusive gift set was available and also contained the standard-straight leg Barbie.  In the set she wore a blue two-piece swim-suit exactly like the pink, which included the white vinyl rose on the left side of the bottoms.  She had rare platinum hair color, and wore a blue hair ribbon.  The set came with the outfit #1866 Movie Groovie, which consisted of a hot pink skirt, long sleeve pink and silver top, hot pink hose, and pink shoes.

Sears Exclusive 1592 Twinkle Town Gift set & 1969 Sears Christmas Catalog Ad

At the time these dolls were sold, they were considered the inexpensive version of the new “Mod” Barbie because they didn’t have the twist waist, rooted eyelashes, and bendable legs.  

1970 Standard with light brown hair
Too bad I didn’t pick up a few hundred of them back in the day!  Buying one of these beauties mint in box now is rarely economical!

Happy Hunting!