Monday, August 28, 2017

Some of My Favorite Vintage Black Barbies


Live-Action Christie, Talking Brad and Super Star Christie are among my favorite vintage Black Barbie family of dolls.

"Top Favorite Dolls" was the July photo-sharing theme in my Facebook doll group.  On a daily basis most of us shared photos of our top favorite dolls and shared information about the dolls.   One of my posts featured some of my top favorite vintage black Barbies.  There are others that I was not able to photograph at the time (a better photo of Super Star Christie being one). The dolls I shared, in addition to one other, are shown below.


Talking Brad has a box date of 1970.  Look at that handsome face!


Now mute, Brad wears his orange swimming trunks with his orange and yellow jacket.  He has black molded hair and brown painted eyes.
Live Action Christie wears her original purple/orange/white psychedelic-print midriff top and bell-bottom pants with purple square-toed pumps and orange scarf.  Her box date is 1971.  She was temporarily removed from her original box to take this photo.  Her booklet includes images of other dolls and fashions that were available on the market at the time of her release.  Scans from the booklet can be seen here.

Malibu Christie has a box date of 1975.

Malibu Christie was released to the market in 1976.  Her box date is 1975.  This lovely ebony-complexioned doll wears a yellow bathing suit and has straight, long black hair.  I love her so much that I have two.  At one time, I owned three.  Sunset Malibu Christie, dressed in red bathing suit, was on the market from 1973 through 1977.  She remains elusive to me, but if she were here, she would also be a favorite.  



Cutie Patootie, Carla, 1976
Carla, made for the European market, has a box date of 1976.  She has bendable, posable arms and legs and the cutest little face.  She is all vinyl and, at only 6 inches tall, she is the smallest of my favorite
vintage Black Barbie family of dolls.
  

The back of Carla's box illustrates Tutti (I have my sister's Tutti), Chris, and Todd (Tutti's twin brother). Mattel would later reuse the name Todd for a taller doll (approximately 8-1/2 inches) that was released as African American and Caucasian.  I believe the AA version was always part of a Barbie gift set, one of which is shown here.  I also have Todd in another wedding set with AA Barbie and Stacey.



Super Star Christie has a box date of 1977.  My doll is shown in the first photo of this post and could not be "reached" to pose for an individual photo.  (After all, she is a star and is probably somewhere on location.)  Dressed in a yellow satin gown with yellow lacy shawl, the doll has brown hair with golden blonde highlights and uses the Super Star head sculpt.  Super Star Christie dolls owned by others can be seen here and here.  



18-inch Super Size Christie, 1977

A doll stand and extra aqua fashion are attached to the box liner.  The fashion Super Size Christie wears is tan with shimmery-front body suit and matching skirt. White high heel shoes should be in the package attached to the liner.

Super Size Christie uses the Super Size Barbie head sculpt, which is quite lovely.

At 18 inches tall, Super Size Christie (1977 box date) is the largest of my favorite vintage Black Barbies.  Like Super Star Christie, Super Size has dark brown hair with golden highlights.  At one time I owned two of these.  The first doll only had her pink satin body suit, doll stand, and original shoes (no box).  After upgrading to the mint in box one shown in this post, I sold the other. 
Side panel of Super Size Christie's box illustrates a girl holding the doll and two additional images of the doll.

The back of the box illustrates the doll wearing aqua bodysuit with pants, with skirt, and bodysuit alone.  I have not opened the package attached to my doll's liner.  Part, if not all of the aqua ensemble, is enclosed in the plastic package along with a pair of aqua shoes.  The white shoes worn with the pink fashion are not on the doll's feet and are not visible in the package. Hopefully they are there.

The other side panel of Super Size Christie's box illustrates the three ways the doll can wear the aqua fashion.
For me, box graphics are as appealing as the vintage dolls.  Super Size Christie's box, as illustrated in the above three photographs, does not disappoint.  The same holds true for Magic Curl Barbie's box.

Magic Curl Barbie (1981) with hair that can be worn curly or straight is the doll that was not shared with my doll group as one of my top favorite vintage Black Barbies, but she is.

The back of the box describes and illustrates how Barbie's hair goes from curly to straight using the Magic Mist solution included with the doll.

One side panel of Magic Curl Barbie's box includes a head shot of the doll with curly Afro and a full-length photo wearing her yellow peasant-style, full-length dress.

The other side panel of Magic Curl Barbie's box illustrates the doll with straighter hair.  She is dressed in a yellow spa towel in the full-length photo.
Magic Curl Barbie (box date 1981), a doll my daughter also owned, is probably not considered vintage by die-hard Barbie fans.  At 36 in doll years, she's vintage in my eyes and included in this post because she is one of my favorites.  I remember watching my daughter style her doll's hair using the Magic Mist and enjoying the fun she had in doing so.  I had once thought one of the dolls from my daughter's childhood that is now incorporated into my collection was a Magic Curl Barbie, but based on lip color, I am not sure (unless my daughter painted the lips of the doll on the far right in the next photo).  

From left to right the head sculpts used for my daughter's dolls are TeresaSteffie, Christie (with the square face x2), and Steffie (the one that is possibly Magic Curl Barbie).  

See the before photos of my daughter's dolls here and their makeover post here.  

As indicated, I have more "vintage" Black Barbies, but those shown here rank among my top favorites and are the ones that were readily accessible to photograph.  

dbg
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17 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your vintage Black Barbies. Guess which is my favorite? Well, among the ones I had, lol. Which you would not know - oh, silly me. Okay, my favorite is/was the Malibu Christie. The FIRST ones. Why? Because Mattel got her right. I mean, Christie usually was brown-skinned. So when she got a tan, she became darker. Yay, Mattel. Subtle thing, but telling. Somebody at Mattel recognized that a brown-skinned female would get darker under the sun. That pleased the heck out of me as a kid and as an adult.

    Congratulations on having such lovely dolls. Especially that Live Action Christie and the Magic Curl Barbie (1981).

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  2. Hi D7ana,

    I have a couple other Malibu Christie's with different head sculpts than the dolls in the yellow swimsuit. One (or both) is Sun Loving Malibu Christie (Steffie face). Is that the one with tan lines? If I'm not mistaken, my other Sun Loving Malibu doll has the Teresa head sculpt, but maybe they are Sunsational Malibu dolls. I need to double-check.

    dbg

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    1. Go, Debbie! You know your dolls. Alas, my Malibu Christie has no tan lines. (Mine is one of the first ones from the 1970s. None of the early sun tanned dolls had tan lines.) I was just impressed that Mattel got the complexion change right. (I justified my doll having no tan lines with the thought that she probably hung out at nude beaches, lol. If I thought about it, that is.)

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing those treasures with us. Those dolls are gorgeous. And yes Magic Curl Barbie is vintage since she is one year older then my baby sister :-D
    Brad sure was really handsome. If Mattel remembers him, maybe will see some new versions of black Ken dolls using his face mould.

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    1. It was my pleasure to share.

      Uh oh... I'm not too sure your sister will enjoy her age being considered vintage. :-)

      It would be nice to see a reproduction of Brad.

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    2. She won't really mind since I'm five-year older than she is.

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    3. Right... if she's vintage, that would make you vintage, too.
      :-)

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  4. It's hard to choose a favorite, but I think it has to be Magic Curl! They are all lovely 💗

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    1. Favorites are always hard to choose. Magic Curl is a great choice.

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  5. Your vintage dolls are very nice! I have Malibu Christie and Magic Curl Christie. Malibu Christie is my favorite. I have always wanted superstar. I love her red hair!!

    I love love your daughter's dolls!!

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    1. Thank you, GG! Hope you'll stick around for tomorrow's post.
      :-)

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  6. Love, love your Barbie's!!

    I'm wondering if the Steffi face you think might be a Magic Curl is either the AA Heart Mom or there was a Steffi friend of Jazzie called Stacie who had a higher colour makeup (I'll email a couple of pics and links)? I've always wanted to get a better look at the 18" Superstar Christie so thank you!!

    I was never a huge fan of the first wave Superstar Christie dolls as they were just appeared to be a dyed Caucasian doll and while the later Steffi face wasn't perfect she at least was a nod towards cultural sensitivity. So I've collected Black Barbie and the 1979-81 Christie's onwards because of this.

    Most recently I've been buying back the 87 Christie/AA Barbie faces because I gave so many of my childhood dolls away!!

    My Top 5 Vintage dolls would be:
    1. Pink & Pretty Christie.
    2. Benetton Christie (wave 1).
    3. Magic Curl Barbie (after all these years you can still style her hair up & down, I just can't seem to be able to create the full halo Afro I could when I first removed her from the box, but I can recreate most of the others!).
    4. President Barbie (recent love!).
    5. Golden Dream Christie.

    Although the vintage faces can seem a little generic; I remember that quote from Dihann Carroll that she expected her doll to look more like her than it did despite the studies they did of her face, that it looked just like any Barbie doll, they each retain a charm of the time that can't be beat all these years later even with the more sophisticated tools to create a more culturally appropriate look for Barbie and her friends.

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    1. Hi Julius,

      I do believe my daughter's doll that I mistook for Magic Curl is the AA Heart mom. The one with the now huge Afro might be Jazzie. Thanks for sharing the photos and helping me ID these two.

      For several years, that overused square-faced Christie "worked my nerves" because of Mattel's overuse of it during the late 1980s and well into the 1990s. Before adding a variety of AA sculpts, they often used the same faces for the AA dolls ad nauseum. The same thing was done with the Asha sculpt, which I also tired of quickly. But in more recent years, I have grown to appreciate the 1980s/1990s Christie head sculpt.

      Thanks for sharing your Top 5 vintage dolls. In additional to Magic Curl Barbie, Golden Dream Christie is one of my favorites. I had to double-check to see if I had her after I read your top 5 list a few days ago, and yes, I do.

      I understand how Diahann Carroll must have felt because the Julia doll (that uses the original 1960s Christie head sculpt) looks nothing like her. Mattel could have done better but obviously decided it wasn't cost effective to do so. You're right, however, the vintage dolls maintain a special charm. Could this be more related to special events that occurred during their years of release more than to the dolls themselves? Dolls are like music -- they both have a special way of taking you back to a special place in time.

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    2. So true...I was the same about the late 80s Christie sculpt for a really long time, and then when Mattel released the limited edition Moschino dolls that used that face, it was like a nostalgic shot in the arm...I was inspired to repurchase those dolls I'd given away...so it really is like music, a 3D capture of a specific time and place.

      I'm not sure if Mattel was just cost aware because for ages I really wanted a Twiggy doll, until I realised it was just a Casey doll with super heavy eyeliner, perhaps Mattel had the best of intentions to capture both Diahann and the Twigster (and perhaps flatter the star to sign over their respective images) but just decided to save time and money on the mass produced dolls with generic sculpts...I can only think of the Marie Osmand in the late 70s when we get a doll that reflects better the celebrity they're trying to portray?

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    3. Yes, in recent years Mattel has done 100% better in capturing the likenesses of celebrities. Most are like looking at miniature inanimate versions of the people they portray. The first one that comes to mind is Lucille Ball followed by M.C. Hammer and Brandy.

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  7. They're all lovely so I can't choose one although Malibu Christie is particularly gorgeous. Brad does have an attractive face. Thanks for sharing pictures from your collection.:D

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!