Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ken’s 50 but still looking sharp

By TOMIE PARKS
Deemable Staff Writer

Barbie and Ken are no longer two young lovers sitting in a tree. Both of them are now over the hill, even though their looks don’t show it.
Ken turned 50 on March 11, and the ever-stunning Barbie is a ripe 52.
Birthday festivities for Ken started in January with an eight-episode reality TV show called “Genuine Ken: The Search for the Great American Boyfriend.”
In the manner of ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” the Ken show featured eight “real-life” men competing for the title of “Barbie’s Ideal Boyfriend.” Participating under the stage name of Dreamer Ken, the winner was Kurtis Taylor, a 25-year-old former college football player from Fort Dodge, Iowa.
The contest and all competitors are featured at genuineken.com. Checking the show out won’t be a waste of time, as the New York Times describes it as one of the media company Hulu’s most popular reality shows.
But that’s not all the birthday fun for the still-handsome Ken.

Mattel, the company that created him, plans to launch three new Ken dolls this year, all in honor of the 50th birthday.
The three new versions of Ken include Shaving Fun Ken, a grooming enthusiast with glossy blond hair and his own razor; Fashionistas Ken, a lax fellow whose wardrobe consists of old denim pants and jazzy T-shirts; and Sweet Talkin’ Ken, a classily-clad fellow who can who can play pre-recorded messages at the touch of a button.
Not unlike Barbie, Ken’s look has gone through several changes in the last half century.
Initially Ken was a shy-looking teenager who had a tiny waist that would inspire many today’s supermodels. He wore red swim trunks and sported a crew cut. He sold for $3.50.
By the mid 60s the idea of Ken had transformed into the Man’s Man, a muscular hero who took the forms of “Actionman” and “G.I. Joe.” But by the 70s, Ken got a tan as he took the name of “Malibu Ken.”
The 80s, more or less, not taking into account his dozens of hair styles, brought us the image of Ken that we know and love today. His jaw took on a sharper frame, and his eyes became inquisitive and focused.
Ken’s retail price today ranges from $15 to $50 in stores and from hundreds to thousands of dollars in the collection circuit.
So, in short, don’t let March pass you by without paying proper homage to America’s most-fantasized-about  man of plastic.
Here are some interesting facts to leave you with:
  • Ken’s full name is Ken Carson.
  • Ken is named after the son of Mattel founders Ruth and Elliott Handler.
  • Ken is a Pisces, as his official birthday is March 11, 1961.
  • Ken is two years and two days younger than Barbie.
  • Ken is from Willows, Wisconsin.
  • Ken stands 12 inches tall, one half-inch taller than Barbie.
  • Ken has a younger brother named Tommy.
  • Ken’s best friend is Alan, the husband of Barbie’s friend Midge.
  • In the summer of 2010, Ken made his big screen debut in “Toy Story 3.” His part called for more than 50 costume changes.
For photos, see the story at Deemable.

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