1974 Sun Valley Ken & (Live) Action Ken

THE SPORTS SET SUN VALLEY KEN #7809

The new boy for 1974 was The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken. He is probably my favourite Mod blonde. His skin is paler and his hair is a kind of mustard colour, his eyebrows light brown. He looks more like a natural blonde than the other ‘peroxide’ boys, with their yellow-blonde hair and dark eyebrows. In France he was also known as Ken au Ski.

1974 #7809 Sun Valley Ken
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken accessories
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken
Identification: © 1968 Mattel Inc. Taiwan U.S. & Foreign Patd. Patd. in Cannda* 1967

*Printing error for Canada

1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken in original packaging
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken in original packaging
Reverse of packaging
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken variation
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken variation
1974 #7809 The Sports Set Sun Valley Ken
Reverse of variation packaging

From 1974-1978 the complete skiing outfit was also available to order from the Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue, together with the matching Barbie outfit. They were packed in a simple stamped brown cardboard box numbered 7948. It is mentioned that colours and fabrics may vary, and, as seen above, the jacket and trousers were available in either royal blue or purple.

1974 Montgomery Ward #7948 Sun Valley clothing set
1974 Montgomery Ward #7948 Sun Valley clothing set

ACTION KEN #1159

Live Action Ken was repackaged in a plastic bag and sold as Action Ken. I have not found any contemporary reference to this version, but as the card is dated 1973, it was presumably sold in either late 1973 and/or 1974.

1974 #1159 Action Ken in original packaging
1973-4 #1159 Action Ken in original packaging
1974 #1159 Action Ken in original packaging
1973-4 #1159 Action Ken in original packaging
1973 #1159 Action Ken (Packaging detail)
1973 #1159 Action Ken (Packaging detail)
1973-74 #1159 Action Ken
1973-74 #1159 Action Ken (Slight variation print)

The version below appears to be genuine, yet is missing the ‘suede’ vest and wrist tag. It is possibly from 1975, as by that time most Kens were no longer tagged, and the fringe vest would have been too outdated.

1973-4 #1159 Action Ken
1973-4 #1159 Action Ken (Variation)

BOOKLETS & CATALOGUES

There doesn’t appear to have been a US Barbie booklet showing the range for 1974.

Mattel Toys '74 Spring Introductions catalogue
Mattel Toys ’74 Spring Introductions catalogue
From Mattel Toys '74 Spring Introductions catalogue
From Mattel Toys ’74 Spring Introductions catalogue
1974 Mattel Toys catalogue
1974 Mattel Toys catalogue
1974 Mattel Toys catalogue
1974 Mattel Toys catalogue

Sears was the only mail order catalogue to sell Sun Valley Ken. Montgomery Ward had the skiing outfit (as part of a set), but not the doll itself. The Ward’s catalogue also offered their special edition Mod Hair Ken (see section 1974 The Outfits).

From 1974 Sears Wish Book
From 1974 Sears Wish Book
From 1974 Sears Wish Book
From 1974 Sears Wish Book
From 1974 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue
From 1974 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue
From 1974 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue
From 1974 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue

The other catalogues continued to sell genuine Mattel dolls, but only offered their own ‘clone’ clothing. Spiegel even has a clone doll this year, which is a blatant copy of the classic Mod-era Ken.

From 1974 Spiegel Christmas catalogue
From 1974 Spiegel Christmas catalogue
From 1974 Eaton's Christmas catalogue
From 1974 Canadian Eaton’s Christmas catalogue
From 1974 Aldens Christmas catalogue
From 1974 Aldens Christmas catalogue
From 1974 JCPenney Christmas catalogue
From 1974 JCPenney Christmas catalogue
From 1974 Stroud Distributing Co. catalogue
From 1974 Stroud Distributing Co. catalogue
From 1974 Canadian Sears Christmas Wish Book
From 1974 Canadian Sears Christmas Wish Book
From 1974 Canadian Sears Christmas Wish Book
From 1974 Canadian Sears Christmas Wish Book
From 1974 Italian Barbie booklet
From 1974 Italian Barbie booklet
From 1974 Italian Barbie booklet
From 1974 Italian Barbie booklet
From 1974 French Barbie booklet
From 1974 French Barbie booklet
From 1974 French Barbie booklet
From 1974 French Barbie booklet
From 1974 Swedish Barbie booklet
From 1974 Swedish Barbie booklet
From 1974 Swedish Barbie booklet
From 1974 Swedish Barbie booklet
From 1974 German Barbie booklet
From 1974 German Barbie booklet
From 1974 German Barbie booklet
From 1974 German Barbie booklet

MELTING JOINTS

A common ‘disease’, even among otherwise healthy Mod Era boys, is ‘Melting Joints’. I have no idea of the cause (though would be grateful for any suggestions), but the symptoms are a swelling of rubbery plastic between the torso and leg joints, resulting in an apparent glueing of the leg to the body. It actually looks and seems a lot worse than it is. With slow, careful pressure, holding the entire leg around the hip joint, the leg can easily be freed from its locked position, and made to move again, without causing him any harm whatsoever.

1975 #7261 Gold Medal Skier Ken
1975 #7261 Gold Medal Skier Ken showing ‘melt-marks’
1975 #7261 Gold Medal Skier Ken
1975 #7261 Gold Medal Skier Ken showing ‘melt-marks’