1977 Malibu Ken, The Now Look Ken, Ken Simpatia & Partytime Ken

The new Malibu Ken came in a box similar to the ones shown in the previous year, but the box is much smaller, and the graphics have now altered slightly, with the Mattel logo at the bottom. It is still dated 1975 as are all the pink Malibu Ken boxes. This version has smaller, darker trunks, similar to the original Taiwan version.

1976-1977 #1088 Malibu Kens
Malibu Kens from 1977 (left) and 1976 (right) both made in Hong Kong.
1976-1977 #1088 Malibu Kens
Reverse of packaging

MALIBU KEN #1088

1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
Identification: © 1968 Mattel Inc. U.S. & For. Patd. Other Pats. Pending Hong Kong.
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken in original packaging
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken in original packaging
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
Reverse of packaging

My European version has slightly darker skin and larger white dots in his eyes, giving him a different look.

1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken in original packaging

Another version was produced with a slightly smaller head and different markings. This was the last Mod era Ken mold to be used.

1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
Identification: 1088 0500 1 © Mattel Inc.1968 Hong Kong.
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken in original packaging
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken
Reverse of packaging

THE NOW LOOK KEN #9342

The second version of The Now Look Ken is made of an inferior plastic and has quite a ghastly skin tone, but is certainly better-looking. His rooted hair is shoulder-length, and he has rear-facing hands. There are also minimal differences in the outfit, with a lighter scarf, darker buttons, and trousers which are cut looser around the hips. His box is much smaller than that of The Now Look Ken from the previous year.

1976 #9342 The Now Look Ken
1976 #9342 The Now Look Ken
1976 #9342 The Now Look Ken
1976 #9342 The Now Look Ken
1976 #9342 The Now Look Ken
1976 #9342 The Now Look Ken
1976 #9342 The Now Look Ken
1976 #9342 The Now Look Ken accessories
1976 #9342 The Now Look Ken
Identification: 1088 0500 1 © Mattel Inc.1968 Hong Kong.
1976 #9342 The Now Look Ken
1976 #9342 The Now Look Ken in original packaging
1976 #9342 The Now Look Ken
Reverse of packaging
1977 #9342 The Now Look Ken (Canadian version)
1977 #9342 The Now Look Ken (Canadian version)

KEN SIMPATIA #7380

Mattel Italy produced a variation of Gold Medal Ken with no medal and a slightly different pair of trunks (orange, pale blue and yellow). He was packaged as Ken Simpatia. The code number remained the same. On the box side it says the contents were made in Taiwan, despite the fact that the doll is a classic Hong Kong-made Malibu Ken. My guess is that it is either a printing error for DOLL MADE IN HONG KONG, SWIMSUIT MADE IN TAIWAN, PRINTED IN ITALY or Taiwan was just a complete error, as I’ve seen several versions of Ken Simpatia, and the dolls themselves were definitely all made in Hong Kong.

1977 #7380 Ken Simpatia
1977 #7380 Ken Simpatia
1977 #7380 Ken Simpatia
1977 #7380 Ken Simpatia
1977 #7380 Ken Simpatia
1977 #7380 Ken Simpatia
1977 #7380 Ken Simpatia
Identification: 1088 0500 6 © Mattel Inc.1968 Hong Kong.
1977 #7380 Ken Simpatia original packaging
1977 #7380 Ken Simpatia original packaging
1977 #7380 Ken Simpatia original packaging
Reverse of packaging
1977 #7380 Ken Simpatia original packaging (Detail)
1977 #7380 Ken Simpatia original packaging (Detail)

The 1977 Canadian Simpsons Sears Christmas catalogue also shows this Ken, describing him only as “Sun-Tanned Ken in bathing trunks”. I have found this doll in Canada, packaged as Malibu Ken.

From 1977 Canadian Simpsons Sears Christmas catalogue
From 1977 Canadian Simpsons Sears Christmas catalogue
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken (Canadian version)
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken (Canadian version)
1977 #1088 Malibu Ken (Canadian version)
Reverse of packaging

PARTYTIME KEN #9927

Partytime Ken was released in Europe and Canada. He wears a tuxedo which is a two-piece outfit, the dickey being attached to the trousers, and the whole ensemble quite shoddily made. Like the doll, the loafers were made in Hong Kong and are the soft, rubbery kind. Only this Ken and SuperStar Ken from 1978 came with squishy black HK loafers. All other black Hong Kong-produced loafers are made of a harder plastic. In France he was called Ken Party-Time, and in Canada he was also known as Ken à la fête.

1977 #9927 Partytime Ken
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken shoes
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken
Identification: 1088 0500 3 © Mattel Inc 1968 Hong Kong.
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken (English version)
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken (English version)
Reverse of English packaging
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken (European version)
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken (European version)
Reverse of European packaging
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken (Canadian version)
1977 #9927 Partytime Ken (Canadian version)

BOOKLETS & CATALOGUES

The US Barbie booklet for 1976-7 features no Kens, not even older ones. The Mattel dealer and mail order catalogues for 1977 show that only The Now Look Ken and Malibu Ken were now available.

From 1977 Makin' It With Mattel catalogue
From 1977 Makin’ It With Mattel catalogue
From 1977 Sears Wish Book
From 1977 Sears Wish Book
From 1977 JCPenny Christmas catalogue
From 1977 JCPenney Christmas catalogue
From 1977 Stroud Distributing Co. catalogue
From 1977 Stroud Distributing Co. catalogue
From 1977 Spiegel Christmas catalogue
From 1977 Spiegel Christmas catalogue
From 1977 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue
From 1977 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue
From 1977 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue
From 1977 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue
From 1977 Aldens Christmas catalogue
From 1977 Aldens Christmas catalogue
1977 Italian Ken Simpatia advertising
1977 Italian Ken Simpatia advertising

The Italian booklet below uses prototypes, which have side-facing hands. The actual Kens all came with rear-facing hands, as shown above.

From 1977 Italian Barbie booklet
From 1977 Italian Barbie booklet
From 1977 Italian Barbie booklet
From 1977 Italian Barbie booklet

This French Mattel catalogue from 1977 is interesting, as it shows a Malibu Ken with green shorts, but with the code number of Funtime Ken (#7194) and with a yellow towel. I remember hearing about this version, but have never seen one MIB and the picture next to it shows a French display stand containing this doll clearly boxed as regular Malibu Ken. The yellow towel belonged to Barbie, and just accidentally made it onto the photo – compare it with the page underneath from the German catalogue.

From 1977 French Mattel Toy catalogue
From 1977 French Mattel Toy catalogue
From 1977 French Mattel Toy catalogue
From 1977 French Mattel Toy catalogue
From 1977 German Barbie booklet
From 1977 German Barbie booklet
From 1977 German Barbie booklet
From 1977 German Barbie booklet
From 1977 Italian Mattel Toy catalogue
From 1977 Italian Mattel Toy catalogue
1977 Swedish Barbie advertisement
1977 Swedish Barbie advertisement

In the French Jouets Weber catalogue, The Now Look Ken is described as Ken New-Look. The French catalogue below right shows a Malibu Ken wearing the Partytime Ken outfit, but the written description and price suggest that they actually just have the regular Malibu Ken for sale. However, the Jeux et Jouets catalogue, shown at bottom, shows the same Ken clearly listed as Partytime Ken and costing twice the price. As far as I know though, no blonde version of Partytime Ken was ever sold.

From 1977 French Jouets Weber catalogue
From 1977 French Jouets Weber catalogue
From 1977 French Jouets Conseil catalogue
From 1977 French Jouets Conseil catalogue
From 1977 French Jeux et Jouets catalogue
From 1977 French Jeux et Jouets catalogue