In 1969 the new-look Ken was released, inspired by the ‘Mod’ generation, and complete with talking mechanism. He is similar in height to the vintage Ken, but looks completely different, with a much beefier body. The dolls themselves were originally produced in Mexico, and came wearing a red Nehru-collar beach outfit, which was made in Japan. They came with a small clear plastic stand. According to the Mattel Employee Order Form from 1969 there is also a Spanish-speaking version of this doll.
From here on, the bendable leg came as standard, usually clicking into three positions. The body-mold was patented in 1968 and used through several decades (a version of it was still in production in 2008), always with a 1968 copyright stamped on the back or bottom.
The British Rosebud Mattel version was packaged differently, with a box printed in England.
What he said:
Hi, I’m Ken.
Let’s go to the big game tonight.
What are you doing next weekend?
Why don’t we all go to the movies?
Let’s go listen to Barbie’s records.
Let’s go visit Barbie.
This original Ken was included in the Sears exclusive Barbie & Ken Fabulous Formal Set #1595, which can be seen in section 1969 The Outfits. Simpsons Sears in Canada also sold him in a Ken-only gift set, which consisted of a Talking Ken plus the regular Guvury Formal outfit. I have only seen it in the catalogue (below), so do not know how it was originally packaged.
BOOKLETS & CATALOGUES
The German Mattel catalogue for 1969 features a vintage bendable leg Ken both in the photograph and the written description (it mentions his shorts, jacket and sandals), so he must presumably have still been available to order during 1969. The same catalogue however shows New Good-Lookin’ Ken modelling the outfits (see section 1969 The Outfits).
As well as identification markings on the body, they also carried markings on their necks: © 1968 Mattel Inc. This is found on almost all Mod Era Kens. If it is not visible, then it is to be found on the inner-rim of the neck, along with the name of the country of manufacture.
Genuine Mattel Kens sold between 1969-1974 came with a wrist tag, with country of manufacture on reverse.