KEN & FRIENDS: MALE FASHION DOLLS & CLOTHING FROM 1961-1987
1973 Mod Hair Ken
MOD HAIR KEN #4224
The brand new doll for 1973 was Mod Hair Ken, the first Ken since 1961 with ‘real’ hair. He also came with stick-on facial hair: a beard, moustaches and sideburns. He was mostly produced in Hong Kong, but some were made in Taiwan. Most came with a white plastic stand. A popular doll, he was still being sold (through the Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue) in 1976. There are many variations in packaging, dolls and especially the fabrics used.
In Canada Mod Hair Ken was also known as Ken cheveux à la mode, in France as Ken à la Mode, and in Italy as Ken Capelli Veri.
When originally packaged, all Hong Kong-made Mod Hair Kens had their hair held into a wave by a strip of plastic. Some out-of-box Kens still retain a little of this wave, but usually they have been combed out. The most common Hong Kong-made version came with a mid-brown jacket with regular check and mid-brown slacks.
The slim packages marked Made & Printed in Hong Kong on the cover (like the one shown below right) came without a stand.
According to the numbers printed on the box, this is the mail order version which would have been sent by Sears, JCPenney and Aldens.
As well as the variation fabric jackets, some also came with lighter trousers.
The jacket also came in a much lighter fabric.
The two versions below are marked Made in Hong Kong Printed in U.S.A. on the cover, but it was actually only the booklet which was printed in the US. The boxes were all printed in Hong Kong (marked on reverse of packaging). The version below right uses a fabric with a much larger check for the jacket.
This jacket has a noticeably different fabric from the others.
The Mod Hair Kens made in Taiwan can obviously be told apart by their markings, but they do look different. Like other Kens made in Taiwan (Malibu Ken, Funtime Ken) they seem to smile more. Also, the Taiwan Kens have their hair pulled up over their foreheads – unlike the Hong Kong Kens, who, as mentioned earlier, have their hair fixed in a wave across the forehead.
The Canadian version of Mod Hair Ken was also produced in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The Canadian version which was made in Taiwan must have had the shoes packaged separately, as the few NRFB versions I’ve seen all have Ken barefoot.
A sample of the stick-on facial hair which came with all Mod Hair Kens. The sideburns are my particular favorite.
I have found no contemporary reference to this mute version (no pull-string) of New Good-Lookin’ Talking Ken. As the card is dated 1972, it was presumably sold in either late 1972 and/or 1973. He came with a clear plastic stand, and was simply called Ken.