1962 Flocked hair Kens

During 1962 Mattel changed Ken’s original outfit and box design slightly. He now came with red sandals, plain red trunks or shorts, an unlabelled beach top, wire stand, and booklet. The towel was no longer included. These versions were only available in blonde and brunette.

For more information and many more detailed photographs see THE VINTAGE KEN® BOOK.


KEN #750 (‘thick-brow’ blonde and brunette)

1962 #750 blonde Ken in original packaging
1962 #750 blonde Ken in original packaging
1962 #750 brunette Ken in original packaging
1962 #750 brunette Ken in original packaging

This version of flocked hair Ken is my personal favourite, with the cute trunks and more casual jacket (the later jackets are quite stiff).

1962 #750 Ken
1962 #750 brunette Ken
1962 #750 Ken
1962 #750 blonde Ken

KEN #750 (‘thick-brow’ brunette wearing plain red shorts)

I bought this mint condition boxed Ken from the original owner, so know that he definitely came with these shorts rather than trunks. His box is printed with the code number 48-3980, which means he would have been sold by Montgomery Ward (see more details further below).

1962 #750 Ken
1962 #750 Ken
1962 #750 Ken in original 'misprint' packaging
1962 #750 brunette Ken in original ‘factory-flaw’ packaging

1962 #750 Ken booklet & sandals in original cellophane bag
1962 #750 Ken booklet & sandals in original cellophane bag
1962 #750 Ken booklet in original cellophane bag
1962 #750 Ken booklet in original cellophane bag

The later flocked hair Kens have much thinner eyebrows. Initially they still had swimming trunks, but later on they came with plain red shorts. They appear in the 1963 catalogues, and would have been sold in 1963 until the flocked hair version was completely replaced by the new-look painted hair Ken before Christmas.

KEN #750 (‘thin-brow’ blonde and brunette wearing trunks)

1962 #750 Ken in original packaging
1962 #750 blonde Ken in original packaging
1962 #750 Ken
1962 #750 brunette Ken in original packaging

KEN #750 (‘thin-brow’ blonde and brunette wearing shorts)

1962-3 #750 Ken in original packaging
1962-63 #750 blonde Ken in original packaging
1962-3 #750 Ken in original packaging
1962-63 #750 brunette Ken in original packaging

1962-63 #750 Ken booklet & sandals in original cellophane bag
1962-63 #750 Ken booklet & sandals in original cellophane bag
1962-63 #750 Ken booklet in original cellophane bag
1962-63 #750 Ken booklet in original cellophane bag

1962 Ken markings
Identification: Ken ™ Pats.Pend. © MCMLX by Mattel Inc.
1962 #750 Ken wrist tag
1962 #750 Ken wrist tag

THE 1962 BOXES

The box lid has completely new illustrations, including one of Ken in his new ‘cabana’ outfit, which replaced the earlier, redundant picture of him in black and white shorts. There are two cover variations: the ‘factory-flaw’ version directly below middle (see also example above), and the ultra-rare ‘red shorts & towel’ box lid shown underneath, both of which housed a ‘thick-brow’ Ken.

Regular 1962 #750 Ken box lid
Regular 1962 #750 Ken box lid
1962 #750 Ken 'Factory-flaw' box lid
1962 #750 Ken ‘factory-flaw’ box lid
1962 #750 Ken box sides
1962 #750 Ken box sides

To judge by the natural card box base (not white like those made in Japan), the box below was possibly printed in the US, and was either a prototype or an extremely limited release. It has all the new illustrations like the regular second version box above, but shows Ken with a towel and red shorts. If anyone has this box, I’d be very grateful for photos of the box lid ends. I’d also be very interested in buying it of course. Please write to: contact@somethingabouttheboy.com.

Ultra-rare 'red shorts' version 1962 #750 Ken box
Ultra-rare ‘red shorts & towel’ version 1962 #750 Ken box

The box lid ends differ from each other, and came in three versions: (1) ‘Thick-brow’ Ken. These are the ends sometimes found with the variation ‘misprint’ box cover. (2) ‘Thin-brow’ Ken earlier version, which still came with trunks. (3) ‘Thin-brow’ Ken later version which came with shorts. This design was also used for the painted hair version of Ken sold simultaneously in 1963, and all subsequent Japan-made 750 Kens.

1962-3 #750 Ken box lid ends
1962-63 #750 Ken box lid ends

Many boxes have reference numbers printed one end, indicating which US store sold them. For example, the box below printed 48-3980 would have been sold by Montgomery Ward, the box marked 3511 was sold by Spiegel, and 3731 was the number used by Sears. These numbers are found in all the store and mail order catalogues.

1962-63 boxes showing extra printed department store code numbers
1962-63 boxes showing extra printed store code numbers

BOOKLETS & CATALOGUES

As shown above, the earliest Kens were still sold with the pink booklet. The later, thin-brow Kens came with the blue booklet dated 1962. The new illustration of Ken shows him with the beach jacket and trunks.

1962 Barbie & Ken booklet
1962 Barbie & Ken booklet
From 1962 Barbie & Ken booklet
From 1962 Barbie & Ken booklet

The original flocked hair Ken with white-striped shorts and towel (or even the prototype) still appears in several catalogues for 1962, even both editions of the Mattel Dolls for Fall ’62 catalogue. The 2nd edition (which is an enlarged – 56-page – version of the 24-page original) also features the new painted hair version of Ken (see section 1963 Painted hair Kens). This 2nd catalogue was almost certainly designed as a 1963 Preview, as I have not discovered the painted hair Ken in any other printed source from 1962. Midge also appears, and according to the January 1963 issue of trade magazine Toys and Novelties, she had just “come off the drawing boards and into production…”.

From Mattel Dolls For Fall '62 catalogue
From Mattel Dolls For Fall ’62 catalogue (1st & 2nd editions)
From Mattel Dolls For Fall '62 catalogue (2nd edition only)
From Mattel Dolls For Fall ’62 catalogue (2nd edition 56-page catalogue only)
From Mattel Dolls For Fall '62 catalogue (2nd edition 56-page catalogue)
Mattel Dolls For Fall ’62 (56-page 2nd edition)
From Mattel Dolls 63 catalogue
From Mattel Dolls 63 catalogue
1962 Toys & Novelties magazine
From 1962 Toys & Novelties magazine
From 1962-3 Weinstein Fall Winter catalogue
From 1962 Weinstein Fall Winter catalogue
From 1962 Continental Fall Winter catalogue
From 1962 Continental Fall Winter catalogue
From 1962 General Merchandise catalogue
From 1962 General Merchandise Fall Winter catalogue
From 1962 Canadian Simpsons Christmas catalogue
From 1962 Canadian Simpsons Christmas catalogue
From 1962 Santa's Special Toys catalogue
From 1962 Santa’s Special Toys catalogue

Some catalogues mention that his hair comes in “assorted colors”, but by this time he was only available in brunette (black-brown) and various shades of blonde.

1962 Sears Christmas catalogue
From 1962 Sears Christmas catalogue
From 1962 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue
From 1962 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue
From 1962 Spiegel Christmas catalogue
From 1962 Spiegel Christmas catalogue
1962 Aldens Christmas catalogue
From 1962 Aldens Christmas catalogue

Annual catalogues, as well as Spring Summer and even Fall Winter usually only showed items from the previous Christmas.

From John Plain book for 1963
From John Plain book for 1963 (This catalogue was also available with a different cover as USI (U.S. Industries) Mail Order Catalog 1963)

The General Merchandise Company catalogue (now owned by JCPenney) still uses the ‘bendy-arm’ picture of Ken from their previous issue. The first official Penneys catalogue featuring Ken appeared for Fall Winter 1963.

From 1963 Spring Summer General Merchandise Company catalogue
From 1963 General Merchandise Company (JCPenney) Spring Summer catalogue
From 1963 Penneys Fall Winter catalogue
From 1963 Penneys Fall Winter catalogue

The Spiegel catalogue from Spring Summer 1963 oddly shows an earlier version (1961 shorts) of Ken to the ones featured in their 1962 Christmas or 1963 Spring Sale catalogues. Both Spring ’63 catalogues refer only to his crew cut with no mention of it being molded, so presumably they were still selling the flocked hair version.

From 1963 Spiegel Early Bird Sale catalogue
From 1963 Spiegel Early Bird (Spring) Sale catalogue
From 1963 Spiegel Spring Summer catalogue
From 1963 Spiegel Spring Summer catalogue

Flocked hair Ken was presumably sold parallel to the new painted hair Ken during 1963, until the flocked hair version was phased out in the autumn. He still appears in print up to 1964, although by this time he was certainly no longer available. The Spiegel, John Plain and Aldens catalogues may show him, but the texts are unambiguous: his crew-cut hair is “molded”, “moulded” or “molded-in and painted”.

From 1963 Aldens Fall Winter catalogue
From 1963 Aldens Fall Winter catalogue
1963 Aldens Christmas catalogue
From 1963 Aldens Christmas catalogue
1963 Kresge's newspaper advertisement
1963 Kresge’s newspaper advertisement
1963 Gambles Fall Winter catalogue
From 1963 Gambles Fall Winter catalogue
1963 Western Auto Christmas catalogue
From 1963 Western Auto Christmas catalogue
From 1963-4 Robert Morton catalogue
From 1963-4 Robert Morton catalogue
From 1964 Aldens Spring Summer catalogue
From 1964 Aldens Spring Summer catalogue
From 1964 Spiegel Christmas catalogue
From 1964 Spiegel Christmas catalogue

Flocked hair Ken was however sold in Japan in 1964. Ken’s first appearance in Japan is in the April 1964 issue of Japanese Toy magazine, introduced, along with Midge, as a NEW FRIEND of Barbie. The flocked hair Kens were not just used as models – they regularly turn up nowadays in Japanese auctions as Dressed Dolls. This was possibly to sell off old stock. The painted hair version was certainly sold in 1964 too. By 1965 only the painted hair version appears in Japanese advertising.

From April 1964 Japanese Toy magazine
From April 1964 Japanese Toy magazine
From November 1964 Japanese Toy magazine
From November 1964 Japanese Toy magazine