KEN & FRIENDS: MALE FASHION DOLLS & CLOTHING FROM 1961-1987
1963 The Outfits
Several great new Ensemble and Fashion Paks were produced for 1963, mostly sports- and profession-based. It is almost as if Mattel were beginning to re-imagine Ken as a toy for boys. It is certainly worth noting that Ken’s Sailor and Army & Air Force outfits predate the 1964 launch of GI Joe.
THE ENSEMBLE PAKS
FUN ON ICE #791
Later packaged versions of Fun On Ice came with red backing card.
PLAY BALL! #792
The earliest versions of this outfit have a lighter brown mitt.
DR. KEN #793
A second version of Graduation exists packed in a square box. It came with an extra illustrated slip.
ARMY & AIR FORCE #797
Army & Air Force came with unique navy blue shoes. The slacks have a YKK zip but no popper, presumably because of the belts. The set came with only one shirt and pair of slacks.
SKI CHAMPION #798
THE FASHION PAKS
The Fashion Paks below obviously only originally included the items shown in the MOC versions. Any extra items or accessories are merely to enhance the photos. As well as the usual single items there were three ‘Outfit’ sets this year, though only two are complete outfits.
This ‘variation’ seemed like an exciting find, as I discovered it MOC. However, when I removed the ‘silver’ shorts from the card they were still blue on the reverse: they had changed colour through prolonged exposure to sunlight. My only option was to leave them in the sun for several weeks until the remaining blue faded, leaving them an even, silver grey.
SKIN DIVER OUTFIT
THE GIFT SETS
FASHION QUEEN BARBIE AND HER FRIENDS KEN & MIDGE SET #863
The Barbie & Friends gift set shown below is a later version, with a blue-eyed Ken. The earliest set I’ve seen contained the second version 1963 brunette Ken (green eyes with black line around iris, original hand/arm mold – see also section 1963 Painted hair Kens).
FASHION QUEEN BARBIE & KEN TROUSSEAU SET #864
The recommended retail price of the Fashion Queen Barbie & Ken Trousseau Set was $25, a massive amount at the time. Obviously few were sold, as a year later the Spiegel catalogue was offering the set at the bargain price of $12.88. I only have the de-boxed Ken and his clothing from this set, but this is still a rare find in itself. The Ken is the third 1963 version (the first to have the new hand/arm mold). This set was also available with the same Ken in blonde.
Most of this clothing is identical, or similar, to other Ken outfits. The Sports Shorts outfit has different shoes from the regular set. The Tuxedo outfit has to borrow the plain dress shirt from the grey suit. There is no corsage, cummerbund, or boutonnière on the tux jacket, and it comes with a white bow tie (instead of burgundy). The white bow tie is the real treasure, as it was only ever available with this set.
The set contained only one white shirt and one pair of black shoes. The white bow tie is unique to this set and is now extremely hard to find.
BOOKLETS & CATALOGUES
Three Barbie booklets were produced for 1963 with slightly different contents.
As the 1963 outfits were produced so far in advance, exceptionally they already feature in the Fall Winter catalogues. In 1963 JCPenney took over the General Merchandise Company. Their Fall Winter issue was the first to carry the Penney name.
The Gambles catalogue from Spring/Summer 1964 still uses the same layout as their previous issue, and the 1964 LC Mayers & Spors Yearbook has the exact same layout as the 1963-4 catalogue from Robert Morton.
Ken was also sold in Japan. The only ones I’ve seen so far are Dressed Dolls, like the Ken in Tuxedo shown in section 1964 Allan & the ‘shorty’ Kens. There is a unique ‘Royal Wedding’ Ken (see also section 1964 Allan & the ‘shorty’ Kens), but the Japanese booklets show only known Ken outfits, though many come with slight modifications. His outfits were also sold separately, packaged slightly differently to Ken outfits, and each contained a Japanese booklet.
The Ensemble Paks were available as follows.*
FUN ON ICE (1963-1964) (Until 1968 in Europe)
PLAY BALL! (1963-1964)
DR. KEN (1963-1965) (Until 1967 in Europe)
SAILOR (1963-1965) (Until 1967 in Europe)
ARMY & AIR FORCE (1963-1965) (Until 1967 in Europe)
SKI CHAMPION (1963-1964)
TOUCHDOWN! (1963-1965) (Until 1966 in Europe). A reproduction of this outfit was issued in 2008 as part of the Barbie & Ken Campus Spirit gift set.
*Based on information from US and European Barbie booklets 1963-1968 and Mattel Employee Order Forms 1965-1967.