1964 Allan & the ‘shorty’ Kens

The so-called ‘shorty’ Ken is not marked Japan on the feet like almost all other 750 Kens, and their boxes are made with different card, with no K stamp inside the lid. The box ends and wrist tags were redesigned with no mention of it being a Japanese import. In fact, occasionally Japanese Kens were sold in ‘shorty’ boxes, which Mattel clearly stamped extra with Made in Japan/Printed in U.S.A. (see example further below), proof that these boxes were indeed made in the US. Also, no ‘shorties’ were ever used as Dressed Dolls or are found in gift sets – all of which were produced in Japan. So, with a lack of any other identification or markings (such as Made in Hong Kong), it must be assumed that the ‘shorties’ were all produced in the US.

Logically it would make sense that the ‘shorty’ was the first painted hair Ken, designed and developed in the US during 1962 for a 1963 release. The Japan-made painted hair Kens would have been released simultaneously, initially using old flocked hair Ken parts, including the beach top and box card inserts. Being US-made the ‘shorty’ would have appeared with all the new features from the beginning. Yet the evidence is inconclusive: Apart from the prototypes, no Kens resembling ‘shorties’ appear in catalogues from 1963 – all major department stores feature Japan-made painted hair Kens – this is apparent not just from the faces, but by their old-style hands. Occasionally ‘shorty’ Kens are sold online ‘MIB’ with the light blue booklet, which could theoretically date them to 1963, but the booklets could easily have been added later, so are not in themselves proof (Most are sold with the white booklet for 1963, like the Japan-made Kens from 1963-64).

In reality it appears that the ‘shorty’ is a later, poorer, copy of the first Japan-made painted hair Ken (hence the similar style face-paint), as it is not until 1964 that the ‘shorty’ Kens clearly appear in print. Images of them abound: The 1964 Barbie Magazine Annual, the Mattel Barbie for Fall ’64 catalogue, and most 1964 store catalogues. If they really had been released prior, or parallel, to the Japan-made painted hair Kens, they would presumably have already appeared in some, if not most, catalogues for 1963. That they were available in 1964 is beyond doubt, as ‘shorty’ Kens have been found with the later markings on the rear, meaning they were still being sold after the introduction of Allan in the autumn.


KEN #0750 (blonde)

1964 #0750 Ken
1964 #0750 Ken
1964 #0750 Ken
1964 #0750 Ken
1964 #0750 Ken
1964 #0750 Ken
1964 #0750 Ken in original packaging
1964 #0750 ‘shorty’ Ken in original packaging

They are referred to as ‘shorties’ because most are slightly shorter than the Japan-made painted hair Kens (though similar in size to most flocked hair Kens), but there are more vital differences: He has chunkier and less elegant limbs, especially noticeable around the knees. His head and limbs are usually swingy and either pallid or too dark. His head-shape often appears Bart-Simpsonishly square, which, all combined with his (usually) less finely painted features, makes him a bit spooky-looking. It is possible to find nice-looking versions of this Ken (like my blonde above), but it’s not easy, and they almost all have wobbly legs.

KEN #0750 (brunette)

1964 #0750 Ken
1964 #0750 Ken
1964 #0750 Ken
1964 #0750 Ken
1964 #0750 Ken
1964 #0750 Ken
1964 #0750 Ken in original packaging
1964 #0750 ‘shorty’ Ken in original packaging

The ‘shorty’ came with a unique blue wrist tag, which does not mention country of manufacture.

1964 #0750 Ken US-made wrist tag
1964 #0750 Ken US-made wrist tag

Some ‘shorty’ Kens came with a slight variation fabric beach jacket, which has no label.

1964 #0750 Ken beach jackets
1964 #0750 Ken beach jackets

The box lid front has the additional slogan “You can tell it’s Mattel …it’s swell!” at bottom. The sides are the same as 1962-3, just printed with more contrast. The ends are identical to each other and marked either blonde or brunette. The box base is natural card ie. not white like the Japan-made box.

1964 #0750 Ken box
1964 #0750 Ken box
1964 #0750 Ken box lid sides
1964 #0750 Ken box sides
1964 #0750 Ken lids
‘Shorty’ Ken box lid (left) compared to regular Japan-made box lid (right).
1964 #0750 Ken box lid ends
1964 #0750 ‘shorty’ Ken box lid ends

The ‘shorty’ Ken was originally given his own unique patent stamp (below left), but after the introduction of Allan in the autumn of 1964 all male dolls, including the ‘shorties’, were given the same basic stamp (below right).

1964 #0750 'shorty' Ken
‘Shorty’ identification: Ken ® © 1960 by Mattel Inc. Hawthorne Calif. USA
1964 #750 shorty Ken
or: © 1960 by Mattel Inc. Hawthorne Calif. USA

Not all ‘shorties’ are short. Most are, but my MIB Ken (at top of page and below middle) is exactly the same size as any regular painted hair Ken. Compare him in the photo to the 1963 ‘thick-brow’ Ken (left) and a typical ‘shorty’ Ken (right).

1963 'thick-brow' Ken (left) with two 'shorty' Kens.
1963 ‘thick-brow’ Ken (left) with two ‘shorty’ Kens.

The Japan-made Kens came with green eyes (see section 1963 Painted hair Kens) or blue eyes. Mostly those with blue eyes were used for the 1964 Dressed Dolls (see further below) and the three Mattel gift sets this year (see also section 1964 The Outfits), though the 1964 Wedding Party Gift Set #1017 can be found with a green eyed brunette. The earlier versions have the same patent stamp on the rear as the Kens from 1963. Kens produced after the introduction of Allan were given the new markings shown above and further below. Earlier versions came with the 1963 booklet, later versions with the Exclusive Fashions Book 1 for 1964.

KEN #750 (blonde)

1963-4 #750 Thin-brow Ken
1964 #750 Ken
1963-4 #750 Thin-brow Ken
1964 #750 Ken
1963-4 #750 Thin-brow Ken
1964 #750 Ken
1964 #750 Ken in original packaging
1964 #750 Ken in original packaging

KEN #750 (brunette)

1963-4 #750 Ken
1964 #750 Ken
1963-4 #750 Ken
1964 #750 Ken
1963-4 #750 Ken
1964 #750 Ken
1964 #750 Ken in original packaging
1964 #750 Ken in original packaging

JAPAN-MADE KEN IN US-MADE ‘SHORTY’ BOX

Below is a rare example of a ‘shorty’ Ken box which contained a bright blue-eyed Japan-made Ken. I’ve seen a few of these hybrids, and all except one also had the ‘shorty’ wrist tag. The extra stamp on the box end confirms that the ‘shorty’ boxes were printed in the US. They were obviously sold like this for several years, as I’ve found examples up to and including the Ken sold with the Braniff Pilot Uniform by Montgomery Ward in 1967 (see section 1967 The Braniff International Pilot Uniform).

1964 #0750 USA 'shorty' Ken box containing Japan-made Ken
1964-67 #0750 USA ‘shorty’ Ken box containing Japan-made Ken

KEN’S BUDDY ALLAN

Autumn 1964 saw the introduction of Allan, who came with his own unique beach outfit with blue sandals, black wire stand and booklet. He was marketed as Ken’s Buddy and (to a lesser extent) the boyfriend of Midge. His body is identical to Ken’s, so they could share clothes. No other clothing was designed specifically for him, but the 1966 outfit Best Man #1425 is traditionally his by association, despite the fact that he was discontinued in the USA during 1966. All Allans were made in Japan.

ALLAN #1000

1964 #1000 Allan
1964 #1000 Allan
1964 #1000 Allan
1964 #1000 Allan
1964 #1000 Allan
1964 #1000 Allan
1964 #1000 Allan in original packaging
1964 #1000 Allan in original packaging
1964 #1000 Allan box sides
1964 #1000 Allan box sides
1964 #1000 Allan box ends
1964 #1000 Allan box ends
1964 #1010 Allan booklet with sandals
1964 #1000 Allan booklet with sandals
1965 #1000 Allan booklet with sandals
1964-65 #1000 Allan booklet with sandals
#1000 Allan wrist tag
#1000 Allan wrist tag

Some Allans come with lighter lips (or just have darker ‘tanned’ faces, making the lips look lighter), and some have thicker ‘eyelashes’, but otherwise there don’t seem to be any major variations of this doll.

1964 #1000 Allan
Two versions of #1000 Allan

Both versions of Allan’s jacket appear in the catalogues, but the vertical stripe version is rarer.

1964 #1000 Allan variation jacket
1964 #1000 Allan variation jacket
1964 #1000 Allan variation jacket
1964 #1000 Allan variation jacket

REPRODUCTION ALLANS

A reproduction of Allan, wearing the 1964 version of Campus Hero, was issued in 2008 as part of the (Midge 45th Anniversary) Campus Sweet Shop gift set. A second reproduction of Allan, wearing his original beach outfit, was issued in 2014 as part of the (Allan 50th Anniversary) Double Date gift set.


After the introduction of Allan, all male dolls were marked on the rear with the same patent stamp, as shown below. This remained standard up to 1967.

1965 Ken markings
© 1960 by Mattel Inc Hawthorne Calif. USA.

BOOKLETS & CATALOGUES

From 1964 Exclusive Fashions book 1
From 1964 Exclusive Fashions book 1
1964 Allan & Skipper leaflet
1964 Allan & Skipper leaflet
Barbie For Fall '64 catalogue
Barbie For Fall ’64 catalogue
From 1964 Barbie for Fall catalogue
Barbie for Fall ’64 catalogue
1964 Special Carnation catalogue
1964 Special Carnation catalogue
1964 Special Carnation catalogue
1964 Special Carnation catalogue
From 1964 March-April Mattel Barbie Magazine
1964 March-April Mattel Barbie Magazine
From 1964 World of Barbie Annual
From 1964 World of Barbie Annual

The Kens shown in the John Plain Book and Singer catalogue below (which incidentally use the exact same layout) look remarkably like ‘Shorties’, but these are presumably just US stock photos to show what the sets consisted of – I’m yet to find a ‘shorty’ Ken included in any of the Japan-made gift sets.

From John Plain book for 1964
From John Plain book for 1964
From 1964 Singer catalogue
From 1964 Singer catalogue
From 1964 Jewel Tea catalogue
From 1964 Jewel Tea catalogue

Once again, pictures of flocked hair Ken are used, but the text in both catalogues makes it clear that Ken comes with “molded crew-cut” hair.

From 1964 Aldens Fall Winter catalogue
From 1964 Aldens Fall Winter catalogue
From 1964 Spiegel Christmas catalogue
1964 Spiegel Christmas catalogue
From 1964 Sears Christmas catalogue
From 1964 Sears Christmas catalogue
From 1964 Penneys Christmas catalogue
From 1964 Penneys Christmas catalogue
From 1964 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue
From 1964 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue
1964 Aldens Christmas catalogue
1964 Aldens Christmas catalogue
1964 World Wide Discount catalogue
1964 World Wide Discount catalogue
From 1964 Edison catalogue
From 1964 Edison catalogue
1964 Canadian Eaton's Christmas catalogue
1964 Canadian Eaton’s Christmas catalogue
1964 Canadian Simpsons Sears Christmas catalogue
1964 Canadian Simpsons Sears Christmas catalogue
1964 Mayfair Merchandise Co. Inc. Toy catalogue
From 1964 Mayfair Merchandise Co. Inc. Toy catalogue
From 1965 Sutcliffe catalogue
From 1965 Sutcliffe catalogue
From 1964-5 John Plain book
From John Plain book for 1965
From 1965 Western Auto order catalogue
From 1965 Western Auto order catalogue
1965 Spiegel Spring Summer catalogue
From 1965 Spiegel Spring Summer catalogue
From 1965 Spiegel Fall Winter catalogue
From 1965 Spiegel Fall Winter catalogue

Some 1965-66 references (like the two directly below) show the regular Allan wearing the red jacket from the bendable leg version. I’ve yet to find any definite proof however that versions of him really were sold like this.

From 1965 JCPenney Christmas catalogue (left) & 1966 Barbie booklet
From 1965 Penneys Christmas catalogue (left) & 1966 Barbie booklet

DRESSED DOLL KENS

Available as Dressed Dolls in 1964:
#0772 The Prince
#0773 King Arthur
#0774 Arabian Nights
#0776 Ken In Switzerland
#0777 Ken In Holland
#0778 Ken In Mexico
#793 Dr. Ken
#799 Touchdown
#1408 Fraternity Meeting

Blue-eyed Japan-made Kens were used, but as they were produced exclusively in Japan, no ‘shorty’ Kens are found dressed. Only the Travel and Costume Series Dressed Dolls seem to have always come with wrist tags. The others appear to have been sold mostly without (the Dr. Ken below has a tag, but its authenticity is questionable).

The Ensemble Pak Fraternity Meeting came without shoes and socks, so the Dressed Doll version is exceptional, as it comes with accessories not otherwise found with this outfit. I only have the photo below, so if anyone has this Dressed Doll Ken and can tell me exactly which shoes and socks it originally came with, I would be very grateful: contact@somethingabouttheboy.com.

1964 #793 Dr. Ken Dressed Doll
1964 #793 Dr. Ken Dressed Doll
1963 #799 Touchdown Dressed Doll Ken
1964 #799 Touchdown Dressed Doll Ken
1963 #1408 Fraternity Meeting Dressed Doll Ken
1964 #1408 Fraternity Meeting Dressed Doll Ken

Although not clear from the photo, the King Arthur doll came complete. The shield was curved and laid in the back of box, picture-side down.

1964 #0772 The Prince Dressed Doll Ken
1964 #0772 The Prince Dressed Doll Ken
1964 #0773 King Arthur Dressed Doll Ken
1964 #0773 King Arthur Dressed Doll Ken
1964 #0774 Arabian Nights Dressed Doll Ken
1964 #0774 Arabian Nights Dressed Doll Ken
1964 #0776 Ken in Switzerland Dressed Doll
1964 #0776 Ken in Switzerland Dressed Doll
1964 #0777 Ken In Holland Dressed Doll
1964 #0777 Ken In Holland Dressed Doll
1964 #0777 Ken In Mexico Dressed Doll
1964 #0778 Ken In Mexico Dressed Doll
1964 Dressed Doll display
1964 Dressed Doll display
1964 Dressed Doll wrist tag
1964 Travel & Costume Series Dressed Doll wrist tag

The stickers from 1964 were changed slightly, with Ken® moved higher, to make place for the extra words GENUINE and DOLL.

1964 Dressed Doll Ken sticker
1964 Dressed Doll Ken sticker
1964 Dressed Doll Ken sticker
1964 Dressed Doll Ken sticker
From 1964 Mattel dealer catalogue
From 1964 Mattel dealer catalogue
From 1964 Barbie for Fall catalogue
From 1964 Barbie for Fall catalogue

DRESSED DOLL KENS SOLD IN JAPAN

It appears that all the Kens illustrated in the Japanese Barbie booklets were available in Japan as dressed dolls. Flocked hair or painted hair Kens were used and came in regular or Dressed Doll boxes, which were practically identical to the ones sold in the rest of the world except that these had a Japanese stamp inside the box base, and an extra stamp with outfit number on the box lid. The earlier boxes were stamped (for example) thus: No. 770. From 1964 they were stamped with the initial of each doll + outfit number (for example) No. K770. The KB logo just coincidentally references Ken + Barbie: it actually stands for Kokusai Boeki, the company who produced for Mattel in Japan.

Instead of being sewn onto the box base as above, they came with card inserts like the regular Kens. To judge by the Japanese booklets, several outfits came with slight modifications, and some omitted certain accessories. Army & Air Force appears to have come as just the Army outfit. I have also seen a Japanese-market Allan dressed in Rovin’ Reporter, but he came in a regular Allan box (below). Japanese market Dressed Doll Kens have also been found in outfits not featured in the 1965 catalogue and even in outfits from 1966: I’ve seen Ken dressed in College Student, Summer Job and Best Man.

Some Kens came with a regular black wire, but others came with an exclusive pedestal with Ken® BY MATTEL embossed in gold.

1964-5 Japanese market Ken & Allan boxes
1963-65 Japanese market Ken & Allan boxes
c.1963-64 Japanese Ken pedestal
c.1963-64 Japanese Ken pedestal
1964 K787 Japan Dressed Doll Tuxedo Ken
c.1964-65 K787 Japan Dressed Doll Tuxedo Ken
From 1965 Japanese Barbie booklet
From 1965 Japanese Barbie Ken & Skipper booklet
1964 K787 Japan Dressed Doll Tuxedo Ken box lid inside stamp
c. 1964-65 K787 Japan Dressed Doll Tuxedo Ken box showing stamp inside
1964 K787 Japan Dressed Doll Tuxedo Ken box lid end
c. 1964-65 K787 Japan Dressed Doll Tuxedo Ken box

Despite the Campus Hero Ken below being in a box marked blonde I’m quite sure it is original, as many Japanese market brunette Kens have been found in blonde boxes. Presumably in the mid 1960s so few Japanese children understood English, that it didn’t matter. According to both Japanese booklets, he did not come with the U or M letter.

The trousers are interesting as they have the 1961 design, but the later version label inside. The 1965 Japanese Barbie booklet shows Ken wearing exactly these slacks, and the 1965 date would also fit to the Ken itself, which has the later markings on his bottom. Obviously mine shown below have yellowed (or ‘nicotined’) with age, but you can see that they are made of quite a different fabric to the regular ones from 1961.

c. 1965 K770 Japan Dressed Doll Campus Hero Ken
c. 1965 K770 Japan Dressed Doll Campus Hero Ken
1961 770 Campus Hero trousers (left) vs 1965 K770 Campus Hero trousers (right)
1961 770 trousers (left) vs 1965 K770 trousers (right)
From 1965 Japanese Barbie booklet
From 1965 Japanese Barbie booklet

JAPANESE EXCLUSIVE ROYAL WEDDING KEN

There was at least one exclusive made for the Japanese market. It came as part of a Royal Wedding Dressed Doll ‘set’ (there is a companion Barbie), and even the Ken is interesting as, despite being a painted hair Ken, he was given a kind of flocking. I’ve seen four of these Kens, all identical with this odd fuzzy brunette hair wearing a brocade tuxedo, with shiny dress shirt and yellow bow tie. The tux jacket is labelled. I’ve seen two versions pictured with a samurai sword, but, without any contemporary printed reference, can only presume that it was originally part of the outfit. To judge by the ‘blushing’ Kens used, it should date from 1966, but I’ve read that he was produced, in an extremely limited edition, to commemorate the wedding of Prince Masahito Hitachi to Hanako Tsugaru in 1964. In 2016 two sold at auction in Japan for well over six thousand dollars each, making him the most expensive Ken ever.

1964 Japanese exclusive Dressed Doll Ken in rare brocade tuxedo with yellow bow tie
1964 (K101) Japanese exclusive Dressed Doll Ken
1964 Japanese exclusive Dressed Doll Ken in rare brocade tuxedo with yellow bow tie
1964 Japanese exclusive Dressed Doll Ken in rare brocade tuxedo with yellow bow tie

The beautiful bright-eyed ‘blushing’ Kens below were found in a Japanese auction, but without boxes or clothing, so there was no way of knowing any more about them, and why they have JAPAN stickers on their chins. Many thanks to Yuko K. for sending these photos. If anyone can provide more information please write to: contact@somethingabouttheboy.com. I would especially like to contact the Japanese Barbie & Ken collectors Shinichi Yanagimoto and Yasuhiro Sekiguchi – if you read this, please contact me!

'Blushing' Japanese Kens with stickers on chins
‘Blushing’ Japanese Kens with stickers on chins (From the Yuko K. Collection)
'Blushing' Japanese Ken with sticker on chin
‘Blushing’ Japanese Ken with sticker (Yuko K. Collection)

Note how the Tuxedo in this earlier booklet is shown with the corsage worn as a boutonniere.

1963 Japanese Barbie Ken & Midge booklet
1963 Japanese Barbie Ken & Midge booklet
1963 Japanese Barbie Ken & Midge booklet
1963 Japanese Barbie Ken & Midge booklet
1963 Japanese Barbie Ken & Midge booklet
1963 Japanese Barbie Ken & Midge booklet
1965 Japanese Barbie booklet
1965 Japanese Barbie Ken & Skipper booklet
From 1965 Japanese Barbie booklet
From 1965 Japanese Barbie Ken & Skipper booklet

FEET MARKINGS

Most Kens up to 1964 have Japan stamped lengthways across the right foot. The only exceptions I’ve found so far are some Kens from 1961, who have differently-shaped feet with larger toes and Japan stamped very small across the width of the foot. As mentioned above, the ‘shorty’ Kens from 1964 are not stamped on the feet, and were presumably produced domestically. All regular Allans (1964-1966) and regular Kens from late 1964-1967 were stamped Japan across the width of the foot.

1961-3_Ken_Foot_Markings
Right foot of #750 flocked hair Kens 1961-63
1961 #750 'brownette' Ken foot markings
Rarer version right foot of #750 flocked hair Kens from 1961
Right foot of #750 painted hair Kens 1963-4
Right foot of #750 painted hair Japan-made Kens 1963-64
1964 #750 shorty Ken
Right foot of ‘shorty’ #0750 Kens 1964
1964-7 Ken Foot Markings
Right foot of #0750 Kens 1964-1967 & #1000 Allans

The bendable leg Kens and Allans are marked either U.S.A. or Japan lengthways across the soles of both feet, or are unmarked (see section 1965 Bendable leg Ken & Allan for more info).