Friday, August 29, 2014

Sharon Tate is not Malibu Barbie

Hello everyone, kind of off topic start but I've fallen down the Sharon Tate rabbit hole once again. Yes, a bit more ghastly topic than I'm usually dealing with here. However it does have some relation to my usual subject. At several sources I keep reading that Sharon Tate's character of Malibu in the film "Don't Make Waves" was the inspiration for Malibu Barbie.

Case in point the following excerpt from Sharon's official website written by her sister: 

"Did she know about 'Malibu Barbie' being inspired by her--and what was her reaction?
No, as Malibu Barbie came out in 1971. Mattel has never stated as fact that the doll was named after Sharon's character, but I've heard that rumor for most of my life. It makes sense if you think about it, though. To get the doll on the shelves by 1971, it had to have at least a year in development. Sharon was in many ads for Coppertone and promos for the movie "Don't Make Waves" with Tony Curtis was being advertised... some Mattel exec probably took notice and lo and behold, Malibu Barbie was born. Barbie's swim suit was the same color as the one that Sharon wore in the film. Just a coincidence?"

You can find the original text here.

Now from what I've seen there are three augments as to why Malibu Barbie is based off of Sharon's character.
They are:

1. Same Name
2. Similar Look
3. Similar Time Frame of Popularity

I'm going to discuss each argument one at a time.

The first one is that they both have Malibu in their name. Malibu is in fact a city in California known for it's beaches and beach lifestyle. It is also the origin of the surfer movement that would sweep the nation in the 1970's. It was here that a dark tan skin tone and sun beach blonde hair would become the pinnacle of health and beauty. I would assume that's where Sharon Tate's character's name originated from and Barbie was just as inspired from Malibu, California. From the Mattel website regarding Malibu Barbie: "... sent Barbie doll to Malibu." (The city, not the character).
I should also point out, a fact that people are ignoring is that Malibu is the name of the line. Barbie herself is not named Malibu, she is still Barbie. It should grammatically be Malibu: Barbie to denote the line name and the character. People who claim that Malibu and Malibu Barbie are one and the same seem to forget that there was also a Malibu Ken, Malibu Skipper, Malibu Francie, and Malibu Christie. If "Don't Make Waves" Malibu was the basis of Barbie was she also the basis for all these other characters?  

The second arguments is they both share a similar look. This one is hard to refute at a surface level. Both Sharon and Barbie are attractive blondes who wear swimsuits. But that's an incredibly generic description that could fit any number of women, plastic or otherwise. Let's start with hair. While it's true they are both blondes from what I've seen Sharon's character has dirty blonde hair with a center part while Malibu Barbie has extremely blonde hair with a side part. I understand that giving a doll highlights would have been impossible or looked terrible, but if this is based off of Sharon, why bother changing the part location?
Moving onto their faces. Malibu Barbie actually reuses a head sculpt that was created for Barbie friend Stacy (her British friend) in the late 1960's. This doll does have beautiful pearly whites like Sharon, but she also has a very wide nose. Sharon's nose was a lot more classically beautiful and very different than Stacy's upturned nose. The differences also extend to the face paint too, I'll just touch upon the eyebrows. Comparing them to Sharon's is like comparing the night to day. Barbie has very thin eyebrows set extremely high on her forehead. Sharon's are thicker and much lower on her face just above her eyes. And since swimsuits were brought up as an example as to why she is based off of Malibu let's delve in further. Yes, it is very true that Malibu and Barbie are wearing blue. Coincidence? Yes. Last time I checked blue is a perfectly wonderful color for swimsuits. It's the color of the ocean, the color of the sky, and it even matches Barbie's eye color. However, the color is the only thing they have in common. Sharon wears a bikini in the movie. Her suits has overlapping straps in the front on the top with cut outs in the center and has cut outs on the hips on the bikini bottoms. It also seems to be a much deeper blue than Malibu Barbie's sky blue swimsuit. Barbie on the other hand is wearing a one piece that goes all the way to her neck, a very modest swimsuit and a completely different look. Barbie is practically wearing a body suit compared to Sharon's much more revealing swimsuit. Barbie also came with circle sunglasses and a beach towel with cut trimmed edged. I have yet to see Sharon with either of those accessories. Sharon also has one accessory that Barbie does not, a surf board. Barbie was not created to be a surfer. If she was supposed to inspired by Malibu, why does she have so little in common looks wise?

And finally we have the fact that they're both from around that same time. "Don't Make Waves" was released in 1967 and Malibu Barbie was released in 1971, four years apart. "Don't Make Waves" was by far not a smashing success. I read that it took in 1.25 million in it's original release. It is not an iconic movie, and Malibu is not an iconic role. I would bet that the majority of the people you ask would not know the movie or the name of the character Sharon Tate played. In 1970 Sharon was known for two things, her role in Valley of the Dolls (the dolls in this case are drugs) and her horrific murder at the hands of the Charles Manson Gang, neither of which are really things a toy company would want to be associated with. I think that if there ever was any connection intentional or not, Mattel would have changed the Malibu name in an instant even if they had to debox thousands of dolls and put them into new packaging. They could easily have renamed the dolls any number of things to avoid any connection with the Malibu name.

And in summary no, the evidence does not really show that Malibu Barbie is based off of Sharon Tate's character of Malibu from "Don't Make Waves". While they do have lots of things in common, they are extremely superficial and if you do an image search for "70's surfer girl" you will find a ton of related images that match just as well if not better. Barbie is a doll that is designed to reflect the times, she is what is pretty "now" what all little girls what to be when they grow up at that exact time in history. They were plenty of other blonde women with tans enjoying those beaches. So while Sharon Tate was A Malibu, she was not THE Malibu.

*Personal disclaimer, I like Sharon Tate and as long as I've known about her I have felt sad for the terrible way she met her demise. However I really dislike false information and gossip being perpetuated as facts when there's no real proof and any circumstantial evidence is grasping at straws. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mattel Vintage Celebrity Doll List

Hello everyone, this is going to be a quick post about Barbie sized celebrity dolls from Mattel. 

In the Mod era there was:

Twiggy (Casey head mold)

Diane Carroll as Julia (Christie head mold)
Sally Ann Howes as Truly Scrumptious (Francie head mold)
Those dolls are well documented online. For the 1970's I wasn't even able to find a complete list of the Barbie sized celebrity dolls Mattel released so I did some research and asked around. These are the dolls that I found. There could be others, but these are what I know of. If I find more (or told more in the comments) I will update this list. These dolls also got brand new head sculpts designed to look like the person instead of reused head molds with new face paint.

In alphabetical order we have:

Debbie Boon
Chantal Goya (European release)
Kate Jackson
Cheryl Ladd
Kristy McNicol
Kitty O'Neil
Donnie Osmond
Jimmy Osmond
Marie Osmond

For the most part, these dolls are not that super hard to track down. I saw several examples of some them being sold MIB for 50 dollars (not including shipping) over on Ebay. Donnie and Marie seem to be the most plentiful and I'd assume Chantal Goya would be the hardest to locate since she wasn't released in America. 

Hopefully this list will help someone who's looking up that information so they don't have to compile it themselves!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hello Everyone, we're back to updates

This week was not a good week. It started off with having a record number of E-bay sales only to discover that a doll that I had sold had developed a stain so I had to contact the buyer and apologize and ask if they still wanted the doll. They did not, so I refunded their money while apologizing profusely for the issue. However, they did leave positive feedback and I used acne cream on the doll and the stain's already gone. So while that was an ordeal to go through, it at least resolved itself.

And then on Tuesday that buyer filed that return on me claiming those mugs were broken and had been repaired. I said that once they returned the items I'd give them a refund but I'm still waiting to hear back from them. Over on E-bay it still says "waiting for other members' responses". Out of all my interaction with them they only time they've been Johnny on the Spot is when they were filing that claim. And I know that they have their time to return my item, but I just want to get this over with. It's really been hanging over my head.

So my week started off poorly, but once that return happened it really was a blow. My struggling enthusiasm (that was just starting to come back) took a nosedive. I was still doing some things, just nothing super productive. And you can forget about E-bay. I had all my items pulled out for this week, but I've done nothing with them. This week is the first time in a long while that I had nothing new to list over on E-bay. I will get back into listing stuff on there because I do need to keep clearing out stuff and I have been successful at selling some stuff (Santa mugs not included) but I will be glad when I have everything listed. At least this is teaching me a valuable lesson about buying items for resale, mainly to stop doing it.

So while I wasn't doing much of anything last week on Thursday I had a bit of a change. I was looking around my room and just felt so overwhelmed again. Right now with this massive reorganization everything is a mess. E-bay items and acne cream dolls have taken over the doll's bookcase, my dresser is still covered, and my desk is a pile of half finished personal projects. I can't do anything about the bookcase (other than remind myself it's a temporary issue) but I can deal with the desk. I again have decided that I need to focus my energy on a few projects instead of just doing a little bit on each one and never making too much progress on one of them. I started off with taking a sheet my parents had asked me to repair a few days earlier and got that all fixed up and returned. Getting something finished and off of the desk felt good. So after that I picked two projects (for when I don't feel like doing one I can work on the back up) to focus on for the rest of the week. The first one was another repair job that I had been asked to do months ago. This week I got about half of it done but messed up the other half twice so I'm taking a small mental and physical break from it so I can work on my other selected project, a doll project!

It was a project that had been cluttering up my desk since June. You may remember I got that bag of doll parts at my doll meeting. I didn't mention it, but inside the bag was an complete Living Barbie in need of some repair. I had asked for arms so I guess she was a donor source. However I could not justify taking an arm off of this very pretty doll. I was hoping to buy her along with the rest of the parts if I could afford her but then I was given the bag including her!
While she was mostly in good shape her biggest issue was that she had two chips on her lower torso on her seam line on each side. The one on the right was bigger than the one on the left, it was basically an open hole in her torso. I started working on her the same time that I started working on the other doll bodies which I've since completed and shared with you two of. I was trying to build up the missing pieces of plastic with nail glue in an effort to strengthen that area. Work was slow since I was building up the glue and had to do it slowly in layers. I wasn't making much progress since I was keeping the doll standing and I think the glue was tricking down inside her as it dried. After I finished those other two dolls I gave that project a break, but still kept it on my desk meaning to return to it. Living Barbie had been left in a stand taking up both space and a much needed stand.
So I decided that this week she was going to be project two. I didn't think it would take too much work to repair her and it would be nice to get her completed. I did change how I was doing her repair work. Instead of keeping her standing I quickly made a sling for her with thread to keep the
glue from shifting while it dried. I wasn't sure if it would work, but it did and this small change made it go SO much faster. I got more done on this repair in a couple days than the couple of weeks I was working on it originally. I got a fair amount of the missing plastic filled in. I couldn't fill all the way to the top of the lower torso since there's only so much I can keep the upper torso away from the spot to let the glue dry. Once that was finished I sanded down the excess glue at the repair so it was now flush to the body.  Now Barbie can move like she's supposed to! And like that her right side was done, a lot of work finally getting completed.
Her other side needed it too, but it was a lot easier of a repair. It was a much smaller chunk missing and the plastic was still attached to one side of the doll so I could use that as an anchor for the glue. I wasn't filling in a hole like the first side. I got a little bit of it started, but then changed directions. Instead of continuing on that I ended up removing all the doll's limbs. Living Barbie's are prone to melting and since I was already working with her, I figured that I might as well check her and repair if she had any. She did have some minor melting at her legs and arms. It was extremely minor though, so it didn't require a lot of removal and rebuilding. I got those all squared away in one day. Before I put her arms and legs back in I did use nail glue to fill in the other side of her torso. It was much easier
working without the limbs in the way. I also took off her head to keep it away from the glue. I found an interesting thing in her head. It was stuffed full off this white plastic thread like material. I pulled some of it out, but couldn't get it all. It seemed to be attached to her head and I didn't want to damage her by trying to remove it. I have no idea what is it or what it's for. As someone who's had to reattach the heads of every Live Action/Living doll he owns I've never seen another doll with that.
Anyway, I managed to get the other chip repaired and was able to snap her back together. I had washed her in pieces when I had her apart, but her hair ended up needing a little work. I guess she managed to get glue in it, my first time for that happening. And I removed her head just so I could avoid that! Serves me right for thinking ahead! She did loose a couple pieces of hair but most of it came out with a little work. Luckily it was a very small amount of glue. And after that she was done! I finished a doll project so I can move her off the desk!

But first she'll need her introduction. She is a very pretty brunette Living Barbie. She has all her eyelashes and her hair is really nice. She does have some minor play wear to her body but she cleaned up really nicely. I'm not sure what happened to make those breaks in her torso, but the rest of her isn't as damaged. She has gorgeous make up and hair, her upper torso has some dark marks (I checked to see if it was melting, it's not), her arms have some cuts in her armpits from her hard plastic torso (I put vinyl glue in them), I noticed one dent to her fingers, her lower torso has stress marks coming from where she had those chips, and her legs look great (maybe some minor yellowing). All her joints work fine and hold their poses nicely. She's a really nice doll that after some repair/ restoration work is a wonderful addition to my collection. Especially since she was free!

Here's hoping that this upcoming week is less stressful (and more productive)!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It was bound to happen eventually....

This has just not been my week. Today I got my very first return demand from a buyer over on E-bay. (My very first return ever, so I've been very lucky in that respect). I had someone buy a pair of vintage Santa mugs from me and today they opened a claim saying they've been broken and glued and that I didn't disclose it in the ad. And the thing is, I didn't disclose it, because I honestly didn't see any damage and still don't. After I got the claim I dug out the pictures from the auction to scrutinize them for damage that I missed, and I just can't see anything that would denote a break or a repair.
I am extremely careful when writing my ads to make sure I have all issues marked down and go over them again at a later time before posting. I would have understood of they arrived broken and just chalked it up to my shipping being insufficient, but broken and glued? And the seller said they both had been repaired. I could give a little bit of a excuse to one being damaged that I missed, but two? I agreed to the return and once they sends back the mugs I will return her 14 dollars, most of that was shipping that I'm now out.

I'm going to add all the pictures of the mugs, maybe someone out there can see this damage that I'm apparently blind to. The only thing that I can see that could be possibly confused for damage is that the handles were not applied as neatly as they could have been, but if you look at the top view there's no damage to show it had been broken. 

I'm just going to have to wait until their return arrives so I can look at the items in person again to see what they're talking about, but I have a sinking suspicion I still won't be able to see these repairs they are seeing.

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's not always about dolls around here

I know that the majority of what I share with you is about dolls, but today it's going to be something different.
Our story starts about three weeks ago now. I was out in town doing my usual thrift store visits. I should mention some sad news, out of the three thrift stores in town, two of them have gotten rid of their toy sections. My father asked about it in one of them, apparently they were tired of shoppers dropping off their kids in the toy section, having the kids make a mess, the staff cleaning it up, then have another parent dump the kid in the section, and the whole process repeating. I'm not surprised that they ended up cutting their losses. I'm hopeing that once Summer's over and there's less kids around they'll bring back the toy sections. *Finger's crossed*
Anyway, I was at the Salvation Army. I was looking over the knickknack section. I haven't been buying them lately since learning that they don't sell that well over on E-bay. Just ask the modest amount of them I've been trying to unload over there. However I still check to see if there's anything I can't live without. I also check to see if there's anything marked "Made in Occupied Japan", my father has a small collection of those so if I find any I show them to him. And finally, I like testing myself. I look at all certain figurines and try to determine where they were made, then look at the underside for any markings. I'm not perfect at it, but it makes me happy when I'm right. So I was looking over the figurines when I saw the most darling figurine of a reindeer. Standing at about 5 inches tall it was made out of a white ceramic with gold accents. It was very cute, but in need of restoration. It wasn't broken but it originally was decorated with rhinestones, most of which were missing. I assume someone had replaced the stones at some point and had done a really sloppy job. All of the holes for the stones were filled with this white glue (possibly cement?). The glue had overfilled the holes and just looked terrible. Since I had bought several things that day, and didn't need another project, and didn't know where to get replacement rhinestones I put it back. It can be someone else's lucky find.

But it was destined to be mine. It was there one week later when I went back. This time I could not leave without it. It was going to be a lot of work to repair it, but I had found a source for the rhinestones. While I was at Hobby Lobby looking for something in the Jewelry section I found out they sold them. At the time I didn't plan on going back to get the reindeer, but it was still there waiting for me. So I bought it. It cost me 99 whole cents. I didn't buy the rhinestones that week. The first thing I did was wash the reindeer. It was filthy. There was even a bit of a dry leaf stuck between it's back and neck. After that I started scraping out the old glue residue. I was afraid it was going to be a terrible task, but it ended up not being so bad. It took me a while, but with hard work and dedication I was able to scrape it out of the holes. It even had big blobs of white glue on both roses. I was worried that meant they had broken and been repaired but when I was scraping off the glue they turned out to be fine. I guess there were stones there at some point. With all the crevices it was hard to get the glue out of the roses, but I got most of it. With that done it was time to get the new rhinestones. I took one of the few remaining ones with me to the store. I couldn't find an exact match size wise, but I knew that the original ones were slightly undersized for the holes. I also knew that the original stones were different colors but they weren't sold in a multi-colored pack. I was tempted by the pack that had black and white, but eventually settled on just white stones. The rhinestones were sold in pack of multiple sizes, I needed the largest size in the pack. I was worried there wouldn't be enough large white ones if I bought the black and white set so I just got the white set. I used the coupon on the stones, they were originally 5.99, but the coupon made them 3.40 (plus tax).
I wasn't sure what glue to use to set the stones. I decided to start with a mild glue and see if that worked. Elmer's glue was the first one I tried. I figured that if they didn't hold I could get a stronger glue. I did it over a week ago, and so far so good. I glued in the majority of the stones at the same time and they've all stayed in place except for one. And I've been working on the figurine and moving it around, so I think it's doing a great job. The one that fell out I re-glued and it's been holding ever since. I think the reason why it fell out is because the hole the stone is set in is not as deep as most of the others. So it's more exposed and has a greater chance of getting dislodged. If it happens again I'll just glue it back in again, and I do have extra stones in case it gets lost.
With the stones replaced I was making decent progress on the restoration. All that was left was the bow at the neck. It was red, but it was extremely worn (in vintage figurines the gold is under the glaze, while the red is painted on top and is very prone to rubbing or washing off). I decided to try repainting it, using nail polish. I figured it would be an easy way to get paint with a nice shine, plus it's thicker than regular paint so it'll be easier to stay within the lines. I went to Walmart and bought a vial of their baby pink nail polish, when I got home I painted the bow.... and didn't like it. It was close in color to the roses, but not a perfect match. Also it was looking.... dull. So I ended up removing it. Instead I glittered the bow. I had some white glitter that I had bought a while ago that I used. I got that done this morning, and when that was finished I installed the last two rhinestones. And like that I was done!
And I love it. For a project that I was hesitant about it came out wonderfully. The reindeer is unmarked but I looked for it on E-bay. I found out it had a matching Doe figurine (total shock it's supposed to be a boy reindeer even though, duh, it's got antlers!). There were a couple of listings, and they were both selling for over 100 dollars! Which is crazy! When all is said and done, I paid 7 dollars for mine. I'm sure mine is worth a lot less since it's just one and I did restore it. But the only permanent change I made was removing the red paint on the bow. Oh! I also learned it did originally have stones on both flowers (which I didn't bother adding), but I did add a stone to the bottom of the figurine that it didn't originally have. Although, it had a spot for the stone to go into, so I just assumed it had one originally.         

I can't wait for Christmas so I can display him!