Barbie, Fashion Icon of the 60's
|Posted by Teresa on September 28, 2010 at 10:15 AM|
We all know the rarity of the White Ginger Bubblecut! She has long been elusive and hard to find. But is she, really? This lovely pale blonde bombshell with the deep turquoise eyes and full pink lips was made in 1961 along with the other "first issue" Bubblecuts. Those girls were Raven-haired, Titian, a honey Blonde, and the truly, truly rare Brownette. All of them had big red lips except our Sandra Dee wannabe, White Ginger!
Could White Gingers be floating around right under our noses, and we simply don't recognize them? I think they are! For one thing, their hair almost always changed to a darker blonde shade, making them look more like the other blondes. They are also often designated "Platinum" although they might better fit the WG bill. So the real rarity is finding a WG with anything close to her original platinum-blonde hair color. Here is one of those rarities, colormagickid's WG:
(Photo courtesy of colormagickid)
The above rare beauty is a "classic" WG with tight bubble that is very light in color, turquoise eyes with teal liner, and huge candy-pink lips.
Here is a full view of one of my WG's, also the classic one (not quite as perfect as kid's, but with very light hair).
Next is a classic WG with slightly oily complexion and tight hairdo of 1961, but the deep turquoise eyes of 1962!
Here is my latest WG acquisition, with nearly un-oxidized hair, those deep turquoise eyes and a rather full bubble!
Just because she's so pretty, here she is full view in "Garden Party".
Now, one of the criteria that supposedly determine whether you have a WG or a Platinum is that the hair of the WG is in a tighter bubble, and has a duller sheen than the later Platinum. Below is my WG with amazingly pale hair, with the so-called 1961 duller sheen.
Well, just to throw another conundrum into the soup, here's a pic of the WG above (the one in Suburban Shopper) next to another gal (on the right) who looks nearly exactly the same, came in a 1961 WG box, and has a small bubble--but her hair is very shiny, just like the Platinums! .
Here's another MIB White Ginger with very shiny hair and lo and behold, she has BLUE eyes instead of turquoise! Just goes to show, Mattel didn't always make 'em standard! I think the sheen may have had to do with the type of hair fiber, and perhaps one batch reacted a little differently over time than another.
I got into a WG detective mode and have managed to find several examples of definite classic WG's whose hair had oxidized. So I concluded they are not rare, just rare in retaining their original whitish hair! Here is one of my WG's, hair a bit oxidized, but with unmistakeable dark turquoise eyes and green liner! And look, her bubble is also quite big!
And...was there a sudden switch by Mattel from WG to Platinum? According to Krista's website, the WG's had Barbie-only bodies and were made only in 1961, and the Platinums began coming out in 1963 with plump faces and large neck-knobs on Midge-Barbie bodies.
OK, so where did they go in 1962? (This was the year of watermelon lip dolls.) Another mystery!
Well, in true Sherlock Holmes style, I have looked at the evidence and come up with a theory. We know that Mattel was producing kids' toys and not collectibles in the 60's. They didn't have any issues at all with using up their parts to make dolls! You know they had bodies, heads, and limbs lying around the factory after they made a decision to label the new boxes "Platinum Bubble Cut" and change the name "White Ginger" to "Platinum".
Meanwhile they had produced Midge. So they put Midge's name on the dolls' butt along with Barbie's. At first they were still making these Midge-Barbie torsos with small neck knobs, so now and then you find one with this odd configuration. But soon they changed the neck knob to the large one, and the faces became plumper.
What happened to White Ginger? She never disappeared--she slowly turned into a Platinum by the using up of parts until she was the "classic" Platinum! Look at the evidence right here in pictures:
This MIB WG/Platinum has bigger hair, a WG face, but a Barbie body and coral nails. Her box is labeled "Platinum". My assessment? She came out in 1962, and Mattel still had some Barbie bodies, but was already making coral nails. (They look red in pic, but are coral.)
This somewhat-oxidized WG has the WG face and small bubble, but her torso is small-neck-knob Midge-Barbie with coral nails. A close look reveals her eyeliner is bluer than the teal of the classic WG! But the eyes are unquestionably turquoise! (You can tell when you look at the classic Platinum farther down the page.)
The next girl has the same M/B torso, coral nails, and WG face with turquoise eyes (the pic is slightly overexposed, so the eyes look a bit lighter than they actually are) and bluer eyeliner like the girl above, but has a HUGE bubble. both these gals, I believe are 1962 WG/Platinum transitional dolls!
Now check out this "classic" Platinum definitely from 1963. She has a huge bubble, powder blue eyes with blue eyeliner. For the first time, she has the plump face and large neck-knob on Midge-Barbie body. Coral nails, as expected.
For comparison, here is the 1963 gal on left, and two 1962's :
So...My solution to the Mystery of the White Ginger--she was under our noses all the time, sometimes disguised as a honey blonde, sometimes as a transitional in 1962 and now renamed "Platinum" --and finally, she became the true Platinum, and was reborn no more.
I propose all Barbie lovers recognize a new designation--"Transitional WG Platinum", so these little darlings can find their niche!