Fifty years ago, the American Girl Barbie doll (stock # 1070) debuted a new bobbed hairstyle and bendable legs in one of Mattel's swingiest television commercials: "The Barbie Look"
"Here are five of your favorite friends,
But if you think they're the same
As they've always been
You better take another look,
Better check them again!
Now you can see that they've all acquired
A brand-new look that's Barbie inspired!
Designers call this The Barbie Look,
This great new fashion look.
And these bendable legs really look so natural
And the way that they move is so lifelike,
That you'll really be amazed at all the things they can do,
And they way that you pose them it's up to you!
You can seat them on a sofa or the edge of a bed
Or you make them sit right on the floor instead
They can cross their legs and relax and while
Or sit down to dinner in formal style.
You can pose them together in dozens of ways,
You can even have them dancing the latest craze.
You can put them in a really swinging pose,
And they look so graceful in all their clothes,
And that is just part of the fashion look,
The great new Barbie Look.
You'll get Barbie, Midge, Skipper, Allan, and Ken
And the Go-Together furniture to sit them in,
And you'll find them all where the best toys sell!
You can tell they're Mattel, they're swell!"
Bendable legs had been introduced the previous year with the sleep-eyed Miss Barbie doll. Designed to look like human legs, the clicking joints were hidden under a perfectly smooth vinyl skin. But for 1965, Mattel decided to marry this innovation to the soft vinyl head mold with a rooted bob hairstyle (another first), creating a decidedly different look for Barbie. The Bendable Leg Era is also known for the now-iconic and much-coveted "sixteen hundred" line of fashion ensembles (their stock numbers started with the 1600 prefix) that were designed by Charlotte Johnson to take Barbie to new heights of elegant luxury. In a stroke of pure marketing genius, Mattel also released Go-Together furniture sets so that its famous teenage fashion model could have plenty of chairs, sofas, swings, and recliner chaises to show off what she could do with her newly acquired articulation
To Dolldom, the American Girl Barbie is the most beautiful iteration of the doll that uses the original Barbie face. Be it as a low color, pale-lipped girl-next-door or as a high color Technicolor sophisticate, the American Girl Barbie has unequivocal magic and veritable chic. Produced for only two years, the bendable leg American Girl Barbie would soon disappear (many were traded in for the new Twist and Turn model) but her allure lives on as this Dolldom celebration illustrates.