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What Happened in 1962 ?

Well, lots of things! But what were the features of Barbie this year? I have never been more confused than when trying to figure out which dolls were the ones Mattel made in 1962. It seems as though it's pretty clear that #1 and 2 Barbies came out in 1959. By the very end of 1959 or early 1960 the #3 came out, soon followed by the #4. By 1961, Mattel was producing the new hollow-body #5 Ponytails and the new Bubblecuts. In 1963, Midge came out, and the new torso had "Midge" and "Barbie" on the derriere. The neck knob was larger, and the faces plumper to accommodate it.

But what did 1962 Barbie look like?? What I've found in my attempts to figure it out are dolls that seem to have this or that characteristic, but some "experts" call a certain doll 1961, and others will say no, they didn't make that hair color then, the bubble is too big, etc etc.

Christopher Varaste wrote an article in "Barbie Bazaar" called "The Face of 1962" in which he describes certain facial features that can put your Barbie doll in the 1962 category. These are:

Deep turquoise eyes/teal liner

Red "Lucy" lips like 1961

Matte face, although still some with oily ones.

First, here is the typical 1961 face on a Blonde Bubblecut--she has the oily face, very tight bubble, lighter blue eyes, smoky eyeshadow, and Lucy lips. No question, 1961. 

Next up, an oily-faced #5 Brunette Ponytail, whose eyes are unquestionably turquoise and the liner teal, but look closely, the eye color is a "medium" turquoise! It's the same color as the White Ginger who will follow. This Brunette has an oily face and the WG has a matte one, but I believe they are both 1961. Possibly the turquoise eye color was made in later 1961, replacing the blue as in the above Blonde. There are oily girls with BOTH eye colors. 

 Here is 1961 WG Bubble, note the medium turquoise eyes (NOT blue) and teal liner!

NOW! What about the Face of 1962? We actually must distinguish between "medium" and "deep" or dark turquoise eyes! In my experience, the "Lucy" lips also got a bit smaller at some point, but not immediately. Next is Varaste's classic "Face of '62" on these two Brunette Bubblecuts. The first one has the Lucy lips (earlier), and the second one has slightly smaller ones (later). Both have matte faces. The bubble on the second Brunette is also bigger, confirming her as later in '62 than the first doll.

 Next is a WG Bubblecut also with the deep turquoise eyes, and matte face. In fact, I have never seen a deep turquoise-eyed beauty with an oily face. (It's possible they exist, I've just not seen one.)*

Note that the same teal eyeliner is on both the medium and deep turquoise eyes! Now doesn't it all seem clear? Well, time to throw in a couple more confusing points. The WG above with deep turquoise eyes and big hair appears to be a WG, not a Platinum. Yet she came in a 1962 box marked "Platinum". It could be the wrong box, of course. But then again, if she came out late in '62, she might be properly in that box, and now a "Platinum", despite her WG looks!

*Well, here is an amendment to what I said above about not ever seeing an oily-complexion with the deep turquoise eye color--a classic 1961-looking White Ginger with slightly oily face, and the deep turquoise eyes! The exception to the rule once again:

Mattel no doubt was changing the appearance of these faces throughout 1961 and 1962 through to 1963. So there is really no way to say "This is absolutely 1962"--maybe it was December 1961! Also, Mattel is well known to have used up their materials efficiently. So why wouldn't they go ahead and put a 1962 doll who was made as a WG in a new "Platinum" box, if there SHE was and there the BOX was? No problem!

If you look at Krista's website, you will see that she classifies 1962 Ponytails as #6, and considers ONLY Pony's and Bubbles with watermelon pink lips as 1962! So when did those start being produced? Yes, 1962! But as Varaste says in his article, Mattel started to make a variety of lip colors in 1962. They kept making red (and bubblegum pink on the WG/Plat), but added watermelon pink. By 1963 they were using mostly coral.

So here's a 1962 Brunette #6 (acc. to Krista--"late #5" acc. to others) Ponytail--note the watermelon pink lips! But guess what--she still has the deep turquoise eyes!

I'm guessing these next two girls are also 1962--the first is an Ash Blonde Bubblecut (they supposedly did not make Ash in 1961) with gigantic hair. Her eyes are the light blue, and her lips are red! The second is a Titian Bubble with fairly big hair, light blue eyes, and watermelon lips!

What are we to make of this? I think in 1962 Mattel was producing dolls with red lips OR watermelon; at the same time they made light blue OR deep turquoise eyes, and you can find all combos of lips/eyes! The faces do seem all to be matte. (Once they had used all the oilies in 1961, that was it for that.)

After the first three dolls on this page, which are 1961, I think ALL the rest are 1962! In 1963 Mattel started making Midge, and soon the bodies had the large neck knob (although some late '62 -early '63's had Midge bodies with small neck knobs).

The "Face of 1962" may well be more varied than anyone thought!

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