15 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Ken

Barbie’s favorite accessory has an interesting history of his own.

1. Ken’s last name is Carson.

Getty Images/ Hulton Archive

He is named after the son of Mattel founders Ruth and Elliott Handler.

2. He was introduced on March 11, 1961, which makes him two years and two days younger than Barbie.

Getty Images/ Hulton Archive

3. The first Ken doll sold for $3.50 (that would be the equivalent of $27.41 today).

Mattel/ YouTube

4. Also, he was available as either a blonde or a brunette.

 

5. Like Barbie, Ken is from Willows, Wisc.

Which is a fictional town.

6. According to Mattel, Ken first met Barbie on the set of their first television commercial together.

7. Ken is half an inch taller than Barbie.

He stands exactly 12 inches tall.

8. In 1964, Ken’s “buddy” Allan was introduced — much to his delight.

 

Bonus: According to the box, “All of Ken’s clothes fit him!”

9. Introduced in 1981, Sunsational Malibu Ken doll was the first African-American Ken.

He was introduced a year after the first African-American Barbie was released. However, there were African-American Barbies prior to 1980 — they were named Christie and Brad.

10. Released in 1993, Earring Magic Ken became a huge seller among gay men, which was mainly due to the way he was dressed — and the fact that he appeared to be wearing a “cock ring” as a necklace.

While the doll was a big seller, it was discontinued and remaining dolls were recalled.

It also led to Mattel having to issue this interesting statement:

“We’re not in the business of putting cock rings into the hands of little girls.”

11. He is also the biggest-selling Ken doll of all time.

12. Ken has one brother, Tommy.

 

Tommy was introduced in 1997.

13. After his breakup with Barbie in 2004, he stalked her on Match.com:

14. Toy Story 3 was Ken’s big screen debut. He also sported 50 costume changes in the film.

Pixar

15. In 2009, Mattel, clearly having not learned its lesson from the Earring Magic Ken debacle, introduced “Sugar Daddy Ken” (for real) from its Palm Beach line.

Mattel

Mattel defended the name, saying:

“At the end of the day, this collection is targeted toward adults. While the name of the doll does refer back to the dog, I think people are going to interpret it as they want to interpret it.”

Facts via Barbie.com unless otherwise stated.

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