I Hear He Was Great in Toy Story 3

March 11, 2011

Originally from Willows, WI, he’s been a photographer, an Olympic gold medalist, a pizza delivery guy and a member of the military. He’s turning 50 today, and has recently reconciled with his long-time love after being apart for six years. He is…

Ken Carson. You know, Ken—Barbie’s main man!*

When I was a child, Ken was part of my Barbie family. He had brown molded plastic hair and a head that, disturbingly, popped off without warning. If I had needed a doll for regular decapitations, he would have been my go-to guy. When his head stayed on, and there was always some doubt about that, he was the perfect companion for Barbie in all her adventures.

Poor Ken had few wardrobe choices. I seem to recall some flowered bathing trunks, but I can’t remember what else he wore. (Maybe he was really Cabana Boy Ken?) My Barbie had a whole wardrobe, including shoes. I am not as well-dressed today as my Barbie was when I was 7. My most treasured items were handmade, 50s-style doll clothes someone had given to me.

Barbie and Ken traveled in a chic yellow and orange Country Camper, with Skipper, Barbie’s sister, and their daughter, a non-Mattel toddler-size doll who had miraculously come into being well before I had any idea of the actual process involved. I spent many happy hours playing with Barbie & Co. (when I wasn’t creating elaborate storylines for my Breyer model horses—that’s a story for another day), and I packed them carefully away when I left for college. I believe I would still have them if it weren’t for The Incident. On returning from college, all my Barbie stuff had “disappeared” from our garage. Frankly, I’m still suspicious about the circumstances of that disappearance. My mom swears she didn’t get rid of them, but, really, that’s the only thing the thieves took?! Come on. I could have had a real investment there: a quick check of eBay shows the camper alone selling for more than $200!

I still pine for Barbie and her pretty wardrobe, Decapitation Ken and, especially, the Country Camper. Never mind that my life (and my house) is filled with more grown-up toys, like laptops and piles of books and art supplies, not to mention I now have a real horse to replace my models. If I still had Barbie and Ken they'd likely be stored in the attic with the Christmas decorations and the silverfish—a sad comedown from their days as a free-wheeling, camper-driving team.

What was your favorite childhood toy? Do you still have it? What’s your favorite toy now?

*For more information on Ken, see manbehindthedoll.com.

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  1. so you had a ken - hummph, jealous!
    My favourite childhood toy was my imaginary friends and my Miffy doll - unfortunately they have all abdanoned me :(
    But you are so right I have my grown up toys (and some marbles and crayons too = happy).

  2. Thanks for the laugh—Decapitation Ken?!!!! Too funny!

    My favorite toy? Hmmmmm, I remember playing with Barbies and an Amanda doll, but the one I still have is a blue (once-upon-a-time) fuzzy bunny with long floppy ears. He's nearly threadbare now.

    Yes, grown up toys replace those old ones, but it's nice to stroll down Memory Lane once in a while!

  3. I had Barbie, Ken, Midge, and Allan. And a house for them. I don't have any of my childhood toys anymore - I gave them away when I decided I was too old to play with them anymore. My favorites were probably my stuffed animals. But I played with Barbie et al a lot too. My sister-in-law sold her Barbie a few years ago for something like $300! I was sorry I'd given mine away!! Now my favorite toy is probably the computer!

  4. Carrie--Awww, I'll bet you miss the imaginary friends especially! Maybe they'll come play marbles with you.

  5. Laure--Have you done a painting of your blue bunny? Even though I lost Barbie and friends, I do still have a simple dollhouse my grandpa made for me. (It's up in the attic with the Christmas decorations and the silverfish, but I'm hanging on to it!)

  6. Cheryl--Was it the Barbie Dream Home? :) I had a ton of stuffed animals, too.

    I wouldn't say my computer is my favorite "toy," but it's probably the one thing I would be most lost without.

  7. I had Midge while my sister had the ponytail Barbie. I had the car while she got the cardboard house. We had fun with them but my two favorites were a baby doll named Josephine which I gave away to a family whose house burned down and a girl doll from Italy named so creatively, Dolly. I would still have her today but I gave her to my sister to make new clothes for and it got moldy and she burnt it up with the trash.

  8. I had that camper, too. It was my favorite toy, I think, and I would spend many happy hours in my backyard playing with it. I was never fond of dolls in general, but I did love Barbie. I wonder what ever became of mine--I think they must still be in some box in my parent's house...though I wouldn't be surprised if they disappeared as well.

  9. Timaree--It's fun to remember the toys of childhood, isn't it?

  10. Danielle--I played with my camper in the backyard, too! When I wasn't reading...