First-ever Barbie ad

According to the description, this 1959 Barbie commercial was the first-ever advert for the doll; it's got a sweet naivete. Also, Barbie cost a lot when she shipped: $3 in 1959 is $23.30 in 2011 constant dollars -- today, her MSRP is about $10, and you can get discount mint-in-package versions for $6.

1959 First EVER Barbie Commercial High Quaility HQ! (via How to Be a Retronaut)



  1. Oh, there’s that fur-trimmed gold brocade dress with matching coat! I loved dressing her in that. The thing with Barbie was, she never loved you back.

  2. No children in this ad. And this is when she was actually aimed at little girls. Today’s Barbie seems to be split between dolls sold for children, and for people trying to get back a missing piece of their childhoods.

  3. That announcer’s voice sounds very familiar. Not from something in particular, probably just other commercials.

    1. In the 1950s we were busy trying to get China made by Barbie. With the advent of the Viet Nam war, Mattel decided an AK-47 was not an accessory they wanted for Barbie, and we gave up.

    2. I do not know about the doll, but L. Davis Textiles inc. of Toronto, Canada made all of Barbie’s clothes back then.

  4. Speaking of Barbie, in the early (ancient) days of the Internet, an artist made a whole series of famous paintings tableux out of Barbie. It was wonderful. Mattel sued and the website was taken down. Does anyone know if the website was re-convened somewhere? Internet Archive had all but the images archived.
    The Barbie Chronicles – Barbie’s Incomplete History
    (never dump old bookmarks)

  5. Back then, toys were not made out of a slurry of Chinese dissidents hence the cost was higher.

  6. That male announcer is familiar because he is the great Paul Frees, a singer, actor and voice talent going back at least 50 years. He was in a great many parts both major and obscure. He was the announcer for innumerable movie previews and cartoons. He was the narrator for “Hardware Wars”. He was The Thing and The Watcher on the old ’67 Fantastic Four cartoon, he was Santa in many of the old holiday specials, played FDR in the old Wonder Woman show, the voice of the Funeral Director in “Some Like It Hot”, the aliens in “Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers”, the narrator in “When Worlds Collide”, and he sang “The Darktown Strutter’s Ball” in the background while a man was strangled by an ornate frog mask in “The Abominable Dr. Phibes”. That’s why he may sound familiar to you, he is everywhere. His voice is very distinctive, and he’s always easy to pick out.

    Don’t even start me on Frank Welker!

      1. June Foray is also amazing! Both did lots of radio work back in the day too. Voice actors are cool.

  7. Not that I’m a fan of commercials, but I kind of like the pace of this one. Unlike so much in modern video, it just kind of ambles along.

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