Eleven Things About Western Barbie 1980

This version was made in Taiwan.
  1. Western Barbie was released as a Pink Label (Pink Box) Barbie by Mattel in 1980. Her model number is 1757.

2. She was part of the “Superstar Era” of Barbie dolls made between 1977 and 1988. Her mouth and smile are recognizably “Superstar” even while the rest of her head mold was unique due to her winking eye.

3. The Western Barbie playline included Western Ken (#3600), Western Skipper (#5029) and the horses: the palomino Dallas (#3312), the black stallion Midnight (#5337) and Skipper’s show horse, Honey (#5880).

4. Depending where you were buying Western Barbie when she was released, you would have received a Barbie with one of two hairstyles. One version had shoulder-length hair and curled bangs (think Barbara Mandrell) and one had longer hair without bangs (think Charlene Tilton from Dallas).

(L) Shorter hair with bangs (Image: Amos Media). (R) The longer hairstyle without bangs (Image: M. St Claire, Flickriver.com)

5. While Western Barbie was the original “Gorgeous Western Star!”, Mattel revisited the cowgirl/western theme for Barbie again in 1982 with Horse Lovin’ Barbie (#15648), in 1990 with Western Fun Barbie (#9932), and in 1993 with Western Stampin’ Barbie (#10293).

6. One of Western Barbie’s key features, as previously mentioned, was the fact that she winked. Her winking eye was operated by pressing a button in the back of the doll. Sadly, the winking eye has also been the cause of these dolls not aging as well as other Barbies from that era: the rubber used for the eyelids tends to age differently for each eye, giving an uneven, or even drunken appearance to the poor girl. There’s also a distinct stitch in the back of her head, under the hair, which also helps in identifying this doll (um, if the eyelids weren’t enough).

The button (L) and the stitch (R)

7. Western Barbie came with a white, silver, and black cowgirl pantsuit, a white cowboy hat, white boots embossed with “Barbie”, “photographs” for Barbie to autograph and give to her fans, a “Barbie” stamper with pink ink, a comb, brush, handheld mirror, and perfume bottle.

(L) The glamour shots to autograph (Image: M St Claire, Flickriver) and (R) Western Barbie with her accessories. Inset (top) detail of boots, Inset (bottom) detail of stamper with print. (Images: Amos Media)

8. Of course you want to see the original box. The 80s Barbie boxes had beautiful illustrations. To a kids’ eyes, these illustrations held a million dreams.

“She gives you her autograph and a wink!” (Image: offerup.com)

9. You can still check out the original commercial on YouTube:

“Can I have your autograph?” “Sure, pard’ner!” “Oh, Dad!”

10. As of August 2020, prices for the outfit and boots range between 9.99 and up. The doll itself has prices from 9.99 (nude, poor condition, no accessories) to $103.95 for New In Box/Never Been Removed From Box.

11. Why Western Barbie in 1980? The 1970s saw the popularity of country music rise with crossover hits from Crystal Gayle, Eddie Rabbitt, Anne Murray, John Denver, Juice Newton, and Dolly Parton, among others. From the mid-70s to the early ‘80s, fashion in the U.S. had a lot of Western wear influences: prairie skirts, cowboy boots and belt buckles, the rise of the designer jean, plaid shirts with metallic threads and mother-of-pearl snaps and buttons. The television show Dallas premiered in 1978. 1980 saw a kind of high-water mark for these trends, not only in Western Barbie but in the popularity of the movie and song 9 to 5, the movie Urban Cowboy, and the musical variety TV show Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters.

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