Barbie News & A Green Message
Date: Mon, 31 Oct 94 22:05:07 PST
Subject: Barbie News & A Green Message
From: WhiteBoard News for October 31, 1994
New York, New York:
Barbie has been a favorite of girls since she was
introduced by Mattel in 1959. But the girls' moms
probably didn't know that the busty blonde was partly
based on a for-adults-only German doll named Lilli.
Lilli hit the market in 1955. Named for a cartoon
character in the tabloid "Bild Zeitung," she was 11.5
inches tall, with a platinum ponytail and a set of
black stiletto heels -- a risqu=E9 gag gift for men.
Ruth Handler, a co-founder of Mattel, bought a few
Lilli dolls in Switzerland and had her designers do a
makeover. Viola! A German streetwalker became a
wholesome, all-American icon.
This is just one of the bits of Barbie lore in the book
"Forever Barbie," by M.G. Lord, due out in November.
This time, you couldn't blame the audience for turning
green with envy.
With nary a frog in his throat, the inimitable Kermit
of Muppets fame arrived in triumph to the stately halls
of Oxford University on Friday, becoming, yes, at last,
the first amphibian ever to address that training
ground of prime ministers and presidents, the Oxford
union Debating Society.
"I really am very honored," he declared, straightening
his black bow tie and flicking his coat tails. "These
are some very nicely hallowed halls."
The guest of honor wore his customary benign
expression, and shared his thoughts on everything from
mosquito hors d'oeuvres ("love 'em") to men's underwear
("I prefer being naked").
And, of course, he talked about his biggest problem,
the amorous Miss Piggy.
To a generation of students raised on "Sesame Street"
and "The Muppet Show," the goggle-eyed one is the
object of admiration.
"He's an icon," said 19-year-old biology student Tom
Walker as he waited in the cold outside the Oxford
Union's 150-year-old debating chamber.
More than 900 students lined up to see their hero, some
of them for as long as three hours.
And for 30 minutes Kermit wowed them with a string of
outrageous quips and folksy homilies. Risking a
backlash from the possessive Miss P., he flirted
shamelessly with his interviewer, television
personality Mariella Frostrup, who was clad
appropriately in Kermit-green leather.
For a frog, he showed a neat grasp of British current
How was the swamp from which he sprang?
"Damp, a lot like England, only fewer scandals.
Would he turn into a prince if kissed?
"Nah, the Windsors have enough problems without Miss
Piggy hanging around Buckingham Palace."
So what is it with Miss Piggy?
"Our relationship is purely professional. She's a pig,
for crying out loud!"
On a more philosophical note, one of the students asked
how he keeps in touch with his inner tadpole.
"I fax him regularly," quipped the technically advanced
But his biggest concern was the environment.
"I'm here on behalf of all the species that are lower
on the food chain than you," he told his rapt audience.
"We can all recycle, protect the air and water around
us. So on behalf of all the animals in the world I'm
asking you to CLEAN UP YOUR ROOM!"
© 1994 Peter Langston