Reub's journey

15 June 2009


I am looking at the doll Lilli because I have been looking at my childhood Barbie, and I've been looking at Barbie because she was introduced 50 years ago this spring. During all of the celebratory hubub I found out that Barbie's prototype was this little harlot named Lilli, from post-war German comics; Lilli was portrayed as a "working girl" (wink wink) inspiring a doll of the same name, first sold in cigarette shops as a gag gift for men, and then taking on a life as a children's toy in Germany.

She looks an awful lot like Barbie, doesn't she?
This Lilli doll sold on eBay in August,2008 for $1,400

Barbie herself was designed by an engineer who was a missile designer, and who had been married briefly to Zsa Zsa Gabor; he was told to make the new doll look " less like a German street walker." All of these interesting factoids made me want to get out my Barbie doll. I wanted to do a Barbie photo shoot! I will share the results of this flawed idea after I get back from Colorado next week. In the meantime, maybe somebody could translate that Lilli comic. I think she is wondering if she is "difficult" after reading something in his horoscope about love being a hard test. But my German is limited, so I might be all wrong.

Asking price for this Bild Lilli on eBay is $3,999 (June, 2009) She is wearing a fur coat.


  1. Ben and I are anxiously awaiting the photo essay. As a teaser, could you tell us: Is the theme more German Streetwalker or Malibu Dreamhouse?

  2. ...or an incredible combination of the two...

  3. Great ideas! But (really I have to leave for Colorado now, so this'll be short) I'd call it more of a combo of Father Knows Best, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Godzilla The Cat, and let's not forget Islamic Revolution Barbie. It wasn't my fault.


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