Even in 1959, little girls were asking for a boy doll.
No boy doll had ever made it in the US. Very few retailers ordered Kens when
they first came out in 1961, but consumers wanted all they could get. Initially,
Ruth argued for a "bulge" in Ken's groin, but the design team said no.
Ken and Barbie were the same in that respect (a social commentary today, but at
the time, a simple marketing decision). So it was that Ruth's son, Ken, took a
lot of teasing for his missing piece of plastic at school. Even as little Kenny
went through puberty, Ken (the doll) got the bulge too.
By the time the doll came out,
Barbara was in her late teens. She wasn't interested in dolls, and she wasn't
interested in the attention. The ordeal was painful for her, especially with mom
spending most of her time at the office. Barbara felt like a freak. She insisted
on never being called "Barbie" again, so we don't. She has curly
red-brunette hair, freckles, and a great smile. She married a man named Allan
Segal when she was only 19. Ken married a nurse named Suzie. Neither Ken nor
Barbara ever had a job. They were productive, interesting people. Barbara had a
small boutique in Beverly Hills for a while, raised two children (Cheryl and
Todd), got divorced, and has been going out with a very nice guy named Howard
for a long time now. She plays a lot of golf, is an excellent golfer, and is on
the board of Hillcrest Country Club. She has always been thin and in good shape.
She has led the private life she wanted to lead, after having a mother who was
more "Barbie's Mom" than her mom.
Barbara's daughter, Cheryl, has sold
real estate and held a few jobs, but decided to go back to Pepperdine to get a
law degree. She recently passed the California BAR exam. Her brother, Todd
(there was a kid-doll named after him) now runs a Bed and Breakfast and organic
farm in Massachusetts.
Ken Handler was, among many other
things, gifted musician. Kenny played several instruments, was very well read,
and pursued many endeavors. He often performed feats on the piano, but seldom
for public audiences. He was, "A real gentleman.
The kind of guy you found in the last century, not this one." In 1982, Ken
and Suzie moved to Manhattan, where they lived on Central Park with their three
kids. Ken wrote music and plays for his own pleasure. He enjoyed New York
society. He loved life on the streets. In the mid-eighties, when rap music was
just taking off, Ken wrote, directed, and produced a small film called
"Delivery Boys", about the lives of several rappers. You can find it
at specialty video stores.
Starring: Mario Van Peebles , Joss Marcano , Tom Sierchio and Jim Soriero
. Directed by Ken Handler
A bizarre comedy about three pizza delivery boys who spend their off-hours
competing in break dance contests. On the night of the final competition,
they are waylaid by hookers, ex-Nazi doctors, and crazy sculptors.
A gang of boys under the Brooklyn Bridge are united by their common
interest in break dancing. Some work as pizza delivery boys, hence they
call themselves the "Delivery Boys". They form a dance team and
enter a local break dance contest, sponsored by a woman's panty
manufacturer. A rival gang's sponsor intimidates their employer into
thinking she must keep the boys working so they won't be harmed. She gives
the boys some "specialized" deliveries to make them late for the
contest. The antics and calamities abound as the boys wrestle with her
work assignments and getting to the contest on time.
Kenny was charming, a good husband,
and a great dad. He was a citizen of the world. He gave a lot of money to
charities, among them an organization looking for new cures for cancer. As the
story goes, on an expedition to Africa with this group, he somehow contracted
encephalitis. Sadly, he was in a coma for a few weeks and died the afternoon of
his daughter's wedding - as Jewish tradition holds, a wedding does not stop,
even for the death of a father.