Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Star Trek Week: Barbie & Ken Star Trek Gift Set (Mattel; 1996)

To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Star Trek in the year 1996, Mattel released this truly unusual (but interesting...) genre crossover, the Barbie and Ken Star Trek Gift Set. 

This beautiful, over-sized "collector's edition" toy includes our man Ken in gold command uniform, and Barbie in red yeoman's uniform, replete with sixties hoop earrings and an almost Janice Rand-worthy hair-style.

This Mattel toy features an interesting word to the wise in the lower corner of the box rear. Not just that "Barbie doll cannot stand alone" (does that mean she needs Ken after all?), but that "Space instruments are non-working.

In other words, the nicely detailed tricorder, phaser and communicator that accompany this set don't actually operate.

My favorite element of the set is the illustration on the back (featured above; center) that shows Barbie and Ken strolling on what appears to be the planet surface from the episode "Obsession.' Any minute now, a vampire cloud is going to come over one of those rocky outcroppings and drain the white blood cells from them. Quick...grab the anti-matter! 

But seriously, it's clear someone took some time with this photo: the low-resting mist, the form of the rocks, the color of the all clearly evokes the classic series, circa 1967-8.

The Barbie and Ken Star Trek Gift Set box is itself a nice gold color (like the command tunic from the series..), and on the back, Mattel has kindly written in descriptions of the various "space instruments" (the ones that don't work). The tricorder is, for instance "a specialized state-of-the-art sensing technology available for specific engineering, scientific and medical applications." The phaser is a "handheld weapon used by Starfleet personnel that can be adjusted to a variety of settings including stun, heat and disruption."

Finally, a nice legend on the bottom of the box celebrates Star Trek's thirtieth birthday, and entreats us to "Join Barbie and Ken" as they "beam aboard" the Enterprise for this anniversary. 

The legend also notes - correctly - that the Roddenberry series imagines "a constructive future for all mankind.

I was given this particular toy circa 1997 by some dear friends here in Charlotte, and I've kept it on the shelf ever since, though - unfortunately - the box endured some water damage during our move from Charlotte to Mint Hill in 1999 (A Star Trek crystal ball leaked, alas...) 

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