Here's the full story of "The Ken Doll who wanted to be Neil". Part of this is set in reality, part of it is a flight of fancy.
Reality: Every so often, I'd look in toy stores. They'd sell things like 12" Elvis dolls (different ones, 50's Elvis, 1968 Comeback Special Elvis). They'd also sell a twin pack of Barbie and Frank Sinatra(!!!) including a young Sinatra doll.
Also Reality: In the mid 70's, Mattel created a "Now Look Ken" with long, rooted hair and a "mod" outfit. A Barbie collector's book had noted that "Now Look Ken looked like a cross between Warren Beatty and Neil Diamond". When I saw the picture, I said, "Hmmm, Yeeesssss- I can see how they got the inspiration."
More reality: I started thinking that there should be a GI Joe-sized Neil Diamond doll, which would be a better doll than wussy "Ken". At least GI Joe can actually pose and do the moves of "The Last Picasso" or "Jungletime" (just like Neil!). Due to Ken's design, he cannot move his hips in the proper direction. Most Ken dolls can barely bend their knees!
So, there could be 3 different Neil dolls, all with the GI Joe body design. One would be a "Bang" one with a pompadour and sideburns, with a guitar. Then there could be a Hot August Night one with long hair and embroidered shirts. Then there could be a Love At the Greek one, which could come as a twin pack with a free Fonz doll.
The Story: This is the night of the big concert. A stage is made (cardboard box spray-painted black. Huge backdrop made of cardboard sheet, decorated with glitter letters, spelling "NEIL DIAMOND". Christmas tree lights flashing on and off, taped to the perimeter of the stage.)
The anticipation builds. The audience starts to arrive. Some arrive in Barbie's convertible. Some arrive in the GI Joe Adventure Team helicopter. Others arrive in the Batmobile. Superman flies in a few folks, clinging to his massive back.
Celebrities wave, as Kodak Instamatic camera lights flash... Donny and Marie (dolls). Charlie's Angels (dolls). The Bionic Woman doll. And, roaring in on his battery-operated motorcycle that really lights up and makes a "Vrooooommmmm!" sound...the Fonz.
Ordinary folks gladly surrender their tickets... a horde of Barbies... some in elegant Paris fashion, some with the latest bell-bottoms and fringed leather vests over loose-fitting, multi-colored blouses. Accompanying them are the GI Joe Adventure Team. Their weapons are left in the 'copter. The rugged, bearded guys only grudgingly came... they'd been told that Neil Diamond "is certainly NOT a wimp. Neil rides motorcycles. Neil ROCKS!". So they came (at the urging of Barbie) to see if that's all true.
The music starts with the strains of Lee Holdridge's "Prologue". Once it goes into "Crunchy Granola Suite", the music abruptly *stops*. Whoops! Wrong record! We're doing a Love at the Greek concert tonight. The Hot August Night records are lovingly placed back in their sleeves, and now the correct record is put on Daddy's newfangled stereo system, which sounds better than our kiddie record player in our room.
Neil Diamond (the doll) swaggers out, and, over the next 2 hours knocks 'em dead. Mid-concert, it's time for "Song Sung Blue". Neil invites Donny and Marie onstage. His eyes spot the Fonz. Neil waves the Fonz onstage. The Fonz walks up the ramp. Neil urges him to sing. But, the Fonz' nerve suddenly leaves him. He stammers. His voice catches in his throat. The Neil doll starts browbeating the Fonz doll. The Fonz doll tries to duck and run off the stage. The Neil doll blocks him. Neil uses a wire coathanger hook to "hook" the Fonz doll around the waist and drags him back onstage. Finally, the Fonz gets his nerve back and sings "Song Sung Blue" in a rollicking 50's style.
And where's Ken, all this time? Well, it seems like Barbie was WAY more interested in having GI Joe take her to the concert. Ken remembers their conversation, "Ken, sorry I can't go to the Toastmasters meeting with you tonight. GI Joe is taking me to see Neil Diamond. Neil is SOOOOO manly. You should hear his voice, and he has everything a girl could want. The eyes. The moves. The hairy chest. And he's sooooooo sexy and talented".
So Ken is reduced to selling bootleg souvenirs in the parking lot. But "Now Look Ken" has a better idea on how to hook a date, and how to pull Barbie away from GI Joe.
Finally, the concert ends. Neil and the Fonz, who had become pals, discuss leather jackets and motorcycles for a while.
Now Look Ken sticks a hairpiece on his chest quickly (craft fur from Mom's sewing box). He spies Barbie leaving. GI Joe is further off, warming up the engine of the helicopter. Now Look Ken (in his best mod Neil-wannabe duds) smiles, "Hiya Baby, I'm Neil... Did you like the show? Say, my entourage is having a few drinks at the bar, wanna come along?" Barbie looks tempted, then GI Joe comes along. He grabs his arsenal and DISMEMBERS wussy wannabe-Neil Ken doll.
Fade to night.
The family dog starts sniffing around and finds some plastic body parts lying around on the carpet of the kids' room. The dog grabs a torso in his jaws and hauls it to the backyard.
This story is Copyright 2000,
K.F. Louie. May not be reproduced without the written permission of the
Fonz doll photo courtesy of "Trillium House"
GI Joe doll photo from the book, "The Collectible GI Joe"
Barbie doll photo from the book, "Barbie- Her Life and Times"
Now Look Ken doll photo from the book, "Barbie- Her Life and Times"
Got an inspiration for your
own "Toy Story"? Wanna swap ideas on how to put on a toy world Neil Diamond
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