Clone after clone after clone. Presenting: The Babs, Randy and Bill wardrobe booklet, 1960s, US.
Babs, Randy and Bill dolls were sold by the Fab-Lu Ltd company of New York in the early 1960s. The line was a cheap clone of the popular US Barbie doll brand, and the German Bild Lilli brand that predated both.
Babs’s wardrobe imitated many of Barbie’s costumes, as well as clothing from various Hong Kong cloned Lilli dolls. Babs also mimicked Barbie’s tag of “Teen-Age Fashion Model” by declaring herself as “Queen of Fashion”. Not that Barbie should complain too much, seeing as she herself was a clone of the German Bild Lilli – the original fashion doll.
Randy was a clone of Barbie’s younger sister, Skipper.
For the British market, Randy underwent a name change to ‘Mary Lou’ due to the English sexualisation of the word randy (meaning ‘to feel sexually aroused’). However, the problems didn’t end there for Randy/Mary Lou. The doll, as seen on her featured pages of the Fab-Lu booklet, was actually a Tammy doll as made by Ideal and ‘borrowed’ for the photoshoot to model Randy’s wardrobe. Fab-Lu tried to get around this by painting a beauty spot on the cheek of the Tammy doll in the hope no one would notice. It failed, and Fab-Lu was later taken to court and sued by Ideal.
Bill was a clone of Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken.
“Every inch a he-man. Powerful body. Powerful physique.” Check out Bill’s ‘sales pitch’ …
The Clone War(drobe)s.
Below are the remaining scans of the Babs, Randy and Bill product booklet. It is the only known catalogue to exist for the line to date, and was included in packs of individual dolls and accessories.
Click images to enlarge.
Low, low prices!
Babs dolls and outfits were exceptionally cheap to buy compared to Barbie. Statements such as “fashions made to fit all leading fashion dolls”, and “Other male fashion dolls can and do wear Bill’s extensive wardrobe” were almost a call to arms to buy Babs outfits to put not just on Babs dolls, but on Barbie dolls too.
To find out more about the fascinating history of ‘clone dolls’ – from Lilli to Barbie to Babs and others – check out the excellent article Bild Lilli and the Queens from Outer Space
Until next time, thank you for cloning around with us 🙂