Swimsuit Special – California Midge 1987

20 Jul

There is nothing new under the sun … a couple of years ago I was buying a lot of Cali Girl Barbies from the early noughties. I am still fond of these dolls and there are quite a few I am still after, but the items I am looking for do not crop up very often and they tend to attract a lot of attention, so I think of it as a (very) slow growing branch of my collection.

Anyhoo, while I was searching for Cali Girls, I tended to get internet hits for an earlier wave of California Barbies dating from 1987. At first I wasn’t particularly interested, but their candy colouring and pretty faces kind of grew on me. Although in some ways they are typical 80s Barbies, in other ways there are parallels to be drawn with the more realistic Cali Girls. Firstly, there’s great attention to detail in both waves – the Cali Girls come with tiny bottles of suntan lotion and little sunglasses, my California Midge came with roller boots and sun visor. She also has detailed earrings. I am not usually a fan of Barbies with big flashy earrings, but these are quite good:



I’ve seen California Barbie for sale several times in the UK but Midge is rarer over here, so I had to get mine imported. She came in the box, which (like the Cali Girls’ boxes) features some great photos:





As you can see, she’s Steffi-faced too. I read somewhere that she was the first Midge to be released in about twenty years, and she got given the Steffi face. Of course, you probably know that there’s a contemporary Steffi-faced Midge, the Life in The Dreamhouse Midge who *sobs* is not on general release in the UK (Mattel – sort it out before I go insane). Anyway, I do love the painting on California Midge. Her eyes are fantastic, they have that “brimming-over” effect that is often seen on the anime-style Skippers from this time.


Another similarity between Cali Girls and California Barbie is the emphasis on building distinct characters. The Cali girls came with a Caligirlzine, the California Barbies came with a comic. And as I got this doll boxed, I’ve got Midge’s:




I love opening old boxed dolls, you never know what you are going to find. In this one, as well as a I great flier featuring Barbie outfits from 1987, which I’ll feature another time, just under the top flap I found the original till receipt from Toys R Us …


What a great buy. The one cloud on the horizon is the reason I found this doll at a price that meant I could afford to import her. She has white spots on her legs where the vinyl has started to degrade 😦 she was kind of sticky when I got her out of the box, so I imagine it will only get worse. I am considering trying to find a colour-matched body of a similar age and just replacing it.







8 Responses to “Swimsuit Special – California Midge 1987”

  1. Sandra July 20, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    She is so pretty. What a great photo essay. You’ve really captured her beauty! Congrats on your beautiful new Midge and I hope you can get the new Dreamhouse Midge!

    • barbielea July 21, 2013 at 9:48 am #

      Thanks Sandra! We will see about Dreamhouse Midge, if they don’t turn up over here I’ll have to get one imported and pay the taxes, which I would never usually do 😦

  2. Chicovintage July 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    It´s a shame the spotty legs syndrome… but she´s such a cutie! Being a steffie-holic, I get mine on loose, I really envy you for having her boxed, and the part of the comic “Oh no!” was completely a laugh. She is so eighty´s.. those big fat flashy earrings, the huge bangs gravity defying… the combination of red hair and green eyes is always a plus for me. Congratulations for having her on your collection. You are ticking all the boxes!

    • barbielea July 21, 2013 at 9:54 am #

      Hi Chico! I love the “oh no!!” too – she has a great facial expression in this frame and its so pop art (which was super trendy in the 80s so probably intentional). Thanks x

  3. Blackkitty July 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    I have heard people treat sticky legs with baby powder, and discolouration with matching face powder. Since you aren’t reselling it, I think it’s worth a try?

    • barbielea July 21, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      Hey, I’ve read that too but never tried it before. Never occurred to me to try it with Midge, thanks Kitty!

  4. Taswegian1957 July 22, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    I love the artwork on the comic. Does it actually show what happened to Ken? 🙂 I have a soft spot for Midge and although I really prefer the Diva face she does look great with the Steffie on this one.

    • barbielea July 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      Yes it does! Team Barbie are rollerskating around at the beach when they discover a Scavenger Hunt going on – where you have to find a list of random items to win a prize. Ken spends a lot of it roller skating into palm trees, getting distracted by food, falling over etc – he’s basically a figure of fun …

      I like both sculpts too. I’m not sure I could choose between them. I probably have more Divas, and I loved them from my first time round collecting in my teens, but then again some of the prettiest Barbies ever are Steffies I think. There’s a Hawaiian Steffie from the seventies who is just jaw-dropping … Still on the lookout for her. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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