In 1945, Elliot Handler and Harold "Matt" Matson teamed up to create what would become a toy giant. They combined "Matt" and "Elliott" and called their company Mattel. On March 9, 1959, Mattel introduced a doll that would change the way little girls played all over the world. Elliot's wife, Ruth, inspired by her daughter's fascination with paper dolls, convinced her husband to create a three-dimensional doll. Barbie was an instant hit.
Three Barbie dolls are sold every second somewhere in the world, making Barbie the most successful doll of all time. She's sold in over 150 countries and reflects over 45 different nationalities and ethnicities. Barbie has had almost 100 different careers, from astronaut to teacher to presidential candidate!
Richard Dickson, senior vice president at Mattel, says the Barbie that started it all is kept in a top-secret location under lock and key in the company's El Segundo, California, headquarters—but he's bringing her out of hiding just for us! "This is a really big deal. We got [her] out of the vault," he says. "This is the first time that I've even held the original 1959 Barbie!"
The little girl who inspired her parents to create the most popular doll of all time is now all grown up. Barbara Handler Segal says her childhood interest in paper dolls made her mother realize that little girls weren't just interested in playing mommy to baby dolls. "We projected our dreams, what we wanted to be," Barbara remembers, "and we could dress up paper dolls like anything we wanted to be."
Barbara says that Barbie's debut was a huge sensation. "I didn't know what hit me," she says. "Everybody was asking, 'Oh, you're the Barbie doll?' And I said, 'I am the name behind it, but I'm not the doll, you know.' ... It was never made to look like me."
Barbara says she is honored to present Oprah with a one-of-a-kind "Oprah" Barbie! The doll is dressed in a replica of the red Vera Wang gown Oprah wore to her Legends Ball
, a gala honoring African-American women.
"Look at her waistline!" Oprah says. "Love it! Thank you so much!"
Elmo is Sesame Street's most recognizable character ever! Since his debut in 1985, this cuddly creature has tickled kids red with his sweet voice. Elmo's unprecedented fame makes his Muppeteer a multimillionaire and seven-time Emmy winner!
This is the first time Muppeteer Kevin Clash has appeared with Elmo!
Kevin says he became the voice of Elmo after another Muppeteer turned down the opportunity. "He didn't like it," Kevin says. "It was too cutesy for him."
If you're surprised by the big guy behind the little voice, you're not alone. "It's wild," Kevin says. "[People] expect me to be a little, short bald-headed guy with glasses."
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