ROCHESTER, NY — Is it finally time for Barbie’s sidekick to stop being “just Ken” and become a member of the National Toy Hall of Fame?
The Mattel doll, introduced in 1961 and brought to life by Ryan Gosling in the blockbuster “Barbie” movie, is among 12 finalists being considered for casting this year, the Hall of Fame announced Wednesday.
Baseball cards, Battleship, bingo, Bop It, Cabbage Patch Kids, Choose Your Own Adventure game books, Connect 4, Little Tykes face Cozy Coupe, Nerf, slime and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The National Toy Hall of Fame, located at The Strong Museum in Rochester, is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a strong list of finalists, said Christopher Bensch, vice president of collections.
“This may be the year Barbie hits the box office, but perhaps Ken will share some of the spotlight by joining the cast,” Bensch said of the character singing “I’m Just Ken” in the film.
Barbie was inducted as part of the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1998.
This year’s award winners will be determined on November 9, following a vote by the selection committee and the public. Each member of the 22-person expert committee will vote for the top three. The three toys with the most public votes by September 20 will form a single ballot.
Anyone can nominate a toy for the Hall of Fame, but toys must have achieved icon status and lasted across generations to be inducted. They should also be innovative and encourage learning or creativity through play.
Last year, Lite-Brite, Masters of the Universe and the top were honored, bringing the number of awardees to date to 80.