ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Is it finally time for Barbie’s sidekick to go from being “just Ken” to National Toy Hall of Fame inductee?
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 induction this year, the Hall of Fame announced Wednesday.
He is up against baseball cards, Battleship, bingo, Bop It, Cabbage Patch Kids, Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks, Connect 4, Little Tykes Cozy Coupe, Nerf, slime and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The National Toy Hall of Fame, housed at The Strong Museum in Rochester, is marking its 25th anniversary with a strong slate of finalists, said Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections.
“This may have been the year of Barbie at the box office, but perhaps Ken will share some of the spotlight by getting inducted,” Bensch said of the character, who in the movie sings “I’m Just Ken.”
Barbie was inducted as part of the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1998.
This year’s honorees will be inducted Nov. 9 following voting by a selection committee and the public. Each member of the 22-person expert committee will cast ballots for the top three. The three toys receiving the most public votes by Sept. 20 will make up a single ballot.
Anyone can nominate a toy for the Hall of Fame, but to be considered for induction, toys must have achieved icon status and longevity across generations. They also must be innovative and foster learning or creativity through play.
Last year, Lite-Brite, Masters of the Universe and the top were inducted, bringing to 80 the number of honorees to date.