Lilli: the girl can't help it.
In 1952, Reinhard Beuthien created a one-panel comic for the Bild, a German newspaper. His character, Lilli, a curvaceous secretary who enjoyed the nightlife and her girlfriends, and who always delivered a clever if sassy punchline, became an immediate crowd-pleaser. The cartoons appeared daily, and developed a loyal following. It wasn't long before a Lilli doll was manufactured, more as a souvenir or gag gift than a toy, but the response from young girls was undeniable. American Ruth Handler purchased several Lilli dolls while she was visiting Germany and brought them to the designers at her small company, Mattel. After some reworking, the Barbie doll was created. The original Barbie doll had the same sort of face as Lilli: sophisticated bordering on hard. Not at all like the teenager she was described to be.