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Gay Bob


In 1977 toy designer Harvey Rosenberg created Gay Bob, the world’s first gay doll as a gag gift for adults. Rosenberg modeled his 13-inch doll as a cross between actors Robert Redford and Paul Newman. The anatomically correct doll wore a flannel shirt, jeans, cowboy boots, and one earring, and he was packaged in a box illustrated to look like the inside of a clothes closet. Initially, the doll sold only through mail-order advertising, but after selling 10,000 dolls, Rosenberg offered the doll in stores. The advertising executive proclaimed Bob symbolized that every individual was entitled to say: "I have a right to be what I am." At the time of Gay Bob’s introduction, however, not everyone thought so. Popular advice columnist Ann Landers wrote that she would believe such a doll existed when she saw one in the respectable stores she patronized. "Esquire" magazine conferred its Dubious Achievement Award of 1978. The doll represents times when Americans were less tolerant of diversity.

  • Manufacturer: Harvey Rosenberg Inc.
  • Material: vinyl | molded plastic | printed cardboard | synthetic hair | paint | fabric
  • Origin: Hong Kong
  • Object ID: 115.741
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