You know the recent Evian water advert with the hipster babies all roller skating around (it gained over 4 million hits on the internet)? Well, you may be surprised to know that they're not the first toddlers to get their roller skates on. Oh no. A certain little lady was rolling with it 30 years ago. And her name was Baby Skates. And she didn't need any special effects, either. Just a bit of Blondie on your Walkman to get her in the mood.
Baby Skates was a doll made by Mattel in 1982 - perfect timing for the roller-skating craze of the 80s. She was a cute doll that worked without batteries - you just had to wind her up to get her moving and she had cute skates so that she could skate around. The advert for Baby Skates featured redheads Jenny Lewis, child actress turned singer, and Emily Schulman from 80s US sci-fi TV series Small Wonder - both being amazed by Baby Skates. These two young actresses would appear together in the movie Troop Beverly Hills a few years later in 1989. When Emily sees Baby Skates cruise by, she grabs her cheek and looks like she's about to go into convulsions or something, she's that excited! As the advert told little girls everywhere: "Showing off is fun with Baby Skates".
And skate around she did, although the poor girl's bow legs hampered things a little and after a while she'd have to take a little break. A lot of little girls had such high expectations of Baby Skates sporting abilities that they simply ended up disappointed.
Luckily, although she wasn't all that great at roller skating, Baby Skates certainly looked the part! Her outfit was a cute two-piece yellow and pink stripey top and shorts and she also had knee and elbow pads (safety first kids!). And boy did she need those safety pads, as she was forever falling over. There was one very important element of her ensemble missing, though, and that was a safety helmet! I suppose you could argue her bouffant do was protection enough.
The picture on the box showed Baby Skates with very white bleached blonde hair, but in reality her hair was more mousy. In fact, like many dolls of its time, Baby Skates looked a bizarre cross between a baby and an old lady (though a pretty funky old lady in that get-up). Of course, the perfectly coiffed hairdo on the front of the box was an immaculate bob, but after spending so long wrapped in cardboard it got quite curly and unruly. Made of vinyl and hard plastic the doll measured around 15-inches tall.
I remember how Baby Skates would sway from one side to the other in a realistic roller-skating motion. She was a very cute doll. After several years they made a similiar doll with roller-blades on instead - keeping up with the times for those kids who thought roller skates were for babies. And sporting a ra-ra skirt and pigtails, she represented Baby Skates' naughtier little sister. Launched in 1991, this new doll was called Baby Rollerblade. See what they did there? The question is: was she any better at skating?