"At the end of a hallway lined with 60s-era paintings of large-eyed children by schlock-artist Margaret Keane, David Mansour has devoted an entire room to his toy collection. It's breathtaking, if you're into toys; an obsessively-organized room stacked floor-to-ceiling with shelves of Barbies, Kens, vehicles, Bratz snotty-girl dolls, lunch boxes, robots, bobbleheads--a collection arrayed and displayed as groups of mini-collections. Whatever recessive genetic trait causes collecting behavior, Mr. David Mansour has it real bad."
~ Verge Magazine, December 2005
Appearing on KMBC-TV morning news show in Kansas City in June 2005. Take note that I always brought a Barbie and Ken when I discussed From ABBA To Zoom, pop culture and toy collecting. I thought of them as my mascots.
Christmas Eve 2010: Me, in the "Toy Room." That's the "Barbie Island" on the front-right of me.
On December 21, 2005, I appeared on the Barbie episode of the Discovery Channel's Pop Nation: America's Coolest Stuff TV Show to talk about America's favorite doll. I also appeared in the Pop Nation segments about Pez and Crayola Crayons.
When I lived in Kansas City in the 1990s and 2000s, I received continual coverage as an expert on Barbie by various media outlets. If they needed someone to comment about Barbie, I was the “Barbie Guy” they called on. In 2005 alone, my dolls made the pages of the Kansas City Star for three different stories, including the coveted Front Page of the newspaper's Sunday edition on May 31, and a Christmas Day story, titled "Timeless Toys," which also featured an array of toys from my collection
Order your copy of David's From ABBA to Zoom by clicking on the image.
"On a steamy Saturday afternoon, we dropped by David's Mid-Century Kansas City home for a visit....perfectly nice and normal....nothing overly mind blowing until we walked down the hall to a closed door. 'I'll let you open it,' David offered, and here's what I saw..."
In June 2010, Stan Williams, a writer, editor and blogger (Elegant Thrifter) from NYC was visiting KC, and upon the suggestion of mutual friends contacted me about seeing the "Toy Room." Stan came with camera in hand and took photos for a blog story, titled "Fabulous & Frugal Fun: A Toy Story."
I invite you to visit Stan William's Elegant Thrifter blogsite by clicking here:
Pop goes my world! All the pop culture swirling around the dolls and toys were the inspiration for me to write the book, From ABBA To Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century, published by Andrews McMeel in 2005. My fascination with the wide-range of toys I was collecting was the genesis for it, as I wondered, what are these things I’m collecting? It began as notes in a journal, leading full-on to a pop culture encyclopedia packed with 3,001 entries.
1987's Barbie & the Rockers. The six dolls that started it all for me.
To promotion of From ABBA To Zoom I gave numerous interviews with magazines and newspapers, including USA Today, and was featured as a guest on numerous talk radio programs across the USA and Canada. I traveled for book signings at national bookstore chains and independent booksellers and performed at speaking events, always bringing a display of toys to discuss, including a Barbie and Ken.
I was featured on TV shows, from local morning news spots to national coverage, most notably CNBC’s Squawk Talk (in a home interview among my toy collection) and the Discovery Channel's Pop Nation TV show, in which I talked about the history of Barbie (this segment aired on Christmas Day 2005).
In 1987, I couldn’t imagine in a million years that a birthday gift of six Barbies would start a collection of thousands of dolls and toys. This vast collection would be the inspiration for me to write a fun pop culture encyclopedia titled From ABBA to Zoom, published in 2005. This lead to becoming a nationally renowned Barbie and toy collector, whom the media called a “Barbie Guy,” “Aficionado of American Pop Culture,” “Pop Culture Expert,” and “The Man of Pop!” Here's how it began…
In 2011, nine of my Barbie Basics were selected to be supermodels for an actual fashion shoot. It was for the February edition of Kansas City Spaces magazine titled, "Oh, You Beautiful Doll," and these beautiful dolls--sleekly dressed in little black dresses--modeled the latest spring fashion accessories.
Although I had been avidly collecting Barbie since 1987, it wasn't until around 1992 I began receiving coverage as a collector by the local media, most notably The Kansas City Star newspaper. In September 1992, the newspaper asked me to help with a "Barbie for President" makeover, titled "Blonde Ambition." The premise was if Barbie was running for President of the United States, voters wouldn't take her serious with all that blonde fluff. This was an ideal project for me, a Barbie-collecting hairdresser! I colored Barbie's blonde hair to brunette and cut her fluffy long locks into a chic short bob style. She was redressed into a classic black-and-white houndstooth dress suit, accessorized by a pearl necklace. This Barbie makeover was popular with readers, who voted her very Presidential!
A Barbie History in Portraits
"I wanted From ABBA to Zoom to cover not only the obvious pop culture icons, but tackle the obscure and seemingly forgotten ones as well. In my broad research, I left no stone unturned."
~ David Mansour
Along with Barbie dolls I'd accumulated an extensive collection of other dolls, toys, action figures, lunch boxes, board games, children's books, records, and pop culture memorabilia. By the 2000s, toy collecting was the BIGGEST obsession in my world!
In my Kansas City home, I dedicated a spare bedroom as the "Toy Room," which housed the collection. This room was filled floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall, and overflowing with dolls and toys displayed in collections and mini-collections. The Barbie collection, now numbering close to a thousand dolls, stood in front and center, displayed on an assemblage of shelving units I tagged "Barbie Island."
"Just take in this gorgeous sea of Barbies and Kens from over the years dressed in dreamy, fashion-plate finery."
(Photographs courtesy of Stan Williams.)