It’s Barbenheimer weekend.
If you haven’t heard, the two most diametrically opposed blockbusters imaginable open this weekend, Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.” To mark the occasion, here’s a photo gallery that takes us back in time to the origins of both American “icons.”
The creators A portrait of Ruth and Elliott Handler, the couple who introduced the Barbie doll in 1959, holding a Barbie and Ken doll. The couple were photographed before receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from Doll Reader magazine. (Getty Images) J. Robert Oppenheimer Portrait of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images) Original Barbie An original Barbie, launched in March 1959 by American businesswoman Ruth Handler, is photographed December 1, 1992 in New York City. (Photo by Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images) J. Robert Oppenheimer American physicist Julius Robert Oppenheimer. Paris. 1958. (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) Becky Ray, the 400,000th member of the Barbie Doll Fan Club Portrait of seven-year-old Becky Ray, the 400,000th member of the Barbie Doll Fan Club, as she poses with two ‘Bubblecut’ Barbie dolls, each wearing a dress and gloves, Miami, Florida, 1965. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images) Young J. Robert Oppenheimer with father Young J. Robert Oppenheimer with his father. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images) Two birthdays Original caption: Two dolls celebrating birthdays at Bellevue Hospital are the “Barbie” doll, a sweet sixteen, and the lovely Mrs. Richard Wayman, who is making her 80th. Mrs. Wayman is among some 300 hospital patients enjoying a birthday party for the doll. February, 1974 (Getty Images) Oppenheimer and physicists From left in front, German physicist and Nobel laureate Werner Heisenberg (1901 – 1976), Danish physicist Christian Moller (1904 – 1980) and American nuclear physicist and father of the atom bomb Robert Oppenheimer (1904 – 1967) sit in the general assembly at the inaugural session of the International Nuclear Conference, Geneva, Switzerland, July 2, 1958. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images) Hi, I’m Ken A young boy looks on and scratches his head in confusion as a younger girl inspects the new line of “Ken” dolls from Mattel, 1961. Ken, whose last name is “Carson,” was introduced as a love-interest for the popular “Barbie” (last name “Roberts”) dolls. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images) Oppenheimer views the atomic explosion over Nagasaki Looking at a photo of the atomic explosion over Nagasaki, Japan, are left to right, Brig. Gen. K. D. Nichols, Prof. H.D. Smythe who wrote the government atomic report and J.R. Oppenheimer, director of the Los Alamos, New Mexico atomic labratory. 1963 Barbie Barbie Doll In 1963. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images) Physicists examine the new 184 inch atom-smashing cyclotron Original caption: At the University of California, Berkeley, physicists examine the new 184 inch atom-smashing cyclotron, heretofore secret. In the instruments’ vacuum chamber are (l to r): Dr. Donald Cooksey, Associate Director of Radiation Laboratory; Dr. E.O. Lawrence, inventor of the cyclotron and a major figure in the development of the atom bomb; Professor R.L. Thornton, in charge of cyclotron construction; Professor J.R. Oppenheimer, and William Brobeck. This is the first photo of the cyclotron. Small clothes Charlotte Johnson, director of fashion for the highly successful Barbie doll, works in a world of one-sixth scale clothing. 1964 (Photo by Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA via Getty Images). Barbie at the library A collection of Barbie Dolls on exhibit at the Public Library in New York. (Getty Images) Enrico Fermi in front, Oppenheimer in back Enrico Fermi consults with a colleague during a meeting at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the project, and Richard Feynman, sit behind him. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images) Barbie and LEGOs stand the test of time A young girl with a selection of children’s toys for Christmas, 6th December 1984. (Photo by Peter Cook/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images) Einstein and Oppenheimer Oppenheimer Learning from Einstein (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images) Busy Barbie A Busy Barbie Doll. December 1, 1973. (Photo by Kevin John Berry/Fairfax Media via Getty Images). Oppenheimer examines test site Nuclear physicist Julius Robert Oppenheimer (1904 – 1967), left, with Major General Leslie Groves, by the remains of the tower from which an atom test bomb was ignited, at Los Alamos, New Mexico. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) Barbie goes ice skating Barbie doll in skates in Lyon, France, in 1963. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images) Barbie plays tennis The Barbie doll as tennis player. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images) Oppenheimer receives lifetime achievement award The Pyramid Club of Philadelphia presented an achievement award to Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer at a dinner held at the Club. Pictured (L to R) are: Dr. Oppenheimer; Samuel L. Evans, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pyramid Club; and Dr. Howard H. Stratton. Barbie dreamhouse A Barbie Dreamhouse, 1979 (Photo By Ed Maker/The Denver Post via Getty Images) Barbie in a nightgown The Barbie doll in a nightgown in 1963. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images) Designer Barbie Picture showing a Barbie doll wearing designer clothes taken in Paris, January, 1 1989. (PIERRE VERDY/AFP via Getty Images) John Paul Gaultier Barbie Picture showing a Barbie doll wearing designer clothes taken in Paris, May 1985. (PIERRE VERDY/AFP via Getty Images) Congress of nuclear physicists Congress nuclear physicists in the European nuclear research center Meyrin near Geneva 1958: Heisenberg, Möller, Oppenheimer. (Photo by RDB/ullstein bild via Getty Images) Dentist Barbie A dentist Barbie doll is displayed in New York during the first day of the International Toy Center annual fair in 1997. (JON LEVY/AFP via Getty Images) Jean Patou Barbie Picture showing a Barbie doll wearing designer clothes taken in Paris in January 1989. (Photo credit: FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT/AFP via Getty Images) Einstein, Oppenheimer and Margarita Konenkov — a Soviet spy Albert Einstein (C) gathers with (L-R) Robert Oppenheimer, wife Elsa, Margarita Konenkov and his daughter Margot. Einstein carried on a romantic relationship with Konenkov, who was identified as a Soviet agent. | Location: Princeton, New Jeresy, USA. (Photo by Sergey Konenkov/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images) Herve Leger Barbie Picture showing a Barbie doll wearing designer clothes taken in Paris, January 1989. (Photo credit: FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT/AFP via Getty Images) J. Robert Oppenheimer and a colleague J. Robert Oppenheimer and a colleague. (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images) Yves Saint-Laurent Barbie Picture showing Barbie dolls wearing designer clothes taken in Paris, January 1989. (Photo credit: FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT/AFP via Getty Images) ‘Cross-Dressing Ken’ Original caption from 1990: Cross-dressed Ken doll (decked out like Barbie) purchased by Carina Guillot while on visit to Tampa. Manufacturer, Mattel, blames kinky Ken on “product tampering.” (Photo by Marianne Barcellona/Getty Images) Limelight Barbie Fashion designer Byron Lars and a model attend “In the Limelight Barbie” – First Doll from the Byron Lars Runway Collection on April 29, 1997 at Motown Cafe in New York City. (Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images) Barbie & the Fiersteins Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur hold thier respective dolls, Ken as Edna Turnblad and Barbie as Tracy Turnblad, to be auctioned off to benefit Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids online (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic) Laguna Beach Barbies Original caption: Barbie dolls dressed in a variety of costumes are part of the huge inventory at Kitty’s Collectables in Laguna Beach. Owner Kitty Stuart is one of the largest vintage Barbie doll dealerships in the U.S. (Photo by Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) Oppenheimer and others Chemist James Conant, left, physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, Hartley Rowe, fourth from left, and Massachusetts majority leader John McCormack, sixth from left, along with other members of the General Advisory Committee to the United States Atomic Energy Commission gather together on a tarmac. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images) Mini Mes Barbie Doll lovers gather together at the National Barbie Doll Convention, in San Diego. (Photo by Evan Hurd/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images) Twins Barbie Doll lovers gather together at the National Barbie Doll Convention, in San Diego. (Photo by Evan Hurd/Corbis via Getty Images) Christian Dior Barbie Original caption: A Barbie doll from the collection of Barbie aficionado Billy Boy wears an outfit designed by Christian Dior. (Photo by Pierre Vauthey/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images) Honorary degree recipients pose at the 1947 Harvard University commencement Original caption: Honorary degree recipients pose at the 1947 Harvard University commencement on Jun. 5, 1947. In front row, from left to right, are J.R. Oppenheimer, atom bomb scientist; Ernest C. Colwell, Chicago University President; George C. Marshall, soldier-statesman; President Conant of Harvard, who awarded the degrees; Omar N. Bradley, Vets’ Administrator; T.S. Eliot, poet and James W. Wadsworth, former New York Senator. In rear, from left to right, are William A. Dwiggins, type designer; George H. Chase, former Harvard dean; W. Hodding Carter Jr., editor and author; Ivor A. Richards, Harvard professor; William F. Gibbs, naval architect, and Frank L. Boyden, Deerfield principal. (Photo by Charles F. McCormick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) Alexandre Barbie A Barbie doll from the collection of Barbie aficionado Billy Boy wears an outfit of hair designed by stylist Alexandre. (Photo by Pierre Vauthey/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images) Paco Rabanne Barbie A Barbie doll from the collection of Barbie aficionado Billy Boy wears an outfit designed by Paco Rabanne. (Photo by Pierre Vauthey/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images) A nuclear explosion (Photo by Eric BRISSAUD/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) More Yves Saint Laurent Barbies Barbie dolls from the collection of Barbie aficionado Billy Boy wear outfits designed by Yves Saint Laurent. (Photo by Pierre Vauthey/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images) Spanish teacher Barbie Original caption: A Spanish-English bilingual Barbie doll is on sale in the recently opened Toys “R” Us flagship Times Square store November 19, 2001 in New York City. Barbie items are expected to be hot gifts during the holiday season. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) Cowgirl Barbie Original caption: Toy maker Mattel, Inc. featured an extended line of Barbie figures and accessories at the International Toy Fair February 10, 2002 in New York. The new figures emphasized themes of haute couture, Hollywood, and celebrity. (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images) Britney & Barbie Pop singer Britney Spears smiles as she receives a Barbie award April 21, 2002 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images) First thermonuclear explosion The first thermonuclear explosion. (Photo by Eric BRISSAUD/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) Star Skater Barbie Original caption: Mattel’s Star Skater Barbie is on display. The doll is advertised as an ice skater who can really twirl and skate as she performs in the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Star Skater Barbie is expected to be one of the best selling toys for the 2001 holiday season. (Photo by Mattel/Getty Images) Barbie’s Bank with Me ATM Original caption: The toy is advertised to have ATM features for lifelike role-playing and to teach children the basics for saving their money. Barbie’s Bank with Me ATM is expected to be one of the best selling toys for the 2001 holiday season. (Photo by Mattel/Getty Images) American Sign Language Barbie Original caption: There are many ways to say “I love you,” and for hearing-impaired people, one of the most common is through American Sign Language (ASL). Mattel worked with the National Center on Deafness at California State University in Northridge to ensure accuracy of the doll’s hand signs. (Photo courtesy of Mattel) Barbie gets a computer Original caption: Mattel launched this version of the ever-popular Barbie doll for Christmas 1997. Barbie’s own computer links to the serial port of the user’s computer. By inserting a CD-ROM, the user gives Barbie the power of speech, and can select a range of topics for Barbie to memorise. This information is then downloaded into Barbie by an ultraviolet beam, which travels from the computer screen to her necklace. Barbie celebrated her fortieth birthday in 1999 and remains one of the most popular dolls as she constantly evolves to reflect the times. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images) Spongebob and Barbie “Barbie Loves SpongeBob SquarePants” doll unveiling (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage) Brittany Murphy with Barbie Brittany Murphy with Barbie during Nickelodeon’s 16th Annual Kids Choice Awards – Backstage Creations Talent Retreat – Day 2 at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, United States. (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage) Mila Kunis and Barbie Mila Kunis with a Collector Barbie during Nickelodeon’s 15th Annual Kids Choice Awards – Backstage Creations Talent Retreat Day 2 at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, United States. (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage) Glam Barbie Special edition of Barbie doll in 1991 in Paris, France. (Photo by Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) Barbie at the Museum Barbie Doll arrives at Grevin Museum in Paris, France on December 01, 1993. (Photo by Daniel SIMON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) Models with Barbie Models Amanda Grant (left) and Resi with four of the latest Barbie dolls at the British International Toy and Hobby Fair in London. (Photo by Sean Dempsey – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) Real Life Barbie Secretary Hayley Spicer, 24, from Bournemouth, in London today (Monday) after being unveiled as the real life “Barbie” in a nationwide competition to find the person who looks most like the children’s doll. (Photo by Fiona Hanson – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) Hot Rockin’ Fun Ken Hot Rockin’ Fun Barbie & Rockers range, March 1988. (Photo by Dinello/The People/Mirrorpix/Getty Images) Hot Rockin’ Fun Barbie Hot Rockin’ Fun Barbie & Rockers range, March 1988. (Photo by Dinello/The People/Mirrorpix/Getty Images) Perles de Tahiti Barbie A Barbie doll dressed in “Perles de Tahiti” on display at the Georges V Hotel, December 18, 2003, in Paris, France. Top jewelers get together to dress up a collection of Barbie dolls to be auctioned for the Red Cross. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images) Barbie and accessories Barbies on display, 1979. (Photo By Ed Maker/The Denver Post via Getty Images) ‘Share a Smile Becky’ Product shot of “Share a Smile Becky,” photographed May 23, 1997 in New York City. (Photo by Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images)
Cillian Murphy and Margot Robbie, aka, Oppenheimer and Barbie Left: Cillian Murphy during the premiere of the movie “Oppenheimer” at the Grand Rex cinema in Paris on July 11, 2023; Right: Margot Robbie during a “pink carpet” event to promote Barbie in Seoul on July 2, 2023. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA,JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)