We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, 80s toys were the best! They just seemed to be cooler than a lot of the toy lines that are available today! There were more dolls and action figures than you could shake a wonder stick at, the cuddly toy lines were just as popular. But it was the creature toys that we really loved – the toys that weren’t human or animal but monsters and hybrids and some completely made up! Forgotten Toys!
Boglins were a series of toy puppets distributed by Mattel. They were created by Tim Clarke, Maureen Trotto, and Larry Mass, and licensed by Seven Towns. The original run of Boglins was released in 1987, coinciding with a “creatures” craze that included Ghoulies, Critters, and Gremlins. Boglins were made of flexible rubber and could be manipulated to represent speech and facial expressions. Several series of Boglins were released, themed around goblins, aquatic creatures, and Halloween, or with tufts of hair. Mattel rejuvenated the Boglins line in 2000 with two new series of puppets: large, electronic ones that talked, and several smaller ones that stuck out their tongues or spat water when squeezed. In 2016 there was a boglin art show in New York by Clutter Arts featuring a boglin mold painted by multiple artists.
2. Mad Balls
The toys were tennis ball-sized rubber or foam collectible bouncing balls with horrendous faces and designs which had a fascination particularly on the part of boys; however, the toys only sold well as a passing fad. There were two series of the original round Madballs collectible toys, each series consisting of eight balls each as well as a collection of Super Madballs, a larger version of the original Madballs shaped like other sports balls, such as the American-football-shaped “Touchdown Terror”, the soccer ball named “Goal Eater”, and the basketball named “Foul Shot”.
There were a total of three super Madballs in the larger series. In addition, four of the first series of 8 Madballs were each made available as water-squirting and miniature wind-up variants during the 1980s. There was also a short series of Head-Popping Madballs, where bodies were attached. Each of the heads on the Head-Popping Madballs were interchangeable and were capable of being ejected from the body, creating more possibilities for enjoyment. There was also a vehicle made for the Madballs. It was called the “Madballs Rollercycle”. There were countless other licensed Madballs items, such as stickers (non trading), shampoos, Valentine’s cards, tablecloths, silly string, party favours, and more along those lines.
Monster in My Pocket was best known as a toy-line released by Matchbox in 1989. It consists of small, soft plastic figures representing monsters, and later other tangentially related characters. In its first run, there were 11 series released. There were over 200 monsters in the collection, most of which were assigned a point value. Among the highest valued monsters were the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Griffin, Great Beast, Behemoth, Hydra, Werewolf (25 points) and among the least being Charon, The Invisible Man, The Witch (5 points). Initially, the high point value was 25, which was elevated to 30 for the second and third series; the fourth, “Super Scary”, series introduced the 50-100 point monsters. The toys were initially solid-colored, though later series would gradually add more painted colors, until they became fully colored under the auspices of new toy makers Corinthian Marketing and Vivid Imaginations.
My Pet Monster is a plush doll first produced by American Greetings in 1986. As one of the few plush dolls marketed to boys at the time, My Pet Monster was popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The doll has blue fur, horns and a fanged smile, and is recognizable by its orange plastic handcuffs. The handcuffs could also be worn by children and came with a breakaway link so that the child could simulate breaking the chain. Several versions of the doll have been released in various sizes and other attributes. Other characters were also created with brightly colored fur and unorthodox names like Gwonk, Wogster and Rark. Their popularity allowed a wealth of merchandise including coloring books, Golden Look-Look books, frame-tray puzzles and various other items.
Capitalizing on the nostalgia in many children of the ’80s, Toymax released a 22-inch tall talking My Pet Monster doll in 2001. It spawned a live-action direct-to-video film in 1986 about a boy who becomes the Pet Monster after being exposed to a statue and changes Incredible Hulk-style when hunger strikes, how a man tries to kidnap him for experimentation, and how his sister helps her brother out of this crisis.
Popples is a toy and television franchise created by Those Characters From Cleveland (TCFC), a subsidiary of American Greetings. Popples resemble brightly colored marsupial teddy bears with long tails ending in a pom-pom. Each Popple character transforms to resemble a brightly colored ball.
The first introduction included nine Popples.
Pretty Cool (P.C. for short) is a large male Popple with blue fur, pink hair, orange cheeks and contrasting orange and yellow ears. Party is a large female Popple, with pink fur, hot pink hair, lavender cheeks and contrasting lavender and pink ears. Pancake is a large female Popple with purple fur, orange hair, pink cheeks and contrasting blue and pink ears. Puzzle is a medium-sized male Popple with orange fur, green hair, pink cheeks and contrasting blue and red ears. Prize is a medium-sized female Popple with dark magenta fur, white hair, lavender cheeks and contrasting green and pink ears. Puffball is a medium-sized female Popple with white fur, yellow hair, orange cheeks and contrasting blue and magenta ears. Pretty Bit is a small female Popple with lavender fur, hot pink hair, pink cheeks and contrasting pink and blue ears. Potato Chip is a small female Popple with yellow fur, pink hair, pink cheeks and contrasting lavender and magenta ears. Putter is a small male Popple with green fur, orange hair, pink cheeks and contrasting red and blue ears.