The Care Bears were one of the most popular girls toys of the 1980’s. They went on to spawn the inevitable cartoon and even three films, but in toy form they were available in two different forms, plush teddy bears that were around 10″ high, and smaller plastic poseable action figures around 4″ high. However, they were initially devised for use on greetings cards back in 1981, with the toys, made by Kenner, not appearing until 1983.
Your basic Care Bear was a friendly teddy bear with brightly coloured fur and a big round white belly, and a little red heart on it’s backside! Each Care Bear was designed to represent a particular emotion, activity or sentiment, and this was represented by the emblem on it’s stomach. For example, Tenderheart Bear (the unofficial leader it seemed) had orange fur and a big red heart on his belly, whilst Grumpy Bear had blue fur and a picture of a rain cloud. As such, the toys were all pretty much identical to look at apart from their colour and emblem, which might lead a cynic to believe that they nothing more than an opportunity to make a quick buck. However, taking into account their origins as a greetings card range, this is perhaps a bit of a harsh criticism.
Whilst the larger plush toys were little more than glorified teddy bears, the smaller poseable figures were the more collectable figures. As mentioned earlier the base toy was all but identical in each case, but they’re were often little touches like a different facial expression, or a tuft of hair to differentiate them further. Their was also a range of accessories for them, including such things as a car that looked like a cloud, and if I remember correctly a play set for Care-A-Lot, the magical land up in the clouds where the Care Bears lived. This was where the Care Bears observed the people of Earth, making sure everybody was being cared for properly with the aid of their Caring Meter, a gauge with an arrow that moved between a rainbow (everything’s rosy) and a rain cloud (everything’s not). It was important for the Care Bears to ensure the meter stayed at the rainbow end, otherwise Care-A-Lot would cease to exist.