Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down!
So went the advertising jingle for Weebles, and a truer word has never been said. With their rounded bottoms are slightly odd appearance, Weebles always managed to return to a standing position no matter what you did with them. I guess it was possible to carefully make some of them stand on their heads, but that’s a hand stand, not falling down!
The original Weebles toys first appeared in the early 1970’s and were made by Airfix. These Weebles were basically egg shaped, with a coloured bottom and the top half made in an almost flesh like pinky colour with moulded on details such as arms and face. They normally also had hair or a hat which was a different colour to the base and body.
For some reason though the eyes were two little holes in the plastic. Look at the face as an adult and they feel a little disturbing, staring into your very soul with their blank expression. Funnily enough though, as a child I don’t remember them seeming scary at all. Maybe I’ve watched too many tacky horror films about murderous toys that come to life?
The Weebles range also included vehicles, such as a pickup truck or a bus, and other pieces of play equipment and furniture, amongst them tables, chairs, roundabouts, swings and so on. These often had little hollowed out dimples in which the Weebles could be placed.
By the time the Eighties rolled around Weebles’ popularity had attracted attention from large corporations and branded toys including some from Disney and Sesame Street were produced. However, it wasn’t long before this classic Weeble design sadly disappeared, to be replaced in the Nineties by Playskool/Hasbro with a chunkier, larger design with sticking out arms and more colourful details.
Whilst the new range of toys is unquestionably far more friendly looking, I still feel a pang of sadness whenever I see them for the dear old, simpler toys I enjoyed playing with as a child.