It’s the mid 1980’s and in the world of boys toys Transformers is currently big news. Seeing this great new trend the toy manufacturers started to wonder how they could take this idea and apply it to something that little girls might be more interested in playing with. The result of this curiosity was Popples.
Popples were soft teddy bear like toys that came in a range of bright lurid colours, which in some cases made them look as though they had been made by someone’s Mum using some oddments of fur fabric that were left overs from some other sewing project. Their bodies were furry and they had a shock of fluffy hair on the top of their heads. They also had a long thin tail with a pom-pom like end.
So far so ordinary, so where did the Transformers influence come in? Well, the back of the toy had a big pouch on it. You could push the body of the toy into this pouch so that only the head popped out the top and it looked like it was sat in a little furry sleeping bag.
As with so many eighties toys the Popples got themselves a cartoon series which lasted two seasons, and in the US there was even a short run of comic books. There were also various different Popples lines released over the years, including Sports Popples that turned into different types of balls, Flower and Fruit Popples (no prizes for guessing what these became when pushed into their pouches).
Ultimately though the Popples eventually faded away into obscurity, but as with many toys they have been relaunched in recent years, with a new line up of Popple characters appearing in 2007. These sadly haven’t proved immune to the trend of adding some imagination zapping electronic gubbings to the toy to enable it to make sounds – what’s wrong with the kids making up their own sounds, like we used to do.