If you were one of those Child of the 1980’s that were actually born in the Seventies, then you may remember a range of girls toys named Holly Hobbie.
Holly Hobbie was not actually a toy range first and foremost however, in fact the rag doll style characters bearing the name were actually originally conceived for use on greetings cards. There are a surprising number of toy lines which started off this way, with the Care Bears and Rainbow Brite being two other examples I can think of off the top of my head.
Another interesting fact about Holly Hobbie is that the name for these old fashioned looking characters actually came from the artist that created them. Denise Holly Ulinskas was the artist in question, who married a man named Hobbie and so became known as Holly Hobbie! When she originally sold her designs to American Greetings the character had no name, so Holly’s name was used to refer to the images, and I guess that name must have just stuck.
The Holly Hobbie characters always had a little air of mystery about them, since most of the time they were drawn side on or from behind, and very little of the face (if any) was visible due to the large bonnet worn on the head. Obviously when the toy line was started the doll had to have a face, but it was always the bonnet, rag doll style dress and brown boots which took precedence.
Sadly though, I now come to the point where I need to have a little rant about things. You see, the Holly Hobbie name is still in use, although if I were Denise I think I would be quite dismayed at what her name is being put to now. In 2006, Holly Hobbie was given a relaunch, and as part of this given a bit of a revamp and turned into that which you see to the right…
Hmm, hardly the same thing I’m sure you’ll agree. They’ve taken a unique and beautifully designed character, and turned it into yet another “me too” tweenager with blonde hair and jeans to front a cartoon series and launch another indistinguishable from the rest girl’s toy line.
This is an instance where I can only believe that the Holly Hobbie name was used because the parents of the current generation of kids would recognise the name and suggest that perhaps their daughter might like to watch the cartoon, only to discover once sat down with them in front of the TV that their childhood memories have been crushed into oblivion.
To finish off on a happy note then, why not take a look at Karen’s Holly Hobbie World, which has loads and loads about the original Holly Hobbie, both the character and the artist.