10 Essential Stuffed Animals of the 1980s

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by Newton Gimmick on September 17, 2013

in Lists, The 80s

In the 1980s stuffed animals were all the rage. I can’t think of an era where stuffed animals have even come close to being as big a business as they were in 80s.

Which stuffed goodies were the best? Let’s take a look at 10 Essential Stuffed Animals of the 1980s- if you didn’t own at least one of these as a child of the 80s, then consider your life incomplete.

*Note that this is a list of animals, not dolls, so if it’s a human it’s not allowed on the list! Sorry Cabbage Patch!

10. Glo Worm

This iconic green glowing creature has been a staple for young children since 1982. Although not the softest toy around (it had a hard plastic battery container/light inside that was removable), the Glo Worm provided youngsters with an alternative to night lights.

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If you thought you heard a monster under the bed, just give the Glo Worm a squeeze and his face would light up to remind you that you’re safe. Truly a trusted friend for children everywhere.

 

9. Furskins

One part country bear and one part Build-A-Bear, the Furskins Bears were popular stuffed animals in wacky human clothes. Each Furskin had a removable hat, clothes and hard rubber boots.

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Their gimmick was simple enough and the ability to change their outfits allowed ultimate customizability. Panosh Place had a real hit on their hands, but the Furskins seemed to reach the height of their popularity when they partnered with Wendy’s for a promotion.

 

8. Alf

The popular alien from Melmac proved to be an even more popular stuffed animal in the 80′s. The Alf television show wasn’t exactly high art, but it was one of the few sitcoms that the whole family could watch an enjoy. Alf had a lot of merchandise, but stuffed versions of the Melmacian proved to be particularly popular.

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Unlike the other characters on this list, there was no one company making Alf dolls, but rather dozens of companies making a variety of different Alfs. It’s no surprise that Alf was popular in stuffed animal form, as it was almost like having the real thing… But safer for your cats!

 

7. Garfield

Although the big orange cat has been popular for decades, he hit his zenith in the 1980′s, particularly in the realm of plush toys. Dakin produced a variety of different lasagna loving cat plushies during the era.

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One of the most popular was a bean bag style Garfield that had a tag that said to take him home and feed him. Just about everyone had some sort of Garfield stuffed animal, usually with a sarcastic phrase attached.

 

6. Shirt Tales

The Shirt Tales were created by Hallmark (the greeting card company) and soon became an icon of the era as they were featured in cartoons, cards and even Hardee’s Adventure Meals!

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Hallmark produced several plush versions of each character and while not as widespread as some of the others on this list, they exist almost entirely in an 80′s vacuum. They were super popular during that time and then they disappeared. As Neil Young (not one of the Shirt Tales) said, it’s better to burn out than fade away!

 

5. Popples

Created by a subsidiary of American Greetings (the other greeting card people) and produced by Mattel, Popples were strange stuffed creatures that could fold into themselves via a pocket. They weren’t quite teddy bears, but they also weren’t traditional marsupials, either.

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Although these were more popular with girls, Popples were very much targeted at both boys and girls. They came in a variety of colors and shapes and could be rolled up into Popple balls. Some were even transformed into backpacks. It’s a gimmick that made little sense, but it was a hit with kids none the less.

 

4. Pound Puppies

Tonka’s Pound Puppies were an overnight success that followed the Cabbage Patch Kids formula. You got registration papers along with a collar, and l.D. tag. Unlike Cabbage Patch, the floppy eared soft plush dogs were aimed at boys and girls.

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A cartoon soon followed and kids of all ages had tons of different stuffed dogs. There were actually lots of kids who wanted these stuffed dogs instead of real dogs and probably a lot of parents who were willing to oblige.

 

NEXT PAGE–> The Top 3: Emotions and Monsters and Bears, oh my!

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  • http://OldSchool.tblog.com OldSchool80s

    Fun topic and great list. None immediately come to mind that you missed, though I would say that Care Bears probably should’ve been ranked on top.

  • http://crookedninja.com Cody

    Excellent list. The only thing I can think that may have been missed are Monchichi but I suppose those could be considered dolls.

  • http://aeiouwhy.blogspot.com/ Dex (@Dex1138)

    You’re damn right My Pet Monster is #1! :D

  • Lamar the Revenger

    NO EWOKS?!?! Booooo!!

  • http://tvandfilmtoys.com Engineernerd

    I would say the most popular stuffed Garfield was the one that suction cups on the paws and stuck to car windows. EVERYBODY had one of those back in the day. (Yes, mine had a sarcastic saying attached.)

  • Tom Mathias (@More0_0Than)

    Whut? No Wuzzles? One of my siblings had a Furskins and let me tell you those boots hurt when thrown at you from across the room…

    • Howard Decker

      I had one of the Wendy’s ones, yeah the boots were harder than actual workboots

  • http://twitter.com/SockOfFleagulls Jason Gross (@SockOfFleagulls)

    My Pet Monster was great, but never had one. I was all about the large Alf with the joker voice box inside.

    I’d consider Teddy at #1 just because he had the cassette player. He was definitely in the cabbage patch, Tickle me Elmo, Furby category for a couple Christmas seasons in the 80s.

  • Hail Mary

    Shirt Tales were cool. I never had any plush toys of them, but I had a 3-D Shirt Tales board game.

  • http://poprewind.com/ Pop Rewind (@PopRewindOnline)

    Teddy Ruxpin freaks me out to this day! Also, I’m not familiar with Furskins at all and totally misread the name at first. I’ll leave that one up to your imagination, let’s just say it wouldn’t make a good stuffed toy.

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