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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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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