I have always been a person that has been honest about my most embarrassing moments. Have I tripped on a curb? Sure. Have I wet my pants? Who hasn’t. Did I own a Cabbage Patch Kid? Nope, I had two. Embarrassment is all in the eye of the beholder and I don’t feel embarrassment of shame over owning these awesome toys from my youth. The only thing I’m guilty of is liking is cute stuff and being in touch with my feelings and shit.
5. Furskins (Coleco, 1983)
The first on this list is by far one of my favorites. Furskins was another creation of the purveyor of cuteness and the harbinger of Black Friday hysteria Xavier Roberts. No more than the re-invention of the wheel, Furskins were well made Teddy Bears that featured some of the trademarks that Roberts made popular with the Cabbage Patch Kids a year before in 1982. The bears features Roberts signature, had a “real” belly button, and well made clothing. Forgoing the whole adoption and “no two alike” angles, the Furskins were characters and were more easily produced than their Cabbage spawned kin.
As far as characters go I have no recollection of any of that, but an old ad says the Furskins are…“The Most Bodacious, Beguiling, Bear-Faced Characters Ever to Come Out of North Georgia’s Woods!”. All I remember is that I was really, really on a camouflage kick in the early-to-mid ’80s. With movies like Rambo, Missing in Action, and Commando highlighting my weekend movie rentals finding a Teddy Bear who wore camouflage just made sense. The bear in question was named J. Livingstone Clayton or Scout for short and he came with a camouflage shirt and pants, big chunky boots, socks, and a little red plaid hunters cap. This dude is in a box somewhere at my parents house, complete and in great condition…thinks it’s time for me to bust out the classic line “Mr. Livingstone I presume?” and free him from his corrugated cardboard cage.
4. Get Along Gang (TOMY,1984)
The Get Along Gang was another brainchild of American Greetings after the success of the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. Sadly this line of lovable characters didn’t have the lasting power of it cutesy brethren. The cartoon only lasted 13 episodes (plus a pilot)in 1984, but it spawned a ton of toys, puzzles, and books. I was lucky enough to get the three boy characters Bingo Beaver, Zipper Cat, and Montgomery Moose.
First off, I was a huge fan of this show during its brief lifespan and the quality of these toys showed that they planned for the Get Along Gang to live a very long life. All of the stuffed animals were stitched strong, had thick stuffing, and had durable clothing. Each member of the gang also came with a pair of plastic roller skates that reminded me of the real plastic ones that were made in this era by Fisher Price. They even used different materials for the clothing from Montgomery’s corduroy pants to Zipper’s terry cloth workout gear (yes folks, people used to wear terry cloth). Again, these are still in storage at my parent’s house and in great condition, which is testament to how well they were made.
3. These Charm Things? (Various, ’80s)
In my defense some of these charm things were the perfect size for my action figures. Just look at the picture above, which I found online, there is a cool scimitar and bubbly looking baby blue battle axe. Break off the dangly thing and it fit the hands of a Masters of the Universe figure. The little skateboard (not pictured) was rad for my Joes to do some gnarly tricks AND take down Cobra.
When these things came out they were EVERYWHERE. They were the newest fad and I was probably walking a fine line by thinking I too could play with them…but I was never one to give a crap when it came to toys. I’m sure to most people these would fall into the jewelry category but I saw them for what they really were….toys. If it helps my case I never ever own one of the plastic necklaces of bracelets that went with these.
I’ve seen stuff like this is making a comeback and I have to admit that I still get that nostalgic charge when I see them. I think it says something though when my own daughter says they look stupid…what she know.
4. Koosas (Coleco, 1984)
Oh my! My furry (anthropomorphic animal) obsession started early. But I couldn’t help myself, these little bastards are cute. Created by Xavier Roberts, these cuddly creatures were the friends/companions of the Cabbage Patch Kids. Sharing the same body construction as their humanoid friends/masters, The Koosas had a had vinyl head with yarn hair and a soft nylon body. But some had just cotton bodies while others had a velour like body/fur. They also included the trademark belly button and Robert’s signature on the butt.
The Koosas came in three styles, Cats, Dogs, and Lions. They had clothes akin to the Cabbage Patch Kids and came with an adoption paper. Unlike their human brethren, they came nameless…because you know…they’re pets. So you name your new little buddy and then write the name on a sticker that was included, said sticker then goes on the collar and BAM…you have a new friend for life.
I had two of these Koosas, a cat and lion (I guess). I always assumed it was just a fuzzy dog because of the hair. The one in the picture above with the brown hair and the blue overalls. Again, these are in storage at my parents house. I really need to wait until my parents aren’t there and sneak in and get my stuff.
5. Cabbage Patch Dolls (Coleco, 1982)
I just realized this list is very heavy on Xavier Roberts’ entire toy catalog. I was a fan, what can I say. I have no shame in it, but recently my parents made fun of me about it at my daughter’s birthday party. Long story short, they don’t come to birthday parties anymore. AND they bought them for me…WTF.
I contribute wanting a Cabbage Patch Kid to two things. One, they were so popular. Hell the whole Black Friday chaos and violence thing started with these chubby cheeked cherubs. That alone drove a lot of my fascination with them. Secondly, I had no siblings or close family members that were younger than me. So I needed something to take care of and practice being nurturing, even if it was a doll (and it was way before the acceptable My Buddy was released). I never got to crazy with the doll and honestly its coolness ran out pretty quick, but I was proud to own one.
Again, I owned two of them. Both in storage…yet again. One was a little brown haired dude and the other was a bald headed dude (the one I really wanted) which was dressed as a matador (not what I really wanted).
So a bull fighting bald dude….that screams manly, so nothing wrong with that!