Remembering - My Pet Monster
Remembering – My Pet Monster
There were very few plush toys that a young boy of the mid 1980’s could own and not be laughed at. Whilst our girl counterparts flaunted their silky soft teddies around, we were stuck with our rock hard Transformers to cuddle up to at night. Many an injury occurred when you accidentally rolled on top of Optimus Prime in the middle of the night and ended up with his Laser Blaster stuck up your nose. Meanwhile, our sisters slept silently, cuddled up with their Pooches and Pound Puppies. Girls had all sorts of colourful and cuddly figures to choose from, including the ball transforming Popples. If you can’t remember them, Popples were very popular pom-pom based marsupial teddy bears. Marketed for girls and produced by a subsidiary of American Greetings called AmToy, these multicoloured teddies also had a male counterpart, My Pet Monster. The geniuses at AmToy came up with an amazing way of selling soft toys to Boys, Monsters!
They were basically giant teddy bears, but dressed up as a ugly looking creatures. The doll had blue fur, horns and soft plastic molded fangs, nose and eyes. But it’s the bright orange plastic handcuffs that everyone remembers. The cuffs could fit on the Monster or worn by children, but don’t worry moms and dads, these were sadistic constraints. The main cuffs fixed with velcro so there was never any risk of Young Johnny chaining his sister to the table leg. The chains also had a breakaway link in the middle, which created a awesome simulated chain break when you pulled the cuffs apart from one another. The ugly looking doll and accessories made My Pet Monster the ultimate symbol of cool, and any kid that had one was begrudgingly admired by the those that did not.
One of the dolls biggest selling points, besides it’s design, was its size. It was huge. Its head was way bigger than any childs, and it’s soft squidgy body was a comfortable size to cuddle up to at night. There were several different designs available too. There were hand puppet dogs called “Rogster”, “Gwonk” and “Rark” whose mouths could be manipulated from inside like a glove. They had little pouches on their tummies, where you could slip your hand in and move the mouth. There was also a purple variation Monster called My Football Monster, with a different nose and teeth, that came with a American football hat and jersey, because…Sports!
Being a popular toy during the mid 80’s,My Pet Monster also spawned a short lived children’s cartoon series, that only ran for a single series. The show followed a boy named Max who owns a stuffed “Monster” toy, that came to life when its cuffs were removed. This was often utilised as a plot tool to keep the secret of Monster’s existence from others. Yes, they Toy Storied the hell out of this character before Toy Story was even a glint in John Lasseter eye.
A direct to video film was released a year before the TV series that saw Max turn into the monster. This story was reworked for the show, introducing Monster as a separate character, which I guess was a better idea. Who wants to cuddle up to a creature that was once a boy?… Yuck!
More Recently a A 22-inch talking My Pet Monster was re-designed and re-released by Toymax in 2001, obviously Capitalizing on the nostalgia of all those fathers that grew up with the ugly blue beast.
My Pet Monster was an amazing idea, and it’s conception was well designed and implemented. Many of us have very fond memories of this toy, and I bet more than one of you will be popping up into your loft or attic to drag down those old toy boxes, in the hope of finding an old friend. My monster was well loved and remembered with fondness. Yes, I was young boy and expected to play with macho toys such as He-Man and Centurions, but I was also a young child. My Pet Monster allowed me to be both without losing my dignity.
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