March 21, 2009

Happy 50th "Birthday" To All The Little People Out There

fp_983_thisoldtoy.jpg

What could warm a parent's heart more than sharing a treasured memory of a favorite toy with his own child? Today, March 21st, is the "officially marked" 50th birthday of Fisher-Price's Little People.

That's right, the awesome little figurines which were ruined in 1990 by Fisher-Price and some pesky choke hazard regulations from the Nanny State first went on sale 50 years ago today. The momentous occasion was celebrated across the land in--where else?--Toys R Us stores. Did you buy anything to mark the historic moment, which fortuitously fell on a weekend?

Because it's totally made up marketing nonsense.

Fisher-Price was gluing recognizable Little People--peg-shaped, ball-headed figures--into their trucks for years. 1959 is just the year someone finally figured out they might be more fun if they were detachable. So if it's anything at all, #983, the Safety School Bus is the toy that marks the end of Little Peoples' years of subjugation by the tools of their corporate overlords.

Also made up: the March 21st thing. The 40th anniversary of Little People was held, as expected, in 1999, in conjunction with the annual ToyFest celebration in Fisher-Price's hometown of East Aurora, New York on August 28th.

Personally, I'll be marking my 2010 calendar--with a dart--to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first Little Family, who first pulled up in #234, the Nifty Station Wagon, in 1960. With its fake wood paneling and the convertible roof, the sweet, Rambler-looking wagon was way ahead of its time. And you know what? Screw it, so am I. Happy 50th Anniversary, Nifty Station Wagon!

fp_wagon_thisoldtoy.jpg

Happy Birthday, Little People! [crunchgear]
Our LIttle People Friends are turning 50 [some time this year, we don't care when exactly]! [fisher-price.com]
For bigger images and comprehensive-if-labyrinthine info from the Little People Experts, check out This Old Toy [thisoldtoy.com]
Aug 28, 1999: Fisher-Price Little People Celebrate 40th Birthday at ToyFest [press release, via thefreelibrary.com]

2 Comments

We love the Little People in this house. It has been the one toy that my girls who are nearly five years apart in age are able to play with together which makes me and them very happy. I remember playing with the set I had as a kid until I was 12 or 13!

We LOVED the Little People when we were kids, to the point that my sister & I chipped in & bought the Play Family Village when it came out - I was 12 & she was 10. Long in the tooth for the Little People? I dunno, but I know we LOVED that thing! My mom saved a bunch of the old stuff for our son & we'll be pulling it out anytime now. We have, however, confiscated some of the new Little People so the poor little vehicles move around driverless. I can't help it; I hate those hideous people.

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