Monday, July 27, 2009

Highly Dubious and/or Forgotten 80's Toys

Another old LaGremlin Land post that would have been lost to the Aether later this year. Originally posted 10/20/05.

First, you may have noticed that most of the cartoons and toys of the 80's followed this formula: (1) Be colorful; (2) Be Sci-Fi and/or Fantasy-themed; (3) Make very, VERY little sense.
A little research proved that some 80's toys have since faded into obscurity. I was doing a Google search for "the Wuzzles", and I was hoping to find some other opinions and information and pictures and stuff. Well, I found a picture in some little auction website where a guy was selling three Wuzzles… and three Firffels.
I jumped up out of my chair screaming, "THAT'S what they were called!?!" And I did my wee little Happy Dance! And I reset my Google search to find more Firffel information…
All I got was more auction sites. Nobody remembered these things! Curiosity about Firffels led me to searching for the BeMores. Then the Jumbles. Nothing! Nobody remembers these completely insane 80's toys!
Well, I remember them, and I know I'm not insane, even though these descriptions might seem too nutty to be for real. So here's my little tribute to three toy lines that nobody shows love for anymore. All of these toys were plush stuffed animals, they each had a story to go along with them, and they were each sold in a now-defunct Bradlees department store in Quincy Point, as I recall. Pictures will be provided whenever they are available. Note that this information is based largely on my unreliable and fuzzy memory.
WTF Firffels?
(Picture from ebay.) These are the guys that inspired this article. One of the auction sites I found them for sale at lovingly described the Firffels as "Wuzzle Rip-offs". That sums up their likely genesis, I'll bet. Remco probably saw the mint that Disney made with their cute little genetically mutated furballs and said, "WAH! Me TOO!!!"
Firffels could be renamed "The Wuzzles Who Didn't Make It". Here is a list of the characters I can remember:
Burtle = Half Bear, Half Turtle
Butterfrog = Half Butterfly, Half Frog
Fird = Half Fish, Half Duck (Woah, Remco can dodge bullets…)
Dicken = Half Dog, Half Chicken (Or not.)
Take a look at that there lineup and you see why this didn't catch on. Splice together a monkey and a rhino and you are hardcore. A dog crossed with a chicken is stupid and reeks of poo. More importantly, this toy line probably failed because kids aren’t stupid. They can tell when they're being had.
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(Picture from my own Bemore.) "See a BeMore, well it can be MORE! / See a BeMore, well it can be MORE! / See a BeMore, well it can be MORE! / I love my BeMore dinosaur!"
Obviously the result of a fever dream, BeMores were essentially Transformers for girls. Make a stuffed animal, but make it one that, through the magic of oddly placed pockets and Velcro flaps, can transform into something almost but not quite entirely different. Also, throw dinosaurs into the mix. Dinosaurs kick ass. Everybody loves them.
I think there were a grand total of three BeMore characters. One was a sauropod that turned into - a magical dragon! Another was a ceratopsian that transformed into - a magical dragon! And the last one, the fellow pictured here, was a carnosaur who transforms into - a bunny rabbit!
Nope, just kidding. He turns into a magical dragon also! Thank you BeMores for supporting the Legendary Creatures = Misinterpreted Fossils theory, better known as the We Don't Think People are Capable of Using Their Imaginations theory. (I feel bad for Gryphons.)
Perhaps the most amusing thing about these toys was the fact that they had stolen their names from some My Little Ponies. I think one was called Gusty and another might have been called Heart Throb. I think we should stop right there and show you more fun things to do with Velcro that will mess with kids' heads.

Sadly, I couldn't find a picture, but our next toy collection is the Jumbles!
Now this one is clearly the work of a madman. Follow this story.
Once upon a time, some cute stuffed animals were outside playing and having a fun party. But then an accident happened. Based upon the results, the accident might have involved the local Ninja clan having a demonstration on proper sword and throwing-star safety. My memory's a bit fuzzy on this point.
Anyway, afterwards, all the little stuffed animals were lying in pieces on the ground. The Ninjas hastily put them all back together using the secret long lost Velcro Jutsu, but got everyone -wait for it- JUMBLED! And from then on, the stuffed animals, who now proudly called themselves Jumbles, could exchange their body parts with one-another through the magic of Velcro!
W-h-a-a-a-a-a-a-t???
Yes, what you got in your box was a stuffed animal whose limbs had all been hacked off and attached with Velcro. So you and your sister, who presumably got a different Jumble character, could have hours and hours of fun switching limbs with each other.
I would give anything within reason to see a cartoon based upon this concept. Can you imagine how wickedly great it would be?

DANNY DACHSHUND - "Dude, the basketball tournament is this weekend! I need to borrow your legs!"
GERRY GIRAFFE - "No way. Besides, I'm already loaning them to Benny the Bass."
BENNY BASS - (Weeping with joy) "I can walk! Listen! I CAN WALK!!!"

Oh yes, I would watch the hell out of that cartoon. Too bad it doesn't exist.
Well, I hope you enjoyed these weird toys. And I can only hope that somebody out there is doing their Happy Dance because of this. That would be great.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

For your information the firffels came out first. Disney's Michael Eisner at the time liked the concept so much that he decided to rip the idea of combining animals. Bcause of Disneys marketing muscle The Wuzzles over came the Firffels and put them into obscurity.

Trish said...

I can kinda see that happening (I didn't know because, as stated above, it's impossible to find information about any of these toys). After all, it's fairly well-known that the Go-Bots were released long before the Transformers and it's not hard to see who won that duel. I hate to be like this, but I would like some hard evidence of Eisner ripping off the Firffels, though.

Anonymous said...

For years I have tried to find out what these things were. I saw one commercial back in the day, and it made such an impression on me that I had my mom sew pink net butterfly wings on a stuffed frog I had.

I only remember the frog jumping to catch a butterfly and suddenly sprouting wings, then flying over a river (pond?) where the bear/turtle thing was swimming.

I am unaware of Michael Eisener ripping them off for the Wuzzles, but I do know I saw these long before the Wuzzles. I was 4-5 when I saw the commercial, and about 7 or 8 when the Wuzzles premiered.

This is the first time I've found any info on these guys, and I was seriously starting to think I'd dreamed them up!

Trish said...

^ I seem to recall seeing the Firffels commercial at around the same time Wuzzles were just getting popular (the toys predate the cartoon). But there is also supposedly an old picture book featuring the Firffel characters; and I only know about that thanks to a comment in TV Tropes. It's irritating that there is almost no information about this franchise to be found anywhere.

venusboi79 said...

So I decided to do a little research, now that I have a name for these things.

Amazon lists the book "Have You Ever Heard of a Fird?" by Othello Bach, published by Caedmon, 1984. Othello Bach has a website (othellobach.com), where some information can be found.

Apparently, there were plans for a television show, produced by Hanna Barbera, and other books. Not a lot of information on what happened, but it appears that Caedmon was bought up, and the book was "lost".

The website has a clip obviously meant for buyers, which shows two commercials, and refers to plans for clothing and the aforementioned television show.

ghostofthedoll.com has a few pictures of the toys and plushes.

Doesn't clear up much, but I'm still glad to finally know these things actually existed!

Trish said...

^ Thank you so much! That film clip is fascinating. Man, this might deserve a follow-up post.

iheartkatamari said...

This is very nifty! BTW, I also would watch the heck out of a Jumbles cartoon.