Recalling retro toys: polly, ponies and puppies!
Do you remember Polly Pocket, My Little Pony and the Pound Puppy toys? We asked Margaret Simpson, curator, to share her memories of classic 80s toys, and she’s consulted her daughter, who spent quality time with these toys in the 80s. Does their discussion trigger any fond memories for you? Let us know in the comments below!
In the 1980s my daughter’s favourite toys were Polly Pocket, My Little Pony and Pound Puppy. We have quite different memories of these toys.
Polly Pocket was like a miniature doll’s house in a flip-top compact, complete with a tiny doll. It was the ideal toy to take shopping and visiting, small enough to carry but big enough to keep my daughter amused.
Yes, I loved Polly Pocket because I could carry a tiny portable doll’s house anywhere we went with all the different rooms. I’d play with it on the train and even remember taking it overseas when I was five because it was a wonderful portable toy. Although I loved the Polly Pocket concept I found it really annoying that the little doll didn’t have a moveable waist or limbs. I would make up a story moving her to various parts of the house but found it frustrating that when I’d sit her on the lounge or the bed she’d fall off. I also didn’t like hearing the doll rattling around inside her house when I was carrying it along. I used to worry that I’d loose her somewhere because she was so tiny and wasn’t attached to the house. I was also envious of my friend’s “McMansion” Polly Pockets with garages, gazebos, swimming pools and palm trees and a whole family of dolls but I could take always take my Polly Pocket anywhere.
My Little Pony
My Little Pony was a small fluoro-coloured plastic horse with a long wavy mane and tail. It came with a little plastic brush. Like every little girl I suppose she always wanted a horse and My Little Pony would be galloped along any available surface, along train or car seats or magically flying through the air. She would spend hours plaiting the tail, it was wonderful for her manual dexterity.
I got my first Little Pony for my 3rd birthday. She was purple with a light purple mane and tail with a lovely rainbow pattern on her rump. I called her Rainbow. A couple of years later I got a hand-me-down, pre-loved yellow one with a messy curly mane and tail which had had some serious plaiting problems. This pony probably suffered from multi bathing experiences. I didn’t give this one a name because I didn’t like it as much. I’d spend hours combing and plaiting My Little Pony’s soft shiny mane and tails. I suppose I learnt basic hairdressing skills and certainly perfected my plaiting at a young age, especially tiny multiple plaits on the tail. The ponies were wonderful entertainment and would occupy me for hours on long car trips as I could continuously style and restyle them and I’d never get bored.
Pound Puppy was given to my daughter by visiting friends. It was a bit of an expensive soft toy fad that we wouldn’t have bought for her ourselves but she did love him. It must have been related to some sort of TV tie-in because there were all sorts of extras you could buy like plastic kennels and bones and various books. I think Pound Puppy even came with an adoption certificate from the dog pound.
Yes Pound Puppy was a favourite. I vaguely remember the Pound Puppy TV shows and I’d borrow Pound Puppy books from the library. I don’t know whether it was his squashed in face, floppy ears or soulful expression which appealed to me. He looked like he needed me, and 24 years on I still have him.