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

Polly Pocket

Mother says:
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.

Daughter says:
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 Ponys

My Little Pony's currently on display in the 80s Are Back exhibition

Mother says:
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.

Daughter says:
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.

The prized purple Lil' Pony!

The prized purple Lil' Pony!

Pound Puppy

Pound Puppies

Mother says:
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.

Daughter says:
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.



10 Responses to “Recalling retro toys: polly, ponies and puppies!”
  1. Angela says:

    I still have my Pound Puppies too! They were siblings and I think I named them snuggles and cuddles. Weird. I also have a little poodle which I believe was part of the “Pound Puppy Yuppies” range.

    I don’t actually remember the TV show – did it maybe follow on from the toys?

  2. renae says:

    I always wanted a ‘real’ pound puppy, but my mum had a friend who made pound puppy knock offs for all the local kids at a third of the price, so I ended up with one of those.

    I went searching recently for a retro pound puppy pattern, just out of interest, to see if there were any still in circulation. I did find one for sale on Ebay!

    I also don’t remember the TV show, I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t get it here in Australia…I still remember the time when I only have 3 channels to watch on TV, and long summers of cricket test matches.

    Pound Puppy Yuppies? For the aspirational child? La di da! :)

  3. Jo says:

    OMG. Pound Puppies were my favourite toy in the world. My first one was named Ralph after my grannie’s dog. My parents decided that we would have cats so Ralph was the closest thing I had to a dog at home. He went everywhere with me. A birthday or Christmas diversified my collection with the new small sized Pound Puppy (Pound Puppy Newborns) and the New-Gen Pound Puppy being the Pound Puppy Yuppie which wasn’t as good – face not as nice and not so solid in construction. They came with a collar, an adoption certificate and my parents bought me a carry case for the Yuppie. There were also massive Pound Puppies you could buy that were always outrageously priced at Toyworld.

    There were definitely books since I had two or three of them and there was a board game too. I seem to recall watching them on TV so there was either a TV show or a couple of videos. (Should really IMDB that but too lazy.)

    Now I have my own real-life doggie. :)

  4. Melissa says:

    I remember the pound puppies cartoon! I was an ’84 baby and had all of those wonderful toys! The sparkley glitter range of my little ponies, the scented ones! My favourite was Polly Pocket – I had three of them! One of them even had a light and I could make my Polly’s twist from side to side.

    I am wondering if anyone remembers Fuzzy Felts? They should be here too :)

  5. Renae Mason says:

    I don’t recall Fuzzy Felts but I’m intrigued. Does anyone have a photo or a link for these?

  6. Renae Mason says:

    @Jo I love it that you have your own real-life doggie now!

  7. Nola says:

    They still make fuzzy felts now. It came in a box and was a different theme and had a backing board and then lots of different felt pieces to create a scene. Here’s a link to a vintage one on ebay:

    Many of the 80′s toys are coming back now – they’ve reincarnated polly pocket, strawberry shortcake, pound puppies, littlest pet shop, my little pony, brief reincarnations of rainbow brite (not sold in Australia unfortunately). The originals in all cases are far better in my opinion! I was born in ’88 but had older sisters so I had a lot of their toys and today I collect girls toys from the 80′s and 90′s

  8. 80s Baby says:

    I remember the polly pocket. I loved this toy, I could take it on long car rides and once I was done just close all the small piece up inside so not to lose them. It was cute and every thing was compact. Far better than the polly pocket of today.

  9. seesaw says:

    i loved my polly pocket.

  10. Pete says:

    And of cousrse – don’t forget Cabbage Patch Kids. I lived in an area that has a high ratio of girls to boys and always was jealous that they all had their Kids and I never got one. Looking back, they were ugly things, but the girls loved them!


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