Who could forget those egg-shaped friends from childhood known as Weebles? Despite their unsteady stature, despite the adversity they faced, they always picked themselves up, standing proud and forever smiling. In their own subtle way, they taught us what to do when life knocks you down.
When Weebles were introduced by Romper Room in 1969, they replaced Fisher Price’s Little People as the most popular plastic people around. These egg-shaped dolls came in an entire family – Dad, Mom, brother, sister, baby, and even a dog. They were shaped like eggs, and painted with cherubic faces and bright bodies.
You could push them over again and again, and the little Weebles would rock right back up to standing – an activity of seemingly limitless fun. Weebles worked with a counterweight inserted into the wider bottom of the toy, so that no matter what angle they were pushed over to, they would roll straight back up again.
Weeble popularity grew, and so did Weeble accessories. First came the house, complete with Weeble Wobble slides to get from floor to floor (Weebles, being egg-shaped, had no feet for stairs.) The family tumbled from the upstairs window, down the yellow slide, and into the family car parked in the Weeble garage.
The house was followed by more luxurious items, such as a camper, a train, a boat, and a plane, all specially designed for the Weebles’ roly-poly needs.
But the Weebles didn’t stop there. Next came the Treehouse, the Marina, the Wigwam for Indian Weebles (which contained a teepee and a horse), a Treasure Island for Pirate Weebles (featuring a tropical island, a treasure trunk, and a ship), and Weeble Wagons, so that Weebles who wanted to travel out to the Wild West would have some means of transportation.
But wait – there’s more! When the Weeble Circus came to town, you could join Wobbles the clown, ringmaster Bart, and Gina the trapeze artist for stilt-walking, trampoline tricks, and even a Weeble-shooting cannon. You could celebrate Halloween with the Weebles Haunted House, or, for the sports-minded, join the Weebles racing team in the Wobble race.
Playskool eventually bought out the toy line, and their popularity began to wane as they became more modernized. The traditional family was replaced with recognizable characters sitting on rounded bottoms. Later, the clear egg shell was changed to a more childlike drawing on colored eggs, and that was replaced with a new sculptural relief-style body.
Sure, they still occupy store shelves and still sell in respectable numbers, but they bear little resemblance to their proud ancestors, a shell of their former self, as it were. with their positive attitudes and unfailing resolve to remain upright, Weebles were role models to a generation.
If you were the proud owner of a few Weebles back in the 70s, perhaps even a few of the well-remembered playsets, let’s hear all about it in the comments section below.