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Old School 80s Toys With a New Twist

Updated on February 20, 2012

I remember waking up Christmas morning as a young child and running with my older sister to our living room. Santa would leave special, unwrapped toys under the Christmas tree, and piles of other beautifully packaged gifts were placed around them. One year I remember as we rounded the corner and our eyes scanned the room for our Santa presents, we were giddy with excitement as we found Strawberry Short Cake and My Little Ponies; just what we had asked for. I never thought that years later my own daughter would be begging for those same toys I loved as a child. Many of the toys from my childhood are back. They have revamped the packaging and made over the products, but these toys are back and hotter than ever.

Strawberry Shortcake

Then: Strawberry Shortcake made her debut in 1977 on the cover of an American Greetings greeting card. In the 1980s Strawberry Shortcake became a huge fad in the United States with the introduction of a video game, stickers, and a clothing line. The original dolls each had a dessert theme and had their own corresponding pet, clothing line, and home in Strawberry Land that matched this theme. Towards the mid to late eighties this fad began to fade and soon left the market. There have been several attempts to revitalise the franchise over the years. In 1991, 2002, and 2006 the dolls hit the market again in attempt to bring back the short lived popularity in the 80s. Each attempt had little success.

Now : In 2009 Hasbro bought the rights to Strawberry Shortcake and has recently revealed their new line of dolls and products. Strawberry and her friends have had cute makeovers and a new theme, growing better all the time. Their latest look is modern, but still perfect for little girls. The focus of the Strawberry Shortcake gang is friendship and helping others. I like that they are trying to promote these good values with young girls. My daughter is going to be three soon and is mesmerized by the adorable, colorful dolls and their "berry sweet" world.

My Little Pony

Then:My Little Pony first appeared in 1981 as My Pretty Pony, introduced by Hasbro. In 1983 they changed the name to My Little Pony. These toys were a huge hit in the 80s. At one point they even out sold Barbie. The ponies inspired a full length movie and two mini-series. The original line of toys ran from 1983 - 1995. They relaunched the product world wide in 2003. In 2008 My Little Ponies celebrated their 25 year anniversary.

Now: The My Little Pony franchise has had a lot of success over the years. In 2008 Hasbro decided to feature seven My Little Pony characters; Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Minty, Sweetberry, and Kimono. The newer ponies have smaller bodies and bigger heads. Their eyes are also larger giving them a younger, baby look. The response to this new breed of pony is great. I recently attended a birthday party with my five year old son. We picked out a My Little Pony play set for his friend Emma. As she torn into his gift, a huge smile lit up her face. She then turned to him, batted her little eyelashes and exclaimed,

"Joshua! It's just what I always wanted!!!!"

He was feeling pretty cool!

My Little Ponies are everywhere now. This company has done a great job of continuing to recreate this product successfully for many years, and this cute, new line is my favorite so far.


Then: Tranformers began as a toy line by Microman and Diaclone toys in Japan. Hasbro bought Ciaclone and in 1984 released the Transformers in the USA. The toys and T.V. series that followed were a huge hit. The aspect of transforming a toy into something different (a robot in disguise) was a big selling point. In 1986 they made a cartoon film,Transformers: The Movie. The film turned out to be a box office flop, but little boys around the coutry continued to love and follow the cartoons for a few years. After the toy line began to fizzle it was relaunched in 1993. These new action figures had brighter colors, and many contained lights and sound. This line came and went quickly, ending in 1995.

Now: The release of the new Transformers movie in 2007 and the sequel Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen in 2009 has thrown these toys back into the spotlight. The newest line includes a now bigger Transformer (like the ones featured in the film) along with a human alliance. The characters featured are Bumblebee with Sam, Sideswipe with Sergeant Epps or Autobot Skids with Mikeala. Another big seller is the Transformers Revenge of the fallen Video game. Transformers are just cool toys. My husband found some of his originals at his parents, and my sons continue to beg for them when we go to visit. This franchise will continue to thrive.

G.I. Joe

Then: G.I.Joe was actually first launched in 1964 . G.I. means government issue. The G.I.Joes were figures made to represent U.S. soldiers from all branches of the military. The original figures stood 12 inches high.  G.I Joe didn't really take off until the line was redone and released in 1984. The new and improved G.I. Joes stood 3 3/4 inches high and now featured additional play sets and vehicles. This was also when they created the background good vs. evil story of the G.I. Joes and Cobra Command. In 1985 they started the cartoon series. It caught on fast and then faded just as quickly.

Now: G.I. Joes are back and hot on the toy market right now. The summer blockbuster G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, released in 2009, was a box office hit. As of October 18, 2009 the film is estimated to have grossed $301,044,450 worldwide. There is even already talk of a sequel. With their new sleek, black uniforms, the new toys are updated and modern. The price tag is even right with most of the figures and toys falling between the $10-$40 range. I even had many G.I.Joes come to my house trick-or-treating this year, and my youngest son was proud to be one of them.

The 80s are coming back and, as long as we're talking toys and not make-up, I'm cool with that. With Christmas loaming it's actually fun shopping for the old school toys I had as a child. They are back, new, and improved. I just wish I had saved those My Little Ponies and Strawberry Shortcake dolls!


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    • profile image

      ''RAVEN'' 6 years ago

      ''With the holidays(Thanksgiving,Christmas,...) , just around the corner ,time to start thinking about holiday shopping,especialy for:the 1986 COBRA NIGHT RAVEN S3P BLACK V.I.P.JET TRANSPORT PLANE''.

    • MissE profile image

      MissE 6 years ago from Texas


    • andrebreynolds profile image

      andrebreynolds 6 years ago

      Very cute pony toys. Great hub!

    • MissE profile image

      MissE 6 years ago from Texas

      I KNOW!!!!! I'm going to miss the 1 hour special though! :(

    • profile image

      Coupons 6 years ago

      I loved thundercats glad they are bringing that back

    • MissE profile image

      MissE 7 years ago from Texas

      Wow! I real collector! :D

    • profile image

      ''raven''hans 7 years ago

      '' .I really did not go HOG WILD and spend whads of cash and buy every g.i.joe action figure and vehicle from 1982 to 1994 and beyond. The ONLY vehicle that REALLY grabbed my attention in 1986 was: The 1986 Cobra Night Raven S3P. Seeing the 2009 ROC Night Raven brought back memories of how popular the forementioned vintage 1986 Cobra Night Raven was.

    • MissE profile image

      MissE 7 years ago from Texas

      Really, not a Pony fan?;) I'd be worried if you were!

    • TurtleDog profile image

      TurtleDog 7 years ago

      Ha! Brings back memories. It feels like yesterday the 80's. I can't say I owned a My Pretty Pony, but I certainly remember the commercials and the popularity. Thanks for the post!

    • profile image

      educational toys 8 years ago

      I was a big fan of the transformers when I was a kid! I remember playing with them for hours with my friends.... hands down the toys they make right now are ten times better that the ones we had back then. But when I got my transformer 23 years ago, I was the happiest kid on the block!

    • MissE profile image

      MissE 8 years ago from Texas

      Thanks! I love all the revitalized 80s toys. So fun. Thanks for the comments! :) Hyper color would be awesome! :D

    • profile image

      80s child 8 years ago

      Awesome hub, it does seem like the 80s are making a comeback! Will hyper color come back? hahaha

    • Lissa Lynn profile image

      Lissa Lynn 8 years ago from upstate NY

      Another great hub, MissE :) It seems like all the 80's toys are back now. Did you get to see the GI Joe movie? It was actually really good :) I enjoyed the first Transformers movie more than the second one, but it was still ok :) I was a big Strawberry Shortcake fan..Holly Hobby, also. Thanks for a great hub :)


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