In general, the ’80s was a pretty weird decade. We collectively made questionable fashion choices, odd television shows and movies, and we were shameless in our cheesiness. But the toys were a whole new level of weird. First of all, there’s the names. Wuzzles. Ring Raiders. Poppies. And of course, there’s the toys themselves. The Wuzzles, for example, were hybrids of two different animal species. The Ring Raider toy planes were inexplicably linked to rings. Popples were made to tuck themselves into an odd ball, while just their tale with a little weird pom pom thing remained exposed. The dolls were of course creepy – there was a line called My Child intended to resemble actual children, but they just came off as unsettling instead. The Manglor toys could be weirdly shaped, squashed or even torn apart by particularly macabre children. The Infaceable toys had the eerie ability to change their faces from regular old human to animal like, which seems more like a horror movie than a toy. Spectra dolls were dolls who were actually aliens…from a planet called Shimmeron. Feeling nostalgic? Keep reading to find out more about the 15 weirdest toys from the ’80s.
Like many toys from the ‘80s, the Wuzzles were based on a television cartoon series of the same name. This cartoon series aired beginning in September 1985 on CBS. What makes these toys weird is that they are animal hybrids of two different species. They are short and round, and each has wings on their backs. The hybrid theme extends to their homes and even to what they eat. For example, they eat apple berries or can live in homes called castlescrapers. Get it? These odd toys were displayed as figurines, in children’s books, and even as disturbing plush toys.
14. Ring Raiders
This short lived toy line consisted of miniature toy planes. They were packs of four, and each had a unique color scheme. Ultimately, a dozen packs were released to consumers — six Skull Squadron and six Ring Raiders. They were oddly set up on a plastic ring, allowing the toys to be swivelled around. They were odd looking toys, hence their short lived timeline. But the ’80s cartoon the toys were based on had a pretty interesting premise — it was set in the “future” as the world is about to embark on the war, and characters use time travel to attempt to seize power.
Popples are toys made to look like teddy bears, albeit marsupial ones, with tails that end in a pom pom. The weird thing about these toys is that they transform into a… ball. The creator of the toy, Susan Trentel, apparently came up with the idea when rolling up socks. The prototype was developed, and Popples became a thing. The pouch was on the back of each toy so that the bear rolls into the pouch. These toys were made by Mattel in the mid to late ‘80s. A brightly colored bear that transforms into a ball may seem a little odd now, but not so much in the ‘80s heyday of weird toys.
12. My Child
The unsettling looking My Child dolls were manufactured by Mattel from 1985 to 1988. While the diversity of the dolls were neat — there were varying skin tones and eye colors — the dolls were almost supposed to resemble actual kids. The sales slogan was indeed that every kid could have a doll just like them. The dolls skin was made up of felt or vinyl. They were small, with limbs that could be positioned differently, and they even had a selection of clothing to choose from. Like most dolls, these dolls are eerie in appearance, yet became collectible items. There was even an adjacent line called My Pets.
In 1984, the Ideal Toy Company released a line of action figures called Manglors. The original line had Manglord, Manglosaurus, and Manglodacty. A little strange, but fine. It got really weird with the second wave of toys, which was packaged with…plastic eggs. These appeared in 1985, and consisted of more figures like Manglodragon, Manglizard, and Manglodemon. There were certain figurines that couldn’t stand on their own — they weren’t painted and they were sticky. They could allegedly be squashed and stretched however one pleased — essentially torn apart, only to be put back like new. They were strange looking toys, and apparently never took off in a huge way.
10. The Infaceables
In 1984, a toy line with the interesting name of The Infaceables: Mystic Warriors of Change was released by a company called Galoob. The title of the toy is apt, as each character’s face gradually changed from human to animalistic…with the use of a vacuum suction.
The heroic warriors were Sphinx, Robash, Iron Lion and War Dog. The bad guys were Tuskus, Torto the Claw, Brainior, and Tembo.
They came with cool sounding vehicles, such as the Crusher Cruiser, Incredible Thrasher, and the Horrible Hammer. While the idea of a toy’s face changing from human to beast is weird — at least it’s creative.
9. Barnyard Commandoes
On paper, barnyard commandoes actually sounds like a good idea. The concept is that farm animals eat radioactive materials from discarded military equipment, and develop super powers as a result. Sound familiar? The animals become paramilitary troops. Two creatively named opposing teams are formed — Rebel Army of Military Sheep and Platoon of Rebel Killer Swine. The line of action figures was made by the Playmates company in the late 80s. There was even a cartoon series based on the toy figures. Despite the concept, the oddness of animals who are also paramilitary troops never quite took off, and the series didn’t last very long.
The Spectra toy line was made by Mattel in 1986. They were supposed to be Barbie like, only their bodies were covered in… vac metal. The only part of the doll’s body not covered by vac metal were their heads. Each doll had a different hair color and a face creatively painted with makeup. The line consisted of four female dolls and one male doll. The Spectra dolls were quite literally aliens, coming from a planet called Shimmeron. The concept must have been too weird for kids because Spectra never became as popular with children as Barbie.
7. Leon Neon Strips
Who doesn’t like playing with neon? This toy, called Leon Neon Strips, were made of plastic neon items to make whatever you wanted. Just turn out the lights and make your strips into jewelry, headbands, and even guitars. The Leon Neon toy let kids be creative by not providing any instructions — it was purely up to kids to make whatever struck their fancy. That’s actually what makes these toys a little odd — there was no clear direction so they could be made into whatever odd shape that was on the kid’s mind at the time.
Poochie was quite popular in the ’80s. Poochie was a toy poodle with adorable pink ears, paws, and a trademark pair of purple sunglasses. Of course the toy had its own cartoon — an animated special produced in 1984 by a company called DIC. In the cartoon, Poochie travels to Cairo to help a little boy find his father, who had vanished during an archeological dig. Despite the toy’s popularity, it didn’t seem to last very long, but it’s possible to find the odd looking ‘80s toy today thanks to places like Amazon, Easy and so forth.
Most of us remember He Man, the ionic toy cartoon from the ‘80s. Well, the Blackstar toy line was an attempt to capitalize on its popularity. In general, the evil characters were packaged alongside demons, while the good guys were packaged with toys called…Trobbits. Of course there was a cartoon series that went along with the toys, produced in 1981 by Filmation. After it was cancelled, a company called Galoob made the action figures. Some of these figures were downright creepy looking, and it didn’t have the take off success that was hoped for.
The Moondreamers, so named because of the celestial theme of the toys, were made by Hasbro in 1986. Their clothing utilized a lot of metallic and lame fabrics — including neat glow in the dark elements — to reinforce the moon theme. Additionally, even their hair glowed in the dark… and they literally had stars in their eyes. The series that accompanied the toys aired in the late 90s, similar to another eponymous ‘80s brand — My Little Pony. The Moondreamers dolls must have been a little too odd for mainstream consumers as they were not on the market for very long.
A line of action figures in the ‘80s, the Convertors toy line was made by a company called Select. Remember Transformers? How about Gobots? Well, the Convertors had the same deal — they were robots who changed form. Interestingly enough, Convertors didn’t have an accompanying animated series. What made these toys a little odd were what they turned into — animals. They turned into a parrot, peacock, owl, eagle, bat, and so forth. An array of figures were made — over 30. Robot and animal is not the typical pairing, which may be the reason why the toy line didn’t last for very long.
2. Computer Warriors
In the late 80s, Mattel produced a toy line called Computer Warriors. Basically, the plot that explains these toys is a secret government computer that sends out evil troops. These troops hide unnoticed in everyday objects to fiendishly take over the world. But not if Computer Warriors have anything to do with it — they’re made by the government to counteract these bad troops. Despite such an interesting premise, there was no animated series which accompanied this toy line, and it failed to achieve success in the market. There was a lone pilot episode produced, but it ended there.
1. Food Fighters
Mattel produced another line of toys in the late ‘80s called Food Fighters. Essentially, the premise is this: the Kitchen Commandos, who are the good guys, fight the Refrigerator Rejects, the bad guys. Each team, bad or good, is made up of good old fashioned American junk food. There is Lieutenant Legg, a fried chicken leg, Major Munch, a glazed chocolate doughnut, Burgerdier General, a hamburger with ketchup, Private Pizza, a slice of pepperoni and mushroom pizza — and more. And those are just the good guys. The bad guys include Short Stack, a stack of pancakes with syrup and butter, Fat Frenchy, a sleeve packed with French fries, and more.
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