The History of Sesame Street Toys
If you’ve ever watched Sesame Street, you’re familiar with the lovable characters. But you may not have known that they were once produced as toys. These little plastic figures were designed to activate motion within play sets. The first toys of this kind were produced by Fisher-Price in the 1960s. They were designed to fit into specially made vehicles and buildings.
Initially, the Little People were produced with wood and later, plastic. They had smiley faces and a basic cylinder body. The first set of these toys came with a school bus. In addition, three human characters were included in the set. However, these human characters did not look like any of the humans on Sesame Street.
Fisher-Price stepped up its production of the Little People line between 1974 and 1977. By then, the company had become a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. and had begun producing toys for international markets. During this time, it also produced a series of Muppet Show dolls. Since the mid-1990s, Fisher-Price had produced a number of popular Muppet toy lines. It later acquired Tyco Toys in 1997. As part of its acquisition, Fisher-Price became the master toy licensee for Sesame Street.
From 1976 to 1979, the company produced a set of Sesame Street Clubhouse toys. This set included a rope swing, a trap door, a rope ladder, a merry-go-round, and a slide. Some of the features of the set were similar to the toys of other popular children’s television shows of the era. Despite the popularity of the toy, it only sold for two years.
After the success of the Sesame Street Clubhouse toy, Fisher-Price created the first urban environment for the Little People. An apartment set was released in 1975. With the release of this new set, the Little People were able to go from home to city. While this was not the only urban setting for the Little People, this was the first to include human characters. Among the human characters in this set were Grover, Baby Sister, and Count. Also included were a Sesame Street signpost and a 123 brownstone.
Fisher-Price has produced a number of other toys for the Little People franchise. There are now 138 episodes and six music videos in the series. Most of the original figures have been updated for younger children. One of the most popular figures from this series is Elmo. He loves to laugh and squeeze his little liars. His pet frog is named Freddie.
Many of the Little People have been released on DVDs. Aaron Neville sang the Little People theme song. More than 15 DVDs have been released to date. Fortunately, the figures are small enough for young children to handle. Their sizes are also ideal for use in the show.
Although the Little People were originally designed for children, they have been redesigned for the adult audience as well. Several of the characters have been given unique personalities in stop-motion animated episodes.