Friends, if you have ever listened to the Saturday Frights podcast episode featuring Poltergeist, you know I had grand dreams of becoming a ventriloquist as an adult. Obviously after watching the 1982 horror film by Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg…well…I developed a horrible fear of dolls as well as ventriloquist dummies. The odd thing is it only applies to certain types of those ‘dolls’ – for example these 1961 Mattel talking hand puppets are just cool to me, not frightening in anyway.
To be fair the spots on the internet I have looked these Mattel talking hand puppets up, say they were released anywhere from 1961 to 1963. So I’m just rolling with the date of release I have seen most while doing my little bit of research. The thing that interests me the most about the commercial I stumbled on is the choice of characters for the hand puppets. I can see Mattel choosing the likes of Woody Woodpecker, who rose to stardom thanks to his theatrical shorts starting all the way back in 1940.
Furthermore in the late 50’s Woody Woodpecker would jump to television on Saturday mornings with The Woody Woodpecker show. Which is why I said I wasn’t surprised by Woody Woodpecker being chosen for the line of Mattel talking hand puppets. The same thing applies to their picking of Bugs Bunny – that is a no-brainer in my book.
It is the fact they chose Mr. Ed as the third talking hand puppet which totally blows my mind. Granted the show started in 1961 and was embraced by the public so perhaps at the time that decision made quite a lot of sense.
Having said that, you would just assume that Mattel would go after the licensing rights of Mickey Mouse or perhaps even the Pink Panther.
Ready to check out this fun TV commercial for the Mattel talking hand puppets?
[Via] D Heine