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Polly Pocket

Just like bum bags were essential items of the 80s, so was having something to go inside them. After all, little kids didn't tend to have wallets or mobile phones (although they do these days!), so instead they filled them to the brim with life's other necessities. For boys this was Mighty Max figures. For girls, that most ingenious of creations, Polly Pocket.

It's somewhat strange then, that Polly Pocket was the brainchild of a man - Chris Wiggins, who developed Polly's first pocket-sized, plastic world in 1983 for his daughter Kate's doll, out of a pocket compact no less. But it wasn't until 1989 that Bluebird Toys officially launched to toy in the UK, while Mattel did the same across the Atlantic.

Each one-inch-high Polly Pocket looked like a cross between your typical Lego lady and a Charmkin, with bendable legs and simple hair and facial features that made them instantly loveable. They lived inside a case, which when unfolded revealed an intricate play scene. There were all kinds of themed Polly Pocket cases, which added of course to their collectable nature, but better still, it was possible to join the playscenes together by means of plastic clips on the cases to create a huge (well, still very tiny actually) world of Polly Pocket. Carnival and zoo-themed carry cases were the craziest, if I remember rightly.

For fans of the toy, there was a burgeoning range of extras on offer, from friends for her (Dana, Billy, Stephanie and others) to hair things. And by 1999, it wasn't just Polly's head that had swelled because of her increasing popularity, she'd grown all round and had been given more life-like features. Maybe they thought kids had become more advanced, who knows. A new range of Fashion Polly dolls measuring just over 3 inches included the characters Polly, Shea, Lea and Lila, and Mattel even took the radical step of producing a Barbie in Polly Pocket proportions. The newer Polly Pockets now come with stretchy rubber clothing that can be taken off and swapped over.

While bum bags are no longer the thing to be wearing, kids will still find a way of transporting their Polly Pockets around. After all, where there's a will, there's a way.


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Message boards

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Do You Remember Polly Pocket?

Do You Remember Polly Pocket?

  • Anonymous user
    on
    I liked the older Polly sets better. They were way more intricate and awesome. The little dolls were too easy to lose though.
  • dex
    on
    In my house, Polly Pocket was regularly taken prisoner in the Mighty Max compacts.
  • chimairacle
    on
    I remember having a Polly playset when I was a kid, but nowadays I see them in the shops and it's so sad they dont make the pocket compact worlds with tiny little Polly's anymore. With todays thorough safety checks they probably saw them as a choking hazard cause they really were miniscule. Nevertheless, today's Polly's just don't compare.
  • nugirl
    on
    Vintage Polly Pocket dolls and playsets ROCK! The dolls themselves were so tiny, so fairy-like - and so easy to drop, lose, etc! I still have two sets that I love - but they're from the 1990s, not the 1980s. My mum gave away most of the dolls and sets from the 1980s to one of my cousins, but that's OK: I still have a really precious little schoolroom playset, and a little beach house. I remember, my sister and I had only one Polly Pocket boy doll, and he was so special because he was our only BOY! I'm not a fan of the modern Polly Pocket - though I appreciate that it's probably easier for little hands to play with modern Polly than with vintage Polly.
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I played with these as a child and kept losing the tiny bits, it drove my mum mad. My daughter is 4 now and she loves it!
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I remember someone at school had a polly pocket pencilcase, with the toys inside. I was sooooo jealous as I only had a small normal one, I wanted to get away with playing with it in class!
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I use to LOVE polly pocket. I owned many different little compact pockets.
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I remember playing with them with my sister when I was younger ^_^ I had a aladin one as well i loved them :P
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I loved the original Polly Pocket houses that were little compact cases that you could carry around with you. The first one I had was a Japanese house and garden and I remember feeling sad when I lost one of the teeny tiny lady figures in my school playground - I was much more careful with the next one! I had a few of the houses/shops from the mid-90s too, but they weren't as nice as the original ones. I've seen them in shops again lately and they are big! She's not really "pocket" sized anymore!
  • Anonymous user
    on
    i still have mine!!! their amazing!