Rainbow Brite was created 1983 by Hallmark/Mattel, originally as greetings card decals (in the same way that Strawberry Shortcake was born). When they arrived in toy stores, they seemed to many of us to by the dolls of the future. Brightly coloured hair, sparkly space-suit costumes and fun-fur sprite friends. Yes, Rainbow Brite made Strawberry Shortcake and Victoria Plum both look positively archaic. As with other 80s hits, like the Care Bears and My Little Pony, the Rainbow Brite doll was backed up by her very own TV show in 1986, which bizarrely came after the feature-length film, Rainbow Brite And The Star Stealer in 1985. Through watching the TV show every week, we learnt that Rainbow Brite (also known as Wisp) lived in Rainbowland in a rainbow-shaped house (you can see a theme developing), and had seven (yes, as in there's seven colours of the rainbow) different-coloured friends: Red Butler, Patty O'Green, Canary Yellow, La La Orange, Shy violet, Indigo, Buddy Blue and Tickled Pink. One day, while taking shelter from the rain inside a cave, she discovered the magic Colour Belt, which gave her the power to save the Color Kids in each of the seven different corners of the land. She set all of the Kids free, and was christened Rainbow Brite and named the protector of all of Rainbowland.
But as with any goody two shoes that has ever existed, Rainbow Brite had a nemisis that threatened to make Rainbowland a colourless place to live. The aptly named Lurky and Murky Dismal (he was blessed with a green face and a round belly) did their best to make this come true, and even resorted to a kidnapping in one TV show episode.
The dolls themselves were 10 inches high and soft and squidgy (though later they became moulded plastic) and the best thing about Rainbow was her soft, yellow dreadocks. The dolls also came with accessories to make it seem like you were getting value for your money. Each one came with a cushion and a little sprite friend - Rainbow Brite's was called Twink. Also in the range was a white horse named Starlite and a human friend called (ahem) Brian. Later, Mattel released a Baby Brite doll, who apparently held the secret to saving Rainbowland from doom and gloom. Together, the Rainbowland population would spread love, colour and good dreams to children everywhere.
Unfortunately, kids soon became rather bored of all this rainbow talk, and even the 2003 relaunch of Rainbow Brite and her new Colour Kid friends didn't work to create more fans. Quite simply, the toy world was somewhat over the Rainbow...