Every '80s Kid Had One, But You Probably Don't Know The Story Behind Monchhichis
Toys were simpler when we were young. You didn't need to have something that had built-in Wi-Fi, or a built-in camera, or a giant hard drive, you just needed it to be cute.
We had all kinds of stuffed animals to love. There were Care Bears, and Cabbage Patch Kids, and Puppy Surprises, but one toy managed to carry forward from the early 70s and make kids fall in love with it forever.
Who else had a Monchhichi when they were young? Probably every single one of you, right? But where did they come from?
Monchhichi first came out in 1974, and people became absolutely obsessed with them. They started in Japan and kids couldn't get enough of them.
They were given the name Monchhichi because "Mon" translates to "Mine" in French, and then "Chichi" is apparently supposed to represent the sound that a child makes when they are using a pacifier.
As an added bonus the name sort of sounds like "Monkey" in English.
The first Monchhichi dolls were a set of twins, a boy and a girl, that had furry little bodies and human-like faces, that actually look basically the same as they do now.
In 1978, they started selling outfits for the dolls a few years after their release, so there was something for every occasion.
They also changed the design. Monchhichis up until 1980 had been modeled so that they were sucking their thumbs. However, experts suggested they changed that to include a pacifier because they were worried it was encouraging children to suck on their thumbs, which would lead to problems with their teeth later in life.
In 1985, they changed the blue-eyed Monchhichi into a brown-eyed monkey, but otherwise it stayed relatively unchanged.
The basic shape and style of the Monchhichi dolls have never really changed all that drastically, which is pretty adorable.
As their popularity grew, so did their reach. First it expanded out to West Germany and Austria, but over the next few years it continued on. It seemed like everywhere Monchhichi went, it was given a new name.
In the United Kingdom they were called "Chicaboo," in Italy they were called"Mon Cicci," in France the received the name "Bølle," and in Hungary and Denmark they were called "Moncsicsi."
In 1980, Mattel bought the license to the iconic toy and brought it to America. The little monkeys found success with the kids, and their popularity exploded.
Monchhichi on TV
Three years after they arrived in America, the little monkeys were given their own cartoon series produced by Hanna-Barbera.
It was specifically created to help promote the toys sales, just like a lot of the other kids shows that were on at the time, but it only ended up getting 13 episodes.
It's weird that it didn't succeed though, because it was aired in a block with Little Rascals and Richie Rich Show.
The Monchhichis filled the 30-minute block that was left when the network cancelled Pac-Man, yes, a series about Pac-Man. So even though the little monkeys had the longest show in the block, they just couldn't keep kid's attention.
Which is crazy, because it was so cute! They lived in the tops of trees in the land of Monchia where their leader Wizzar, a magical wizard, helped protect them from Horrg and the Grumplins.
Personally that sounds like a hit to me!
America Fell Out Of Love With Them
Even though we all remember loving them, apparently no one was buying them. In 1985, just five years into their North American run, Mattel dropped the line.
No more TV show, no more new dolls, no more Monchhichi.
But it's okay, because that wasn't the end of their story.
Just because they weren't super popular in America, that doesn't mean they weren't successful overseas.
In particular, Germany still remains big fans, but now that the whole 'nostalgia' angle seems to get a lot more play, the company realized they could sell them without having to rely on Mattel.
They were brought back into America in the early 2000s, and have stayed around ever since. You can still find them in most stores, but they will be sold directly from the Japanese creator company instead of Mattel.
It's nice to know that a piece of our childhood still lives on today. Did you ever have a Monchhichi?
The show was pretty wild, do you remember it? Everyone remembers the dolls, but for some reason forgets the show.
Monchhichis really were one of the best cuddly toys we had as kids, but they weren't the only ones we loved.
Source - Monchhichi Sekiguchi