Thursday, June 25, 2009

Puppy Surprise


What exactly about the birthing process do toy companies perceive to be so child-friendly? Aside from the fact that labor begets a child, that is. Children are both innocent and inquisitive, and parents have a hell of a time balancing those two conflicting natures without sadistic toy manufacturers coming in and mucking it up with biologically confusing playthings.

In the late 80s and early 90s, Hasbro came up with a glorious marketing scheme guaranteed to disappoint one in five children. "What if we had this animal doll," a Hasbro rep would suggest excitedly. "That has babies inside of it?" The guy at the head of the table would clasp and unclasp his hands, asking thoughtfully, "But how would the children extract the babies?"

A fine question indeed, guy at the head of the table. I'll tell you how. In a natural order-defying act of toy bizarreness, the good people of Hasbro developed a velcro-adhered pouch that children could simply open and close as they please. As you can imagine, this led to inevitable confusion about birthing. A whole slew of Puppy Surprise-toting kids spent years thinking that when you're done playing with a baby, you can simply shove it back into the womb. No problem here.

The "surprise" element of Puppy Surprise referred to the fact that the doll could contain three, four, or five puppies. Kids are fairly simple creatures, and are thus easy to persuade that more equals better. In fact, every child was convinced that as special as he or she was, it was only fair that their doll contained the maximum of five puppies. You can bet parents had a swell old time consoling these children when their doll (as most did) contained a scant three puppies.

Three puppies? Don't insult me, Hasbro. What can I do with three puppies? Five, now that's a fun toy. But three? Come on.



Note that sped-up fine-print speech at the end: "Puppy Surprise comes with three, four, or five baby puppies! One in five Mommy dolls comes with four or five puppy dolls." Luckily, children are terrible at math, or they'd realize they had a crappy 20% chance of achieving the maximum (or even silver medal) Puppy Surprise experience. They are, unfortunately, pretty adept at counting and thus are clearly aware when they are being cheated.

I remember a birthday party at which one of my classmates received a pink Puppy Surprise with five puppies. How was I supposed to compete with that when my spotty mommy doll had been significantly less fertile? This was the precise moment in a child's life when they learn that life is not fair. Luckily for parents, they also learn greed, envy, anger, and all sorts of other fun hard-to-quell negative behaviors. Thanks, Hasbro!

All images from here on out from the exhaustive http://timpersock.googlepages.com. I implore you to check it out. Really, I'll wait. It's the most incredibly exhaustive Hasbro Surprise toy site/shrine in existence. Enjoy!


Fortunately, if you struck out the first time, there were approximately one million alternative variations you could subsequently beg for to try your luck of the litter again. All dolls in the Surprise line had similar by-the-books adorableness achieved by the winning combination of hard plastic faces and soft, pliable bodies. The box assures us that each of our babies, just like us, are unique. Unlike us, their uniqueness is broadcast by a ribbon round the neck declaring the puppy to be of the male or female persuasion.


Hasbro churned out all variations of huggable Surprise creatures including Kitties, Bunnies, Bear Cub, and Pony. Conveniently, in Hasbro world all of these animals and their corresponding offspring were roughly the same size. Lucky for us, the fun didn't stop there! As the ever-competitive toy market necessitates, Hasbro had to milk this concept until the Mommy Surprise ran dry. Let's investigate some of the odder exploits Hasbro undertook in order to continually surprise us:

Drink n' Surprise.



To those of us now immersed in semi-adulthood, this sounds like a typical weekend. Back in the early 90s, however, you would have been far happier to wake up to this surprise the next morning. In this case, if you shoved a tiny bottle of water down your puppy's throat, you could be rewarded with a variable physical reaction. As the tag-line said, "Will your puppy drink n' wet or drink n' burp?" If only we so excitedly anticipated these outcomes in human infants.


Surprise Outfit




These lucky pups came complete with a mysterious box that could contain any type of outfit. Just imagine! Sure, you only had three puppies to speak of, but that one comes dressed as a mermaid. Makes up for it, right?

Playful Hair Surprise


In essence, you yanked on the little guys' till their hair was visible, with blue hair indicating a male and pink a female. The hair could also be re-retracted (yep, two re-s) into the body. That certainly is...a surprise.


There were oodles more there those came from, but they all generally shared the same ridiculous elements of Surprise. There was always some element of unexpectedness that lent some excitement to the toy opening process. After that moment had passed, however, the doll lost quite a bit of its luster.

Unsurprisingly, Hasbro began releasing "sold separately" packs of babies for reasons we can only assume are related to the continuous bitching from the four in five kids whose dolls contained just three babies. Though children delighted in this manner of cheating the system, there was a fatal flaw in the system. The velcro-pouch wombs were just big enough to accommodate innumerable additions to the additional litter.

At least it gave us an easily identifiable means of judging whose parents were child-spoiling suckers: the ones whose Puppy Surprise dolls' painfully bulging bellies dragged on the floor. Served them right. I was stuck with three puppies, none of whom had retractable hair or a mermaid costume. The only thing to console me? My Mommy Doll got to keep her svelte pre-litter figure. In your face, kids whose parents buy supplemental toys to appease their obnoxious children. In your face!

46 comments:

lovelila said...

OMG!!! I forgot all about Puppy Surprise!! I wanted one so badly when I was younger!! My parents got me the walking and barking Maltese toy, though, which I loved! I also wanted a Pound Puppy (the one with the face you could fold up to look angry, haha), but didn't get that one.

The Novelista Barista said...

OMG I LOVED THOSE THINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i cant believe u remembered this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And they had a cat one too right?!?!? haahahha LOL u crack me up!

The Novelista Barista said...

hahah justtt saw u posted the cat one too hahah a

Frank said...

My sister used to collect those...my brother and I would bury them in the back yard to piss her off.

Nina said...

I had kitty surprise and she came with only THREE kittens, unfortunately. I was devistated.

But it's ok -- I had Kitty-Kitty Kittens to console me.

Kristen said...

I had a brown and white spotted puppy surprise and she had five puppies three girls and two boys if I remember correctly. I didn't know a puppy surprise with five puppies was rare.

DaisyChain said...

I quite forgot about these, I used to be obsessed!

Sadako said...

Mermaid dogs?!

Ah. I never had this. But I did have Littlest Pet Shop cat mom with babies who suckled with magnets. And the same thing but with rabbits.

And I had these baby dolls where you'd put something in water and it would say "It's a girl" and then you'd rip off the hoodie and it would have hair if it was a girl and be bald if it was a boy. And then I got that same thing but for animals and I got a rabbit.

Al said...

LOVED THESE :) i had 4 puppies... my best friend got 6. i hated her for a week haha

Sunshinemeg said...

Growing up, my brother had a ton of these. Seeing their pictures bring so many memories.

Just Playing Pretend said...

That picture of all the puppies and kitties laying next to eachother seriously creeped me out. Seriously.

Ali said...

You. Are. Hilarious.

I was one of those "but why does my dog only have 3 puppies?" kids. Thank you for clearing the air for me, I now feel much more at ease!

Love the blog!

Lily G. said...

I totally remember these!!! Funny post too ;)

liliesandgrapes.blogspot.com

Nic said...

What the hell? That's the most ridiculous toy I've ever seen!

AK said...

I GOT A PUPPY SURPRISE WHEN I WAS LITTLE FOR DOING WELL ON MY REPORT CARD! hahha i loved puppy surprise!!

Jessica said...

Wow, I totally remember these. I had a pink dog who had 5 puppies. However, I have no recollection of the accessories that went along with them. I feel as though I was deprived.

mollymouse said...

YES! I loved Puppy Surprise! I recently found a little pink puppy in a box under the bed... now it sits on my desk as a wonderful reminder of my 90's childhood! :]

Elizabeth Marie said...

I totally remember these hahaha!!! the way you write is so hilarious!

Ashley said...

I had a black and white pony surprise and it had three babies (two girls and a boy if I remember correctly). Didn't they have some special feature where their eyes closed when you put a cold damp cloth over them so that it seemed like they were sleeping?

ChinkyGirLMeL said...

Oh yeah...I remember those. I always wanted one, I don't remember my parents buying it for me though. lols...

Brandi said...

I LOVE my puppy suprise.

Lyla Lou said...

Your post made me think of those baby dolls that you didn't know were male or female until you opened them and disolved the diaper or something in water. I can't remember what they were called and now it's going to drive me insane.

summerprep said...

MAGIC NURSERY DOLLS! They were my favorite.

Laina said...

If pink hair means girl and blue hair means boy (and apparently I'm a guy... joy), what did the white hair mean???

OhMyLaughter said...

Ohh Puppy Surprise. I def wanted this toy and (of course) the five puppy version. My parents never got this for me... a few of my friends had it though.

I had a Magic Nursery Doll and Magic Tea Party so...I can't really complain ;)

K @ Blog Goggles said...

Hahaha I had that birth puppy thing!! No idea how many puppies mine had though.

Mrs. C said...

I'm half-way embarrassed to admit I had one of these.

The Williams' said...

"My Mommy Doll got to keep her svelte pre-litter figure. In your face, kids whose parents buy supplemental toys to appease their obnoxious children. In your face!"
If only we would have understood back then what having the "pre-litter" figure really meant. LOL, your witty sarcasm cracks me up!

Anonymous said...

Ahh! I loved these. Mine only had three puppies, too, while my friend got five. :( I had no idea though they continued on making all those different ones (drinking, burping, surprise outfits!).

Ashley said...

I still have mine and it looks just like the one in the first picture. Only had the usual three puppies though -- two girls and one boy.

I'm pretty sure they let you send in for a birth certificate for your puppies as well, but I could be thinking of a totally different toy. Either way, I know I have one of those lying around the house as well.

Jessany said...

I loved these! As for 4-5 puppies ... I thought that 3 was the average ... most of my mates and rels n' stuff had 3 ... I new it was a lucky dip between numbers and sex ...3 was a bit shit ...

I was reading the article not long ago ... biological confusion?!
To have them present naturally would have been inapproapirate for a children's toy. I was 7 at the time with a baby sister and I did not shove her back into mum's womb ... 17 years later however ... kids were kids ...

yvette said...

Mine only had three too... sigh. So mum got me another one which came with a cowboy outfit!

Dean said...

greetings to all.
I would first like to thank the writers of this blog by sharing information, a few years ago I read a book called costa rica investment in this book deal with questions like this one.

niz said...

Hello .. firstly I would like to send greetings to all readers. After this, I recognize the content so interesting about this article. For me personally I liked all the information. I would like to know of cases like this more often. In my personal experience I might mention a book called Generic Viagra in this book that I mentioned have very interesting topics, and also you have much to do with the main theme of this article.

costa rica real estate said...

If you want to buy property for investment and capital growth potential, then you need to consider investing in Costa Rica real estate.

Costa Rican real estate prices have been rising for years, and as more foreign buyers look at investing in Costa Rican real estate, prices look set to soar. Already prices in some areas are booming - and many properties have doubled in value in just two years! Costa Rica real estate

Arianna said...

i had one of these, and i think mine had 4 or 5... i wouls carry them around with me in my pockets, even to school, lol

but on another note, with the dress-up suprise... there is a BRIDE puppy, and a GROOM kitty??? now, -thats- confusing. i wonder if they ever made the mistake of pairing a male puppy with a bride costume... hrmmmm.....

Jewelee said...

Hi,
iam Jewelee.
i found two of my puppy surprise is black and white. and i lost others and their momma. oh well mybe i might found them soon.

LiddyGally said...

I remember how badly I wanted a Puppy Surprise, but my mum said the only surprise about it was the price. She was right.

Gentri said...

This is HILARIOUS!! I am laughing so hard! lol! I totally had a kitty surprise, although I can't remember how many babies she had.

Nguyen Duc said...

i love your blog
Melbourne Escortssexede kostumer

Sarah Bill said...

Lol mine was pink came with 2 babies 1 boy 1 girl lucky me!! Sad enough to admit I have it still.

The Real World said...

Mine had five puppies and my sister had three. I think we were both just excited to have the kitties and too busy playing to complain about the uneven numbers. Besides, putting them together led to three sets of twins and we both loved that!

Achim said...

A whole slew of Puppy Surprise-toting kids spent years thinking that when you're done playing with a baby, you can simply shove it back into ... 2puppysurprise.blogspot.com

Gerlach said...

A whole slew of Puppy Surprise-toting kids spent years thinking that when you're done playing with a baby, you can simply shove it back into ... puppiessurprise.blogspot.com

goodpuppy said...

I love this website it's very detailed. It helped me with my school report.

child's behavior

Blogger said...

If you need your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (even if they're dating somebody else now) you need to watch this video
right away...

(VIDEO) Text Your Ex Back?

Digg This!