Little People

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"Discovery City" redirects here. For the ghost town in British Columbia, see Discovery City, British Columbia.
For other uses, see Little people (disambiguation).
The Fisher Price Little People logo used beginning in mid-2007. From left to right: Eddie, Sonya Lee, Michael.

Little People is a toy brand for preschoolers ages 6-36 months and to ages 3 and up, originally produced by Fisher-Price in the 1960s as the Play Family People. The current product line consists of playsets, mini-sets and accessories, books, CDs, and DVDs focusing on various configurations of nine characters named Eddie, Sarah Lynn, Maggie, Michael, Sonya Lee, Tessa, Mia, Koby and Sofie.

The "Little People" name, registered and trademarked by Fisher-Price in 1985, came from Fisher-Price following the lead of consumers who referred to the early Play Family playsets as "those little people".[1]

History[edit]

Original Little People[edit]

"Safety School Bus" 1959

Little People started in 1950 with the "Looky Fire Truck" and three round-headed fire men (attached permanently to the toy). Following the success of this toy, in 1952 and 1953 Fisher-Price developed the "Super-Jet" and "Racing Rowboat".

Another early Little People precursor, the "Safety School Bus", was introduced in 1959. The set included a school bus together with six independent figures made out of tall skinny pegs of cardboard tubes wrapped in lithographs simulating clothes. The toy gained instant popularity and other sets soon came out.

"Snorky the Fire Engine" 1960

Little People Play Family[edit]

In 1960, Fisher-Price introduced two additional toys with removable figures; "Snorky the Fire Engine" and the "Nifty Station Wagon". The Nifty Station Wagon came with two adult figures and one child figure, thus the first "Play Family" was born. Today, Little People are known and sold throughout the world. A Nifty Station Wagon in mint condition, in the box, could command up to $1,000,000 among toy collectors.

"Original Little People" figures

Body Style Variations[edit]

The original Little People went through six major styles of body (base) configurations, and even within each major classification there may be one or more minor style variations. By 1961, the figures were produced with wood; plastic was used for their vehicles and buildings. A few years later, the typical happy face of the traditional Little People debuted in a "straight-body" format. All of the people had a basic cylinder body with the female figures only identifiable by the addition of slanted, oval eyes and eyelashes. By 1965, the Little People consisted of a small cylindrical base and a wider cylinder shape for boys and men and a conical upper shape for the girls. Adult women had a kind of hourglass-shaped upper body. The bottom portions of the bodies were indented slightly (allowing for placement in the corresponding holes in various furniture, cars and other vehicles, in which the figures were able to "sit").

Little People Playsets[edit]

In 1968, Fisher-Price introduced the first Little People playset, the famous Play Family Barn with barn doors that made a "moo" sound when opened. Also at this time, the figures were made with plastic bodies instead of wood. The Play Family dollhouse was introduced in 1969, with other playsets to following, including a firehouse, an airport and a service station. Eventually, the toys encompassed a wide range of playsets, furniture packs, and accessory packs.

In the middle 1970s, Fisher-Price produced the Sesame Street town, with various Sesame Street stores, a bridge with stop lights and Sesame Street characters such as Bert, Ernie, and the only Little People toys that have been modeled after celebrities -- Loretta Long (Susan), Roscoe Orman (Gordon) and Will Lee (Mr. Hooper). Soon after, the Little People Discovery Airport, a hospital and a school would also be released. Little People characters had by then been also produced with plastic products exclusively.

Chunky Little People[edit]

In 1988, Marvel Entertainment made an animated series of 5 Little People videos such as Favorite Songs, 3 Favorite Stories, A Visit to the Farm, Jokes Riddles and Rhymes and Christmas Fun, which were released by New World Video. This video series centered around two children named Timmy and Penny and their Baby Sister, their parents, and their dog Lucky and it included the voices of Michael Bell, Meredith Baker, Victor DiMattia, Russi Taylor, Scott Menville, Josh Rodine, Jena Valee and Katie Leigh. In 1991, the Original Little People figures were redesigned for younger children. They were made "chunkier", were more bright and colorful, and were designed so that they could activate motion within the play sets. Most people believe that these figures were developed as a replacement for the original Little People due to the increasing concerns and pressures from parents and consumer-advocacy groups for safer toy designs. A book published in 1986 by Edward Swartz titled Toys That Kill prominently featured a trio of original Little People figures on the cover. After Fisher-Price was bought by Mattel in the 1990s, Little People reappeared on the markets, their figure significantly larger in size from the original Little People characters due to revised toy safety guidelines. These figures are called "chunky" by collectors.

Articulated Little People[edit]

In 1997, the figures underwent a drastic redesign, from simple lathe-turned shapes to sculpted bodies. Little People became much more detailed and smaller in overall size – in fact, closer in size to the original Little People. For the first time, the Little People figures had arms, hands, more detailed clothing, molded hair and facial features.

In 1999, Little People celebrated their 40th birthday with the reintroduction of the first Little People toy ever: Little People School Bus and characters. The play sets include the school bus, circus train, construction vehicles and other play sets.

In 2000, the Little People line introduced electronic sounds and movement. The Little People characters were given distinct personalities and voices in a Stop motion animated video and DVD series in 1999 similar to Bob the Builder, with Aaron Neville singing the theme song.


List of Fisher Price Little People Episodes: 138 Episodes Total


Vol 1. Big Discoveries (Animals And Friends DVD)

Michael And The Corn Field, Maggie's Friends Pitch In, Sarah Lynn Gets A Big Lift, Sonya Lee's Day At The Zoo, Eddie Saves The Circus


Vol 2. Christmas Discoveries

Michael And The Bears, Sonya Lee Makes New Friends, Eddie's Christmas Surprise, Sarah Lynn's Saves Christmas, Maggie's Gift Of Music


Vol. 3 Discovering Animals (Animals And Friends DVD)

Trading Places, Happy Birthday To Zoo, Faster Than A Speeding Frog, Sarah Lynn At The Circus, Michael's Magical Night


Vol 4. Discovering Things That Go (Neighborhood Adventures DVD)

Eddie's Big Race, Sonya Lee And The Super Sundae, Maggie Brings The Mail, The Wheels On The Boat, The Parade Of Wheels


Vol 5. Discovering Music (Creativity Collection DVD)

Sarah Lynn Shares A Song, Eddie Finds The Beat, Sonya Lee Sings, Michael Helps The Harmony, Maggie's Musical Masterpiece


Vol 6. Discovering Seasons (Fun To Learn Collection DVD)

Sonya Lee And The Season Of Spring, Water, Water Everywhere, The Big Blue Ribbon, Eddie And The Super Skates, The Season Of Friendship


Vol 7. Discovering Creativity (Creativity Collection DVD)

One, Two, Three, Draw, Big, Bigger, Biggest, The Musical Mobile, When Flowers Fly, Picture Perfect


Vol 8. Discovering Friendship (Friendship Collection DVD)

The Big Bike, Friends Forever, Smile, Smiley, Smile, Michael's Mystery, Sarah Lynn's Best Friends


Vol 9. Discovering Storytime (Storytime Collection DVD)

Eddie And The Cornstalk, The Frogly Duckling, Hansel Eddie And Sarah Gretel, The Monkey Who Cried Elephant, Sonya Had A Little Lamb


Vol 10. Discovering Numbers (Fun To Learn Collection DVD)

Sarah Lynn's Counting Song, Freddie's Froggy Family, How Much Is Too Much, All Sorts Of Flavors, Follow That Sheep


Vol 11. Discovering Your Neighborhood (Neighborhood Adventures DVD)

All Washed Up, Patrick's Busy Day, Up, Up And Away, Where There's Smokey, The Junk's Not Trash


Vol 12. Movie Night At Farmer Jed's (Storytime Collection DVD)

Friends Helping Friends, The Fast And The Froggy, Feathered And Furry Friends, Sarah Lynn's Sing-Along, Before Your Very Eyes


Vol 13. How They Became Friends (Friendship Collection DVD)

When Eddie Met Freddie, Maggie Moves In, The Mystery Of Sonya Lee, Michael's Amazing Gift, The Legend Of Farmer Jed


Discovering More Music (Musical Stories DVD)

Bang, Boom, Bonk, The String's The Thing, Come Blow Your Horn, Sweet Tweet, Strike Up The Band


Discovering Happy Memories (Musical Stories DVD)

A Boy And His Frog, Sonya Lee's Nice Nature, Sarah Lynn's Sweetest Friend, Michael's Happy Go Round, Maggie's Helping Hands


Discovering The ABC's (ABC Stories DVD)

Sing A Song Of Letters, P Is For Parrot, Michael's Capital Idea, I.O.U. A Vowel, Time For A Rhyme


Discovering Our Five Senses (ABC Stories DVD)

Do You See What I See, The Nose Knows, A Crunch In Every Bunch, Sarah Lynn's Soft Touch, I Hear A Memory


Discovering Good Manners (Good Manners DVD)

Me First, No Thanks, The Last Laugh, Promises Promise's, Favor For A Friend


Discovering Helping Others (Good Manners DVD)

Up A Tree, Zoo For You, The Big Jam, A Grand Helping Hand, Treats For The Town


Discovering More Animals (Animal Stories DVD)

The Big Bounce, The New Zoo Switcheroo, Brother Goose, Lighter Than Air, Carnival For The Animals


Discovering Our Environment (Animal Stories DVD)

The Great Indoors, The Litter Bug, Every Little Drop, The Big Box Of Make-Believe, How Does Your Garden Grow


Discovering Shapes And Colors (Creative Ideas DVD)

Where Oh Where Have My Circles Gone, The Long And Short Of It [also known as Room To Grow], Try Triangle Again, All The Colors Of The Rainbow, Sarah Lynn's Shape Song


Discovering More Creativity (Creative Ideas DVD)

Don't Rain On Maggie's Parade, Up A Tree House, That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles, Michael's Big Show, Sarah Lynn's Hit Parade


Discovering Lil' Kingdom Castle (The Lil' Kingdom DVD)

All The King's Horses, Queen For The Day, Eddie And the Dragon, Once Upon A Pumpkin, Mirror, Mirror On The Wall


Discovering Lil' Kingdom Fair (The Lil' Kingdom DVD)

Follow The Bouncing Ball, Do, Re, Mi Makes Three, What Goes Up, Easy As Pie, Fit For A King


Discovering More About Your Neighborhood (Adventures In Discovery City DVD)

Dough On The Go, The Big Building, Maggie's Merry Mix-Up, Doctor, Doctor, More Trees Please


Discovering More Things That Go (Adventures In Discovery City DVD)

Hi Diddley Hay, The Grand Sand Castle, My Mess Is Your Mess, Rasing The Roof, Every Little Voice


{C.G.I.} Zoo Talkers - See Who's At The Zoo

See Who's At The Zoo


{C.G.I.} Wheelies - Zig's Big Adventure

Zig's Big Adventure, Eddie And The Mystery Driver

Little People A to Z Learning Zoo[edit]

In 2007, Little People produced the A to Z learning zoo. This production introduced animals to the Little People family. The A to Z learning zoo includes 26 animals that each begin with a different letter of the alphabet. This interactive play mat allows children to learn the alphabet, recognize letters, and learn facts about animals. This was a huge step for the company because now education is infused in their product.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Tricia Cruz (2009-03-27). "Celebrating 50 years of "Little People"". WIVB.com. 

External links[edit]