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Official Article

Revisiting C.U.T.I.E.

By: MissM

Toys in the 80’s were part of a very interesting time. Many toy gimmicks found their way across both sides of the gendered toy aisles. Transforming toys were both tough (Transformers) and fluffy (Sweet Secrets.) Figures were cropped down to 3 ¾ size ala Glamour Gals and the 80’s G.I. Joe. Even warrior fantasy lines had their time in the sun for boys and girls, hello He-Man and She-Ra! But there was one interesting toy gimmick that found a way to make toy lines interesting for boys and girls.

 

Mattel released the beloved M.U.S.C.L.E. line in the mid 80’s. Full of tiny light pink mini figures, the line stood for Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere and has become a very collectible line. The interesting thing about M.U.S.C.L.E. was that Mattel was ready to make a toy line along a similar premise for girls. Enter the fantastic kitschy line called C.U.T.I.E.

 

While M.U.S.C.L.E. created a tiny world of interesting and fantastical figures, C.U.T.I.E. was more interested in creating tiny mini figures in bright colors of the different types of roles that young girls could aspire to. The line stood for Coolest Ultra Tiny Individuals on Earth!

 

I loved these toys so incredibly much. I had a whole set as a kid but they have somehow gotten lost through the years. Luckily through the magic of eBay I have been able to find some sets and think we should totally take a look at them now!

 

There were two different ways to collect your C.U.T.I.E. There were smaller multi packs with four or so mini figures while there were the larger sets filled with themed toys and ten figures in each box.

 

The three sets in my possession are the Lovey Doveys, Rockity Rollers, and Tiny Trendies.

 

Lovey Doveys

 

Can we just start off with the overall packaging for these toys? I adore the use of color and font. There is something bubbly and energetic about this toy line. Once upon a time it was entirely common for bright teal, hot pink, and yellow to share packaging space. I really loved the brightness of the 80’s. We didn’t need rose colored shades. They were neon. Lovey Doveys were essentially figures that were representations of the various roles a girl could dream to be. Each figure represented many facets of life and were really bright and colorful.

 

Flipped around the box shares a bit of information on the toy line as well as an illustration of the characters found in the set.

 Each group had a special image for the series, the Bitsy Babies and Gym Dollies were really cool and the Gym set completely capitalized on the aerobics trend at the time, but I do not have those.

 

A free collector poster can be redeemed with enough proof of purchases. I really loved it when toys did that, even though I never really took part in those promotions.

 

Here is the illustration. They look like fun right? Check out the names as they sound really kitschy and coo-coo-cool.

 

From left to right- Tutu Much, Singa Longa, Leah Tard, and Cherry Blossom. Singa Longa is a fun name, and check out those bright plastic colors! I love this.

 

From left to right- Rita Reada, Mrs. Sippie, Momma Mia, Mary Mee

 

And the final two- Holly Woodstar and Terri Cloth. The names clearly give away the nature of each C.U.T.I.E. and they are just so much fun and goofy. Of course, you haven’t seen anything yet!

 

Rockity Rollers

 

The 80’s had a plethora of female musical acts in toy form. Jem and the Holograms and Barbie and the Rockers only scratched the surface. The C.U.T.I.E. Rockity Rollers were interested in partying on stage!

 

Here is the back of the box. It is very similar to the other sets…

 

…except for the Rockity Roller illustration. I had a few of these as a kid and they were so amazingly cool. Let’s check them out!

 

From left to right- Mello-Dee, P. Anna, Jazzie, My-Donna (A total play off of Madonna! How amazing is that?)

 

From left to right- Wanna-Bee, Strumma, Rockababe, and Punkie. I love that they had punk rock chicks in this set with Mohawks and sneers to boot!

 

Final two- Teeny Tooner and Bopper. This was one of my favorite sets. The figures are a total product of the time they were made and are something really special because I don’t think there will ever be a time again when a girl’s toy line will feature punk rock chicks playing drums and the saxophone.

 

Tiny Trendies

 

This set of C.U.T.I.E. featured the tiny individuals participating in trendy good looks.

 

Back of the box is the standard image, while a closer shot of the illustration shows how the tiny toys can interact with the real world. (Having them hang out with a china place setting seems like a fun time.)

 

From left to right- Debbie Deb, Reel E. Cool, Too Hip, and Trendy Wendy. (Trendy Wendy looks as if she is ready to do a work-out Pilate session.

 

From left to right- Gotta Bop, Fasheena, Rani Rad, and Modesty.

 

Final two- Amy Awesome and B. Cool.

 

This toy line has so much charm it is sickening. The bright plastic coloring reminds me of those parachute neon army men you could get from the ice cream truck. Couple that with the unique names and you have a very fun toy line that unfortunately did not get to be as popular as it should have. (With that said, it is sort of a good thing because they can be found pretty cheap on secondary markets now.)

 

Does anyone remember this line? Were you a C.U.T.I.E. fan? Let me know!  

 

 

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Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 03, 2014 at 03:57 PM

Very cool topic. I totally remember one of my girl-friends (friend who was a girl) having a few of the aerobics themed C.U.T.I.E.S. figures. I never knew about the other varieties, but I got a good laugh out of the name "Leah Tard", totally not P.C. nowadays!

Fulton4V Posted on Mar 13, 2014 at 03:04 PM

I never had any of the Muscle or these others. But I do remember seeing alot of those in a local Ames store and they were very cheap. Wasnt there a wrestling ring for them that you could get too?

MissM Posted on Mar 13, 2014 at 06:20 AM

pikachulover- I am so glad you collected these too! I found a loose ballerina that was from my earlier collection this past summer and it was so much fun to find it. I feel like originally I had a large set and a smaller set, because I know there was a random assortment of the rock ones, a gym one, and the ballerina. The sets from those pictures were found so cheap too! I love these. I also love that you brought one to art class for an assignment. How cool is that?!

Vaporman- I agree. I think these were probably the most successful immovable tiny figures since the green army men. it was nice to see a line aimed at girls too, with so many different facets. Like you mentioned I think the blind bag craze and even those s.l.u.g. zombie things were brought on by a much needed return to items of that variety.

Vaporman87 Posted on Mar 12, 2014 at 07:51 PM

M.U.S.C.L.E. and C.U.T.I.E. had to have been the most successful sets of immovable, tiny, plastic, monochromatic figures since the days of the little green army men.

They somehow managed to capture the imaginations (and completist mentalities) of kids everywhere. I know I loved it when I was able to get a new addition to my collection.

I think, to a certain extent, the same concept is big now with the "blind bag" mania that is happening at the moment.

pikachulover Posted on Mar 12, 2014 at 06:37 AM

I have some CUTIES actually I have the 2 sets you don't have. I liked the babies set. The gym set was pretty silly too. My mom also used to buy me the 4 packs, so I had some random figures from those. There seemed to be something about ballerinas. There was also a ballerina in the babies set. I didn't like that they were monochromatic, so I used to color on them with crayons and markers. I mostly colored their clothes. I remember coloring Mary Mee's bouquet with a blue crayon.

I even brought some to art class in high school to draw for an assignment. We had to draw how the light was on plastic objects. The one punk girl in the class wanted to draw "these weird punk lady figures".

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