Lots of pretty houses and friends to be found
June 2, 2010 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Vintage Polly Pockets forever! Maybe you had the old-school compact beach house or Polly's Cafe. Maybe you had an awesome Polly Pocket Locket. Maybe your parents were the best ever and you had a full set of f'in awesome Pollyville houses, complete with tiny cars and balloons and pets and other pieces designed to be lost the minute the package was opened. Thankfully, Only Polly Pocket is here to help you identify every Polly set you ever owned. posted by peachfuzz (34 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
My daughter had a bunch of these, and I remember thinking that some of those Polly Pocket sets were engineering marvels.
posted by rocket88 at 8:49 AM on June 2, 2010

Not ashamed to admit that my sister and I had A LOT of these growing up. Thanks for the flashback! :)
posted by sararah at 8:50 AM on June 2, 2010

I never understood why they were not declared choking hazards. My daughter had 2 or 3. She survived but still.
posted by Danf at 8:58 AM on June 2, 2010

My sister was a Polly Pocket maniac! We had so, so many growing up- I'm recognizing a lot of those early 90s designs. Stepping on those little Pollys without shoes was not a fun experience.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:58 AM on June 2, 2010

Yeah, it's kind of amazing that they never were. They were full of tiny, separate pieces that were easily swallowable, under an inch tall.

Polly Pocket today is this four-inch fashion doll monstrosity - maybe in answer to that concern?
posted by peachfuzz at 9:00 AM on June 2, 2010

Unfortunately for collectors, Pollyville and several other compounds in Utah were raided by the ATF in '02 and severely damaged.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:04 AM on June 2, 2010

My little brother is autistic and has a huge collector's streak, so when we were little my parents bought almost all these Polly Pocket sets. He would line them up in the basement so they made a whole neighborhood, and he had names for every one of the little people. I wasn't allowed to play with most of them because I ruined his street organization, but he would always put the mansion or the Victorian House (with pop-top floors!) at the edge of a cul-de-sac so I could play with as little damage to his neighborhood as possible. The worst part was when you played with one Polly too much and it wouldn't stand up in the little holes anymore.

It looks like we ended up with just about every Polly Pocket made between 1989-1995. They're still sitting in our basement, right next to our Playmobil, Brio, and the totally awesome Playground Kids.
posted by lilac girl at 9:06 AM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Polly Pepsi Pink!

Nah, just joshin'. I'm only grousing because this isn't a post about MY favorite toys - The Inhumanoids.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:33 AM on June 2, 2010

Never had Pollies to play with, but seeing all these has brought back waves of nostalgia for Mighty Max! (the "boy" version of Polly.) I'm actually surprised that there's so many of them , as the "Mighty Max 'action-verbs' 'scary-place'" formula seems pretty ridiculous nowadays.

These are also pretty high on the engineering-marvel scale though. I particularly like how the Arachnoid's legs are actually those of an interior spider!
posted by Wulfhere at 9:35 AM on June 2, 2010

I loved these things. Everichon once told me I had gotten nothing for Christmas when there was really a Polly Pocket Tree House hiding in the bathtub. What kind of terrible brother hides Christmas presents?!
posted by ShadePlant at 9:39 AM on June 2, 2010

There is a Polly Pocket flickr pool as well.
posted by -t at 9:44 AM on June 2, 2010

My daughters had a zillion of these things in the later years, early 2000's. Man, they loved them.
It seems like we've only recently purged our house of them but I guess it's been about 3 years or so.
They drove me crazy, always those thousands of little pieces, mini hairbrushes and phones and accessories, lying all over the floor; it took forever for me to clean them up, I could barely see them. I hated being such a grouchy nag about it so after countless ignored warnings to "put away your Pollies before I vacuum or you may lose them," I established a Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.
"What was that?" I'd say to myself, and answer, "Hm. I have no idea," as those tiny, tiny rubber stilettos disappeared into the vacuum, forever.
posted by chococat at 9:46 AM on June 2, 2010 [6 favorites]

ThePinkSuperhero has it for me too--my sister was a PP fiend. My favorites were her little modular pets--snapping that puppy into his little spot in her dream house gave us such a sense of satisfaction. Polly's curly hard plastic helmet hair (and sometimes it was straight too, with bangs, wasn't it?) used to make me laugh too.
posted by ifjuly at 10:15 AM on June 2, 2010

Man I had every Polly Pocket and Littlest Pet Shop set known to man. I collected them up until I was in my early teens too....shameful
posted by WeekendJen at 10:37 AM on June 2, 2010

Oh god. I'm 25, about to fully move all my crap out of my parents' house and go away across the country to grad school. And one of the things I have to do something with is a huge box of these. I had the houses. I had the lockets. I had the "princess" sets that had shiny jewels on the cases and tiaras and crap. And they're still there, waiting for me...

It's going to be hard to pack them up and get rid of them when all I want to do is open them all and play with them.
posted by Tesseractive at 10:46 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

OMG! I had forgotten all about the "Magical Movin" series of PP toys, with revolving doors and swings and other stuff - check it out. I was in middle school by the time these came out, way more into clothes and pretending I had my period than tiny toys, but I remember seeing these advertised on TV and secretly playing with them when I babysat.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:11 AM on June 2, 2010

I had a Polly Pocket Locket. I traded it to one of my friends for her light-up yo-yo and a chinese jumprope, and it was worth it.
posted by so_gracefully at 11:20 AM on June 2, 2010

I looooved these as a kid. I always have loved tiny things, and these were the tiniest toys you could get.

I think we can all agree the the action-figure sized Polly Pocket reboot is an abomination.
posted by Gordafarin at 11:25 AM on June 2, 2010

I had one of the unfolding houses as a kid (beach house?) plus a few more, and basically the only thing I wanted to do with the set was take all the dolls and see how many I could stash in the house - in the refrigerator, under the little cars, three or four folded up in the swimming pool, one inside the murphy bed, etc. For some reason the hiding solution was only valid if I could get the set closed up without anyone coming loose from their spots.
posted by heyforfour at 11:48 AM on June 2, 2010

I loved the cute tiny Polly's my oldest daughter was obsessed with during her early childhood in the 90s. My partner's 3 yo has a few of the new ones... Like Gordafarian says, they're an abomination.
posted by _paegan_ at 12:10 PM on June 2, 2010

Oh man, it makes me feel old when toys that first came out in 1989 are described as "vintage"
posted by antifuse at 12:19 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

My neighbor used to tease me, calling me "paulie pocket." I HATED it. We got into a fight playing street hockey because of that name. On rollerblades, with sticks, at high-speed... It was epic.
posted by MNDZ at 12:21 PM on June 2, 2010

When my daughter was in her Polly Pocket phase we lived in a rental house that still had 70s era deep shag carpeting. We spent many an hour combing through that carpet on our hands and knees recovering lost Pollys and Polly accessories. But I have to admit, I enjoyed them just as much as my daughter did.
posted by amyms at 12:39 PM on June 2, 2010

I used to take the teeny little dolls and throw away they compacts. The Polly dolls were just the right scale to be barbie style dolls for my playmobil, who were otherwise lacking in toys.

The compacts, I found, weren't as much fun as making my dolls play doll. Then again I'm also the child who set up a civil service office with her playmobil, so I never claimed to be normal.
posted by Phalene at 3:01 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think we can all agree the the action-figure sized Polly Pocket reboot is an abomination.

Oh god yes. If it can't get accidentally sucked up by the vacuum and inspire a 20 minute tantrum it's not a real Polly Pocket.
posted by lilac girl at 3:06 PM on June 2, 2010

Memory is a weird thing; before I clicked on that link I would have sworn that I, too, played with Polly Pockets, but that is not even remotely possible-- I was a girl in the 60's and PPs weren't invented until 1983. I must be remembering my daughter's Pollys-- and her Littliest Pet Shop sets, as well.

What we had in the 60's was Liddle Kiddles-- same idea. In fact Lucky Locket Kiddles (Lucky Locket Kiddles...You wear them like a locket, or you can put them in your pocket) were popular. I remember I had a Honeysuckle Kologne Kiddle which came in a cologne bottle and smelled sweet.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:17 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

wait, so other children managed to not lose all the dolls? All of my polly pockets towns were deserted memorials to what happens when god is an add-riddled 8 year-old with a propensity to lose everything.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 5:37 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I vividly remember getting my first Polly Pocket compact doll house. It was a birthday present. I remember opening it up and delighting at the fact that it had a toilet, because no dollhouse I'd ever owned had had a toilet, and I always wondered how my dolls were supposed to go to the bathroom. If memory serves correctly, the toilet even had a tiny little seat that flipped up and town. I freaking loved that toilet.

It goes without saying that I was kind of a strange child.
posted by Anyamatopoeia at 6:44 PM on June 2, 2010

It's strange, but no, I never had a big problem losing my Polly Pockets. The figures would get mixed up from set to set, for sure (fairies on a horseback ranch, a monkey in fairyland), but I was sure to keep them in their compacts when I was done with them.

I created some pretty elaborate stories with those things though, so it wouldn't do to lose any important characters just because they were 1.5cm tall.
posted by Gordafarin at 7:49 PM on June 2, 2010

Anyamatopoea: was it grandma's cottage? That's the one I remember having a toilet. Although the opening toilet seems to be a bit of a leitmotif for Polly.

-t is laughing at me; I've been talking Polly Pocket nonstop since I found the site last night. I totally remember how much it sucked when you played too much with your set and the doll's base got too worn for the little holes, or her hip joint wore out and she just hung, sadly, in an eternal forward bend. We made up crazy elaborate stories, sitting them on the little chairs and cramming them into the booths (there were always booths) and hopping them around and making a little "shoop" noise when they needed to go up or down a level in the old compact-style sets with dividers in the top portion. I think the shoop was to convey an elevator, or something. And I remember how if your Polly got wedged in a booth or other tight space the wrong way, it was almost impossible to get her out without a stick - they were that tiny. Augh! I am ostensibly a responsible adult; I can't believe how badly I want to play with one right now.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:39 PM on June 2, 2010

wait, so other children managed to not lose all the dolls?

My oldest daughter is immensely... uhh... precise about her collecting. I wouldn't be all surprised if she still, at 21, had each and every Polly she owned with all their accessories, minus the figure I vacuumed. I know we had a few rows over her attempts to keep Every. Single. Item. she ever owned for her children (at six she says this.) It doesn't help that her mother channels that obsessiveness into organization; every collection had a bin or such to keep it all together.
posted by _paegan_ at 11:07 PM on June 2, 2010

Though the PP collection quickly outgrew it's first few bins. Family and friends were delighted to have a huge variety of affordable gifts, plus Mom and Dad could be counted on for a huge one like the Cinderella Enchanted Castle or the Diamond Wonderland for birthdays or holidays.
posted by _paegan_ at 11:22 PM on June 2, 2010

peachfuzz: No, I clearly remember it being a compact. I'm pretty sure it was the Babysitting Stamper Set.
posted by Anyamatopoeia at 9:24 AM on June 3, 2010

Then again I'm also the child who set up a civil service office with her playmobil, so I never claimed to be normal.

To you, I present the Bearocricy Playhaus.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:47 AM on June 3, 2010

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