Monday, July 14, 2014

Jiggler Mania

Another instalment of 1970s nostalgia.

If you are over 40 (i am seriously over 40) you may have had the pleasure of growing up while these rubbery toys were around. I just managed to find some pics of these jigglers, as they were called. They were available at dimestores, carnivals and respectable toy shops. Boy did i play and play with them. Of course, many of them broke apart or got lost, and, the greatest injustice of all: they got discontinued all of a sudden. Okay, they were made of some suspect plastic that contained retarder that dissolved in the stomach when swallowed, but then i was no dog, nor a toddler. These were the 1970s, when kids still lived dangerously!

The idea of these rubbery guys was to have them dangle from the rear mirror or window shield of a car. Note the suction cups. They were a bit fragile and had a smelly, gooey surface, but quickly i found out that you could heal severed limbs by melting parts with a match. The results made them look even limpier sometimes but after i while i became good at playing Dr. Frankenstein. Same for the finger puppets below:

These were from the "Gigantor" series, which had only three as far as i know.

And then there were 8 of these little guys. They were made in Hong Kong, like the Jigglers, as was indicated, a detail that fascinated me. Also, they came in wildly varying colour combinations. They were so nicely designed and up to this day, i wonder who has crafted them. Talk about unsung heroes, these things were everywhere! There are some more recent finger puppets around these days which look like poor imitations. (Beware!)
The personality that was in the originals influenced my style of drawing to a great degree, maybe even more than Benito Jacovitti's comics. Jacovitti played in the same way with combinations of noses, chins, hairdos and the like to create his characters. This gave me a hint of how genetics work, at a early age, and dreams of creating my own series - which continue to this day.


crippaXXXalmqvist said...

Some really nice photos & a fine nostalgic, charming text to it as well, Marcel. And yes, i sure had a couple of these things myself as a kid of the 70ies, but i can't recall i called 'em "jigglers" though. I wish i still had 'em hidden somewhere, but my father trashed all my toys in the garbage can, or gave 'em away to my younger cousins when i was around 16. Against my will, of course..

Marcel Ruijters said...

Thanks! I feel your pain Crippa, although i managed to save a few of them. The term 'Jigglers' was news to me, too, but i found out that it gives the best search results.

Marcel Ruijters said...

More info here:

crippaXXXalmqvist said...

Don't worry, Marcel..I did save my absolute favorite toy, a rubber teddy bear, that now even is "portraited" by me and aneF.

Terri said...

yay, i had these finger puppets in the 80s, they still seemed ok enough then as i recall