Troll dolls. Creepy, naked, wild haired and belly button be-jeweled. These fantastical play things have come and gone and come again over the past 46 years since their arrival on the toy scene in 1963.
From ugly bridge dwellers to lovable pot bellies, Trolll dolls have crept their way into the hearts of American children and established themselves as one of the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th Century according to the Toy Industry Association.
I associate Troll dolls with the 1980's, having grown up in the 80's and early 90's these doll lined the toy aisles like a rainbow. I'll admit that even today I find these lovable toys to be more endearing than creepy -- I even bought a bright pink Troll doll for my office. Her name is the "Cheer Troll" and we passed her around the office to those who needed some cheering up. The "Cheer Troll" was so well loved that people would hold on to her for months at a time without passing her on, so eventually I retired her and she remains on my desk to pour sunshine into our office on a daily basis.
Though Troll dolls originated in the 60's and fads of popularity have sprung up in the 70's, 80's and 90's- I believe that the current re-emergence of the Troll doll stems from a fascination with 80's culture that the youth of America have formed. 80's fashion and music, including neon colors, lace leggings and the Broadway show Rock of Ages which features 80's rock music, have become increasingly popular.
Regardless of what generation you associate with Troll dolls, these dolls have been successful primarily among young girls. A little known fact about the dolls is in the 1990's marketers attempted to target young boys with concepts such as Troll Warriors, Battle Trolls, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Trolls- all with little success. Although I'm sure the specially targeted Troll dolls have made their way into the collections of Troll fanatics everywhere along with the cute miniature trolls and pencil toppers.
Troll dolls have had a long history, and with the attempts to rejuvenate the image these dolls will continue to be among the favorites of children all over the world. I can only hope that one day when I have children of my own they can know the joy of looking in to the creepy wrinkled face of a Troll doll and feeling warm and fuzzy with the glow of Troll love.