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Care Bears

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Care Bears

 

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This toyline started out as fictional greetings card characters of American Greetings (one of the largest greeting cards company) in 1981. Later in 1983 they were turned into plush teddy bears by Kenner Toys, thus entering the toys world.

Care Bears were initially created in 1981 by Those Characters From Cleveland (TCFC), the Licensing Division of American Greetings. Muriel Fahrion, was the first concept artist of these characters. She designed the first six bears, creating the best-selling greeting card themes for their belly graphics. Elena Kucharik became the primary artist for the Care Bears creating hundreds of full color illustrations for cards, books other products. Muriel's sister, Susan Trentel, designed the plush version of the bears.

In 1983, the Care Bears were announced as a toyline for production by Parker Brothers and Kenner Toys and in 1983, they entered the toys market. The same year they starred The Land Without Feelings, their first television special, also produced by Kenner Toys. In this special the first villian of the series, Professor Coldheart, made the first appearance. In 1984 another special was released, The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine, in which Professor Coldheart's assistant Frostbite is introduced. Later Lexington Broadcast Services Company distributed a miniseries based on the toys. Three new Care Bears named Grams Bear, Baby Hugs, and Baby Tugs were introduced as well as a spin-off line, the Care Bear Cousins.

In 1985, the Bears and Cousins starred in their first movie, The Care Bears Movie; becoming the highest-grossing non-Disney animated film of the time. Later that autumn, a 22 episodes television series was made.

In 1986 a second movie entitled Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation was released by Columbia Pictures; featuring a new villain, Dark Heart, and introducing Harmony Bear, True Heart Bear, and Noble Heart Horse. The same year a TV series titled The Care Bears was released on the ABC network, lasting two seasons and consisting of over 70 episodes. It introduced a new villain; the evil wizard No Heart and his sidekick Beastly. In the second season, No Heart's niece Shreeky was added to the list of villains.

In 1987 their last theatrically-released film, The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland, was released. The 1988 film Care Bears Nutcracker Suite was decided to be launched as a direct-to-TV movie after the previous film's failure at the box office; premiering on the Disney Channel.

Throughout the 80s, almost every little girl's bedroom had a Care Bear in it; with over 40 million Care Bears having been sold between 1983 and 1987; over 70 million greeting cards were printed by American Greetings during the decade; and in whole, the sales of their merchandise reached over $2 billion during the eighties, thus becoming, together with Transformers and My Little Pony one of the top-selling toylines of the time. By the end of the decade however their popularity was gone together with the eighties, giving place to new kind of toys and games.

The bears reached 12in high, and their personalities were sort of described by their names. Among the most popular ones were Funshine, Good Luck, Cheer, Tenderheart, Friend, Grumpy, Wish, Bedtime and Love-a-lot.

There is no doubt about their right to be included in this list of popular toys of the 80s.

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