I had the seahorse! While I don't remember it changing colors very well... it was still awesome. And the theme song for the commercials is now stuck in my head.
Originally, Kenner was a division of General Mills. Yes, that General Mills of cereal fame. GM created Kenner (and Parker, another one of their toy divisions) as a separate business entity, which became Kenner Parker Toys, Inc. In 1987, Tonka (yes, that Tonka of Tonka trucks fame) acquired Kenner Parker, and Kenner was reconstituted as a division of Tonka. Tonka was purchased by Hasbro in 1991, and Kenner came along for the ride. In 2000, Hasbro closed the Cincinnati, Ohio office of Kenner and the Kenner product lines were merged with Hasbro.
Okay, got that? Now, in 2003, Hasbro filed a trademark registration for Littlest Pet Shop by Hasbro, Inc, and then the first line of Littlest Pet Shop toys is released in 2005, with no similarity to the old style, except that they were both sort of plastic.
The Kenner version of Littlest Pet Shop pets were actually sort of... "soft" looking. The Hasbro version gave them big eyes and accented features, the big heads made them easy for kids to grip.
The differences are obvious. The new Littlest Pet Shops are "cutesy" and almost exotic, with lots of fun, crazy styles that every child wanted to collect.
Another thing that Hasbro did that helped make all the difference was giving the pets each a number as they were created. So, it wouldn't be just "did you get that orange cat with the white stripe?" Instead, it would be "I love my #77 kitty but I REALLY WANT #577, the Great Dane!" This made them highly collectable as people would want certain numbers in a series, and it also gave them a way to be sought after.
The popularity of them exploded after 2005, and even a decade later, the popularity has not waned. In fact, some of the pets go for a lot of money:
Some of the prices are just outrageous!
(Note: These are all in the "Sold" section, but whether or not they actually got paid for these is unknown.)
Collecting them is great fun, and it's always thrilling to find some "in the wild" to put in my shop. There are over 3,000 different pets now, all with different rarities, shapes, sizes and colors. Do you have these stashed away in your basement? Or put away for your kids? You never know if you're sitting on a super rare one!
Thanks for reading, and make sure to check out which ones I have available in my store today!