Saturday, January 12, 2008

History of Littlest Pet Shop


Littlest Pet Shop is a toy product by Hasbro that developed into an animated television series from Sunbow Productions and Creativite et Developpement that debuted in 1995. It follows the lives of a group of five miniature animals, each about the size of a rat. They live in a pet shop on Littlest Lane and have their own treehouse inside of the store. They go on all sorts of adventures together, sometimes involving other miniature animals. The toys each have their own little magnet on one of their front paws that will go on any magnetic object.

Littlest Pet Shop was a popular line of Kenner toys, later a few sets based on the show were released. The toy line had many lines. The first one was introduced in 1992 to modest acclaim but after four years enthusiasm dwindled, the line was retired in 1996.

All the various sets produced can be seen at The Littlest Pet Shop Guide. In 2005, toy designer Gayle Middleton redesigned Littlest Pet Shop toy line for Hasbro bringing a fresh new look which has made it one of Hasbro's most successful Girl's Division line-ups. Since then sales of the Littlest Pet Shop line, market as being a collection of inch-tall kittens, puppies, hamsters, and turtles that inhabit a pet store, have soared from $60 million to $600 million in five years. That represented that Hasbro has sold more than 60 million of the figures at roughly $4 a piece.

In redesigning Littlest Pet Shop, Sharon John, head of Hasbro's girls' division group decided to mix the modern with the traditional. They gave the animals the big, vulnerable eyes made popular by Japanese animators. They toned down the pink packaging and went with more contemporary purple and green. But they kept the figures the same size as before—much smaller than most dolls—knowing girls like to collect and carry little things.

Then that group applied a few time-tested lessons from boys' action figures. The company created more than 300 versions of the animals, changing them every few months to keep kids interested. And for the holiday season there's Littlest Pet Shop bobble heads ($4), electronic diaries ($19), and plug-'n'-play TV games ($25).

Now comes the digital strategy—which will sound familiar to those who know about Webkinz (below). Hasbro has started selling what it calls Virtual Interactive Pets on its Web site and those of a few retailers. The bigger, $15 dolls come with a secret code that unlocks an online world where kids can create virtual pets and play games. Hasbro hopes the new line, which goes national in February 2008, will draw in girls older than eight.

Sometime later in 2008, Hasbro, through a relationship with video-game maker Electronic Arts (ERTS), will introduce Littlest Pet Shop games for Nintendo's (NTDOY) handheld DS and Wii game platforms. Maybe then boys will want to play, too.

Original set of toys included

  • Happy Puppy - a Dalmatian that came with a light blue pet carrier, ID tag, a food dish, and a magnetized brush that, when moved in front of the pet's tummy, would cause his tail to wag.
  • Hurrying Hamsters - a set of two hamsters that came with a clear container (yellow lid), ID tag, a water bottle, a bag of paper "litter", and a clear pink "wheel". The curved hamster had a little weight in its belly - when you placed it in the wheel and turned the handle, the hamster would "run" in the wheel.
  • Toucan - a magenta toucan (with green feet). Came with a light turquoise cage with lavender bars, ID tag, a perch, and a food dish. If you touched the toucan's head, her wings would flap.
  • Chameleon - a green temperature-sensitive lizard with a clear container (unknown lid color), ID tag, water bottle, and "desert" background.
  • Bunny - a white bunny that came with a light turquoise basket, ID tag, bunch of carrots, and a food dish. If you pressed down on the bunny's tail, her ears would twitch.
  • Playful Kittens - Golden Kitty, Grey-point white kitty. Came with a "kitty condo" type thing (with a built-in litter box), food dish, scratching post, and magnetized mouse. Golden kitty's head had a magnet in it and would bobble it's head when the mouse was dangled in front of it. Press the Grey/white kitty's tail, and her arms would move up/down in a "scratching" motion.
  • Puppy Trio - Poodle, German Shepherd, and black/brown mutt. Came with doghouse and fenced-in green grass base, food dish, magnetized bone/newspaper. Press poodle's tail, and she'd scratch her ear. Press shepherd's tail, and he'd shake a paw. The other dog's bobble head was magnetized to play tug-o-war with the paper and bone.
  • Gerbils - Four Gerbils with habitrail and accessories.
  • Pet Shop - Came with a variety of accessories and two caged lovebirds that would "kiss" when lever moved.
  • Fish - Tank with colorful, floating fish.
  • Turtles - Two turtles in a terrarium.
  • Monkeys - A trio of monkeys with a tree and other accessories.
  • Mice - Three magnetized mice with a terrarium. The lid would flip over to become a maze. Also had a plastic bottom with a "nest" carved into it. Came with magnetized cheese, a magnetized wand (to help mice through the maze), water bottle and food dish.
  • Stamper pets - Choice of fat yellowish cat or "hairy" black and tan dog. They came on a molded plastic base that would hide a rolling stamper built into the underside of the pet. The cat's stamp had red ink, and the dog's had purple.
  • Families - Choice of bunny, cat, or dog. Each family consisted of a mother and several babies. Mom's belly was magnetized, and a few of the babies contained magnets to create the "nursing" effect. Each family came with a variety of accessories.
  • Chattering pets - Three sets were available; the forest creature set, the purring kitties set, and the birds set. The forest creatures set included a skunk, a raccoon, a squirrel, a tree, and accessories. The kitty set included three cats and a kitty condo that featured a purring function. The bird set included four-five cockatoo-like birds and a clear "glass" cage. There was a button on the top of the "cage" that would chirp when pressed.

Toward the end of the Littlest Pet shop production, the line began to branch out into even more diverse sets:

  • Littlest Pet Shop Zoo - The zoo was an entirely different set of LPS animals. There was even a zoo playset. Some of the animals available included a zebra, polar pals (set of polar bear, seal, and two penguins), honey bear, leopard, tiger, elephant, ducks, and a lion.
  • Beethoven - based upon the hit movie series, there was a number of playsets featuring the infamous Saint Bernard dogs.

Littlest pet shop- Get better center included a lizard dog and cat. The cat drinks the bottle of milk when you put it on the lips. When you rub the lizards spots they turn invisible the dog is just plain.

  • McDonald's Happy Meal - included fantasy creatures, such as a unicorn and a dragon.
  • Television Series - featuring the characters from the animated LPS series.

The first set of pets-to-go were re-painted and re-released as "different" pets later in the lifespan of the 90s LPS.

Littlest Pet Shop VIPs

Littlest Pet Shop 'VIPs' (Virtual Interactive Pets) were released in 2007 on the 12th of August. The "cuddliest pets on the net" enable tween girls to visit an online world with their adorable Littlest Pet Shop VIP toy. By finding the "secret code" hidden in the toy's collar, the girls can access a virtual land where they can play games, decorate their house and purchase clothes for their VIP pet using the currency of "kibble" points. It is a profitable new way to let girls see the Littlest Pet Shop world through their toy pet's eyes. RRP is $18.95, approximately.

The five miniature animals were

  1. Stu (Michael Donovan), a blue dog who loves to eat, and wears a backward baseball cap.
  2. Chloe (Babs Chula), a purple cat who can channel her own past lives; she most frequently channels the one in which she was the pet of a rock singer named Little Hopper (an obvious parody of Little Richard).
  3. Viv (Lynda Boyd), a pink rabbit with blonde hair who loves to sing and dance; she wears a magic-satchel-like top hat, inside of which lives a three-piece rodent band.
  4. Chet (Lee Tockar), a yellow horse who is proud of his muscles and who sees himself as the toughest member of the group.
  5. Squeaks (Tel Cole), a red monkey who loves to eat bananas, and who makes noises with his mouth instead of speaking.

Other regular characters

  • Elwood P. Harvey (Ian James Corlett), the human owner of the pet shop. He looks after all the animals, although he can't understand what they say; their speech only sounds like animal noises to his ears. His name and face are most likely inspired by the movie Harvey.
  • Mumsy, Elwood's globe-trotting mother who often sends unusual animals and relics to her son.
  • Delilah (Shirley Milliner), Elwood's pet monitor lizard who keeps trying to eat the other animals when her owner isn't looking. Her voice is modeled after Zsa Zsa Gabor's.
  • Harriet, a parrot who's a close friend of the miniature animals and often gets caught up in their adventures.
  • Sarge (Gary Chalk), a military-minded hamster who commands all the other hamsters. His name is from the diminutive of "sergeant". He wears a mohawk.
  • Rookie (Sarah Strange), a brown dog who lives in the pet shop.
  • Bernice A pink hamster 100 pounds bigger than Sarge who Sarge takes a love interest. Everytime he tries to impress her, something disastrous happens; Barinkas disputes the gifts Sarge brings.

Notable one-time characters

  • Sabrina, Chloe's identical twin sister and a born troublemaker.
  • Wolfie, a miniature wolf who's a sort of reverse-werewolf; under the full moon, he becomes a miniature, crotchety old man.
  • Morty (Rob Paulsen), an endangered miniature white tiger whose loneliness has made him a little crazy.

External links

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and article at Business Week

9 comments:

PeekyWeeky said...

Wow. That's pretty cool! But where did you find that out?

knowings said...

This is one of the best blogs I've ever seen! My Littlest Pet Shop VIP pig RoseRoo was reading with me... so much information which is fascinating to learn about is packed into this blog! Thank you very much for making this!

Lots of love,

Knowings and RoseRoo

PeekyWeeky said...

I love your blog!I like to imagine what that Tv show looked like. The pink bunny with blonde hair sounds so cute!

dulceyzacefron said...

oooooo no sabia eso esta super :D

bearmon1st said...

woah...your blog is totally awesome hehe i like it so much :D

Unknown said...

Just came across this great article about LPS. Kudos for putting out something so informative for the fans. I have to comment about part of it though. I know the girls team for LPS and know of no "Sharon John." It is true that Gayle Middleton is behind the look of Pet Shop. She is the one that was focused on bringing the Japanese-Kawaii modern look to the property. Sharon might have designed the packaging (I'm guessing based on your comments) but Gayle Middleton created the look before the packaging was created. (Though having said that, the packaging is very fun and kudos as well to the packaging designer!)

Clark Family said...

I have a LPS Magic Motion Yum Yum Puppy #4 (Brown). I have searched all over the internet for this toy and have only found 1 on Amazon and 1 on ebay. Do you know the history of this toy? Why is it so hard to find?

iheartkatamari said...

This is very cool! I've always liked the TV show. I liked all the main characters(Chloe, Stu, and the rest) a lot, but I've always had a soft spot for Rookie. I loved any episode starring her, particularly "Inmate Rookie", in which Chloe and Stu have to rescue her from the pound(which was run by a very fat dogcatcher!), and "My Fair Rookie", in which Chloe and Stu try to help make her over before a dog show. :)

Karan Gupta said...

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First 30 pets

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