Updated: Jan 9
The year was 1986. A jar of Skippy peanut butter cost $1.49. "Chernobyl" became a household word. And on November 17th, at six years old, I was recipient to My Pet Monster. It's all revealed in this diary entry that my mom made for me:
What's a birthday without some quality arcade time?
I absolutely loved my monster, and lugged him around everywhere. This was no small task, considering he was about two-thirds my size. I always felt safe with this blue beast by my side, and you'd be correct in assuming I slept with him. I was further protected by virtue of being completely engulfed in my Transformers Sleep Tent, which I sadly no longer have:
Here I am at our now-demolished Pittsburgh home, proudly showing off my bodyguard. Man, those are some cruddy feet!
The following is the commercial I'll never forget. I couldn't wait to break those chains!
I have no idea what happened to the handcuffs, as I wore them everywhere. I think I was actually more interested in the prospect of walking around shackled, than I was with hanging with the monster. (I've always been an attention hound.) Look at this little baddy:
As you may have inferred from the title of this article, I still have my monster to this day. He currently resides on the Married with Children couch:
Here's the whole crew. Cheer Bear and the monster are emblematic of my wife and I, respectively. And get a load of that Ghostbuster Domo, a gift from my lovely bride. He seems to have his hands full, surrounded by the Pac-Man ghosts! Alas, the monster gives him no aide, clearly siding with his otherworldly brethren:
Not widely-known (and even less cared about) is that My Pet Monster had a variant, My Football Monster:
If you hadn't guessed from the overall theme of this blog, I've never had an interest in football. However, the concept for this Monster is spot-on, as many pro football players end up in handcuffs. At least American Greetings (yes, the card company) wasn't lazy, and made My Football Monster radically different from their Pet version. Interestingly (?), the handcuffs retain the My Pet Monster logo.
Regrettably, the legacy of My Pet Monster doesn't end there. In 2001, the toy was re-imagined as a dopey-looking mockery of its former, fierce self:
Disgraceful. Maybe some Millennial has fond recollections of this abomination, but if anything, I think this "friendlier" Monster looks more terrifying than the "scary" one. He seems to be coked out of his mind! And what's with the nose job? My guess is paranoia over a class-action safety lawsuit.
Finally, in 2008, a talking My Pet Monster was brought to market:
This incarnation of My Pet Monster brings back the classic nose (although it's soft fabric), and is more faithful to the original. But what's with the perfect teeth? Bring back the plaque. Also, why do toys these days need some sort of high-tech gimmick? Kids are already over-saturated with electronic devices. Let them use their imaginations. Now get off my lawn!
I'm glad I grew up with My Pet Monster before he became wussified or equipped with a microchip.