Boglins are a line of hand-puppets made by Mattel between 1987 and 1990 or 1991. They are made of soft rubber, just like many figures used in special effects for science-fiction and horror movies in the second half of the 80s. Most sources of information point out that they were probably inspired by movies like Gremlins, Ghoulies, Critters that were very popular back then (and some are still today). I am not so familiar with those movies (except Gremslins), but they seem a bit different to me.
Something remarkable were the boxes in which they were sold: they were cubic cardboard boxes simulating wood and the front, instead of a window had bars like if it was a jail. Nice details like "do not feed" and "do not touch" signs were the perfect appeal for children to touch the puppet with their fingers and having that funny-but-disgusting feeling of the soft rubber touch. It is kind of humid but dry, and soft but cannot be deformed. The back of the box included a description of the species with an evolutionary tree written as if they were a real species. Very funny to read.
There were several Boglins sub-series in different size, but all of them shared some distinctive features. Most of them have bigs heads, short tails and also arms.
From the inside you can control the opening of the mouth, but also the eyes (or eye), in a very impressive effect. The arms are articulated, and could be move from the outside. With some practice, you could really move the puppet and make it look like a living creature. The biggest ones (called simply Boglins, or in latin: Boglinus Humungus) were really big and you could control all previously listed features. The Small Boglins (boglinus minimus) were slightly smaller. The white Boglin I am showing has this same size (but is not a small Boglin). There were 7 characters available in this size. Here you cannot control the arms, which simply hang under the head as in their bigger brothers (where you could insert one finger in each arm).
There were many other sub-series or sub-species of Boglins, including the Soggy Boglins, Baby Boglins, Halloween Boglins, Acrobat Boglins, Mini Boglins, Hairy Boglins, Talking Boglins, Bash'em Boglins, Action Boglins, Baby Squirt Boglins, Glow Boglins, Ric Fair Boglins (something in common with the wrestler?), Batty Boglins and Moggy Boglins (the last two were never mass produced nor released). Every sub-series included characters in different colours, and depending on the previous category, they came with hair, fluorescent paint to glow in the dark, detachable body parts...
The white Blogin I present today is a Glow Boglin, and was only available in Europe, not the US, so an "EURO exclusive".
I have been looking at some commercials and pictures, and I must say they look amazing. Some (like the Halloween Boglins) look really frightening even today. i understand that they are still very sought-after by collectors worldwide. Unfortunately, I have some doubts about their durability. I think in a few years, maybe 10 more or maybe 20, the rubber skin may deteriorate, harden and finally break into pieces, so they are not a line I would "collect" or spend much money on. They are cool toys, but in my opinion, they are not collectables.
I also own one "Baby Boglin", which, in comparison, is quite simple and boring. Just a very small creature with goggly eyes in which you can insert one finger (one adult finger), but you cannot move the mouth, arms or anything else. They were among the cheapest Bogling you could buy, and came in a plastic egg. The skin and the feeling of touching it is the same as in the small Boglin that appears in the pictures, but the playability is very low.
Here is a very good source for Boglins, both normal, small, baby and all the others: http://www.ghostofthedoll.co.uk/boglins.php
I wish Mattel releases something similar for children around 8 years, which I think would like to play with them. They are great toys: enhance imagination, coordination skills (eye-hand coordination) and are actually a lot of fun to play with. But... do these toys still have a chance against Pókemon Go and similar games?
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: KLANG (GLOW BOGLIN) and BOINK (BABY BOGLIN)
- Toy Line: BOGLINS
- Year: 1986
- Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
- Size of the figures: Around 9 cm tall the big one and around 6 cm long the small one