Without skipping a beat, 80s’ kids know that My Buddy jingle- and we also know without a doubt, THIS, without a doubt, is the true inspiration behind the Child’s Play franchise. Sure, the Cabbage Patch Kids as originally stated, served as some inspiration for good ol’ Chuck. But My Buddy was in itself, was inspired by the Xavier Roberts’ line. Also, looking at this pair side-by-side, it’s beyond obvious we know where he got his look from.
In the earlier part of the decade, Cabbage Patch Dolls rules the ugly doll market with a mighty fist; crushing any and all competitors that stood in their creepy, cabbage-dwelling way. Although considered non-gender specific, the dolls were mostly marketed towards little girls. The boys had their GI JOES and HE-MAN, and that seemed to be the way it just was. Up until Hasbro launched a market campaign with a doll, directly marketed to boys as, “A little boy’s special friend! Rough and tough, yet soft and cuddly.”
The My Buddy doll was officially stocked on store shelves in 1985 and actually sold fairly well – ranking in eighth place officially as the top-ten selling toys for that year. But it didn’t last long. And neither did his off-shoot Kid Sister either- which I TOTALLY HAD.
And intro the theme song that will probably be stuck in your head the rest of the day. In which case, was most certainly the biggest selling point of this doll. It truly was the perfect combination for creating a memorable identity for a toy while cleverly referencing the doll’s name throughout the “earworm” so much so, all kids’ would remember the name My Buddy or Kid Sister when asking for an oversized bundle of plastic and stuffing with sewn-on clothing.
Then, 1988 happened and in comes Chucky to permanently bury that pussy My Buddy/ Kid Sister duo forever into the hallowed grounds of unwanted toys.
Now while, it has already been confirmed via Don Mancini himself that the Cabbage Patch Kids served as some sort of muse for Chucky, along with other things, (NOT that garbage Robert the Doll story that has been circulating for years); it wasn’t until fairly recently that Mancini himself admitted to there being an inspiration from My Buddy as well. This could be due to any possible lawsuits that could have come his way and towards the studios with such an admission. Which, of course, is fair enough. However, we all knew better anyway.
Hell, everything from the look itself, the fake toy box, all the way down to the commercials screamed this was a blatant killer copy-cat. Come on… Even in the original pitched script Chucky’s name was “Buddy”; which of course, was later actually utilized in the reboot of the franchise in 2019.
Now don’t get it twisted. I’m certainly not giving the guy (Mancini) any shit. I’m eternally grateful to have such a marvelous, witty, pint-sized horror maniac in the horror movie legends roster. But, let’s face facts. Chucky was directly inspired by My Buddy- who in turn, had a hand in the down-fall of the doll.
Just like with Freddy, every kid in the late 80s’ early 90s’ knew all about Chucky; and we closely associated the plastic terror with the My Buddy doll. My younger brother had a My Buddy doll prior to the movie coming out, as I did as well with his sister companion. However, shortly after seeing the movie, we got rid of those fuckin’ nightmare inducing wads of stuffing on the fact it resembled it TOO much; and it did give my brother several nightmares. He did NOT want that thing in his room anymore; and unfortunately, that same scenario rang true for many other kids as well. Whether it was the kids themselves, or parents making that association, the My Buddy toy line suffered. Hasbro subsidiary Playskool continued manufacturing the doll into the 1990s, while changing up his look a bit to distance the toy’s legacy away from the Child’s Play series. But, it didn’t have the effect the toymakers’ thought it would and My Buddy went completely off line in the 90s’ due to poor sales.
Prior to the upcoming Child’s Play series coming in October from SyFy, Chucky’s kill count sits at 74. Let’s just make it 75 because My Buddy deserves at least that.