Rainbow Brite Characters






Rainbow Brite Characters


Collecting  Rainbow Brite Characters





The 1980s generated a wave of'pretty' toys aimed at girls; colourful, cute or even twee, and specially designed so that children could create their own world - ie they needed to buy the dolls, friends, pets, clothes, and, often buildings.





 This not only ensured the collecting bug at an early age, it gave manufacturers good profits - and parents empty purses  




 

Examples of these toys include Care Bears, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake and Rainbow Brite. Of them all, probably Rainbow Brite was slightly less demanding, as she didn't need a change of clothes, and though she had quite a few friends, most of them could be bought as plastic miniatures.


Rainbow Brite  Characters






 However, the plush versions of the toys were quite expensive - Hamleys charged £16.99 for an 18 inch Rainbow Brite doll in 1985. This might not seem much today, but then they were the same price as a Sasha doll (which now costs over £100!)

















The Rainbow Brite toys were copyrighted by Hallmark in 1983, and to accompany them there was - as usual - a video tape, so that on-screen adventures could be acted out.




 Apparendy, her name was originally Wisp and she was colourless until the day she was brought to a gloomy world to brighten it up — which she did with the aid of a group of Colour Kids named after colours of the rainbow, as well as the Sprites who worked in the colour mines and a rather boastful horse called Starlite.



A Rainbow Brite doll is very distinctive. She has a typical, American-cute face - snub-nose,
round eyes, quirky smile - and bright yellow hair, usually made from wool which is tied pony tail.



Rainbow Brite  Characters
 On her cheek is a blue star.and arms are striped in primary colours, her dress is red and blue (in the plush versions, the blue is normally a very pretty metallic shade) and she has a rainbow on her bodice.

These vinyl-headed, soft-bodied dolls were made by Mattel, clearly labelled and came in several sizes, the 11 inch version being the most commonly found.            

Red Butler (shades of Gone with theWind here?) and some of the other Colour Kids also appeared as dolls, about 11 inches high, each accompanied by their own mini Sprite, but they are much harder to get hold of.


The others included Patty O'Green, Shy Violet, LaLa Orange, Indigo, Canary Yellow and Buddy Blue. Patty was Irish, La La French and Indigo 'Ethnic'. There was also a baby, called Baby Brite. She was dressed in pink rompers over a pink, turquoise and yellow striped top, and was the 'Sphere of Light'.



Sprites are much easier to find, often in charity shops mixed up with the fluffy toys. They come in several sizes and are made from long- pile fur. Their vinyl faces have oval eyes, red noses and friendly grins, and they have red arms and striped legs.





Rainbow Brite   Characters

 On their heads are yellow felt star-shaped antennae. Sprites can be found in the seven colours of the rainbow, plus white. These, too, are clearly marked Mattel, copyright Hallmark Cards.


The white Sprite is called 'Twink'. He is the leader and also the one who rescues Rainbow Brite from her many scrapes. The rest of the Sprites are IQ (violet), Lucky (green), Romeo (red), OJ (orange), Spark (yellow), Hammy (indigo) and Champ (blue), and these are the friends of the matching Colour Kids.





Rainbow  Brite  Characters 




Other fabric characters include Starlite the horse, who measures 12'A inches from hoof to ear tip, and is made from a high-quality white plush. He has a rainbow wool mane and tail, yellow flock hoofs, blue eyes and a star on his forehead. Nowadays, expect to pay around £10-20 for Starlite, which is   little more than when he was first released in 1983.




Sprites are normally £1-5, and Rainbow Brite from £5 upwards, depending on size and condition.


Another plush toy is Lurky, the fluffy sidekick to the arch"Wllain Murky. Lurky is a brown, fat, long-haired creature wearing red trainers. He has bulbous eyes, an enormous nose and black antennae.

The plastic figures came as either mini static models, two inches tall, or as four inch versions with moving limbs. All are marked Hallmark 1983 on the feet.






The larger sizes have wool hair and are very well-made, as were most of the rubbery-type vinyl figurines of this period. Although they are normally grubby when you discover them at the bottom of a box of odds and ends at a boot sale, they clean up very well in soapy water.



Today, small vinyl figures usually cost around £1, and the larger ones £3 - it depends where you buy.




Rainbow Brite  Characters

Being an American character, the States had a wider range of products, including another Mattel version of Rainbow Brite looking nothing like the British doll. Marked 1983, Hallmark, the 15 inch soft-bodied girl had a vinyl head with shorter, beige-blonde nylon hair, and her body was made of a silky fabric. She had the usual blue star on her cheek and striped limbs.




Naturally, many associated spin-offs were produced too, including a set of craft kits (tapestry, stencilling etc) by Spears, as well as the usual puzzles, watches, mugs, duvet- covers, kids shopping bags and T-shirts.






Recently, Rainbow Brite has been revived - or, at least the name.
Still copyrighted by Hallmark, the new dolls are made by Ideal, but are very different to the original.



Rainbow Brite  Characters
The new Rainbow Brite and her friends come with tubs of special fluorescent paint which can be applied to their hair or clothing to make them glow in the dark!

 All the dolls have a much more trendy look, with Rainbow herself dressed in yellow trousers, rainbow-striped T-shirt,


shocking-pink coat and lace- up pink  boots. Her yellow hair now has multi-coloured streaks. Friends of this new Rainbow Brite include Amber, Indigo, Cerise and Ebony.



It seems much more difficult to discover information about Rainbow Brite than, say, Strawberry Shortcake or Care Bears, as she doesn't have much of a following over here at present.



 In the States, it's a different story with a huge band of followers swapping and selling memorabilia, including many items which never made it to the UK - maybe something to keep a look out for if you happen to be taking a trip to America.


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