During the 1980’s horror movies such as Critters and Gremlins were huge and so Mattel decided to capitalize on them by releasing their own vicious little monsters called Boglins.
Created by Tim Clarke, Maureen Trotto and Larry Mass the originals Boglins came to market in 1987 and were produced until 1994. Made from flexible rubber, that could be manipulated to represent different facial expressions the Boglins became well loved considering the lack of back story, especially in the UK.
The Boglins in the UK were the same as the US version, however, for some reason they had different names. The three original models were called Dwork, Vlobb and Drool, in the UK the same Boglins were called Dwork, Plunk and Flurp.
The large Boglins were memorable for their unique, cage-like packages, which were very different from most other toy packagings. Their glow in the dark eyes could also be controlled by a lever with a finger while operating the puppet.
Small Boglins were released later on and unlike the larger ones had no moving parts and no cage-like packaging. Like the larger Boglins, the US and UK versions had different names.
In 1991, Mini Boglins were released, these came in packs of 3, 5 10, 20 or 100. You could also buy them individually in opaque packaging which gave you no way of telling what you were going to get. This line was created to cash-in on the mini-figure craze that was taking place with lines like Monster In My Pocket, especially in the UK where they were very popular. The Mini Boglins were actually released in very few locations, UK, Italy and a couple of others.
The Mini Boglins were separated into tribes, the 1991 Mini Boglins were The Clumsies, The Freaks, The Greedies, The Jokers, The Rude Dudes and The Tough Guys. The 1992 releases were separated into The Army Guys and The Disgustings. Then in 1994 The Medievals, The Samurai and The Prehistorics were released. Also in 1994 8 slightly smaller Boglins called The Cool Dudes were released and could be found in Kellogg’s Frosties. Finally 4 slime Mini Boglins were released, they came in slime-filled packaging.
Several other smaller lines of Boglin toys were released during the Boglin heyday, these included:
The Soggy Boglins were three designs called Snish, Slobster and Slogg. The Soggy Boglins were also sometimes called ‘Aquatic Boglins’ for very obvious reasons.
There were three Hairy Boglins, all based on the original three characters.
Wiggly Tongued Boglins
This is where things start to get confusing, at least one original Boglin was produced with a wiggly tongue, but that’s not where it ends…..
Hairy & Wiggly Tongued Boglins
The three original Boglins were also released with both Hair and Wiggly Tongues, this is why it is confusing, their are so many different combinations. The packaging for this doesn’t even mention the tongue, just the hair.
There were two Halloween Boglins released using two of the original moulds, they were called Bag-O-Bones sand Blobkin.
In 1994 five Action Boglins were released, when squeezed they would either spit, poke out the tongue, sqeak/burp, eyeballs pop out or ooze. They were sold in small plastic cages which were a variety of different colours. The three below are called Link, Spit & Iball, the other two were called Rasp and Likk.
Bash’em Boglins had either a detachable eye, spit-ball monster or tongue which separated from the body when bashed over the head. Skwish and Splat can be seen below, however, the third one is very difficult to find.
Caged Boglins (not the official name of the line) were produced in 1987 and made with a hard plastic and jointed arms. They came chained inside a small plastic cage and were about three inches long. How many of these were released we are unsure but there were at least two (no names).
Baby Boglins were a rubbery finger puppet with goggly eyes that came inside an egg. There were 12 different characters all of which came in 6 different colours, this meant 72 variations were available.
There were also some spit-action Baby Boglins which would spit water out when squeezed.
Acrobat Boglins were roughly the same size as Baby Boglins but made from sticky material which allowed them to be thrown at a wall and stick against it or be squished and stretched out of shape, only for them to return to original form. These came in different coloured oval shaped containers.
A couple of other prototypes were created including Nite Creature Boglins (they had wings) which have some promotional material available (see below) and Moggy Boglins which were female Boglins that never got released in 1991. The idea of Christmas Boglins were also considered but later shelved.
Finally, for those with good memories, the Boglins TV advertisement.