My husband, like me, is a child of the 80s. I asked him if he remembered
Monchhichis, thinking that surely he’d have no idea what I was talking
about. But NO! He immediately burst into that commercial jingle. You
totally know the first couple of lines at least:
Oh so soft and cuddly!
With a thumb in her mouth she’s really neat.
Fun to wiggle his little feet.
Yah yah yah yah yah
Happy happy monchhichi!
I love you monchhichi!
You could choose between the boy doll and the girl doll, but who are we
kidding? We wanted BOTH of those bib-wearing monkey babies!
Confession: prior to researching for this piece, I had no idea how to
spell the name of these little critters. If pressed, I’d have gone with
three separate words: mon chi chi, or possibly two: mon
chichi. And I’d have recognized that monchichi was a
distinct possibility. But dude – I would never have guessed that an
extra H would be in there.
The phenomenon originated in Japan. First there were the thumb-sucking
monkey toys, created in 1974 by the famous doll company
Sekiguchi. A couple of years later, the dolls were sold all over
Western Europe by a variety of names: Chicaboo (U.K.), Mon Cicci
(Italy), Kiki (France), Moncsicsi (Hungary), and Virkiki (Spain).
In 1980, the cartoon series “Futago
no Monchichi” aired in Japan. Hanna-Barbera was quick to jump on the
animated monkey wagon. In 1983, the company came up with its own ABC
program, “Monchhichis”, about those darling little primates who lived in
treetops. Wizzar, their leader, performed magic to defeat their enemies,
those awful Grumplins of Grumplor.
“Monchhichi means happiness!”
Both the dolls and the cartoon were huge hits with American kids, so loads
of retail items hit the shelves, including these puppets:
Today, collectors need look no further than their home computer to shop
for the happy boy and happy girl Monchhichi dolls and related
Collect them, trade them, cuddle them and play with them, Monchhichis are
undeniably 80s and, like, totally awesome. To put some pep in your step
and a smile in your heart, here’s their theme song one last time: