It's the golden jubilee of Fisher-Price's Little People toys, even though they've been around in some form since 1950. They didn't become the little peg-bodied Little People we know today until 1959, however, with the launch of the "Safety School Bus", which included six figures that could removed from the bus, although the driver stayed inside. (His head was attached to a mechanism that caused it to move back and forth as the bus was pulled. Despite being a child of the '80s, I recall playing with this bus. I had no idea it was so old!)
The two Little People sets I recall playing with the most as a kid, the "Play Family Farm" and the "Play Family House" were introduced in the late '60s. I'd always presumed mine were new—and perhaps they were, as the line wasn't redesigned until 1991 (and again in '97), with the Farm in production until '85—but it's possible that I could have inherited them. Looking at the little chickens and dogs and farmers now in Fisher-Price's faux vintage photographs makes me wistful; I remember the personality I had imbued in every one of those little pegs.
After the jump, some vintage commercials for Little People, as well as some trivia about the line that I cut-and-pasted from a Word doc.
Video: Play Family Farm commercial (1960s)
Video: Play Family Farm System commercial (1971)
Q: Of what material were the first Little People figures made?
A: Wood. The first plastic figures were introduced in 1968 – they had plastic bodies, with wooden heads.
Q: How many different types of Little People animals have there been?
A: Since 1959, Little People has created over 80 different animals, from alligators to zebras!
Q: What was the first playset for Little People?
A: The Little People Farm in 1968. It was one of the hottest toys in the industry that year.
Q: For how much did the first Little People playset retail?
Q: In what year did a Little People playset feature its first licensed characters? What were they?
A: 1975. Sesame Street.
Q: How many Little People products have been sold between 1959 and today?
A: More than 1.5 billion.
Q: When were Little People figures redesigned with more real-life features?
Q: What are the names of the most popular Little People figures?
A: Sara Lynn and Eddie.
Q: What Little People figures were the first to be based on fairy tales?
A: Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood.
Q: When was the first Little People seasonal toy introduced? What was it?
A: 1997. Santa & His Sleigh.