Before the days of the Internet, it was a confusing time. If you wanted to find out about something, you couldn't just Google it. It was kind of awful. If you hear people talking about the good old days, when times were simpler, they suffer from memory loss.
As a kid, I frequently watched a children's show called Today's Special (1981-1987) when I visited some friends in my neighborhood. They had Nickelodeon, and my family did not. There always seemed to be something different about Today's Special, but I could not figure out what it was. I had no idea that it was made in Canada (as was Nickelodeon's You Can't Do That On Television).
Today's Special was set in the Children's Department of a store in a shopping mall. Every night, a human woman, a male mannequin, and their puppet friends would get into mischief and teach us a lesson. Think of it as a more educational version of the movie Mannequin. In the background were all sorts of toys, including some ever-present plush frogs.
Who were these frogs? I had never seen these toys in real life.
The frog in the leather jacket was prominently shown in many scenes during the show.
Oh look! There's a Monchichi! This particular episode also features Rainbow Brite toys in the background.
Some years ago, I remembered these toys and for some reason I Googled them. Amazingly, I found out more about them. The frogs are The Croakettes.
The Croakettes was a relatively small line of plush toy frogs in the 1980s.
I believe they were probably sold in small gift shops. I had only ever seen them on Today's Special.
This Christmas Eve, I saw a couple of them in person.
This Christmas, I visited my family in Venice, Florida, and went to the local Goodwill on Christmas Eve. This was the nicest Goodwill I've ever visited. And they had a collector's section! They had a couple plush frogs who I recognized as the Croakettes.
This is Polly, one of the two Croakettes characters that I saw for sale at the Goodwill. She reminds me a bit of Red from Fraggle Rock. I also saw the Frogman superhero. I did not bother to see how much they were, because I don't need to buy any of them. It's nice just to see them.
Some of the Croakettes can still be purchased online. I'm sure they are widely available because few people know who they are.
Here is the greaser Croakette that had the most screen time on Today's Special.
This cool dude is named Bugsy Croakette.
Bugsy is like the Fonz of the Croakettes. Considering this was made when Happy Days was popular, I'm guessing that is who he is based on.
Those Dragon Flies are hooligans!
And of course there is a Frog Prince in the Croakette family.
Prince Frogerick, to be exact.
The copyright information is very interesting. 1914 and 1983!
I thought it was really interesting that the only time I've ever seen the Croakettes in person was in Florida. Maybe there was a reason...
The Croakettes seem to fit in with the cute toy characters of the 1980s.
Some nice bling on the Prince.
The Croakettes have a sense of humor.
Here, Bugsy hangs out with Jane Ponda. How 1980s.
Work those Frog Legs, Jane!
The Croakette with glasses is Wart C. Wallstreet.
If they made this today, would he be Harry Frogger?
The Bride Croakette is named Leapia.
There's nothing quite as beautiful as a frog in a wedding gown.
Do you remember Gremlins 2: The New Batch? I think someone on the crew had this doll.
So what are you waiting for? Buy all the Croakettes, dance around with a mannequin and live out your own fantasy version of that Canadian classic, Today's Special.
Today's Special. Shout it loud and clear.