You know, like Sweet Freedom, but something completely different!
So, not at all like sweet freedom, but light is still shining on us.
Yesterday on Throwback Thursday, we witnessed Entertech’s attempt to turn a video game into an actual sport, based on a movie that created this “sport.” Today, we’re veering in the opposite direction, going the decidedly more girly (and much safer) route of toys.
The year was 1988, the company was Mattel, and the doll was magical!
Meet P.J. Sparkles, and she’ll shine the light on you!
Watch how her magic works in this commercial!
P.J. Sparkles was introduced by Mattel in 1988, and produced until 1991. The series of dolls, all 15″ tall, lit up and blinked in various places when hugged (there was a plate-type button on her chest that when pushed, would activate her many lights. Her earrings, bow, and the heart on her dress would light it up pink. Her dress converted to a nightgown, which made her an ultra-awesome night light!
I’m not above admitting that I did this at least once – I was never one to sleep with my dolls, but because of this commercial, I gave it a try.
And yes, it really was this pretty!
P.J. Sparkles enjoyed a nice run as a beautiful doll with the ability to light up a little girl’s life, and she also had a one-off cartoon in 1992 to promote the doll, which was based on the 1991 version of the doll (and packaged with it). Did I mention her voice was that of the woman who played Ariel in The Little Mermaid, or that her horse, Blaze, was voiced by The Beast? I didn’t? Because there’s a whole lotta Disney in a non-Disney cartoon, lemme tell ya!
(No, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it, but it is on YouTube.)
In addition to P.J., there was Starbright, Baby (I think one of my younger cousins had this one), as well as characters from the animated special, and soft-bodied versions that lacked that “light up all over” feature.
In 2009, P.J. Sparkles was revived with small playsets with mini light-up dolls, and a large doll of P.J. herself. These days, the original version goes for about $25-$55 on eBay, with the 11″ version from 1991, sealed in the box with the VHS copy of The Story of P.J. Sparkles going for $250.
Yikes, and that isn’t for the original one.
As I said, I did own a P.J. Sparkles – she was a Christmas present from my grandparents when I was seven years old (1989), and there is a photo of me holding my doll proudly while standing with my brother at our grandparents’ house on Christmas Day that year. It is in the photos from my grandma’s collections, so I’ll have to try to find it next time I’m at my parents’ house.
She really was a beautiful doll – certainly not exciting in that she did amazing things, but her ability to light up was gorgeous. I kept her until I was fourteen (she sat in a wooden doll high chair I got as a gift when I was little), which was when I purged my doll/toy collection. My other unfortunate victim was my original Rainbow Brite doll, but I’ve since gotten a new one. Would I want P.J. Sparkles again? Only if I came across the same version I had, and as long as she looked ok.
And could still do this.
As I said, I didn’t sleep with my toys very often, but I did one time just to witness this in the dark.
She definitely shined the light on me!
Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!