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My Buddy

“My Buddy, My Buddy, Wherever I go, he goes, My Buddy, My Buddy, I’ll teach him everything I know”

So went one of the most infectious toy advertising jingles of the 1980s. Most Americans who were kids during the mid-1980s remember this song, even if they can’t remember what My Buddy was.

The song was intensely catchy in the way only a jingle can be, and it was made even sweeter by the delivery of its kid singer, who sang the tune in an irrepressibly exuberant way that suggested he would grow up to be a Las Vegas lounge lizard.

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The toy behind the song was just as interesting: unlike most dolls, this one was not designed for girls. It was made for boys.

Between this distinction and the toy’s theme song sat one of the most interesting toys of the 1980s.

Hasbro Toys introduced the My Buddy doll to toy stores everywhere in 1985.

This 21-inch doll was a cute replica of a young boy, complete with a baseball cap, overalls, sneakers and a bowl-cut hairstyle. It’s worth noting that the doll was also marketed in both Caucasian and African-American styles.

My Buddy’s features were slightly cartoonish in nature and its face sort of resembled that of a Cabbage Patch Kid.

He had no special extras like speech or motion, but he made a good companion. This strength was played up by the toy’s commercials, which showed a kid taking My Buddy everywhere (“My Buddy and me like to climb up a tree”).

With the commercial’s infectious jingle ringing in their ears, many doll fans found themselves going down to the toy store to pick up their own My Buddy dolls. The success of My Buddy led to a sequel doll for the girls known as Kid Sister. It was basically the same thing as My Buddy, except in female form.

Even the familiar theme song stayed the same, with the identical melody of the original tune supporting slightly altered femme-oriented lyrics sung by a little girl. My Buddy’s success also led to other related items, including paper doll books and children’s books like Meet My Buddy.

As the 1980s ended, so did the strange but beguiling My Buddy phenomenon. It’s tough to tell whether or not My Buddy made dolls a hip accessory for boys, but the now-discontinued My Buddy dolls continue to be a popular and prized item at garage sales and online auctions.

There is no doubt the people who are still buying these dolls hear a certain tune in the back of their mind as they do. It probably goes a little something like this:

“My Buddy, My Buddy, My Buddy and me!”