Let’s face facts – Mr. Potato Head, lovable as he may be, really couldn’t hold a candle to Hugo, the Man of a Thousand Faces. This was advanced cranium alteration, the opportunity to turn Hugo into the doll of your dreams, or your nightmares. Let’s take a look back at this unforgettable mug.
Even with his face in all its naked glory, Hugo had a distinct element of creepiness about him, with the emotionless blue eyes of a serial killer and a matching blue shirt that screamed “convict.” This probably wasn’t a doll you wanted staring at you from across a dimly lit bedroom. But, of course, the fun really began when you dipped into his arsenal of disguises, all ready to be attached to his sinister face. The folks at Kenner Toys provided everything you needed – scars, wigs, eyewear (and even eyes,) mustaches, fangs and more, enough to create a thousand or more distinct appearances for Hugo.
Unlike his spudly counterpart, Hugo didn’t rely on pegs to keep his features affixed to his creepy, yet cherubic, face. Rather, he preferred the temporary glue that was provided. Unfortunately, only two sticks were included and it was easy to use those up rather quickly. Once those were gone, it was hard to find a substitute adhesive that wouldn’t stick like, well, glue.
Hugo, like so many other toys, didn’t make it out of the 70s, even though he garnered a little fame as a prop in some of the early Pee Wee Herman stand-up routines. But for those who got the chance to know him, it is likely that they will never forget Hugo or those haunting eyes that gave the impression that, once you were tucked snugly into bed, he was plotting a way to take over the world – or destroy it. No, that’s silly. He’s just a doll…just a doll.
Do you have fond (or fearful) memories of playing with Hugo, Man of a Thousand Faces? Share your recollections in our comments section as we pay tribute to this master of disguise, here at Retroland.