In the mid-70s, the Japanese unleashed the cuddly, thumb sucking monkeys called Monchhichi on an unsuspecting world. But it wasn’t until 1980, when Hanna-Barbera decided to follow up their decidedly cute Saturday morning offering, The Smurfs, with another adorable addition. Working with Mattel Toys, the two conspired to bring the lovable Monchhichi to the airwaves and, of course, the toy stores.

These precious primates, the Monchhichis, lived high atop the trees in their native land of Monchia, where they faced consistent harassment from the evil Grumplins of Grumplor.

Led by the aging wizard, Wizzar, the adorable yet heroic Monchhichis consisted of Moncho, Tootoo, Parchitt, Kyla and the tiny and hyperactive Thumkii. This tribe of tree-dwelling primates relied on a series of spells and potions concocted by Wizzar to combat their adversaries from Grumplor.

To coincide with the cartoon series, Mattel stood ready with an army of Monchhichis, complete with hard plastic thumbs perpetually sucked by their primate owners. Soft and furry, cuddly and cute, little girls found them simply irresistible and they flew off store shelves as fast as they could be stocked.

The series, on the other hand (or thumb, if you prefer) was short-lived, only lasting a single season, but that didn’t slow down the toy sales. Seemingly endless variations were marketed, from plush dolls to tiny PVC figurines, and they proceeded to inhabit little girls bedrooms everywhere, clinging to book bags and perched proudly atop bedroom pillows.

While the days of American made Monchhichis have long since passed, Japanese imports continue to flood the market, ensuring that everyone that still longs for their own thumb-sucking monkey doll needn’t go without.

Were you the proud owner of an adorable Monchhichi toy as a child? If so, we’d love to hear all of your thoughts and memories in our comments section below.

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