“My Buddy, My Buddy,
Wherever I go, he goes,
My Buddy, My Buddy,
I’ll teach him everything I know…”
Not since Jack Jones sang the opening to The Love Boat has a theme song been as exuberantly performed as the one that accompanied My Buddy. Of course, the kid that sang this composition had plenty to be enthusiastic about – My Buddy was a pretty unique playtime pal. A departure from conventional marketing wisdom, this was a doll marketed for male children.
Introduced by Hasbro in 1985, My Buddy stood a proud 21” tall and was fashioned to look like a young boy, with both Caucasian and African-American models available. Donning overalls, sneakers and a baseball cap to cover his bowl-cut hairstyle, My Buddy looked a little like a Cabbage Patch Kid. And while he didn’t talk or eat or anything like that, he was the silent partner, always ready to be carried away on one adventure or another (as the television commercials proudly proclaimed).
Perhaps it was the sing-song jingle that stuck in the memory as if it had been affixed by Crazy Glue, but little tykes sure remembered to ask for a My Buddy at the neighborhood toy store. Soon, little girls, perhaps jealous of their male sibling’s new pal, wanted in on the action and Hasbro followed up with Kid Sister, a female version of the doll. Knowing not to fix what isn’t broken, they decided to market Kid Sister with the same infectious theme song. Other merchandise followed, including paper doll books and a line of children’s books, such as Meet My Buddy.
Playskool attained the rights to My Buddy in the 90s and made a few changes, such as eliminating the ability to remove the doll’s clothing. While this made it impossible for wardrobe changes (which caused more than a few consumers to complain), it also reduced manufacturing costs dramatically.
Of course, there is also a slightly sinister aspect to the My Buddy story. There is a widespread belief that My Buddy was the model for Chucky, the murderous little misfit from the Child’s Play movies. “Surely not”, insisted director Tom Holland, who swears that he modeled Chucky after a Cabbage Patch Kid. And honestly, that makes more sense. My Buddy would never stoop to such criminal activities; he was a good kid. Those Cabbage Patch dolls, on the other hand – yeah, there was always something not quite right about them.
We would love to hear from you if you were the proud pal of a My Buddy. Tell us about all those adventures you went on together in our comments section, as we pay tribute to this unique and faithful friend from childhood that had everyone singing his name.