American Greeting Cards first introduced the scrumptious sweetheart known as Strawberry Shortcake on a line of cards called Those Characters (the same breeding ground for the Care Bears and Popples.) Her popularity led to line of even-more-popular yummy smelling toy dolls and accessories, each with a flavorful scent to match their name. But Strawberry was ready to move her career forward and follow in the footsteps of her fellow greeting card characters. The time for an animated representation had come. Rather than take the Saturday morning series route, however, Strawberry opted for an annual special – six of them, in fact, which are fondly remembered by many from the era.
Between 1980 and 1985, young viewers were treated to a new special each year, as they paid a visit to their friend Strawberry alongside all of her fruit-flavored doll friends, such as Blueberry Muffin, Apple Dumplin’ and Rasberry Tart. Less friendly was the Peculiar Purple Pieman of Purcupine Peak, who with the help of cohort, Sour Grapes, presented plenty of peril to the people of Strawberry Land over the years.
The first special, The World of Strawberry Shortcake, introduced the aromatic cast, the narrator, Mr. Sun, and the locale known as Strawberry Land to millions of little girls (and some boys) around the country as all gathered to celebrate Strawberry’s sixth birthday.
The following year, Strawberry Shortcake in Big Apple City found the heroine headed to the big city to compete against her nemesis, the Purple Pieman, in a baking contest. Although her foe tried his best to undermine her efforts through a number of underhanded tactics, Strawberry proved that sweetness always prevails in the end.
Strawberry Shortcake: Pets on Parade premiered in 1982. This time around, Strawberry and her cat, Custard, were appointed judges of a pet show. Strawberry was given the responsibility of guarding the grand prize, a shiny new tricycle, an item coveted by her old nemesis, the Purple Pieman.
The following year, Strawberry Shortcake: Housewarming Surprise found Strawberry moving into a new home. While all of her friends, both locally and internationally come to visit Strawberry in her new abode, so does her purple pursuer, who plots to pilfer her prized and precious recipe collection.
Then came Strawberry Shortcake and the Baby Without a Name, the 1984 offering that found the sweet little girl and her pals, Plum Puddin’ and Peach Blush on a camping trip that led to a remarkable discovery. Purple Pie Eater and Sour Grapes proceed to kidnap this discovery and it is up to Strawberry and friends to pursue the perpetrators.
Finally, in 1985, the last special aired, titled Strawberry Shortcake Meets the Berrykins. This time around, the Purple Pieman and Sour Grapes plotted to kidnap the friendly and flavorful Berrykin tots and turn them into a line of perfume. Coincidentally (we’re pretty sure), this episode coincided with the new release of a Berrykin line of toys.
Strawberry proved that one needn’t submit to the rigors of a weekly series to find fame and fortune. While other cartoon characters worked themselves to the bone, she simply made an annual appearance then went back to the day-to-day duties of Strawberry Land, which consisted of basking in the riches of her behemoth toy empire. Ah, the sweet smell of success.
Were you glued to the television each time a new Strawberry Shortcake special aired, or did you simply prefer the toys? Share all of your recollections with us in our comments section, as we tip our hats to these 80s specials that put Strawberry Land on the maps of millions of kids.