Fisher-Price's Little People Grown Up

Those stubby little Fisher-Price folks — called Little People — turn 50 years old Saturday. Host Jacki Lyden didn't have that excellent garage play set, but she does have a look back at five decades of an iconic toy.

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JACKI LYDEN, host:

And now, to a toy that's a survivor, an icon that turns 50 this year. In fact, this famous figurine's official birthday is today, March 21st.

(Soundbite of Fisher Price advertisement)

Unidentified Man #5: Here's the Fisher Price Play Family House, with its own handy garage for the play family car.

LYDEN: What, you thought I was talking about Barbie? She's last week's news. No, no, no, it's Fisher Price's Little People, though back in 1959, they weren't called that. They were just smiley, peg-shaped kids in the back of the Safety School Bus playset.

(Soundbite of music)

LYDEN: Here's a fun fact. Back then, the kids on the bus included a Bully Boy figure complete with a slingshot for tormenting his unfortunate fellow passengers. Toy collectors cherish Bully Boy because, no surprise, he was quickly kicked off the bus as attitudes toward childhood bullying changed.

The school bus was followed by the house, the garage and the farm, with its famous sound effects when the barn doors opened.

(Soundbite of Fisher Price advertisement)

Unidentified Man #6: With the Play Family Farm, you can make believe you're a busy farmer.

Ms. ALICIA TRUMAN(ph): I definitely had - I had a farm, and now he has a farm that looks a lot different from the farm that we had.

LYDEN: That's Alicia Truman. She's at a toy store with her 1e-and-a-half-year-old son. Jasper(ph) is playing with today's version of Little People, a motorized racetrack where cars chase each other around the circuit.

And there's a major change. Little People now have arms and legs. Some of them are even bendy at the waist. If you find that all a bit unnerving, don't worry. Fisher Price is putting out classic anniversary editions of its most famous playsets.

The house has its smiling, peg-shaped family, the farm has a sheep, a cow and a happy, armless farmer patrolling the barnyard on his shiny, orange tractor, just as he has for half a century.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man #7: (Singing) We're Little People with great big plans. Little People, we've got helping hands. Little People, we count from one to 10. Little People, and we'll always be friends. Discover Michael and his…

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