Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Rubber Uglies knockoffs

In the 1960s, Topps produced an assortment of small rubber monster jigglers called Rubber Uglies, which were based on their successful set of Ugly Stickers. The designs featured truly bizarre creatures, often with tentacles, giant eyeballs, fangs and other weirdness. You can read more about their history and see a gallery of them on this site. In the decades since, many knockoffs of the Uglies have been produced, often available in toy capsule machines.

While the prices the original Uglies command have kept me from collecting them, I have gotten a few knockoffs—I believe all from vending machines in the late '80s and early '90s. Let's take a look:

I remember getting this one from a vending machine when I was four or five (yes, my obsession with little rubber monsters goes way back). It uses the design of the Rubber Ugly shown under the name "Belle" on the site I linked to above. I always loved this guy, 1) because it's an eyeball tentacle monster, 2) because of the crappily-applied blotch of bright pink paint on green rubber. What's not to love? I think that orangey part on the longest tentacle is discoloration that has appeared over the years, which for me has only added to the appeal.

This one is based on the Ugly named "Florence." Unfortunately, it has suffered some damage over the years. I think at least one of its many appendages has been torn off, but even missing appendages can't take away from its charm. I love how ornery this weirdo looks. It's most definitely the Rubber Ugly that shouts at all the little Rubber Uglies to get off of its lawn.

This pile of tentacles and despair looks to be a knockoff of the Ugly named "James." Don't be fooled by the cheery lemon-lime color scheme—a lifetime of pain exists behind those pathetic, barely-there eyes. Ugly life ain't easy, and bootleg James knows this well.

Finally, we have a Rubber Uglies knockoff that's not rubber at all. This guy is made of hard plastic and appears to correspond to the Ugly listed under "Margaret" on the site linked above. I am pretty sure it came out of a vending machine attached to a little spring and stand, which I'm sure I promptly ripped off as a kid. Has anyone seen any other hard plastic Uglies bootlegs?

Hopefully one day I'll add some real Rubber Uglies to my collection, but these knockoffs are definitely some of my favorite weirdo vending toys. What about you? Do you have any Uglies or Uglies knockoffs?