I’ve been quite open about the fact that the Mattel Sunshine Family dolls kind of freaked me out as a kid, it’s the blank eyes, sedate expression and well, even their name sounds like a Grindhouse horror movie.
The Sunshine Family was devised in the mid-seventies by Mattel and seems to be grown-up hippies now starting young families.
Much of the play is centred around crafts which is really of the era. The family owns a hobby store and later on they would create what looked like a commune. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the Sunshine family abandon their values and become yuppies in the eighties as the line was cancelled in 1978. Mattel regrettably recycled their rather a doll simple bodies into lines such as Space:1999, Welcome Back Kotter and Mork and Mindy.
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The Sunshine and Happy Families had quite a brood when you included the Grand Parents, it would have been fun if Mattel included the “other” set of in-laws, you know the one with the crew cut father-in-law who was always yelling at the dad to get real jobs and cut his hair?
When not in the country store the Sunshine Family would get in their pick up truck and sell stuff at country fairs and flea markets, I know a lot of people like this. That bicycle sat next to a “Korg 7000 BC” game in my local variety store until about 1990. Almost twenty years of being reminded that the Sunshine Family was a thing.
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