March 27, 2013, 07:53pm
were pastel plush turtles a common thing at some point?
This is Twittle, a plush made by Russ Berrie. I'd place it sometime between 1979-1981 as the production year as I had one as a baby. They might've been made even later than that, I don't know how long they were made. It has a wind-up key on the side that plays "It's A Small World" on an 18-note music box with a metal rod that moves the head in a circle.
This... I found this on eBay searching for Twittles. It's made by Eden, no date on the tag but we'll assume around the same time period. Similar appearance and color, same mechanism. I bought this as well as a curiosity purchase, it plays a music box 18-note tune of Victor Young's theme to "Around The World In 80 Days"
This was also on eBay, the seller tags it as another Eden product(I'm going by seller description). This one is beaten up some but same concept- yellow turtle with a pink and blue shell, wind-up mechanism, blue eyes.
And then today, I spot this one, made by Bantam. Again, same idea, but new company.
They all have the same basic design- yellow body, shell that divides between pink and blue, blue eyes with black pupils, pink nose and mouth, and a wind-up music box inside that moves the head. May or may not have lace.
So I thought Twittle was just a very old Russ Berrie plush and was probably lucky to even find them on eBay. But finding similar turtles seems... was this based on something? Was the yellow turtle with a pink/blue shell that played music a popular item in the late 70s? Finding one similar clone is one thing, finding 3 clones is another.
I purchased the Bantam turtle this past week. It doesn't have a mechanism to move the head like the others with the music box towards the back. There are 2 of the smaller Eden turtle son eBay right now but both are overpriced for their condition- one is rather dirty, the other has that torn pink thread in the face and a bad music box. The bigger Eden is also on eBay still, from sellers who want far too much. One sold this past week for about $10, but the ones asking $50 and $80 won't ever get that. These turtles might be rare but there's not much demand. I haven't seen a Twittle listed in months, not since I bought my last one.
Actually, one of the larger lace-bottom Eden turtles sold for $56 recently but it had about half the cardboard tag attached. Maybe collectors only want ones with the tags?
I've still found zero info on who designed them or why there were so many. Russ Berrie no longer exists and Eden is also gone. Both companies were bought out and absorbed into other companies and I doubt they'd be of any help in identifying or providing more info now. Bantam apparently vanished long ago. One oddity is that two of my Twittles are sewn with yellow thread while the other two are sewn with a clear plastic thread that resembles thin fishing line. Aside from the fact I have no idea why this design of turtle was done by so many companies, I don't know how long they were produced, beyond the period of late 70s to early 80s. I can't find any plush turtles more recent that have this base design and color pattern to them.
The Eden and Bantam turtles were made in Haiti, while Twittle was made in Korea.
Last edited by diosoth; March 27, 2013 at 08:55pm.
Assimilate, or else!!
i remember these, they were pretty big I think, I saw lots of em back in the day.
September 11, 2013, 04:25pm
I found yet another version, which I'd initially overlooked until I noticed it was a mirror flip of another I own.
So I've found 5 of these so far-
Twittle- made by Russ Berrie, plays "It's A Small World" and has a rod to move the neck
Turtle 1- made by Eden, plays "Around The World In 80 Days" and has a rod to move the neck
The next 3 deviate by having a shorter nap and no rod to move the neck, which makes me think they were produced later- I would bet that the metal rod in the neck was deemed as a child safety hazard at some point, as I only seem to see the feature in very old plush toys.
Turtle 2- made by Bantam. Plays "Go To Sleep" and has the music box key towards the back.
Turtle 3- made by Bantam. Unknown music box(my copy is broken)
Turtle 4- unknown maker, tag is worn out. Practical mirror image of turtle 3, so possibly made by Bantam. Plays "It's A Small World"
- - - Updated - - -
A search on the US copyrights website turned up some info-
Twittle's copyright was created in 1981 and published in 1982. That gives me a rough date, anyway. They seemed to renew it as part of a batch of copyrights up through 2009, when russ Berrie more or less dissolved and Kid Brands gave up on them. While they copyrighted the plush, they didn't actually trademark the name.
No clue on the others since they have no character names to search by, but the 3 Bantam ones were probably later.