(Family Matters) Urkel
Hasbro, Milton Bradley, Tyco and Colorforms
It's funny how things that one would never think become popular would do just that. Originally slated as a one time character on the show Family Matters, Steve Urkel quickly became the show's focus each and every week - To the point that other cast members were pushed from the spotlight, and eventually left the series. Jaleel White portrayed the character as such a loveable nerd that audiences couldn't help but be drawn in to root for him.
During the height of the character's popularity, merchandising became a big money making deal. Toys, games, cereal and t-shirts were all produced based on Urkel. It seemed like every product developer out there wanted a piece of the action.
Today, we're going to look at some of our favorite Urkel related items. Mind you, this is just the tip of the iceberg of the vast amount of products that were produced based on the TV persona.
For our money, Hasbro probably released the absolute best Urkel item to date - The Family Matters Urkel "I Speak My Mind!" doll in 1991. With the pull of a string, Urkel says phrases such as;
"No sweat, my pet!"
"Hee, hee, hee, *snort*"
"Got any cheese?"
And of course you couldn't have a talking Urkel doll if it didn't say, "Did I do that?"
These days the doll is fairly common on secondary markets, and one can obtain one for as little as fifteen to twenty dollars mint in the box. Of course you'll run across the occasional seller here and there that thinks someone will drop fifty to a hundred on it - Which they won't.
"If you want to do the Steve Urkel Dance,
All you have to do is hitch up your pants,
Bend your knees, and stick out your pelvis;
(I'm telling you, baby, it's better than Elvis)"
Those were some of the obnoxious lyrics to what would soon be dubbed the Do the Urkel dance. The dance steps incorporated all as noted above, and oddly enough it took the world by storm. So much to the point that White portrayed the character in a cross-over episode of Full House where he reprises the dance.
In 1991, game makers Milton Bradley wanted folks at home to join in on doing the Urkel with their fun boardgame of the same name. Though the game involved a lot of doing the Urkel, the main concept was to be the first player to obtain eight Bow Tie cards.
Game play was simple enough. Each player chooses a corner of the board to start in, then a chosen starting player rolls the dice in the designated dice tray. The dice will either land on an arrow, or a pair of glasses. If it lands on an arrow, the player takes the corresponding Bow Tie card that it is pointing to. If it lands on the glasses, the player can choose any of the cards.
Players must then act out the instructions on the cards before claiming them which could include singing the lyrics to Do the Urkel, hiking up their pants, snorting, and more. After claiming their card, the player can continue to roll if they choose or pass to the turn to the next player. Should they continue to roll, if the arrow points to another card, they can claim that card as well by performing out the acts, and can then continue rolling. However, should the dice arrow point in the direction of a card that has already been claimed, all cards are forfeit, and the turn moves on to the next player.
You continue this torture until someone has obtained a set of eight cards, and the game ends.
This next item actually has a rather ironic packaging scheme. It's entitled the Family Matters View-Master 3-D. However, Tyco makes the central focus of the package Urkel, with the rest of the cast confined to a small bubble off to the side of the character. Apparently family doesn't matter.
Tyco produced the View-Master 3-D in 1991 along side several others TGIF lineup shows such as Full House and Blossom. Though we don't remember what story was showcased on the packed in reels, the blister pack was based on the episode where Urkel "rescues" an orangutang from a local research facility, and brings it to the Winslow's home. Now not only could you take in the visual story of Family Matters, but you could do it all in glorious 3D!
Last, but certainly not lease in the realm of Urkel "collectibles" is Colorforms 1991 Urkel! The premise was simple - Take a gloss finished background of Steve Urkel, and adhere peel and stick outfit pieces on top of him. When finished, peel of the pieces again, and put them back in the box or mix and match further combinations. Wow, what a blast of a good time....Zzzzzzz.
Sadly there isn't much more to this one that we can say. It's a pretty straight forward concept.
Though we didn't go into great detail on it, you can also check out the cereal box for Urkel-O's from our post on Cereals of the 80's. With that, we wrap up our look at one of the world's most beloved nerd. Now if only we could get all of the above utilizing the character Booger.
Join us next time when we take a look at Army of Two - 40th Day!
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