In 1975, Kenner introduced the somehow cool and very creepy Hugo, Man of a Thousand Faces. Born with a base face only a mother – or a 5-11 year old child – could love, Hugo was popular in the mid ’70s. To say he grows on you would be stretching it. Some think a relationship with this bald-headed, barefaced, bland, bad boy is a love him or hate him proposition. BLiPPEE is glad that Hugo comes with something to cover his face.
With the right combination of accessories, Hugo can change from a John Lennon look-alike to a wide-eyed Clark Kent in just a few minutes. For that matter, with a little imagination, you could change Hugo from a wide-eyed Charlie Chan to a wide-eyed pirate to a wide-eyed Yul Brynner and back to a wide-eyed Hugo with a few fancy hand moves.
Hugo is a hand-puppet that measures about 13” tall. He wears a blue jean shirt that laces at the top. He has a soft rubber head and hard plastic hands. His arms are stuffed with cotton, and he has a string inside, that when pulled, makes his arms move.
Hugo is intended for children ages 5-11. The box boasts, “Easily changed disguises fit you and your puppet… Create thousands of pretend friends.”
Hugo came with a ton of disguises that both you and he could wear. If you opened your eyes real wide, you could look just like Hugo! Complete in the box, there was a Beatle-esque wig, a goatee and 2 sideburns, a full facial mask (thank goodness), 4 interchangeable eyebrows/mustaches, 2 noses, 2 pairs of glasses plus an eye patch, 2 chins, a set of fangs, and an array of glue-on accessories including 2 eye pieces, scars, warts, moles, and a bandage complete with fake blood. Instructions and 2 glue sticks were also included. Wow!
Now somewhat of a collectible, Hugo’s popularity didn’t make it beyond the 1970s. Once the glue sticks ran out, so did the ability to customize Hugo. That was because you couldn’t just use any ol’ glue. The glue sticks provided by Kenner in Hugo’s box stayed tacky. This made the warts, scars, and moles temporary. Regular Elmer’s glue sticks were messy and could damage Hugo, his accessories, or both.
Had it been available, something that dried like today’s hot glue – only without the heat – would have been ideal. This consistency would allow enough tackiness to adhere the parts, but would still allow a neat transition for the next face change without the worry of damage to Hugo’s not-so-beautiful face.
A bit of trivia:
Pee Wee Herman used a Hugo puppet in some of his stand up routines, including his stage show pilot episode. Hugo was also a regular on the Uncle Floyd variety/comedy show.
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