Home » Home and Family » Hobbies

Bobbleheads Bowl Over America

Aug 17, 2007
Bobbleheads have now become a significant part of popular culture, encompassing entertainment, sports, and even politics. The original figures resembling the now-iconic dolls emerged in Germany and were known then as "nodders" - in an apparent reference to the bobbing or nodding action of the dolls' heads. These were mainly ceramic representations of animals about 6-8 inches in height.

The collectible eventually found its way into sports in the 1920s and became a craze in the US in the 1950s-1960s, although bobbleheads at that time generally were those of favorite teams - unlike the current trend where the dolls represent the most popular or dominant players of particular sports.

One manufacturer, Alexander Global Promotions, already has operations in China forecast to have a monthly output of one million bobbleheads in the summer. The company's decision to set up manufacturing operations in the mainland mirrors the huge market doll makers have in professional sports fans.

As an example: the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers prepared only 5,000 bobbleheads of their All-Star guard Allen Iverson for distribution to fans 14 years old and below - and were forced to contend with a near riot as a much higher number of fans clamoured for the giveaway.

Web auctions join the fray

To ensure that stock would be sold out, sports teams typically limit orders to 5,000-25,000 bobbleheads for a particular event. Such an approach normally leads to a collectible first released for free becoming a hot and high-priced item at Internet auctions.

The popularity of online auctions has led to the creation of SportsFanShop.com - which boasts of an extensive line of bobbleheads from different sports and manufacturers, covering the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and even the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

In a slightly different way, a recent auction of US Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Bobblehead Doll Green Bag started bidding at $1, with the auction later ending at $345.69 for the item. Other famous personalities who have inspired such miniature likenesses include comedian Bill Cosby and even US President George W. Bush.

Batman, Robin and other popular comic book heroes and heroines - and even their villainous counterparts - have also been recreated as bobbleheads. The trend has also become a natural extension of American movies, with recent hits 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' 'Charlie's Angels', and horror classic 'Freddy Krueger' lending themselves as a rich source of the figures. Metallica and other musical artists have also been an inspiration for bobblehead makers.

Bobbleheads encourage private enterprise

The extent to which bobbleheads have become a major phenomenon has already moved beyond public figures, as reflected in the venture of Uratoy.com founder and graphic artist Scott Baker. After giving his family and friends bobbleheads as a Christmas tradition, he later realized the potential of customizing any individual's fantasy into a doll. The business has become quite viable, with Baker setting deadlines weeks ahead, especially for the busy holiday season, to secure product orders.

Bobbleheads have also spawned legal cases - writing for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in April, lawyer Martin Singer warned the Ohio Discount Merchandise company that his client had the right to claim "substantial damages" for the firm's unauthorized production and distribution of a Schwarzenegger doll, arguing that such commercial products were limited to motion picture promotions. The company countered that Schwarzenegger's status as a state official has made his image part of public domain, making it legal for the company to use his name and likeness in bobbleheads.
About the Author
James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 240
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources