The Deal Mommy

Souvenir Stories: Misha Bear

Misha Bear

People who visit Chateau Deal Mommy often notice that most of my treasured possessions make no sense to the naked eye. Sure, there are some Antiques and other “valuable” items scattered in there, but the items that mean the most to me tell a story. With that in mind I present an occasional series: Souvenir Stories.

This one is about the little porcelain trinket above of Misha Bear. If you are born after 1988, you may not be aware of a little event in American History called the Cold War. I’ll leave the heavy lifting to Wikipedia, but as a child of the 70s the Cold War had some lasting effects on my upbringing.

Caught in the crossfire of the Cold War, at least to Americans, was dear Misha here. Of course in 2013/14 Olympic crossbranding is well, everywhere, but in 1980 Misha was a pioneer of marketing genius. I was fortunate enough to get a stuffed Misha bear for Christmas in 1979, which I still have and love dearly.

However, just three weeks later Misha was pulled from all US shelves as the 1980 Moscow Olympics were boycotted in response to the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan. I’ll refrain from commenting on the absurdity of history…I think the events speak for themselves.

Fast forward to 2003, a dirt market in Warsaw behind my parent’s apartment building. For 1 Zloty (about a quarter at the time) I found this little guy all alone in the dustbin of Cold War History and took him home to keep his big brother company.

Have you found any lost relics? Please share.

2 thoughts on “Souvenir Stories: Misha Bear

  1. Andy Shuman

    Yeah, Mishka the Olympian was a genius marketing invention. The world had already pictured Russia with bears roaming free everywhere, so instead of fighting that image, they embraced it. Brilliant, actually! I remember these Mishkas at every corner, on every banner, and every TV channel (all 4 of them, LOL).

    1. thedealmommy

      It’s funny trying to explain to the kids how different major TV events like the Olympics were when the only choice was to watch them in real time (and likely they were the only thing on). It just doesn’t compute.

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