Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Living Dolls Week:Doll-A-Day 181: Topo Gigio

    Today we're continuing with our theme this week, 'Living Dolls'.
    I grew up watching the Ed Sullivan Show every Sunday night. My favourite bits were when Topo Gigio, a little Italian mouse appeared. (Topo means mouse.)

Ed and Topo.
Apart from being tremendously cute,Topo was amazing. He was a puppet, but by using a special tiny stage with black velvet curtains, black puppet rods, and FOUR puppeteers dressed all in black, Topo seemed to be really alive. He walked around, climbed Ed's arm for a kiss,(eww!)...

"Keesa me goodnight, Eddie."
...danced, sang, (with a little quiver of his whole body on the high notes.),took a shower,and even got into his tiny bed.

Topo Gigio was so popular he appeared on the show 92 times, and was the closing act on Ed's last show in 1971.
  Topo was the creation of puppeteer Maria Perego.

Topo with his human 'Mama', Maria Perego.

He was actually a star in the early 60's, before he ever appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. He had been a popular performer on Spanish, Italian, and Austrian tv since 1959.He was the star of his own movie, "The Magic World of Topo Gigio" in 1965, but from what I have been able to find out, it's a lost movie.No one can find a copy of it.
The Magic World of Topo Gigio: Look out Topo! I think he wants to eat you! Oh the humanity!
  I got some old Ed Sullivan shows when Ivy was little and showed Topo to her. She loved him just as much as I did. In trying to find more Topo for her I found out he, like Big Boy, "never really went away". He is still a very popular character on Italian and Spanish speaking kid's shows,which are available on DVD.

 Ahhh! How cute is he?!
He is the 'spokesmouse' for the United Nations, and  is still making appearances! Not bad for a foam rubber mouse.
   I always wanted a real live Topo Gigio. Who am I kidding? I STILL want one! When I was a kid I bought a pink wind up rubber mouse with a bowtie, that 'danced', (The mouse, that is. Not the bow tie.), because he reminded me of Topo. I still have him and he still dances.(I'm stunned to see that someone is selling a blue one on Ebay right now and they're asking $135! Whaat?!) When Ivy was little, and just before she became infatuated with Topo, I found a boatload of vinyl Topo toys at a junk store. (Thinking about it, maybe that's what made me go looking for The Ed Sullivan Shows so I could show Ivy 'live' Topo.) They were like baby or dog chew toys or something, just solid soft vinyl with painted details.They were brand new, so I was really confused, because I didn't know yet that Topo was still an ongoing thing. There were about 4 different types. Luckily I bought a bunch of them because, of course,  later Ivy had to have one, (Uhh, a couple.), too. Here's mine.
Cute, but not alive.

And here's Ivy's.
He looks so sad, but there's a reason...

We had mice once, and in the irony of ironies, one chewed Topo's eyelids and the tip of his top knot. Ivy still complains about the 'cannibal mice'.
She loved Topo so much that he even went to "Doll Italy" with her dolls for vacation one year.(The kid's dolls 'went on vacation' to all sorts of places.They always sent home emails and pictures for the kids. Check out my post 'Dolls on Vacation: Your kids will love it', from November 2013, to understand what I'm talking about.)The next year Topo stayed home, but the dolls went to 'Doll Italy' again and did visit his Mama.(He talked about his Mama on The Ed Sullivan Show.)They sent Ivy this picture:

Those are Ivy's dolls Rose (left) and Blue with 'Topo's Mama'. Rose has been partaking of Mama Gigio's red sauce.
 There were boat loads of Topo dolls and toys made, and they are still being made. But I'm still waiting for the live one...
Tomorrow we'll see another 'living doll'.


  1. I got a dancing singing doll

  2. I've seen those. We nearly bought one for Ivy when she was small. I wouldn't turn one down either...


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