RIP: Hans Beck (the 'father' of Playmobil)
Once our children reached a slightly older age - or the age where they acquired the reasoning to cease from putting anything small in their little mouths - Playmobil became instrumental in their playroom imaginations. I'm sure most households now have at least one item of Playmobil.
So, it isn't surprising that it took a few years for Mr Beck to develop the idea of Playmobil (I just love that name) - but it is surprising that he was originally trained as a cabinetmaker. His first venture into producing toys came when he approached a company called Geobra Brandstatter to make his model airplanes. Instead, he was asked to develop toy figures. Not initially recognised as viable by the owner of the company, Beck continued development. Apparently, it was the oil crisis of 1973 that prompted a closer look at manufacturing these little plastic environments. It is interesting to note that Geobra Brandstatter had been producing HoolaHoops and Large Plastic Dolls.The first series was basic, only including Native Americans ('Indians'), Knights, and Construction Worker sets, and was a bit slow to gain any traction. You can imagine why perhaps, since most children were accustomed to either tin figurines or rigid plastic ones or larger dolls at that time. Playmobil figurines were designed to be fairly adaptable and changeable, incorporating all sorts of appendages and objects. Today, many enthusiasts have taken to cusomizing their own version of the figurines - which doesn't always result in the best of taste.
But, it didn't take long for the idea to start 'snow-balling' and now today, some 4 decades later, you have a wide variety of scenarios and figures to choose from. There's almost a whole world of scenarios - Our household favorites are the castles and the airport/airplane. Funnily enough, Beck for some reason stated that Jumbo Jets, Space Aliens, and Dinosaurs should never be made. Of course, that isn't the case now. Another thing that has changed, you might have noticed, is that in the beginning it seems the boxes did not have the standard blue/white design they now have. The detailing seems also to have been more intent and the color coding relevant to each series: Knights=Green Packaging, Native Americans ('Indians')=Red, and the Construction Workers=Blue ..... hmmm, I wonder why?