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Item/Description: Vintage 1980 “Sam the Olympic Eagle” official mascot of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics souvenir stuffed animal bird plush toy manufactured by Wallace Berrie & Co., Inc..
***He is patriotically attired as “Uncle Sam”, wearing a tall top hat that is red & white-striped with a blue base, and which bears the official 5 rings/circles logo of every Olympics games on the front, along with a complementary red & white-striped bow tie/bowtie around his neck just above his red shirt.
***All original tags are present and still attached: Blue plastic “APPLAUSE” hang tag dangles from his right arm, and sewn label is stitched just below his “tush”.
***Highly cross-collectible, this dapper fellow runs the gamut of collectibility - from animals/American Eagles/birds aficionados, to sports/Olympics memorabilia fans, to toy connoisseurs, to collectors of patriotic, to holiday-themed collectibles enthusiasts!
Excerpted Research Information (attributed to Wikipedia.com): ‘Sam the Olympic Eagle was the mascot of the 1984 Summer Olympics which were held in Los Angeles. He is a bald eagle, which is the national bird of the United States, where the games were held. Intended as a patriotic symbol, being named Sam also suggests a kinship with Uncle Sam, another American symbol. He was designed by Disney Legend Bob Moore, an artist for Disney.
He is often confused by guests of Disneyland, and also by those reading documentation about mascot designs for the Olympics, for another Disney mascot named Eagle Sam, host of the former Disneyland attraction America Sings, and designed by animator Marc Davis circa 1973.
He shares the name of Sam the Eagle from The Muppet Show, but the design is vastly different. He is still known as Eagle Sam in Japan, where an animated series of the same name ran during 1983, the year preceding the Summer Olympics.
Even after the conclusion of the Games, Sam the Eagle is still used to promote a track and field event, the Mt. SAC Relays at Mt. San Antonio College, specifically its "LA84 Youth Days" promotion for youth interested in athletics, run by a charitable group founded during the Olympics.”
Excerpted Research Information (attributed to olympic-museum.de web site): Development of the mascot: Major Southern California animation and film studios were contacted by the LAOOC regarding the design of the mascot. Walt Disney Productions was ultimately selected from among three finalists. Emphasis first focused on developing something emblematic of the Southern California area, including such possibilities as the sun, palm trees and seals.
Considerations were expanded to include the state of California, whose symbol is a bear, but that idea was soon discarded since the Moscow Games had used a bear mascot. Finally, design development focused on symbols representative of the entire United States and the logical choice was the eagle. Generally considered a rather stern and aloof bird, a warmer, more friendly eagle had to be created. A short, stubby, cuddly little eagle evolved. He had a large head, bulbous middle section and a protruding derriere accented by an array of tail feathers. Besides serving as the national bird of the host country, the eagle was also universally recognized as an incarnation of the ideals cited in the Olympic motto: ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ (swifter, higher, stronger).
Since the eagle would have to be shown as a competitor in the various athletic events, the wings were drawn to function as “arms” and the feathers as “fingers.” The eagle was designed to work as a costumed character as well as a two-dimensional graphic symbol.
The full-sized costume was successfully used for LAOOC promotional and youth activities. Moreover, Sam the Olympic Eagle proved commercially successful, as a doll and on mugs, pins, T-shirts and many other products.”
Age/Period: Vintage - 1980 (1980s)
Manufacturer/Identification/Markings/Country of Origin:
*Original, blue plastic “Everyone loves to get APPLAUSE” hang tag remains still-attached to his right arm.
*Sewn-on label reads “1980 L.A. Olympic Committee Wallace Berrie & Co., Inc. Van Nuys, CA - Made in Korea Reg No. Pa 291 - Ohio Lic.6905 (CA) Mfg. Under Lic. From The L.A. Oly. Com. Contents All New Materials Shredded Clippings [with the #12 inside a circle]”
Material(s)/Format: Plush stuffed animal
Size/Measurements: 10 ½"H
Quantity: One (1)
Condition: Near mint, exhibiting no tears, soiling, odors or restitching!