(aka I Love You This Much statues)
People over a certain age remember them; if you're younger, you may have only encountered them in your grandparents' bathroom, stuck away
in your own attic, or at garage sales and flea markets. They're rubbery-hard, molded little statuettes of cutesy or pitiful-looking
figures standing on a base with a slogan or humorous saying on it. A lot of people know them as 'I Love You This Much' statues after
one of the most successful lines; but they are properly known as Sillisculpts.
Sillisculpts were introduced in 1968 by R&W Berrie, a company that produced little novelty items which sold from dimestore counters and
in gift shops. The company already produced little figurine statues, but when they started selling them with (more or less) humorous
slogans applied, the line began to catch on in a big way. The items appealed to consumers who wanted to buy a little momento or
sympathy card for a loved one; the statues were popular for this purpose because (a) they expressed a particular sentiment (such as
'Bitch A Little... You'll Feel Better') and (b) they had a long shelf life, unlike a greeting card which would probably be thrown out
soon after being received.
To be sure, they were kitsch items - funny, goofy, sometimes grotesque little knicknacks that some people collected by the hundreds,
sitting them around their homes on every available surface. But they appealed to young and old alike with their silly, childlike
humor (despite sometimes racy content), and so were embraced by a wide spectrum of consumers. Of course, as the statuettes began to
sell like hotcakes, the number of designs expanded to include all sorts of characters, usually representing different members of the
family from toddlers to grandparents.
So too did the number of competitors blossom. Since the Berrie company could hardly patent a statuette with words on it, other
firms began cranking out the figures to take advantage of the sudden fad. C.M. Paula Co. had been making chalkware statues starting
in the mid-60's, but with the popularity of Sillisculpts they also began to manufacture their own hard-plastic variety, which are
usually lighter and not as durable. American Greetings also produced their own line of statues, and with their superior distribution,
were able to put a number of different designs on the market fairly quickly. It's easy to tell the manufacturers of these statues,
should one decide to collect them: each one should be clearly marked with the date, company name, and identifying item number.
There was a great variety to Sillisculpts and their competitors. Although the great majority were off-white or ivory, examples also
exist in bright red, pink, blue, and other colors; these are usually highly sought after by modern collectors. Many statues came with
little accessories as well: little plastic 'google' eyes, eyeglasses, candles, valentine hearts, etc. Sillisculpts and American
Greeting statues were filled with sand, with a rubber stopper at the bottom; their bottoms were also felt-lined. The sizes of the
statues ranged from about 5" to 12" in height.