Monday, January 18, 2010

The Nauga is ugly, but his vinyl hyde is beautiful.

One of the best Christmas presents I got this year was a vintage Nauga doll. Just look at those outstretched arms, like he's just waiting for a hug.

The Nauga was a promotional tool used in the 60s to sell Naugahyde, the artificial leather (many a blog claims that Charles Eames designed the Nauga monster, though I can't find any actual confirmation of this on the Eames official website, or even wikipedia). The idea behind the Nauga is that it shed its skin naturally, so that no harm was done to them while procuring their hydes for upholstering furniture. There's a pretty great history of the Nauga here, along with some ridiculously silly illustrations.

It seems that Naugahyde is selling--err, offering up for adoption--new Nauga dolls, no doubt capitalizing on the collectability of the originals. But there's something about them that doesn't look quite right. They're just not the same.

The Nauga starred in some great advertisements in the 60s. A few more can be found in this flickr set.

It even appeared on Johnny Carson (the lady in the middle is its "handler").

Finally, one of the weirder things I found while researching all things Nauga is this 1991 Michael Jackson video made by a fan. A pretty nice grouping of Naugas makes a cameo appearance around 1:37 minutes in (I recommend skipping right to that section).

1 comment:

  1. Agreed on the vintage ones looking a lot better than their contemporary counterparts. Still don't know why some are stamped and some others aren't...

    Glad you got a handsome one!