The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame unveiled the first bobblehead of Billie the Brownie.
Billie the Brownie is an elf-like character that became popular in the 1920s through a series of illustrated stories published in children’s magazines.
According to the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, Palmer Cox created the character and was inspired by Scottish stories his grandmother told him. Cox created dozens of the little men, each with a different ethnic background, personality, and occupation.
The folktales featured the brownies as “imaginary sprites who delight in harmless pranks and helpful deeds"
Billie the Brownie began to appear in Milwaukee in Schuster’s Department Store advertisements and displays during the 1920s. Billie The Brownie was featured in Schuster's annual Christmas parade. The museum said, four years later, he grew in popularity and captured the hearts of many radio listeners on his 15-minute radio segment with Santa Claus and an Eskimo named Metik. Presented as an advanced scout for Santa’s arrival in Milwaukee, Billie would communicate via shortwave radio with the North Pole to update Santa about local children and get the progress of toy production in Santa’s workshop.
Billie the Brownie would encourage children all over the Milwaukee area to write their "wish lists" to Santa and Billie would read them on air in the weeks leading up to Christmas. In 1947 alone, WTMJ received more than 100,000 letters, the museum says.
National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said, “Thanks to the important role he played during the Christmas season, stories of Billie the Brownie have been passed on by countless families over the years. This bobblehead will be a must-have for families who have fond memories of Billie the Brownie!"
The bobbleheads are only available through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s online store and at the museum, which is located at 170 S. First St. in Milwaukee. The bobbleheads, which just arrived and are shipping now, cost $30 each plus a flat-rate shipping charge of $8 per order for orders placed online.