Who’s your favorite cartoon character? Favorite actor? Favorite singer? Favorite food mascot? How about your favorite dog breed? Your favorite sports hero? Your favorite president? Chances are, that whoever your favorite whatever is – from The Dude to the Dalai Lama – there’s probably a bobblehead made of him, her or it.

And speaking of the Dalai Lama, bobblehead historians at the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum (yes, there is such a place, and yes, it’s as glorious as it sounds) seem to concur that the bobblehead most likely has its origins in 17th century Asia when they produced “temple nodders” – figurines of Buddha and other religious figures that seemingly nodded in approval no matter what you prayed for.

One of the first “temple nodders” of Buddha.

However, it was the Prince of Wales (who would later become King George IV) and his love for all things oriental that brought the bobblehead to Europe back in the mid-1700s when the Prince and his designers decorated the Royal Pavilion in Brighton with an impressive number of bisque porcelain Chinese nodders prominently displayed in the pavilion’s corridor. In fact, in a very famous portrait of the future king’s mother, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen Consort of Great Britain and Ireland painted by German neoclassical painter Johann Zoffany, one can see a couple examples of these early Chinese bobbleheads in the background. However, although the trend didn’t quite take off in the time of the royals, by the nineteenth century, bisque porcelain bobbleheads were being made in limited quantities for the American market.

Two “bobblehead” figures stand behind Queen Charlotte.

As America moved into the 20th century, 6” to 8” ceramic bobbleheads depicting animals were imported into the country from Germany; however, it wasn’t until in the middle of the century that bobbleheads really took off in America.

In the late 1950s and early1960s, baseball was about the most American thing out there, and in 1960, Major League Baseball decided to take a chance on using bobbleheads as a promotional item by producing a series of cherub-faced papier-mâché bobblehead dolls that represented each big league team at the time.  The promotion worked and by the time of the World Series came around that same year, the MLB offered its first player-specific baseball bobbleheads of Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Willie Mays (however, all had the same cherubic, Bob’s-Big-Boy-looking face). Soon after, bobble heads were showing up in different sports and different genres; in fact, beside the sports figures, some of the most sought after famous bobbleheads of the era include Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang, the Beatles, and Peter and Wendy, mascots of the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair.

This Beatles bobblehead set can fetch over $1,000 from collectors

By the end of the decade, the bobblehead was starting to fall out of favor with collectors who, instead, opted to collect lunchboxes and action figures throughout most of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. However, in 1999, the bobblehead was about to make a comeback.

You see, in 1999, the San Francisco Giants were set to play their last game ever at the city’s iconic Candlestick Park and Mario Alioto, executive vice president for the San Francisco Giants, wanted something fun and retro to giveaway that night.  He remembered the baseball bobbleheads of his youth and thought, “Why not make a bobblehead of the most successful Giants player ever – Willie Mays and give them away that night.”

The 1999 Willie Mays figure that sparked a resurgence in bobbleheads.

The problem was finding someone who would make the promotional product that hadn’t been made in nearly 40 years. Eventually, he found Alexander Global Promotions, who agreed to make the Willie Mays bobblehead for the Giants last night at Candlestick Park. The fans loved it! Thus, the bobblehead was resurrected and has been going strong ever since.

As we stated before, from Frankenstein to Frankenberry, today you can find bobbleheads of nearly every kind imaginable – and of every size, too! In fact, Guinness World Records claims that the largest bobblehead is “Goldie” a 4.69 m (15 ft 4.75 in) tall St. Bernard and the mascot of Applied Underwriters insurance located in Orlando, Florida. Fans of Conan O’Brien might dispute that record however, as a 17’ bobblehead of the famous talk-show host was unveiled in Chicago when Conan hosted a week of shows there back in 2012. It now sits in the backstage area of the Burbank studio where his show is taped. And, like Conan, you too can also have a custom bobblehead made of yourself if you can’t find any others to your liking (though you probably shouldn’t expect it to be 17’ high).

Hey Guiness, isn’t this really the largest bobblehead in the world?

With all of this talk of bobbleheads, how would you like to have a John Wayne bobblehead of your own, along with some Stuckey’s souvenirs including our deliciously famous Stuckey’s pecan log rolls and other fine pecan candies? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! Find out how you can win exclusively on our Facebook page. But hurry! The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. (EST) September 29, 2020.

All of this can be yours!

If you’re just hankering for a Stuckey’s Pecan Log Roll while you’re out on the road, don’t forget to make a Stuckey’s stop for that and all of our other delicious candies. Don’t forget to pick up some for the folks back home while you’re there. Or if you can’t find one of our Stuckey’s locations near you, have some Stuckey’s pecan logs, yellow box candy or other Stuckey’s merchandise delivered straight to you, your family or your friends. Check out stuckeys.com for more info.