While Americans, and pretty much the entire western world, had Mickey Mouse, Poland had Bolek and Lolek. Two animated cartoon characters that began their adventures back in 1964. Through 2 feature films and 150 short 9 minute episodes, they became heroes for every kid growing up in the communist era Poland. Although I don’t remember ever having a Bolek or Lolek action figure (those do exist by the way), I do remember most of the episodes taking place outside of the house. I think that promoted us all to get out more, explore the neighborhood, play games in the park. That’s mostly gone now with kids sitting with their games home all the time.
There was a book tent setup in Wrocław this past week with a whole selection of books on sale, but also a huge children section with actual Bolek and Lolek costumes to try on. I’m not sure if they were for people to put on, or if someone had been dressed up all day taking photos with the kids, but we were there late and the heads were just sitting around, so we put them on.
I also found a cool site that has some episodes up for easy viewing. Check out http://dobranocki.eu/bolek-i-lolek and enjoy your Polish cartoons!