If you have a girl or boy under the age of 10, chances are you’ve not only got a few colorful ponies living in your home, but you’re also well-versed in cutie marks, plastic mane grooming, and all things Ponyville. While the My Little Pony franchise has been around since the early 80’s, there has been an explosion of interest in the cast of ponies thanks to the 2010 Friendship is Magic animated series and the 2013 premier of the Equestria Girls. In honor of Rainbow Rocks – the latest movie in the My Little Pony/Equestria Girls franchise, that premiered a couple of weeks ago – here are 5 things you might not know about the cute and quirky ponies of Ponyville.
1. “My Little Pony” was dreamed up by American illustrator and designer Bonnie Zacherle in the early 80’s. Zacherle was inspired by her unrequited childhood dream: to have a horse of her very own. While her first presentation to Hasbro flopped, Zacherle persisted, and eventually the first line of ponies – Earth ponies – hit store shelves in 1982
2. In 2010, Hasbro hired Lauren Faust, who animated The Powerpuff Girls, to revive the My Little Pony franchise. Faust did away with the saccharine stereotypes associated with cartoons for girls and came up with a crew of ponies that are smart, sassy, and self-confident. “I wanted to see girl characters in what is considered these typical boy situations, saving the world or more kind of action adventure-y kind of stuff,” explained Faust in a 2012 interview. “If you talk to the people in charge – the people looking to invest in these things and, unfortunately, the people who usually tell you no – they’ll tell you that girl things just don’t get the numbers. It’s a business and you need to make money. The girl books don’t get the ratings, the girl books don’t get the sales. Unfortunately, a lot of people will tell you that this is because girls aren’t interested in cartoons or girls aren’t interested in comic books. I don’t think that’s true. I think the reason that might be is because most of the stuff for girls isn’t hitting them in the right place.”
3. The franchise has proved to be a major success not just with its target audience of little girls. Adult and teen males have become some of the most fervent My Little Pony fans, earning their “Brony” nickname. Over 9,000 fans attended the 2014 BronyCon convention.
4. The ponies have also inspired many nicknames and gags outside of their Ponyville realm. Talk show host Laura Ingraham referred to former Senator John Edwards as “Silky Pony” and played the My Little Pony theme music whenever she discussed him on her show.
5. Every pony has a “cutie mark” – a symbol positioned where you’d usually find a livestock brand. The ponies are born without cutie marks and receive them once they discover a unique quality within themselves that sets them apart from the rest.
For showtimes and more info, visit fandango.com/mylittleponyequestriagirls:rainbowrocks_175134/movietimes. And for more info on all things My Little Pony, visit mylittlepony.hasbro.com