It's a Hoot: the Owl Obsession of the 1970s

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Do you remember a period during the 70s where it seemed everything from clothing to household objects had an owl theme? As a kid, I can remember owl necklaces, owl print fabric, owl figurines, owl candles, owl salt and pepper shakers, and owl shaped canisters. There was also Woodsy Owl, who asked us to, "Give a hoot - don't pollute!" and Charlie the Owl from New Zoo Revue. The whole world, it seemed, went hooters for owls. I've never been able to figure out where the owl obsession originated from, but it does seem like the hippie thing to like, along with doves and mushrooms. And, they are quite cool.

Owl motifs are definitely making a comeback. Here's a sampling of some of items I've seen for sale on retro clothing sites.

The first four items are from ModCloth, one of my favorite vintage store sites:

The "Owl Be Back" Dress - unfortunately, the site says it is out of stock, but you can ask to be notified when more are available. It retails for $49.99.

The "Hoot for Loot" wallet is made of faux leather and has a 70s applique look. Price: $19.99

This ceramic Owl Warm and Cozy Tea Set will add some quirky vintage style to your next tea party. Price: $49.99

Not exactly vintage, but very cute, is the "Owl Never Leave USB Toy." Plug this guy into your computer, and perch him atop his stump or your monitor, and he keeps you entertained by opening and closing his eyes and turning his head. He also comes in a snowy owl version. Definitely a splurge, but it sounds like the kind of thing that could've kept a stoned hippie entertained for hours. Price: $27.99

From Urban Outfitters comes this t-shirt designed by the artist who did the graphics for "Where The Wild Things Are." Price: $28.00

This colorful throw rug (also from Urban Outfitters) brightens up a small space (it's only 2' X 3', and retails for $18.00)

Unfortunately, most of the owl necklaces on ModCloth are currently sold out. But from comes this silver toned one reminiscent of ones that were available in the 70s. Price: $21.99

And for fun, here's one of those 70s PSA commercials with Woodsy that I remember so well. Help keep American looking good!


  1. I have no idea why those in the 70s were obsessed with the owl. I remember having a ton of owl things still about when I was a child in the 1980s. It must be tied in with the obsession with brown and burnt gold . . .

    And thanks for the PSA from Woodsy. I haven't seen Woodsy in a while. Great trip down memory lane.

  2. You know, now you mention it the "Owl Memories" have come flooding back. Why *were* the 70s obsessed with owls?

    I kind of want that owl USB thingy. Although, I know that were I to actually buy it my productivity would plummet to zero!

  3. Amanda - ah yes, the ghastly combination of gold and brown.

    Bewildered Brit - I want the USB owl, too!

  4. I adore this post, I am always looking for vintage owls, I collect the necklaces! You've given me things to add to my must have list. Lovely!
    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge

  5. I love the wallet. My grandma next door liked owls. I remember the owl napkin holder that she had. One Christmas we got her pewter - like owl earrings. I got an owl necklace for myself a few years ago. Woodsy the Owl is cool - I enjoyed seeing this.

  6. I agree that it's on a comeback - I've even named my blog after owls!! Does that make me retro or not...?

  7. I have always had an obsession with owls, idk what it is but something about them apeals to me.

  8. Help me out here: the Owl was wearing a hat with a feather in it? What the...?

    I'm going to go out and buy a hat with a finger sticking out of it, because that makes just as much sense...


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