While most of my friends tend not to be Transformers fans themselves, they're generally kind enough to show a general interest, if only because they care about me and know that I'm a Transformers fan. They don't really understand my own interest, but they'd like to understand a "little bit," in order to better understand me. I'm grateful that they care enough to try.
In that vein, I'll try here to give a little bit of background on one of the main characters. The Autobot known as Bumblebee.
Now, the first thing you need to know, when I use the term "Autobot," I'm referring to the "good guy" faction of Transformers. There are a few others, most notably the "Decepticons," who are the usual "bad guys." Now that we're clear on that, on to Bumblebee himself....
In the Transformers cartoon, Bumblebee is most familiar as the Transformer who spent all his spare time running around with the main human character, Spike. Because of Bumblebee's comparative small size, he was able to interact more easily with humans, and he had a very warm and likeable personality.
Bumblebee was able to transform into a small, yellow, Volkswagen Beetle. While not quite as ubiquitous as "Herbie" back in the early '80s, this made him instantly recognizable.
The original toy version of Bumblebee was one of the less expensive Transformers available back when the line first came out, which no doubt added to his popularity. His transformation was very simple: push the arms in, fold the feet down and push the legs up, fold the head over, and you're done!
This character was so popular, in fact, that three other toy versions of Bumblebee were made available by the time the original line ended in 1990, representing six of those seven years (1988 seems to be the odd year out) making Bumblebee the most readily-available character of the original Transformers toy line!