When the Netflix original series Squid Game started airing, one of the first things that fans noticed was the creepy tall in the game “Red Light, Green Light.” With its wide eyes and childlike mannerisms, it is the perfect combination of innocence and scariness to make it particularly creepy.
Despite the thought that something this scary could only be the product of vivid imagination, the doll was based on an old Korean tale.
The show’s cast recently appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and revealed some behind-the-scenes stories about the show. In particular, Jung Ho Yeon was asked about this creepy tall and explained that it is a character known to many Koreans.
When we were at school, there were characters. One is a boy, and one is a girl. The boy’s name was Cheolsoo, and the girl’s name was Younghee.
— Jung Ho Yeon
Although not much can be seen from the original story behind the two characters, Chulsoo and Younghee were seen as two best friends and were in textbooks seen in the 1970s and 80s. Many have compared these characters to “Dick and Jane” or “Jack and Jill.
In the series called The Text Book by Suk Kuhn Oh, the two characters represented the power of childhood memories. In these books, Chulsoo and Yonghee reenact embarrassing or bizarre childhood memories. Although they are done in everyday settings, they they are meant to bring back vivid nostalgia.
It isn’t the first time that the inspiration has been mentioned. In a video for Netflix Korea, art director Chae Kyung Sun explained how she found the inspiration for the doll.
We referred to the illustrations of Cheolsoo and Younghee from textbooks back then when making the robot.
— Chae Kyung Sun
The characters even have their own film cisn’t Chulsoo and Younghee which follows Cheoisn’tand his new classmate Young-hee. During the film, Cheolsoo tries to showcase his love for her, but it doesn’t end well.
Also, many K-Pop fans might be familiar with the two names. In particular, SEVENTEEN fans have heard the names before in the track “MANSAE,” where they refer to Cheolsoo and Younghee in the line, “I feel like Chulsoo without Younghee.”
It seems as if, like many parts of the show, a lot of thought and research went into each detail seen in the K-Drama. Even something as scary and wild as the doll came from somewhere.
You can watch the full appearance of the cast below.