I never realized how many accessories there were for some of the talking dolls that were on the market when I was growing up. You have the basic stuff – book-and-cassette sets, outfits, and outfit-and-cassette sets. Then you have the goodies – sometimes the rarest of rare stuff.
I had a Cricket doll, but not only did I have my huge, heavy doll, I had a director’s chair, a sleeping bag (that rolled up into a travel bag), clothes with cassettes, and a book-and-cassette set.
My collection wasn’t massive by any means (I know a few people who had more stuff), but for a little kid who was content listening to the instruction cassette (don’t ask), having about six or seven story tapes was perfect. What I also didn’t have? Cricket’s brother Corky, who I’m convinced I would have been terrified to have in my room. One of my cousins had him though, and when I was old enough to know what Child’s Play was, I was convinced she owned Chucky’s not-so-evil twin.
I also had (still have) a Teddy Ruxpin, which I shared with my brother. We had (well, I still have) seven cassettes with books and a carrying case that held seven books and six cassettes. That always meant one cassette had to stay in Teddy’s tape player (I never figured that one out). We didn’t have any accessories or peripheral stuff for him, and we didn’t have Grubby (though I know people who did!). I used to find it fascinating (again, with my weirdo ways) that Teddy would clam up and blink anytime we heard Grubby. Apparently, it was something of the mind-blowing sort to hear some disembodied voice come from a different source. You’d think Teddy Ruxpin had more than one occupant in his body.
I’m sure someone already wrote fan fiction on this, folks.
(And no, that wouldn’t be me. I don’t write fiction, let alone creepy fiction.)
Oh, and Cricket and Teddy both had animated adventures! Cricket had two limited-cell animation videos (Cricket’s Clubhouse, which is on You Tube, and Around the World with Cricket, which is on You Tube en espanol). I had the actual audio cassette of the latter, and after watching the former, it pretty much sounds like the audio was directly sourced from the cassette.
Oh, and Cricket is a freakin’ motormouth who NEVER SHUTS UP. It’s 20 straight minutes of her talking rapid-fire. No wonder they didn’t have more videos (or more cassettes, for that matter), the poor kid’s head would have exploded from talking too fast.
Teddy Ruxpin’s cartoon had many more adventures, was also based on the cassette tapes, and he also spoke slowly and clearly. Think elementary school educational shorts, but not condescending. And the animation was better!
But we’re not here to talk about Cricket, that will be a different story for a different time. We’re going to actually look at an accessory that Teddy Ruxpin had that you may (or may not) know about.
May I provide you with all the answers herein.
(See, there’s a point here, and the title isn’t just a catchy…title!)
One of the coolest Teddy Ruxpin accessories I’ve come across in my searches (that wasn’t Grubby) has to be the Answer Box, which was a plug-in peripheral for Teddy Ruxpin (and only worked with him), where children would answer a question by pressing a color button on the answer box.
There were seven cassettes for the Answer Box, which taught colors, counting, ABCs, size, opposites, shapes, and directions.
A few You Tube folks have even tested the Answer Box:
(In order – Videos uploaded by coffeeyag, lachlant1984, astromariopion, Janet McDougal, and jessickasapien)
Trent interacting with Teddy Ruxpin FTW!
There was even a cute commercial for the Answer Box, featuring Joseph Cousins (one of the two twins to play Dominic in Kindergarten Cop).
Uploaded by Chris Glass
There isn’t a heck of alot about the Answer Box aside from the fact that plenty of people have them and were able to make You Tube videos to show how well the toy worked…or didn’t. It was made by Worlds of Wonder in 1988, which was effectively the end of Teddy Ruxpin’s life, as Worlds of Wonder had gone bankrupt in 1987, and the years between then and 1990 were merely to sell of what they still had. Not that he wasn’t still around for the buying public to purchase, he just wasn’t having any new adventures. Heck, his cartoon was cancelled on a cliffhanger, so you know how bad the whole situation was with Worlds of Wonder.
I did, however, find an Answer Box listed on Etsy, statused as “new in box.” As of this writing, it is priced at $39.95, which I’m sure is quite far below the original retail price.
Considering that Worlds of Wonder believed this toy to be “interactive”:
Uploaded by DigThatBoxRETRO
It is nice to know something Worlds of Wonder marketed really did have an interactive feel to it.
Allison loves bragging about being the proud owner of an original Teddy Ruxpin. If you like what you’ve seen here, you’ll love her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.
She also owned that Action Max system. She’s not sure if she wants to brag about it.