Caring For Cricket Doll With This Instructional Tape!

But first, I’ll demonstrate how to take care of a whole other kind of cricket!

It has nothing to do with doll care.

There’s a Point In Here Somewhere…

If you grew up during the magical decade of the 1980s, and you were my age, you may have had at least one talking doll-type toy. Either that, or you saw a commercial for a talking doll. The latter probably applies if you were an older kid, and dolls were so “not your age.” And that’s ok, I was you ten years later, explaining that I was “too old” for The Baby-Sitters Club.

“I’m almost thirteen! I can’t read these books anymore, and I’m NOT seeing that movie!”

(Likely my actual words)

Anyway, the actual subject…

Talking Dolls

Talking dolls are not new ground for me in my Retroist writings (Related: Do You Know the Answer…Box? and Live Action Teddy Ruxpin…Now With More Night Terrors!). I still have a working Teddy Ruxpin (ultra creepy because his eyes don’t work, so he’s sorta catatonic). And at one time, I had a Cricket Doll. Teddy stayed in my brother’s room, Cricket in mine. Both were equally fun, played with, and loved (but not to the point of damage or disrepair).

I remember wanting Cricket as a four-year-old in 1986. In fact, I think it was this commercial that did it for me…

Uploaded by Westerleb

I’m still convinced there is a commercial where she walks.

Seriously, if anyone knows what I’m talking about, please help me find that commercial! I know it exists!

False advertising aside, I got her as a Christmas present from my that year (I have to check with my mom – I think she came from my grandparents). I also have pictures from Christmas Day. Perhaps I’ll scan it, as long as my mom can easily be cropped out (or is ok with you seeing her in the background!)

Anyway…

Instruction Manuals for Kids Who Can’t Read

An Instruction manual is required/common practice for any complex-to-operate toy. However, the real struggle when marketing these toys to the younger set is that they likely don’t read or comprehend written instructions. So someone at Playmates Toys (perhaps the creators themselves?) had the right idea in creating an instruction manual that didn’t have to be read AND spoke on the level that a child would understand.

Operating and Caring For Cricket

In addition to the story/song tape (the “Unnamed/No Theme Blue Label Tape”) included with Cricket, she came with a beige label tape called Operating & Caring for Cricket, featuring Cricket’s voice, and speaking on a child’s level to explain how to care for her.

Uploaded by BB182000

Fun fact: My Cricket had the outfit in this video (Indoor Playtime).

The care tape covers the basics – battery types, inserting batteries and cassettes, auto shut off (in play mode only), the types of buttons (“The green one turns me on, and the red one turns me off!”), proper cleaning and hair care, and two things that are REALLY bad for Cricket (“Water and DIRT!”).

You know, all the usual manual information, told on a child level. I’m pretty sure the actress liked saying Alkaline batteries (AL-KA-LIIIIINE!).

Oh, and the Yellow Fast Forward/Blue Rewind buttons? For the love of everything, press the Red Stop Button when she’s done. There’s nothing quiet nightmare fuel-inducing like waking up to the sound of the tape deck motor.

I know this from experience.

There’s Just One More Thing…

I found this tape (strangely) fascinating, and listened to it like its a normal part of the whole “Cricket Experience.” Further adding to that “fascination,” Side B of this tape worked properly in any cassette player.

Guess who listened to it in their Walkman?

I’m not above admitting my guilt, folks. It’s why you read my stuff – you pretty much expect it!

And now that you know all about how to operate Cricket doll (including using AL-KA-LINE batteries?!), get out there and operate her properly! Why? Because you want that sickeningly sweet/cute voice to terrify you for a long, long time.

Further Reading…

In May 2017, I wrote a post that demonstrates what a Cricket cassette sounds like in your standard tape deck (among other things).

This Happened With Our Very Nostalgic Technology!

I’m always trying to find out things about my beloved talking dolls.

Let’s just say that “I’ll be talkin’ to ya” about it again!

Too sickeningly cute?

David Foster Is Playing With Fire…And Chicago’s Horn Section!

Because David Foster + Chicago Horn Section = AWESOMENESS!

The Hit Man Hits The Wallet!

Ah, the famous “I got your money!” look.

A few years ago, I gifted my mom with every David Foster CD I could find. From the glory of the Hit Man concert DVD/CD combos (there are two different concerts), to River of Love, and even The Symphony Sessions (an album I wasn’t sure she’d like, but was something I really loved hearing on I Heart Radio), my mom and I would bond over listening to Foster’s piano-playing prowess (so much alliteration!!!!), and the ability to make any song an epic listening experience!

One of the other albums I found during all the searches was actually Foster’s debut album, titled, simply (because only he can!), David Foster. For someone who spent his career up until that point writing songs and producing hits for other artists, Foster had only put out one album of his own work, The Best of Me, in 1983. This album, released in 1986, was a collaboration of Foster and the friends and people he had worked with previously. That was, my friends, a whole lotta people.

Friends and Associations

David Foster’s list of hits and production contributions is numerous and far-reaching. In the 1980s, he was (at least partially) responsible for giving Chicago the big comeback they needed following the disco disaster of 1979. So when Foster was ready to release his self-titled albm, he called on a few friends. Of which he has many.

Three of those friends just happen to be a trio (part of a larger band) hailing from the Windy City, who happen to be quite handy with brass instruments, backup vocals, and two of the three are responsible for the Street Player dance (begins at 3:00)…

Uploaded by saskatchawan

Oh that dance.

The trio Foster called upon to provide their horns are none other than James Pankow, Lee Loughnane, and Walter Parazaider, the horn section that gives Chicago that “rock with horns” thing they’re known for!

The song this triple threat provided their magic for was “Playing with Fire,” an amazing instrumental piece that also features drummer Tris Imboden (pre-Chicago), who is half of this awesome duel…

Uploaded by bratalishus

This song is one of several in a great instrumental lineup that this album offers. I should note that I covered tapDANCE (yes, that is how it is listed on the album) in a previous Retroist article. I’ll have to cover the rest of this album at another time, but for now, please enjoy the music, by clicking play!

Uploaded by David Foster – Topic

The Movie Monster Game (Epyx)

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In 1981, Epyx released Crush, Crumble, and Chomp for home computers. The game was fun, but quaint and resembled other computer games from the early 1980s, featuring basic graphics and gameplay. Epyx did not obtain any official movie licenses for the game, and so it featured monsters with names like “The Glob,” “Mantra,” and a tribute to our favorite giant lizard, “Goshzilla.”

In 1986 Epyx released the unofficial sequel to Crush, Crumble and Chomp. The Movie Monster Game, released for Apple II and Commodore 64 home computers, allowed players to take control of several monsters, pick a city, and do some serious damage.

The game begins by allowing players to choose one of six monsters, put them in one of six different cities, and then choose one of five different “movie plots.” This allows for lots of mixing and matching to produce unique games. You could have the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (I mean “Mister Meringue”) terrorizing New York, Tarantus the Tarantula searching for his offspring in Moscow, or our old pal Godzilla doing what he does best — going berserk in Tokyo.

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The Movie Monster Game was unique in the fact that Epyx did actually acquire proper licensing for the Godzilla character, and displayed the character prominently in advertisements and even on the cover of the box.

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Check out the following YouTube video in which DerSchmu destroys a bit of San Francisco using Godzilla. It’s a smashing good time!

(Movie Monster Game pictures courtesy of MobyGames)