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