Ken Forsse was a pioneer is his day. Creating new characters was always on his mind while building animatronic characters for other companies. Ken used to work for many children’s entertainment companies, including Disney and Sid & Marty Krofft Entertainment, before starting his own company, Alchemy II. Alchemy II was responsible for building the animatronic characters that were found on Dumbo’s Circus and Welcome to Pooh Corner. Finally Ken dreamed up talking Teddy one day, an animatronic character that you could actually take home with you and have it read to your children.
Ken had named his company Alchemy because he identified with the Middle Age process of turning lead into gold. He wanted to have the same effect in essence with his stuffed characters, transforming them into lifelike beings. Ken developed a method for synchronizing the mouths of the stuffed characters with the voices that came out of them. He placed the directions for the parts movement and the audible soundtrack within the same tape. Ken persuaded Worlds of Wonder to manufacture the toy in 1985. For the first year it seemed like his toy had in fact turned into gold-around $2 million, to be exact. Later on, however, the business experienced financial difficulty and had to file bankruptcy.
Today the new Teddy is available with a digital cartridge. Visit our online toy store for more information. The Teddy Ruxpin series that we now sell have a Digital Program Cartridge and cannot be used with the 1980s, cassette driven Teddy Ruxpin. Let Teddy read to your children today! Little or no adult supervision is required.
I have a thing for the toys from my youth that come back in new incarnations. I don’t know whether it’s nostalgia or the opportunity to tell my kids I had something like that “back in my day” or what, but it just tickles me.
What tickles me even more is when an iconic toy from my youth shows up somewhere very now. And that’s what’s going to happen this coming Thursday (November 19th, 2009) —Teddy Ruxpin is going to appear on NBC’s 30 Rock.
(I think it goes without saying that I’ve already set my DVR.)
Whether or not you’re a fan of 30 Rock (although, seriously, that show is hilarious), I think we can all agree that once you’ve done a stint as, um, guest bear on a hit NBC comedy, you’ve arrived.
Of course, here at Ty’s the Teddy Ruxpin Store is ready for everyone, holiday shoppers and Tina Fey fans alike. We don’t discriminate. And if you can present a Teddy to a child you love with a comment about how you remember when he first came out (or that you saw him on TV just recently) (or both!), well, so much the better. But whatever works for you.
(But, um, Teddy? If you could get me Tina Fey’s autograph…?)
Well, you had a week to take your shot at winning Teddy Ruxpin from the generous folks here at Ty’s, and this weekend we randomly selected two winners from amongst the 144 entries received.
(Winner selection is determined through a complicated set of algorithms, higher math, ancient incantations, and channeling of supernatural forces. Or maybe we just use a random number generator! Hard to know, really.)
Picture it, if you will: The year is 1985. A young teenager is slowly amassing her mall money via babysitting, and some of her clients are on the well-off side. And so within days of seeing a commercial for a teddy bear that actually talks, she arrives one night to sit for one of her regular charges and discovers none other than Teddy Ruxpin there—book at the ready—and she and her charge passed the evening utterly fascinated with the talking bear. It’s even possible that the babysitter continued playing after the kid went to bed, but you can’t prove that or anything. Ahem.
The thing is, back then, this was a technological marvel. And it was the first of its kind, too. We were all amazed by it. And if you check out Teddy’s Wikipedia page you’ll see that he’s had a long and varied life since his debut in 1985. But yes, he’s back, and just as popular as ever. He’s even got his own official site and everything, and even though there’s plenty of talking toys, nowadays, there’s still something special about a snuggly bear who can tell your kid a story, no? It’s not just a creative thinking adventure, it’s a pal who takes their hands and journeys along with them as they go.
To celebrate Teddy Ruxpin’s arrival at Ty’s Toy Box, we’re giving him away! More specifically, we’re giving two lucky Ty’s Toy Box Blog readers a Teddy Ruxpin plus The Airship story cartridge. Wouldn’t you your kids love that? Of course you they would!
To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, October 4th, 2008. Two winners will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, October 6th, 2008. Only one entry per person, please, and make sure you leave a valid email address so that we can contact you if you win. As for what to leave in your comment… well, do you have any memories from Teddy’s debut back in the 80s? Don’t leave me here feeling all old and alone… share! (And good luck!)