Dolly Flashback: Worlds of Wonder Teddy Ruxpin

Teddy Ruxpin is a toy that time will never erase.  Manufactured by Worlds of Wonder back in 1985, Teddy Ruxpin was an animatronic brown bear.  Teddy Ruxpin was designed to play special cassette tapes that manipulated his mouth and eyes to move with various stories.

Our Worlds of Wonder Family

Our Worlds of Wonder Family

Teddy was the brainchild of Ken Forsse , who together with Don Kingsborough, a past executive at Atari, created Worlds of  Wonder.  Teddy was the first of many animatronic toys to come from Worlds of Wonder, including Mother Goose and Mickey Mouse, and is arguably the most popular toy the company produced.

Teddy Ruxpin

Teddy Ruxpin

One Toys R Us exec is quoted as saying, “Teddy Ruxpin’s are selling better than Cabbage Patch dolls did during their first year”, just after Teddy was released in 1985.  That’s a pretty awesome statement if you think about how large the Cabbage Patch craze was when they first hit store shelves in 1983.

Teddy Ruxpin Logo

Teddy Ruxpin Logo

Teddy Ruxpin was one of the most popular toys of 1985 and 1986, which says a lot seeing as how they were originally priced at US$70.00.  One article states the company sold 93 Million (US) dollars worth of Teddy Ruxpin bears by 1988.  It even spawned an animated television show.

Alongside Teddy, Worlds of Wonder created a companion doll, Grubby, to work alongside Teddy.  The downside of Grubby was that unless you had a Teddy and the proper connection cord, Grubby was just a statue piece.

Teddy’s popularity was sustained through a number of cassette tapes with different stories and clothing packs.  The company filed for bankruptcy in 1988 and officially closed its doors in 1990.  We can only imagine what they would have continued to create if they hadn’t closed their doors.  Teddy Ruxpin was the first of its kind and the original Teddy, I think, still holds up quite well compared to animatronic toys of today.

My history with Teddy started back in 1986 when I received Teddy as a Christmas gift from my grandparents.  I was 3.  Very quickly, he became one of my best friends!  We’d even set places at the table for him to eat with us!  Like most toys as complex as him, he eventually stopped working. Years ago I got my Teddy repaired and he’s been working great ever since.

This past month has been a very good one for my Teddy Ruxpin.  I had planned a while back to showcase him in a Flahsback post (see Dozzzy’s here) and when I was sidelined by a few of my tapes not playing as well as I remembered.  I went on eBay to try to replace the wonky tapes and then caught the eBay bug.  You know, what I’m talking about.  You look for one thing on eBay, then it leads to another thing and another, until you end up with 5 different shipment tracking codes!

My tape collection for him has grown from six to ten in the span of two weeks!  This past week, I replaced two tapes that were working less than perfect (The Airship and Teddy Ruxpin’s Birthday), purchased 3 ‘special’ tapes that were manufactured for fire stations during fire station tours, and ordered something my Teddy has wanted for, well, forever, the Teddy Ruxpin Christmas set (with Santa Suit, book and tape).

Teddy Ruxpin

Teddy Ruxpin

Kids today have all sort of ‘electronic’ toys they play with, but none of those toys match Teddy Ruxpin.  He may not move his hands or feet or connect to wifi, but Worlds of Wonder created an animatronic marvel with Teddy and their other toys.  The facial movement on Teddy alone goes unmatched in toy releases since then.

Like with my last Dolly Flashback, I have created a few videos to show off all that Teddy is!  The video below features Teddy telling us the story of ‘The Airship’.  This tape came with Teddy Ruxpin and introduces us to the characters, Grubby and Newton Gimmick.

Do you have any fun memories of Teddy Ruxpin?  Why not share them by leaving a comment below!

Links to Visit:

Teddy Ruxpin Online

Wiki

Dr. Eeyore Hospital

Toys That Talk

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October 28, 2013. Tags: . Uncategorized.

9 Comments

  1. Casey replied:

    Love this post. I miss my Teddy so much. He was with me until he stopped functioning. I think it was one of those things my parents slowly phased out slowly so that i barely noticed overtime when he was gone. Alas. The cool thing for me though was finding out that my husband had one when he was little too! How awesome is it that it was a toy both girls and boys loved? 🙂

  2. Teresa B. replied:

    Ah, Teddy Ruxpin, after my own heart! I wanted him so bad when I was little. However I did have a World of Wonder playset with a floor mat, Teddy and Grubby. I love this flashback post. He is such a wonderful toy and you kept yours in excellent condition. 🙂

  3. Shannon (@shannonkay) replied:

    You have revealed that we’re the same age!
    I didn’t have one, but my husband has told me many times about the time he took his Teddy Ruxpin to Kindergarten with him and he actually fell asleep during nap time and when he woke up, Teddy Ruxpin’s bottom jaw was gone!

    I remember being amazed at friends’ Teddy Ruxpins too.

  4. EDT replied:

    I remember Teddy well enough and watched the cartoon, but I didn’t have one. Now that I’m older I appreciate what all went into making the toy with the book, songs, the mechanism as a whole, and also the way some people have salvaged dirty broken ones and made them better than new.

  5. edenlouise replied:

    Oh my gosh! I’ve been sitting here practically in tears, swamped with memories. In the eighties there were three toys I desperately wanted to own. One was A G Bear, one was an animated talking baby doll called Baby Talk, the one I wanted, longed for, ached for the most was Teddy Ruxpin. All three were horendously expensive and I never owned any of them. I’ve always wondered what the Teddy Ruxpin stories would have sounded like. I’ve tried to find Youtube footage and I’ve heard snippets but never one all the way through like that. Toys have advanced it’s true but there just isn’t anything like Teddy Ruxpin out there now. Just absolutely nothing! He was the best! Thanks so much for letting me hear him.

    • kewpie83 replied:

      I had all three of those– most were Christmas/Birthday gifts! I recently re-rooted my Baby Talk b/c her hair was super dry (and her headcap fell off, which was as frightening as it sounds!). That reminds me– I have to post about that! I taped the Christmas show around the holidays with Teddy and Grubby, in case you wanted to watch it! Pretty much since I owned Teddy, I wanted the Christmas tape and I *just* got it this Christmas. The seller was a wonderful person. She repairs Teddys and other talking toys. She was pretty fair with pricing, too! (Website: http://www.toysthattalk.com/Home_Page.php)

      Here’s the URL for the Teddy Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Dg2J7bX_gw

      I’m happy to have made you smile! I plan on recording more tapes of Teddy, and some Mother Goose/Mickey Mouse tapes eventually!

  6. Dolly Flashback: Worlds of Wonder Mother Goose | Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter replied:

    […] also known as W.O.W., created well working animatronic toys.  They’re most famous for Teddy Ruxpin, an animatronic teddy bear.  Teddy wasn’t their only amazing product, though.  Worlds of […]

  7. Daisy replied:

    Yes i have hè was my first friend as i Saw him for real. Now 30 years later hè is stilletjes my Friend andere i never found a better Friend since my first.

    • edenlouise replied:

      Wow, I forgot about this blog entry, although I remember reading with interest and longing, I had wanted a Teddy Ruxpin for thirty years. On Christmas morning my dream came true and, funnily enough, he is sitting beside me as I write. Finally owning my dream is even better than I thought it would ever be. I love the feel of him in my arms, I love the stories, the world of fantasy I can escape into when I have Migraines or the day sucks. They might bring out a new Teddy this year with 4 gigs of hard drive and an app which a blind person like me won’t be able to use, but nothing can take away the charm of the vintage Worlds of Wonder Teddy Ruxpin.

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