One of the most forward thinking toy companies of the late 80’s was a company called Worlds of Wonder. Worlds of Wonder, 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 Wonder followed the massive success of Teddy Ruxpin with none other than Mother Goose.
Mother Goose came out in 1986. There were two versions manufactured. The first Mother Goose had a neck that moved left and right, along with a moving beak and blinking eyes. The second Mother Goose had a moving beak and blinking eyes, but a stationary neck.
Mother Goose reads fairy tales with the help of a cassette deck, located under her wing. Each tape came with a book, so you could read along with her.
1987 brought Mother Goose a companion doll, an ugly duckling named Hector. Hector, just like Grubby, would only work when attached to Mother Goose. A small selection of stories were written with Hector as the main character. Those stories focused on nursery rhymes.
I came into possession of my Mother Goose in April of 1987. She is the first edition, with the moving neck. For years, she sat in my mom’s closet, due to mechanical issues. A few months back, however, we sent Mother Goose to Toys That Talk and she returned working just as well as the day she was opened.
For your viewing pleasure, I have recorded Mother Goose telling the tale of Peter and the Wolf, as well as a short video introduction on Mother Goose herself.
Did you have Mother Goose? Share your thoughts and memories down below!
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.
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.
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 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).
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!
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In late 1987, toy company Galoob released an interactive talking toy called Dozzzy. Dozzzy came in two versions– one was a brown bear and one was a boy. My brother received the boy version as a baby and cherished him through his youth. My mom recently uncovered Dozzzy. We were pretty sure he wasn’t going to work when we placed batteries in him, but to our surprise, Dozzzy started rambling on! He’s not 100% functional, but he seems to work most of the time!
Dozzzy used a cassette deck to talk. When you pressed his hand, it would communicate with the cassette tape and Dozzzy would start talking. Multiple tapes were available (at least 4), but I can’t find any evidence as to how many exactly where released. This tapes ran 40 minutes and included stories and general chatter. The thing that made Dozzzy stand apart from the rest was how he talked. Unlike the Worlds of Wonder talking toys, Dozzzy‘s mouth would light up and make talking motions with the words on the tape. His eyes would also light up. This made for a great affect for night time because the child could interact with Dozzzy easily in the dark by pressing his hand and still see Dozzzy talking due to the light up elements in his face.
As far as hard facts about Dozzzy, there are very little to be found. What we do know is this: Both versions of Dozzzy were only out for a year, at the most. The reason is forever lost with the decision makers at Galoob, because no reason could be found on the internet when I searched. Another mystery is the number of tapes available for Dozzzy. We own 4 tapes for Dozzzy. However, upon searching, I could find no ‘ultimate list’ of tapes produced. We do know from catalogs that Dozzzy retailed for $49.99 when he came out in late 1987. Kind of expensive for a kids toy, but think about if he were released now! I have a feeling he’d be much more expensive!
Because Dozzzy was only out for a year, he is considered ultra rare and from what I can tell from the number of people looking for him online, highly sought after. It seems many people have fond memories of this talking toy. And why not? It is a great, solid toy. The tapes, too, are engaging. And better yet, Dozzzy was mostly stuffed, so a child could literally hug him or go to sleep with Dozzzy next to him with very little worry. (Think of trying to sleep next to a Teddy Ruxpin… Yikes!) Dozzzy’s trademark expired in 1994. Galoob ended up being purchased by Hasbro in 1998 after 44 years of toy making.
For those that would like to watch my Dolly Flashback, the video is below!
If you’d like to see Dozzzy in action, I’ve put together three videos. The first video is essentially an introduction to Dozzzy. ‘Storytime with Dozzzy’ is all about Dozzzy! He recounts ‘The Princess and the Pea’ and ‘The Emperors New Clothes’.
Do you remember Dozzzy? Why do you think the now 20 somethings have such fond memories of Dozzzy? Why do you think Dozzzy had such a short run? Share your thoughts below!