|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2011)|
|Company||Worlds of Wonder (1985–1988)
Yes! Entertainment (1998–1999)
Backpack Toys (2005–2010)
|Slogan||The World's First Animated Talking Toy|
Teddy Ruxpin is a children's toy talking bear. The bear would move his mouth and eyes while "reading" stories which were played on an audio tape cassette deck built into his back. It was created by Ken Forsse with later assistance by Larry Larsen and John Davies, and the first version of the toy was designed by the firm RKS Design. Later versions would use a digital cartridge in place of a cassette. At the peak of his popularity, Teddy Ruxpin became the best-selling toy of 1985 and 1986, and the newest version was awarded the 2006 Animated Interactive Plush Toy of the Year by Creative Child Magazine. A cartoon based on the characters debuted in 1987.
From his debut in September, 1985, various toy makers have produced Teddy Ruxpin over the years. The first was Worlds Of Wonder from 1985 until its bankruptcy in 1988. The toys rights were then sold to Hasbro, and produced again from 1991 to 1996. Another version debuted in 1998 by YES! Entertainment. In 2006, the final version of Teddy Ruxpin created by BackPack Toys debuted.
Shortly after his debut, Teddy Ruxpin was the "Official Spokesbear for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children" in 1985.
Teddy Ruxpin was first produced in 1985 by toy manufacturer Worlds of Wonder. There was also a companion toy named Grubby, which connected to Teddy via a cable; this allowed the two pre-recorded interactions. Grubby will only work with this version of Teddy Ruxpin. There were several other non-animatronic companion toys and characters made as well. They include 2 different versions of the bird-like Fobs (one orange, one purple). They were hand puppets with a sock-like, extendable neck. Other hand puppets were the larger Wooly What's-It, 3 interchangeable Anythings (This, That, The Other), Tweeg, and an L.B. The Bounder. Other items produced by Worlds Of Wonder for Teddy Ruxpin include the Answer Box, and Picture Show.
With the strength of its line of toys Worlds Of Wonder’s fortunes rose well beyond its assets. This culminated in a rather spectacular tumble as stock trades by company officers spooked investors. Attempting to stem the tide, WOW issued Non-Investment Grade Bonds, commonly known as junk bonds, in an effort to buoy itself. Although there is some contention as to whether this strategy would have helped, the attempt was made moot by the 1987 stock market crash. Worlds Of Wonder filed for bankruptcy protection and was liquidated in 1988. They went through a series of layoffs. The creditors continued to operate the company in receivership until finally closing its doors in late 1990.
By 1991 Worlds of Wonder had folded and the remaining assets were liquidated. The Teddy Ruxpin toy line was then picked up by Hasbro, which produced him under their Playskool line until 1996 using the redesign that had been implemented by WoW. This design was smaller and used special cartridges that resembled 8-track tapes, instead of cassette tapes. Unfortunately, this cartridge system proved to be easily damaged.
In 1998, Yes! Entertainment brought Teddy Ruxpin back to stores for a third time. The toy's size was largely the same as the Playskool version other than Teddy's clothes, but the biggest change was Yes! returned to using the standard cassette tapes. This venture was short-lived, however, as Yes! Entertainment's corporate management and financial troubles ultimately resulted in AlchemyII withdrawing the licensing for Teddy. During this production of Teddy Ruxpin, the original Hi-Topps videos were edited and released to work alongside Teddy using the Interactive TV & Video Pack. There was also a small Beanie Baby version of the toy which came boxed with the YES! Teddy Ruxpin since Beanie Babies were popular at the time.
In 2005 Backpack Toys announced a fourth version of Teddy Ruxpin, which replaced the audio tapes with digital cartridges. Although Teddy Ruxpin is no longer produced by BackPack Toys, some remaining toys and cartridges are available via online retail channels.
Available cassettes and books
Worlds Of Wonder produced the largest number of stories. They include:
- The Airship: Discover a Whole New World
- All About Bears: When is a Bear Not a Bear?
- Autumn Adventure: Teddy and Grubby Find Out How Fun Autumn Can Be
- Anything in the Soup: Will the Anythings end up in Grunge Gumbo?
- The Day Teddy Met Grubby: Do You Remember The Day You Met Your Best Friend?
- The Do-Along Songbook: Sing Along With Teddy Ruxpin and His Friends
- Double Grubby: Gimmick's Invention Duplicates Lots of Trouble
- Fire Safety with Teddy Ruxpin: Teddy's Junior Fire Patrol
- Gizmos and Gadgets: Teddy and His Friends Make an Important Discovery
- Grubby's Romance: Falling in Love is Something Special
- Grundo Beach Party: Sun and Sand With Friends Can Be Fun
- Grundo Springtime Singtime: A Springtime Sing-Along for One and All!
- Grunge Music: Tap Your Feet to the Beat
- Lost in Boggley Woods: Teddy and His Friends Meet the Wogglies
- The Medicine Wagon: Teddy, Grubby, and Gimmick are Tricked by Tweeg
- The Missing Princess: You've Got to Take Care of You
- The Mushroom Forest: You Can Be Anything You Want to Be
- One More Spot: Teddy, Grubby, And Gimmick Meet Amanda the Ladybug
- Quiet Please: Teddy Sings His Way Through A Quiet Day
- Safe at Home with Teddy Ruxpin: Grubby's Special Assignment
- The Sign of a Friend: Teddy and Grubby Meet a Silent Friend
- The Story of the Faded Fobs: Helping Each Other Makes Everybody Happy
- Take A Good Look: See the Ordinary in an Extraordinary Way
- Teddy and the Mudblups: Is Being Neat Hard to Do?
- Teddy Ruxpin's Birthday: A Day to Say Hurray
- Teddy Ruxpin's Christmas: A Musical Celebration
- Teddy Ruxpin Lullabies: Warm and Cuddly Songs to Dream By
- Teddy Ruxpin Lullabies II: More Dreamy Songs for Sleepy Time
- Teddy Ruxpin Sings Love Songs: A Special Collection Of Teddy's Favorites
- Teddy Ruxpin Summertime: A Fun-Filled Musical Summer
- Teddy Ruxpin Visits the Dentist: Sponsored by Crest
- Teddy's Winter Adventure: A Perfect Time for Sharing
- The Third Crystal: Can Teddy Solve the Mystery?
- Tweeg and the Bounders: You Have to Earn the Things Worth Having
- Tweeg Gets the Tweezles: A Healthy Attitude Works Wonders
- Uncle Grubby: Grubby Finds Three Good Reasons to Be Patient
- Water Safety with Teddy Ruxpin: The Fobs Learn How To Swim
- Wooly and the Giant Snowzos: Do You Believe Everything You Hear?
- The Wooly What's-It: Learning Can Be Fun!
Worlds of Wonder created two devices that worked only with Teddy Ruxpin. They were the Picture show and Answer Box. Neither of these would work with Grubby. The cassettes produced for the Picture Show, which used slide wheels, similar to the View Master are:
- Big little Wooly.
- Gimmick learns a lesson.
- Teddy & the Surf Grunges.
- Teddy's underwater rescue.
- Tweeg's lemonade stand.
- Wedding in Grundo.
The Answer Box cassettes include:
- Color my World.
- Counting is Fun.
- Easy as ABC.
- Just About The Size Of It.
- Learn About Opposites.
- Shapes are Everywhere.
- Up, Down and All Around.
Available extra outfits
Worlds of Wonder made different outfits for Teddy & Grubby. These were sold separately and include:
- Flying Outfit
- Hiking Outfit (both Teddy and Grubby had their own version)
- Christmas Outfit
- Sleeping Outfit (both Teddy and Grubby had their own version)
- Summertime Outfit
- Winter Outfit
- Workout Outfit
In 1986, during the height of Teddy Ruxpin's popularity, Worlds of Wonder along with different partners combined to give safety message to children. Some of these include fire fighters, as well as the United States Lifesaving Association.
In 1987, Worlds of Wonder contracted with Wendy's restaurants to feature a Teddy Ruxpin themed Kid's Meal promotion. These were similar to the miniatures produced by Worlds of Wonder, except they were smaller and flocked.
Phil Baron became the voice actor associated with the bear on all tapes and on the TV show, but he left the entertainment industry in the 1990s to become a Cantor (though he did do work on the direct-to-video Adventures of Timmy the Tooth series). Baron is currently the only voice actor officially associated with the property as Teddy Ruxpin has been the only character in the storyline that required updated voice recordings for new projects. Will Ryan voiced Grubby in the 1980s and returned as Grubby in the early 1990s for a musical project. (Ryan and Baron had previously collaborated as a comedy act in the early 1970s, complete with novelty songs.) The late Tony Pope was the original voice of Newton Gimmick. Pope, as well as other voice actors who provided voice talent for AlchemyII in the 1980s, did not reprise their roles in the television series The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin because production moved to Canada; John Stocker replaced Pope as Gimmick for this production. Baron and Ryan have provided the voices of Teddy and Grubby respectively in every Teddy Ruxpin incarnation and project since 1985. Ryan also voiced the character of Tweeg in the adventure series but was replaced by John Koensgen for the television series. Additionally, Russi Taylor and Katie Leigh did the voices of Leota the Woodsprite and Princess Aruzia (respectively) on the book-and-tapes, but when the TV series was produced in Canada, Holly Larocque and Abby Hagyard took over the roles.
The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin
The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin was a television series that ran from 1987-1988. In the series, Teddy Ruxpin leaves his homeland in Rillonia with his friend Grubby in search of adventure. They meet up with an inventor named Newton Gimmick who accompanies them on their quest for the Treasure of Grundo. What the trio unexpectedly find are six crystals with different meanings and powers. These crystals, however, also can enable the Monsters and Villains Organization (MAVO) to have absolute power over the land, and their leader, Quellor, wants to make sure that an Illiop never possesses the crystals. Elsewhere, a less pronounced threat also routinely besieges the trio, the wannabe villain Jack W. Tweeg, a greedy troll/grunge who has his eyes on joining MAVO. The sixty five episode series unfolds gradually as the Trio meet interesting and often friendly creatures while visiting intriguing lands and going on wondrous, yet wholesome, adventures.
In an attempt to cash in on the fad, at least 2 other companies produced tapes that would work with the Teddy Ruxpin toy. Both Veritel Learning Systems and Vector Intercontinental made Teddy Ruxpin compatible tapes. Worlds of Wonder successfully sued these companies, and the courts ordered the tapes to be removed from the market.
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