||This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2011)|
|Company||Worlds of Wonder (1985–1990)
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:
- All About Bears: When is a Bear Not a Bear?
- Autumn Adventure:
- Anything in the Soup: Will the Anythings end up in Grunge Gumbo?
- The Day Teddy Met Grubby:
- The Do Along Songbook:
- Double Grubby:
- Fire Safety with Teddy Ruxpin:
- Gizmos and Gadgets:
- Grubby's Romance: Falling in Love is Something Special
- Grundo Beach Party: Sun and Sand With Friends Can Be Fun
- Grundo Springtime Singtime:
- Grunge Music:
- Lost in Boggley Woods:
- The Medicine Wagon:
- The Missing Princess:
- The Mushroom Forest:
- One More Spot:
- Quiet Please:
- Safe at Home with Teddy Ruxpin:
- Sign of a Friend:
- The Story of the Faded Fobs:
- 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:
- Teddy Ruxpin Lullabies: Warm and Cuddly Songs to Dream By
- Teddy Ruxpin Lullabies II:
- Teddy Ruxpin Sings Love Songs:
- Teddy Ruxpin Summertime: A Fun-Filled Musical Summer
- Teddy Ruxpin Visits the Dentist: Sponsored by Crest
- Teddy's Winter Adventure:
- The Airship: Discover a Whole New World
- The Third Crystal:
- The Wooly What's-It: Learning Can Be Fun!
- 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:
- Wooly and the Giant Snowzos:
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.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2011)|
A normal (non-Teddy) cassette tape is designed for stereo playback with two distinct tracks on each side for the left and right speakers. In contrast, a Teddy Ruxpin cassette uses the two tracks differently: the left track contains the audio, while the right track encodes the toy's movements.
A special additional hole in the rear spine of the cassette tells the teddy bear that the right track contains movement data. This hole is similar to a standard cassette's write protection notch, but closer to the center. In fact, exactly the same hole parameters were used twice: once to detect the failed Type III (FeCr) cassette blanks, and once again a few years later to detect Type IV (Metal) blanks.
If the notch is not present, the player assumes that a normal cassette is being played, and avoids interpreting the right track as movements (which would cause the bear to malfunction, as it is not designed to translate the audio levels in a standard audio book into jaw movements).
Teddy Ruxpin movement data is encoded as a series of rapid pulse groups known as pulse-position modulation. The data track contains continuous groups of nine pulses separated by silence. The spacing between pulses varies, and the length of each space determines the following characteristics (each of which is assigned to one of the "time slots" between two of the pulses): position of Teddy's eyes, upper jaw, lower jaw, and (if Grubby is attached) the position of Grubby's eyes, upper jaw and lower jaw. If the cassette is played in a normal cassette player, one would hear both the program recorded on it, as well as a buzzing noise - which is the PPM referenced above.
One of the slots is also assigned as a switch to route the audio through Grubby instead of Teddy, and is activated during Grubby's parts of the dialogue. If Grubby is not attached, then the audio plays through Teddy.
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.
- Bates, James (1988-01-19). "Problems of Toy's Producer Leave Its Creator in a Bind". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Cuff, Daniel F. (1988-04-04). "BUSINESS PEOPLE; Worlds of Wonder Loses Its Chairman". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- "Teddy Ruxpin goes digital". CNN. 2005-06-15.
- "Teddy Ruxpin Earns Top Spot in 2006 Toy Awards". DesignTAXI.
- Clarity, James F.; Weaver Jr, Warren (1985-09-26). "BRIEFING; All Hail Bear". The New York Times.
- "Toys: Intensive Care for a Talking Bear". Time. 1986-02-10. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
- Goldstein, Alan (1985-11-24). "Alchemy II Makes Technology Cuddly Company Tries to Conjure Up Cash With New Talking Bear". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- "You Call These Toys?". Time. 1987-12-07. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
- NY Times article about the bankruptcy petition
- Zonana, Victor F. (1987-12-22). "Cash-Strapped Toy Maker Worlds of Wonder Petitions for Chapter 11 Protection". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
- "BANKRUPTCY: Chapter 11 for Teddy Ruxpin". Time. 1988-01-04. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
- "Teddy Ruxpin Goes to Hasbro". The Los Angeles Times. 1991-09-09. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
- "Teddy Ruxpin goes digital". CNN. 2005-06-16. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
- Lovable Teddy Ruxpin evolves from toy to animated star of his own half-hour program thanks to Crawley Films, Toronto Star - Oct 31, 1987