Big Mouth Billy Bass

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Big Mouth Billy Bass The Singing Sensation.jpg

Big Mouth Billy Bass is an animatronic singing prop, representing a largemouth bass, invented on December 16, 1998, sold from January 1, 1999, and popular in the early 2000s.[1][2] The fish is made of latex rubber with a plastic mechanical skeleton inside of it; at first glance, it appears to be a mounted game fish. The product was conceived by Gemmy Industries product development vice president Joe Pellettieri following a visit to a Bass Pro Shop.[3] The device turns its head towards a person, facing them, and then wiggles its tail on its trophy plaque and sings kitschy cover songs, such as "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin and "Take Me To The River" by Al Green, who said he received more royalties from it than from any other recording of the song.[4] The singing mechanism was originally activated by a motion sensor and intended to startle a passerby. Eventually, a button was added to activate it. In addition, many variants of Big Mouth Billy Bass were also produced by Gemmy using different types of game fish and other aquatic animals, with some of them being Travis the Rainbow Trout, Cool Catfish, and Rocky Lobster. The concept was even later adapted into a large mounted deer head, known as Buck the Animated Trophy, which is voiced by actor Clint Ford, and a medium-sized mounted bear head.[5]

Big Mouth Billy Bass Sings for the Holidays[edit]

On December 7, 1999, a special holiday version of the Big Mouth Billy Bass was released by Gemmy Industries. The fish had a Santa hat on his head and a ribbon with a sleigh bell on his tail.[6]

Other versions of the Big Mouth Billy Bass[edit]

The following are some other versions of the Big Mouth Billy Bass that were released by Gemmy Industries:

  • Big Mouth Billy Bones - Sings "Bad to the Bone". (September 28, 1999) [9]
  • Big Mouth Billy Bass Superstar - Sings "Act Naturally" and "I Will Survive". (2000) [10]
  • Big Mouth Billy Bass Jr. - Sings "Take Me to the River" and "I Will Survive". (2004) [11]
  • Big Mouth Billy Bass REC/PLAY - Sings "Take Me to the River". (2009-2011) [12]
  • Big Mouth Billy Bass 15th Anniversary - Sings "Don't Worry be Happy" and "I Will Survive". (Mid 2014-Late 2015) [13]
  • Big Mouth Billy Bones 15th Anniversary - Sings "Bad to the Bone". (Halloween 2015) [14]
  • Singing Zombie Fish - Sings "I Will Survive". (Halloween 2015) [15]
  • Big Mouth Billy Bass 15th Anniversary Christmas Edition - Sings "Jingle Bells" and "I Will Survive". (Christmas 2015) [16]

In popular culture[edit]

The success of the Big Mouth Billy Bass has made it an icon that appears frequently in pop culture. Some of the device's appearances include:

  • A Big Mouth Billy Bass appears in the 2010 film Lemmy, when Kilmister activates the device hanging next to his bathroom mirror in his Los Angeles home.[17]
  • A Big Mouth Billy Bass has a cameo in the 2008 film WALL-E.[18]
  • Big Mouth Billy Bass was mentioned in the 2003 film Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie wherein Jeff Foxworthy said that a person with more than three of the toys (which Jeff himself is admittedly guilty of) "might be a redneck".[19]
  • Queen Elizabeth has a Big Mouth Billy Bass, which she displays on the grand piano of Balmoral Castle.[5]
  • On Chuck, then-assistant store manager Morgan Grimes sports a Big Mouth Billy Bass on his office wall, emulating his manager and de facto stepfather Big Mike who has a large trophy fish (Marlin) mounted on his office wall.[20]
  • In the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode 1x11, Gil Grissom was seen to own a Big Mouth Billy Bass placed above his office door because its motion sensor was better than a watch dog.[21]
  • On the television show George Lopez, George has a singing fish in his office.[22]
  • The device is seen on the television show The Sopranos (in the 2001 episodes, "Second Opinion" and "...To Save Us All from Satan's Power"), where Tony Soprano beats one of his underlings with it, for leaving it on his desk and once receiving it from his daughter as a present.[23]
  • The device appeared on The Daily Show as "Michele Bachmann's Big Mouth Billie Vagina" in 2011 introduced by The Daily Show's Senior Women Issue Correspondent Kristen Schaal.[24]
  • In the first episode of the fourth season of Whose Line is it Anyway?, Wayne Brady pretends to be a singing bass in the "Dating Game" segment.[25]
  • In the seventh episode of the twelfth season of The Simpsons, The Great Money Caper, after receiving money in a con-artist ring, Bart asks Homer what to get first, Homer promptly replies, "A singing rubber fish, of course."[26]
  • One appears on the wall of Wernham Hogg offices in The Office, including a brief scene in which David Brent demonstrates it to camera. Unfortunately, the batteries were dead.[27]
  • In 2012, Big Mouth Billy Bass was a Christmas ornament in Hallmark Cards, Inc. Keepsake Ornament line.[28]
  • In the DVD documentary "Destiny Rules", which chronicles the making of Fleetwood Mac's 2003 studio album Say You Will, Stevie Nicks is shown placing a Big Mouth Billy Bass on a kitchen counter, saying "Alright, now this is going to inject some humor into the recording of this record", whereupon the bass begins to sing "Take Me To The River".[29]
  • In the 2010 video game Fallout: New Vegas, Cass, a possible companion to the player, admits to never having seen a real fish but notes that a bar she visited in Redding had a plastic one mounted on the wall which used to be able to sing.[30]
  • Big Mouth Billy Bass is pictured in Joshua Oppenheimer's film The Act of Killing (2012).[31]
  • In the "You're All Going to Diet" episode of The Last Man on Earth in 2016, numerous singing fishes perform the Three Dog Night song "Joy to the World" as an alarm system.[32][33]
  • The device crossed over to real life when April 2018 police reports from Sebastian, Florida indicated that a man had been arrested for domestic battery after allegedly striking his same-sex partner with a Big Mouth Billy Bass.[34]


  1. ^ "Report: Big Mouth Billy Bass Still Good For A Laugh". The Betoota Advocate. 2017-08-25. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  2. ^ "Bizarre Inventions that Made Serious Bucks". Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  3. ^ Sobey, Ed; Sobey, Woody (2008). The Way Toys Work: The Science Behind the Magic 8 Ball, Etch a Sketch, Boomerang, and More. Chicago Review. pp. 21–23. ISBN 9781613743096. 
  4. ^ "GUY TURNS HIS BIG MOUTH BILLY BASS INTO AN ALEXA!". 105.7 The Hawk. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  5. ^ a b Schuessler, Heidi, Getting Under the Skin of a Fish That Can Get Under Yours, The New York Times, December 14, 2000, last accessed May 7, 2008.
  6. ^ Schuessler, Heidi (14 December 2000). "Getting Under the Skin of a Fish That Can Get Under Yours" – via 
  7. ^ "Gemmy - Christmas Big Mouth Billy Bass (Blues Version)". YouTube. 2017-07-17. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  8. ^ "Gemmy - Christmas Big Mouth Billy Bass (Country Version)". YouTube. 2017-07-17. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  9. ^ "Something Fishy: Big Mouth Billy Bass". 2016-06-09. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  10. ^ Maya, Diposting oleh Jianta. "Big Mouth Billy Bass - Fish Mounted". Ready for Future. Retrieved 2017-11-03. 
  11. ^ "Big Mouth Billy Bass Junior". YouTube. 2011-04-02. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  12. ^ TheGemmyBros (2015-04-25). "Big Mouth Billy Bass (REC+PLAY Series)". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  13. ^ Entis, Laura (2014-10-15). "King of Kitsch: Meet the Company Behind Big Mouth Billy Bass and a Dozen Other Novelty Items From Your Childhood". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  14. ^ "Big Mouth Billy Bones 15 Year Edition!". YouTube. 2015-11-01. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  15. ^ "Singing Zombie Fish". Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  16. ^ "Big Mouth Billy Bass 15th Anniversary Christmas". Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  17. ^ "Lemmy (2010)". IMDB. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  18. ^ Bartkowiak, Mathew J. (2012-10-19). "Sounds of the Future: Essays on Music in Science Fiction Film". McFarland. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  19. ^ Foley, Rich. "2007.29.07 Loads of fun with Billy Bass and Sterlena". Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  20. ^ "Chuck (TV Series 2007–2012)". IMDB. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  21. ^ Stringer, Kortney (2000-11-30). "Big Mouth Billy Bass Amuses Some People, But Annoys Others as Novelty Wears Off". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  22. ^ Bilello, Joe. "George Lopez: 'You Wanna Make The Streets Safer Deport The Police'". Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  23. ^ "10 Incredibly Shameless Product Placements In Well-Loved TV Shows". 2013-11-15. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  24. ^ "Daily Show rips Bachmann's buffoonery over HPV vaccine (Warning: NSFW)". Daily Kos. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  25. ^ "Whose Line - Let's Make a Date - 4x01". YouTube. 2011-06-26. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  26. ^ "The Great Money Caper". The Simpsons Archive. 
  27. ^ ScreenPrism. "The One to Watch For A Comedy Legacy: "The Office (UK)" S1E1 – "Downsize" | ScreenPrism". Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  28. ^ "Big mouth Billy bass singing Christmas ornament". YouTube. 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  29. ^ Howe, Zoë (2014-10-13). "Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams and Rumours". Omnibus Press. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  30. ^ Oxhorn (2017-08-13). "Cass: The Jaded Woman - The Full Story of Rose of Sharon Cassidy - Fallout New Vegas Lore". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  31. ^ McAlinden, Carrie True surrealism: Walter Benjamin and The Act of Killing , BFI, December 3, 2013, last accessed September 28, 2014.
  32. ^ Bacle, Ariana (2016-10-17). "'The Last Man on Earth' Recap: The Gang Gets Creative With Security". Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  33. ^ Murthi, Vikram. "The Last Man On Earth spins its wheels, but at least Jeremiah was a bullfrog". TV Club. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  34. ^ "Man Battered Boyfriend With Singing Fish". The Smoking Gun. April 23, 2018. Retrieved May 8, 2018.