Big Mouth Billy Bass

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For the bassist, see Billy Bass Nelson.
Big Mouth Billy Bass

Big Mouth Billy Bass is an animatronic singing prop, representing a largemouth bass, invented in 1998 and popular in the early 2000s. The fish is made of latex rubber stretched over a plastic mechanical frame; at first glance it appears to be a mounted game fish. Conceived by Gemmy Industries product development vice president Joe Pellettieri following a visit to a Bass Pro Shop,[1] it 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. The singing mechanism was originally activated by a motion sensor and was originally intended to startle a passerby. Eventually a button was added to activate it. Other versions that were produced included a Christmas edition, Fish bones, and even a standing fish with a microphone. In addition, many variants of Big Mouth Billy Bass were also produced by Gemmy using different types of game fish and other aquatic animals, such as rainbow trout, catfish, lobsters, and so on. The concept was even later adapted into a large mounted deer head and a medium-sized mounted bear head.[2] Big Mouth Billy Bass is pictured in Joshua Oppenheimer's film The Act of Killing (2012).[3] The toy was also prominently featured in an episode of the popular HBO series The Sopranos and appeared in an episode of the BBC comedy The Office.


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ McAlinden, Carrie True surrealism: Walter Benjamin and The Act of Killing , BFI, December 3, 2013, last accessed September 28, 2014.