Worlds of Wonder (toy company)
|Industry||Consumer electronics, video games|
|Fate||Closed, properties liquidated|
|Don Kingsborough, Ken Forsse|
- Teddy Ruxpin (1985), a story-telling bear
- Grubby, Octopede companion to Teddy and helps him tell stories
- Lazer Tag (1986), an early version of Laser Tag
- Pamela: The Living Doll (1986), an interactive talking doll dressed in overalls and comes with 3 additional outfits, add-on program cartridges ("voice cards"), and sticker activity books that had an alien-themed television commercial that played on the popularity of E.T. The Extraterrestrial
- The Talking Mickey Mouse (1986), an animated version of the iconic mouse
- Goofy, helps Mickey tell the stories
- The Talking Mother Goose, an animated animal version of the famed storyteller, who tells fairy tales instead of rhymes, in 1986.
- Hector the ugly duckling, helps Mother Goose tell the stories
- Action Max (1987), a VCR and light gun game in
- Julie (1987), an interactive talking doll
- The Talking Snoopy (1986), an animated speaking version of Charles Schulz's Peanuts character Snoopy that uses cassettes as the others do and voiced by Cam Clarke
- "Express it": The Locker Answering Machine (1987), a sound-(high-pitch whistle)-activated tape recorder that can be mounted on the inside of a locker; part of the "Class Act" line of school supplies
- Hop, Skip & Jump (1989), a jump rope that doubles as a belt or fashion accessory
- Hide 'N' Sneak (1989), transforms the traditional game of hide and seek into high-tech excitement by allowing a player to locate other players with ultrasonic sound
- Rockin' Boppers (1989), 4 different dolls that "dance" to the beat of music
- Skip Stik (1988), a twist-apart 3-foot bar with foam hand grips attached on each end to an 8-foot
- Splatter Up (1988), a wet version of baseball designed by WET Design and later made by Buddy L and Wham-O
- GT Super Screamers (1990), a slotless race car game using fly-by-wire technology, nicad batteries and Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo racecars
- The Jaminator (1990), an electronic air guitar that plays different riffs depended on which buttons are pressed on the neck and also provides basic rhythm accompaniment with a small keyboard and drum pads
- Little Boppers (1987) and Monster Boppers (1988) versions of Teddy Ruxpin, Mickey Mouse, and The Muppets that dance when music is played; two Mickeys made by Fisher-Price, "Dance Star Mickey" & "Rock Star Mickey", differ from the Little Boppers Mickey
- Baby Teddy Ruxpin (1987) an interactive talking baby counterpart of Teddy Ruxpin
- Zoo Tunes (1990), 3 plush puppet zoo characters, Lion, Hippo, and Alligator that play a series of tunes when sensors in mouth are pressed together; a sensor in the hands changes the tune
- Little Big Rigs, 5 plush construction toys
- Distributed the Nintendo Entertainment System in the United States during its first few years
Class Act is a product line of school supplies created by Worlds of Wonder in 1987. The line is "high-tech" in style though the only one piece of the ensemble that is "high-tech" in nature is "Express It": The Locker Answering Machine. The line consisted of:
- Sack It, designer print and denim backpacks
- Stuff It, hard-shell 3-ring binder with magnetic closure
- Stack It, plastic stacking locker shelving system
- Express It, locker answering machine
There were also decorated Trapper Keeper-styled folders and pencils as part of the line. When Worlds of Wonder declared bankruptcy in 1988 the line was severely hurt by the crisis and ultimately cancelled.
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. The company also received much negative press after the death of Leonard Falcon, who was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy after the deputy mistook the Lazer Tag toy he was using for a real gun. 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 and went through a series of layoffs. The creditors continued to operate the company in receivership until finally closing its doors in late 1990. This period of operation only involved selling off existing inventory and no new toys were developed or manufactured.
The "Lazer tag" brand was continued by Shoot The Moon Products, a toy invention company formed by two other Worlds of Wonder founders and new Lazer Tag equipment has been produced under license by Tiger Electronics and Hasbro. The new Lazer Tag toys are not compatible with the original Worlds Of Wonder Lazer tag gear except via a hidden interface in some of the Hasbro gear.
- Pollack, Andrew (1987-12-23). "Fast-Growing Toy Maker's Hard Fall". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- "You Call These Toys?". Time Magazine. 1987-12-07. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
- "Alchemy II Makes Technology Cuddly Company Tries to Conjure Up Cash With New Talking Bear". The Los Angeles Times. 1985-11-24. 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.
- Toys of the Eighties, Pamela Doll, Inthe80s.com (retrieved 9 February 2012)
- Aliens Enjoy Pamela, The Living Doll, X-Entertainment (retrieved 9 February 2012)
- Pamela the Living Doll: E.T. Approved, Matt Suzaka, Strange Kids Club, 14 April 2011 (retrieved 9 February 2012)
- Worlds of Wonder: ‘The TALKING Snoopy‘ (1986), GoGreenMachine.org (retrieved 9 February 2012)
- Strange Locker Room Accessory. Databits. Mar 7, 2020. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
- Search results, Oakland Tribune, 1989, archived at Oakland Museum of California (retrieved 9 February 2012)
- Basics Back At Top Of The Hoop Summer's Here And The Time Is Right For Racing To The Toy Store, Barbara Deck, Philadelphia Daily News, 14 June 1988 (retrieved 10 February 2012)
- Consumer group attacks unsafe toys, The Gainesville Sun Extra, 21 June 1989, p.2 (retrieved 10 February 2012 at Google News)
- It's back to basics in toys - no mega-hits expected this year - discount store toy sales, Richard Halverson, Discount Store News, FindArticles (retrieved 9 February 2012)
- THE WIZARDS OF WET : Even the Staid Take Delight in High-Tech Magic of Burbank Fountain Company, Susan Heeger, Los Angeles Times, 29 September 1988 (retrieved 11 February 2012)
- Splatter Up Baseball from Buddy L, Shoot the Moon (retrieved 10 February 2012)
- Grinding Gear, Steve Rushin, Sports Illustrated, 4 February 2002 (retrieved 11 February 2012)
- GT Super Screamers featuring Nissan GTPZX, Nissan 300ZX forum, TwinTurbo.net, 27 February 2011 (retrieved 10 February 2012)
- The Jaminator, Marie A. D'Amico and Steve Capps, MADcapps (retrieved 9 February 2012)
- , Steven L. Kent, The Ultimate History of Video Games
- 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.
- "Electronic Toys History". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- Lazer Tag fan page with a history of Shoot The Moon
- A Secret LTTO Mode: WOW Compatibility, 2006-02-14, archived from the original on 2012-06-30