One of the first widely available talking stuffed animals, the teddy bear Teddy Ruxpin celebrates its’ 30th Anniversary this year. Ruxpin has long and interesting history.
Teddy Ruxpin was a little creepy looking and its ads further helped that image. Like the one you will see below, the ad takes cue from the Frankenstein movies which are the definition of creepy.
Even so, the toy was quite the thing back in the day. At it basics it was a teddy bear with a built in tape recorder. But it was more than that. It could move its lips and eyes in sync with the speech.
The first manufacturer of Teddy Ruxpin was Worlds of Wonder. It also offered a companion toy called Grubby which could be connected to Ruxpin with a cable. This would allow the two toys to “talk” to each other saying prerecorded sentences.
Teddy Ruxpin was immensly popular. So popular it actually crashed the company. How is this possible? Well it’s stock fortunes rose quite a lot and beyond the assets of the company and a few bad trades from its officials spooked the investors. Then the stock market crash in 1987 just sealed the fate of the company.
But Ruxpin continued to live after that. It was picked up by Hasbro in 1991 which continued to produce the toy. And in 1996 made a redesign with smaller cartridges instead of cassette tapes.
In 1998 Yes! Entertainment revived Teddy Ruxpin again. It returned the cassette tapes but the company also died down soon after. Then in 2005 Ruxpin made another short return with BackPack Toys which replaced the tapes with digital cartridges.
Over the years Teddy Ruxpin had quite a large following. So large companies made extra outfits and accessories for Ruxpin. There was a tuxedo, Christmas outfit, a raincoat, sleeping outift and many more.
Companies also made quite a few prerecorded stories Teddy Ruxpin could tell to the kids. Ruxpin was the best selling toy in 1985 and 1986. And the 2005 version was named the 2006 Animated Interactive Plush Toy of the Year by Creative Child Magazine. It was made until 2010.
Ruxpin will always be remembered as the front-runner in animated stuffed animals. It continues to be popular and sought after. Currently there are lots of versions of Ruxpin on eBay with prices ranging from great deals to way too expensive.
Ruxpin showed that toys can be much more realistic. The teddy bear could yawn, frown, giggle. It needed the prerecorded tapes to do that because they had the instructions for the toy. Even if a little creepy, Ruxpin will always be loved and remembered as the trend setter. Today’s interactive toys have a lot to thank to Teddy Ruxpin and his creator Ken Forsse for carving the path.