Monday, February 19, 2018

The World of Teddy Ruxpin (Worlds of Wonder)



The World of Teddy Ruxpin
Worlds of Wonder
1985 - 1990

Teddy Ruxpin took the world by storm when it was first released in 1985 by Worlds of Wonder. The product was one of the hottest (if not the hottest) Christmas items of the year - Think Tickle Me Elmo scale popularity.

Teddy was the ultimate storytelling bear, and the best friend of many a young child. The toy featured a built in cassette tape player on its back which could be utilized with the dozens of story cassettes and read along books Worlds of Wonders released during its five year run.

Throughout its years of release, Teddy Ruxpin saw three generations of stuffed bears - Each with its own unique upgrades and changes.

The first generation featured a metal tape deck. While durable made the toy somewhat heavy for children - It also proved rather expensive for production.

The second generation did away with the metal tape deck in favor of an all plastic one. This particular version also had an automatic shut off feature (in addition to the on / off switch). This ensured that if the bear was left on with no tape playing the batteries were not drained dead.

The third, and final generation of bears featured the most update. These included things such as an upgraded circuit board, a spring hinged battery cover, and a higher quality Teddy / Grubby connection port (to name a few).

To bring the world of Teddy Ruxpin alive, Worlds of Wonders created numerous clothing sets which you could change your bear into. There were seven standard ones as well as four deluxe editions.

The standard clothing - Or Adventure Outfits as they were called featured high quality stitching, and combination of plastic and cloth. The line up included the following as seen in the photos below;

Flying Outift*Hiking Outfit

Nightshirt*Raincoat

Sleeping Outfit

Winter Outfit*Workout Outfit

Not only did the deluxe editions (below) present themselves far nicer on store shelves in terms of packaging, they also featured an exclusive story cassette and read along book...And a much higher price tag.

Love Songs*Christmas

Lullabies II is respectfully entitled as such because Worlds of Wonder had already released a separate package with a read along book and cassette tape.

Lullabies II*Summertime

Then of course there were the dozens of stories released to incorporate with the toy. While Teddy Ruxpin was a fantastic "stuffed" bear all on its own, it was the cassettes which really made the toy come alive. Worlds of Wonders made sure to keep parents shopping with release after release.

The stories were a combination of fun themes, exciting adventures and sometimes even safety lessons for children. Because each cassette also featured a read along storybook to coincide with them, kids also had the opportunity to learn and practice reading making Teddy Ruxpin an easy advertisement to parents as a learning toy.

The Airship*All About Bears

Anything in the Soup*Autumn Adventure

Grubby's Romance*The Missing Princess

Teddy Ruxpin Lullabies*Fire Safety with Teddy Ruxpin

Water Safety with Teddy Ruxpin*Double Grubby

The Story of the Faded Fobs*Tweeg and the Bounders

Uncle Grubby*Teddy's Winter Adventure

Teddy Ruxpin's Birthday*One More Spot

Nirvana and Pearl Jam can sit down, and take a back seat. Teddy Ruxpin was the official Godfather of grunge music as proven in the story book / cassette below.

Take A Good Look*Grunge Music

The Day Teddy Met Grubby*The Mushroom Forest

Tweeg Gets the Tweezles*Safe At Home with Teddy Ruxpin

Grundo Springtime Singtime*The Do-Along Songbook

The Wolly What's-It*The Third Crystal

Grundo Beach Party*Lost In Boggley Woods

The Medicine Wagon*Quiet Please

The Sign of A Friend*Teddy and the Mudblups

Wooly and the Giant Snowzos*Gizmos and Gadgets

Worlds of Wonder also released an exclusive collector's club gift box which included a set of cassette tapes and books.

Gift Set

What's interesting to note is while WoW released an exorbitant amount of tapes and books they never produced or released a carry case. Instead, if you wanted a World of Teddy Ruxpin case for all your Teddy Ruxpin accessories, you'd need to look to Placo Toys who released a very nice plastic carry case.

The case could hold up to six cassette tapes, and six books. Granted, this would mean you would need about seven cases to store the entire collection. However, we can attest this does look rather nice sitting on a bookshelf next to your Teddy Ruxpin doll.

For parents who were big into their children focusing their attention strictly on educational toys, Teddy Ruxpin featured a great add on accessory - Answer Box. Simply plug in the device to your Teddy, and insert one of the unique question and answer tapes.

Each one featured a series of multiple choice questions, which when used in conjunction with the corresponding book you could pick the answer using the color coded buttons.

There were six books / cassette tapes released under the Answer Box banner - Which to date remain the most difficult ones to track down.

 Shapes Are Everywhere*Up, Down and All Around
Color My World*Let's Learn About Opposites

Counting is Fun*Just About the Size of It

Obviously you can't have a "world" of Teddy Ruxpin with just Teddy himself hanging around. Worlds of Wonders made sure to create and incorporate numerous characters in not only the stories, but in the toy line.

Grubby remains by far the most popular as he is not only Teddy's best friend, but also the only toy Worlds of Wonders created which could be directly plugged into Teddy to interact with the story tapes.

Grubby

Additionally, Grubby is also the only other toy in the line who received his own Adventure Outfits - Granted, it was only two (as compared to the dozen which Teddy had).

Sleeptime Outfit*Hiking Outfit

As for the rest of the characters created, they were done so as hand puppets.

Wooly

Fob (Purple)*Fob (Orange)

Tweeg*L.B. the Bounder


We've got some honorable mentions too.

Worlds of Wonders didn't limit Teddy Ruxpin to just the above line. They also created a mini set of figurines (which we'll touch on in a post at a later date), lunchboxes, and a handful of other related merchandise. Below are some of our favorites.

The Teddy Ruxpin Electronic Phone was so cool back in the day. It featured pre-recorded phone conversations which your child could have with Teddy. Additionally, when you talked, he would actually respond to you with things such as, "Uh-huh" to make it appear as if he was really listening and speaking with you.

Teddy Ruxpin Electronic Phone

Little Bopper's Teddy Ruxpin was (if you couldn't guess) part of the Little Boppers line from Worlds of Wonder. Each "doll" would dance when you turned on music - Think back to those old dancing Pepsi / Coke cans.

The line featured the likes of Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and even classic monsters such as Dracula and Frankenstein. We're actually looking into compiling a post on this line a little later in the year.

Little Bopper's Teddy Ruxpin

Baby Teddy Ruxpin featured all the cuddling aspects of Teddy without the bulky tape deck in the way. The doll still had some "hard" components to it though as with the use of batteries it could open its mouth, and blink its eyes.

Baby Teddy Ruxpin

Not into babies? Want something even softer? No worries. Worlds of Wonders also released a plush Soft n' Cuddly Teddy Ruxpin which more so resembled the talking doll, but again, without the hard tape deck.

Of course for those who couldn't afford or find a Teddy Ruxpin back in the day, you could always opt for the cheaper, more accessible T.T. Talking Bear from Pioneer Toys. The T.T. stands for Talking and Twinkling.

Wait...According to the packaging this would make it T (Talking) T (Twinkling) Talking Bear. Why the two "Talking"? Also, what's up with the almost spot on "borrowing" of the color scheme for Teddy Ruxpin packages? It's as if Pioneer was crossing their fingers that an unsuspecting grandmother would happen across it, and "accidentally" confuse if for the official Teddy Ruxpin toy. Sneaky, Pioneer. Very sneaky.

Meh...Moving on from confusing packaging. The bear also included a tape deck feature - Unfortunately with not as many stories to choose from. Of course one could always just use official Teddy Ruxpin tapes with it. 

As for Teddy, he's come and gone over the years. When Worlds of Wonder closed their doors in 1990 the license shifted to Playskool until 1996. Under the Playskool banner, the bear was upgraded to remove the cassette player, and instead used a cartridge which more so resembled an 8-track tape.

Yes! Entertainment brought the toy back to store shelves in 1998, and with it reverted back to the original design of Worlds of Wonder - I.E. utilizing audio cassettes. This was short lived as Yes! ultimately had serious financial struggles which resulted in the license being pulled by holder Alchemyll.

Teddy was brought back again in 2005 by BackPack. This all new version now incorporated digital cartridges in place of the audio cassettes. Though it was discontinued, this version can still be found via numerous online retail chains.

In 2017, Wicked Cool Toys announced and released a fifth iteration of Teddy. This time it did away with all forms of physical media, and instead came with three pre-loaded stories. WCT also provides new stories which can be downloaded and "installed" via the bear's app.

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