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Teddy Ruxpin was an animatronic teddy bear that would come to life and read you stories. Don’t get me wrong, he was no Chucky from Childs Play, no no no, he was a cute bear whose calming voice was incredibly entertaining and in no way disturbing.
You inserted specific Teddy Ruxpin story cassettes into the inbuilt cassette player in his back, pressed Play, and watched and listened in awe as he regaled you with tales of his travels. Whenever the recording on the cassettes used Teddys voice, Teddys actual mouth would move in time to it! Kids in the 80s were absolutely amazed! And to be honest, I still am nowadays!
There were quite a few storybooks and cassettes available throughout the 80s, so kids who were lucky enough to own a Teddy Ruxpin didn’t have to listen to the same one over and over. Having him read the story to youngsters was a great way of getting them to recognise words.
Teddy also had a companion, called Grubby the Caterpillar. Grubby was an addon toy to Teddy Ruxpin – you needed to own Teddy in order for Grubby to work. I don’t know if you had to connect him somehow, or whether you just had to position him close to Teddy, but knowing the 80s there was probably a chunky lead that connected the two friends.
Imagine the heartbreak on Christmas Morning when children unwrapped Grubby but no Teddy, because Teddy had sold out from all the toy shops. Parents, thinking they were doing the best for their children, but inevitably letting them down by getting them a useless add-on.
“But Mummy, where is Teddy Ruxpin?”
“I’m sorry little Timmy, but Father Christmas couldn’t find a Teddy Ruxpin, so he got you Grubby instead.”
“But Grubby is useless without Teddy, Mum… He just sits there… like a fat useless caterpillar.”
“Oh well, maybe Father Christmas will bring a Teddy Ruxpin next year!”
“Next YEAR?!? I WANT HIM NOWWWW!!!” *cue the tantrum*
“You ungrateful little *****, you’re having extra sprouts on your plate, young man!”
(I imagine that is how most Christmas mornings went, anyway. I never had a Grubby OR a Teddy. My life was awesome enough with my ZX Spectrum.)
Rumour has it that when it was late at night Teddy could start speaking even though you had taken out his batteries, and quite often start saying disturbing things that were not on any of the cassettes. He would often pace around your room in the dark, muttering things about “revenge”. (Or I could be making this up.)
You can find original Teddy Ruxpins on Ebay, but it may be safer on this occasion to leave the past in the past…
All together now:
Come dream with me tonight.
Let’s go to far-off places and search for treasures bright.
Come dream with me tonight.
Let’s build a giant airship and sail into the sky!