Don’t Call it a Comeback, or Return of the (Ruxpin) Repressed

Sometimes the blogging gods smile upon you, my friends. I’d come to terms with the fact that today would be a slow blog day, and then I learned from The Reeler that the lovably creepy (or is that creepily lovable) talking bear from the 1980s, Teddy Ruxpin, is making his return to toy store shelves. That’s right, Teddy Ruxpin is back, and now he’s Wired for the Digital Age, with his old cassette tapes replaced by MP3s.

Ruxpin’s return from the far-off Land of Grundo will be accompanied by the DVD release of all 65 episodes of the Teddy Ruxpin TV show (I had no idea there was a TV show) due to the “unimaginable popularity” of this talking bear. As The Reeler points out, this “unimaginable popularity” derives from a petition containing a grand total of 650 signatures. I think that part of what creeps me out about this whole thing is that Teddy Ruxpin was one of the first toys that I clearly recognized as a cynical marketing gimmick when I was a kid, and the nostalgic return to the 1980s collectibles, and more crucially their digitization, conveys that cycle of obsolescence and recycling of past fashions far too vividly.

The Reeler’s news follows on the heels of an article I noticed yesterday but failed to blog. It seems that after the relative box office success of the Dukes of Hazzard film, 1980s TV shows and collectibles are fair game for summer nostalgia films, with Miami Vice, Dallas, and The Transformers among the planned adaptations. Can a Diff’rent Strokes or Facts of Life movie be far behind?


  1. Clancy Said,

    October 7, 2005 @ 8:27 pm

    Interesting! I wonder what the tone of these remakes will be like, especially Dallas. I never saw The Beverly Hillbillies, The Mod Squad or The Addams Family, but I did see The Brady Bunch and Starsky & Hutch, and it seemed to me that the film adaptation of The Brady Bunch was pretty merciless in its attack on the show’s cheesiness. Starsky & Hutch had a good bit of that, too, but at the same time it was sincere, like an homage. I haven’t seen Dukes of Hazzard either, but I’m imagining it to be the same way. Likewise with Miami Vice. But I bet they’ll pillory Dallas.

  2. Jennifer Said,

    October 8, 2005 @ 8:10 am

    Well, Teddy Ruxpin (or his alter ego) did have a pretty significant comeback in Spielberg’s “AI”. I suppose the dark irony of the movie wasn’t good synergy.

  3. Chuck Said,

    October 8, 2005 @ 12:52 pm

    Clancy: I think the Dallas remake may play it both ways, parodic enough to appeal to the cool kids, but reverent enough not to offend people nostalgic for the earlier shows. There is a certain smugness that comes out in many of these parody remakes that I often find uninteresting or unejoyable, almost as if movie executives are saying, “You think our ideas are bad now? Just look how bad they were 20 years ago.” But a Dallas remake that takes into account the current energy crisis might make for a bizarrely interesting film. What happens when JR Ewing’s oil wells run dry?

    Jennifer: I still haven’t seen AI. I had good intentions of watching it, but I’ve developed an almost physical revulsion to seeing it, so I’d forgotten about the alterna-Ruxpin in that film, so I suppose Ruxpin never really went away….

  4. Thomas Dickensheets Said,

    January 31, 2006 @ 10:26 pm

    I had Teddy Ruxpin made by WOW! Now I going get Teddy Ruxpin by BackPack Toys. If you have any Questions on Teddy Ruxpin. I will answer them for you.

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