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Tickle Me Elmo is a children's plush toy from Tyco Preschool, a division of Tyco Toys, of the Muppet character Elmo from the children's television show Sesame Street . When squeezed, Elmo recites his trademark giggle. When squeezed three times, Elmo shakes and vibrates.
The toy was first produced in the United States in 1996 and slowly became a fad, reaching its apex during the 1996 Christmas shopping season, with some instances of violence reported over the limited available supply. People reported that the toy, which retailed for $28.99 according to its MSRP, was being re-sold by scalpers in newspapers and on the Internet for up to $1,500 by the end of 1996.
"Tickles The Chimp", the precursor to Tickle Me Elmo, was invented by Greg Hyman and Ron Dubren, who were known in the toy industry for having invented Alphie the Robot (a children's learning computer) several years prior. [ citation needed ]In 1995 it was presented to Tyco Preschool as "Tickles The Chimp," which was a toy monkey with a computer chip which laughed when tickled. At the time, Tyco didn't have rights to make the Sesame Street plush, but did have the Looney Tunes plush rights. The toy was worked on for several months as Tickle Me Tasmanian Devil, successfully selling it at the WB Studio Store in California. A short time later, Tyco lost the rights to use the Looney Tunes property in their products, but gained the rights to Sesame Street, thus leading to the creation of Tickle Me Elmo. The invention was originally introduced under Cabbage Patch at Hasbro Industries.
Neil Friedman, who was then president of Tyco Preschool, recalled years later that, "When you played with Tickle Me Elmo for the first time, it brought a smile to everyone's face. It was a magical surprise."
Tickle Me Elmo was released in July 1996, with a supply of 400,000 units. The dolls sold well and remained widely available in stores until the day after Thanksgiving, when they suddenly sold out. With the Christmas shopping season approaching, Tyco Preschool ordered 600,000 more dolls from their suppliers.Promotion was helped by Rosie O'Donnell, who had shown the toy on her popular TV show in early October. O'Donnell's "surprise plug" was probably too early to create unexpected demand for Elmo, as the resulting shortages in the stores that sold it happened nearly two months later.
The scarcity of the new toy provoked a "shopping frenzy".Two women were arrested in Chicago for fighting over the doll, while in New York City some people ran after delivery trucks hoping to get their hands on Elmo before it reached stores. Someone allegedly purchased a Tickle Me Elmo for $7,100 in Denver. KBIG in Los Angeles had a radio auction for charity December 20, 1996; Bob's Pharmacy won and purchased a Tickle-Me-Elmo for $18,500. A clerk working at a Wal-Mart store in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada was among those injured by "Elmo-mania". During a Midnight Madness sale on December 14, a crowd of 300 stampeded down the aisle after spotting him being handed a box of the toys by another employee. Trampled, he suffered "a pulled hamstring, injuries to his back, jaw and knee, a broken rib and a concussion".
By the end of December, the entire stock of one million "Tickle Me Elmo" toys had been sold.
In early 1997, Tyco released new "Tickle Me" toys based on other characters from Sesame Street – first Tickle Me Ernie and Tickle Me Big Bird, then Tickle Me Cookie Monster – but despite good sales, none of these toys achieved as much fame as Tickle Me Elmo. [ citation needed ]With the re-release of Tickle Me Elmo, Mini Tickle Me Cookie Monster and Mini Tickle Me Ernie were also put on the market.
The "Surprise Edition" of Tickle Me Elmo, issued fall 2001, was an elaborate contest. Five of the "Surprise Edition" Elmos stopped laughing on January 9, 2002, and instead announced to the people squeezing them that they had won a prize. The grand prize was US$200,000.
For the tenth anniversary of Tickle Me Elmo, Fisher-Price released a new Elmo doll in 2006 called TMX, meaning "Tickle Me (Elmo) Ten". The toy, which was designed by Bruce Lund of Lund and Co. Invention (River Forest, Illinois),was first announced at the American International Toy Fair. Rather than simply vibrating like the original, the TMX rolls around on the floor, laughing and smashing his fist on the ground, begging for the tickler to stop.
The full look of the doll was not revealed until it debuted live on ABC's Good Morning America and arrived on store shelves on September 19, 2006. Toy experts said that the delay was unprecedented, with only a few people in the media allowed to preview the product, and only after signing confidentiality agreements. The packaging was designed so that the doll could not be seen without purchasing it. The box includes a preview flap, but upon opening, only the doll's eyes are visible. It requires six AA batteries and costs approximately $40. In a promotional clip, Jim Silver, co-publisher of Toy Wishes magazine said, "The first reaction I had was, 'Where are the wires?' Because I didn't think anything like that could move on its own.".
Toy analyst Chris Byrne told USA Today , "This is a quantum leap forward, another breakthrough in the preschool plush category." Byrne believed sales would be high, but the reaction would not be as unprecedented. "The culture has moved beyond that, the whole hot-toy phenomenon." He cited the fact there has not been such a craze since Furby in 1998. [ citation needed ] Toys "R" Us stores and Amazon had a pre-sale program for the doll, the first included elaborate in-store displays with a digital countdown to the doll's launch. Amazon took more presale orders than it could fulfill. As with the original Tickle Me Elmo doll, demand for the new toy gave rise to some extreme acts. One person in Tampa, Florida was allegedly threatened with a gun to hand over a TMX toy. This was parodied on Saturday Night Live , which said the man "was subdued by the new 'Gimmie a Reason Bert'".However, some members of the media expected a large response.
TMX and other toys helped Mattel's earnings for the third quarter of the 2006 financial year to grow by six percent and beat the expectations of financial analysts. [ citation needed ]TMX also helped increase sales of other Elmo toys.
In January 2007, Mattel announced it would release TMX Friends, featuring Elmo, Ernie and Cookie Monster.
Playskool released the toy again as LOL Elmo. Not a single image of the toy was revealed until the American International Toy Fair 2012; in the Hasbro showroom's Sesame Street section, there is a sign printed "Laughter Unleashed! Fall 2012". Above it was a video of kids giggling. The toy was released in September. It is also known as Tickle Time Elmo.[ citation needed ]
Playskool made a new version of this toy once again but they made it part of their Playskool Friends lineup. Its behavior is like the 1996 version but has more phrases like "Elmo is one ticklish monster". This toy was released in August 2017. It could be found at Walmart, Books A Million, Best Buy, Target, and Toys R Us, among others.
Tickle Me Elmo helped Children's Television Workshop recover from its financial problems that it had been dealing with since the 1980s, and also helped in boosting the popularity of Sesame Street, which had been facing stiff competition from other children's shows throughout the 1990s. Likely as a response to this craze, the show began pushing Elmo to a starring role more heavily, a practice that is still done on the show today. This most noticeably resulted in the show dedicating the last few minutes of every episode to the character, beginning in 1998 with Elmo's World , with three other Elmo-centric segments debuting on the show since then.
Elmo is a red Muppet character on the children's television show Sesame Street. A furry red monster who speaks in a high-pitched falsetto voice and frequently refers to himself in the third person, he hosts the last full five-minute segment on Sesame Street, "Elmo's World", which is aimed at toddlers. He was most often puppeteered by Kevin Clash, but since his resignation in late 2012, he has been puppeteered by Ryan Dillon.
This is a list of recordings released by the TV series Sesame Street. Many of the early Columbia and CTW releases have been re-released on the Sony Wonder label, and later by The Orchard and Warner Music Group.
A stuffed toy is a toy doll with an outer fabric sewn from a textile and stuffed with flexible material. They are known by many names, such as plush toys, plushies, stuffed animals, and stuffies; in Britain and Australia, they may also be called soft toys or cuddly toys. The stuffed toy originated from the Steiff company of Germany in the late 19th century and gained popularity following the creation of the teddy bear in the United States in 1903. At the same time, German toy inventor Richard Steiff designed a similar bear. In 1903, Peter Rabbit was the first fictional character to be made into a patented stuffed toy. In 1921, Christopher Robin's stuffed toy, given to him by his father, A. A. Milne, would inspire the creation of Winnie-the-Pooh. In the 1970s, London-based Hamleys, the world's oldest toy store, bought the rights to Paddington Bear stuffed toys. In the 1990s, Ty Warner created Beanie Babies, a series of animals stuffed with plastic pellets that were popular as collector's items.
Rainbow Brite is a media franchise by Hallmark Cards, introduced in 1984. The animated Rainbow Brite television series first aired in 1984, the same year Hallmark licensed Rainbow Brite to Mattel for a range of dolls and other merchandise. A theatrical feature-length film, Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, was released by Warner Bros. in 1985. The franchise was rebooted in 2014 with a three part mini-series released on Hallmark's online streaming video service, Feeln. A line of new merchandise by Hallmark online and in its shops debuted in 2015.
Kevin Jeffrey Clash is an American puppeteer, director and producer known for puppeteering Elmo on Sesame Street from 1985 to 2012. He also performed puppets for Labyrinth, Dinosaurs, Oobi, and various Muppet productions.
Rosita is a Muppet character on the children's television series Sesame Street. Fluent in both American English and Mexican Spanish, she is the first regular bilingual Muppet on the show. Rosita comes from Mexico and likes to play the guitar.
Vila Sésamo is a Brazilian co-production of the first preschool television programme Sesame Street. As of 2009 it airs on TV Rá-Tim-Bum. As of 2016, similar to Plaza Sésamo, new seasons air under the title Sésamo. The series debuted on October 12, 1972, moving from TV Cultura to SKY Play on June 25, 2020.
Playskool is an American brand of educational toys and games for children. The former Playskool manufacturing company was a subsidiary of the Milton Bradley Company and was headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Playskool's last remaining plant in Chicago was shut down in 1984, and Playskool became a brand of Hasbro, which had acquired Milton Bradley that same year.
"C Is For Cookie", by Joe Raposo, is a song about the letter C performed by Cookie Monster, a Muppet character from the preschool television series Sesame Street. It was first performed in Season 3, although it had been released on The Muppet Alphabet Album. Along with Kermit's "Bein' Green" and Ernie's "Rubber Duckie", it is one of the show's most recognizable songs. The original version was made in 1971 and was one of the few Sesame Street sketches directed by Jim Henson.
Tyco Toys was an American toy manufacturer. It was acquired by Mattel in 1997, becoming one of its brands.
Sesame Beginnings is a line of products and a video series, spun off from the children's television series Sesame Street, featuring baby versions of the characters. The line is targeted towards infants and their parents, and products are designed to increase family interactivity.
Elmopalooza! is a Sesame Street special that aired on ABC on February 20, 1998. It was taped in the middle of the 29th season of Sesame Street, and features music videos of several classic songs from the show performed by celebrity guests.
Ideal Toy Company was an American toy company founded by Morris Michtom and his wife, Rose. During the post–World War II baby boom era, Ideal became the largest doll-making company in the United States. Their most popular dolls included Betsy Wetsy, Toni, Saucy Walker, Shirley Temple, Miss Revlon, Patti Playpal, Tammy, Thumbelina, Tiny Thumbelina, and Crissy. The company is also known for selling the Rubik's Cube.
Fisher-Price is an American company that produces educational toys for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, headquartered in East Aurora, New York. The company was founded in 1930 during the Great Depression by Herman Fisher, Irving Price, Helen Schelle, and Margaret Evans-Price.
There have been a variety of Sesame Street video games released for video game platforms. Most of the Sesame Street video games were published and developed by NewKidCo.
The American children's television series Sesame Street is known for its extensive merchandising. Licensees include a variety of companies which manufacture books, magazines, video/audio media, and toys using the characters and themes of Sesame Street.
Talk 'n Play was an American interactive desktop educational toy book reader with a built in microphone and action buttons that was sold from 1983 to 1992 as an entertaining and educational toy manufactured by Hasbro. It appears to work utilizing the two sets of right/left tracks to have the "interactive" mono audio segments. It then also provided a record capability so as a child could add in their own voice and create interactions with characters on the program. It was invented and Patented by Michael J. Freeman Ph.D. and licensed for use by the Children's Television Workshop and the Walt Disney Company, among others. Similar to adapted 4 channels of educational information to produce interactivity, but the main voices were created and produced by Sesame Street and Disney characters under license. Because the toy contained an integrative book reader, some considered it an early lower tech version of the kindle. Talk 'n Play would say turn the page now. Story programs were produced by others Talk 'n Play had many music programs where children could add in or take out, different instruments as the song is played.
Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration is a 2019 musical television special to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street. Hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the special aired on November 9, 2019, on HBO, followed by a November 17 airing on PBS. It stars the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street, including Kermit the Frog, from the past and present. Many retired cast members and characters reunited on the street for the first time in years since their last appearances. This is the final Sesame Street special to feature long-time Muppet performer Caroll Spinney, who performed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for 50 years as well as the cast members Emilio Delgado and Bob McGrath, who played Luis and Bob, respectively, for 45 years.