Tickle Me Elmo. The toy that nearly destroyed Western Civilization in 1996. Seriously. Anybody who had young children in 1996 will remember this toy, this object that was seemingly unobtainable by mere mortals.
Stores could not keep up with the unbelievable demand for this toy. Parents had to find some way of explaining why Santa may not be able to get their child the ticklish toy for fear of being unable to find it anywhere. People began paying in the thousands of dollars for a toy with a MSRP of $28.99 just so they didn't have utterly devoted children to contend with on Christmas morning.
It was pure madness.
The mania caused by Tickle Me Elmo ensured its place in annals of toy history. Virtually everybody who remembers the 90s know what a Tickle Me Elmo doll is.
But I would wager most of you reading this have not heard of "Tickles the Chimp." It's not surprising considering the fact that Tickles the Chimp was never actually mass-produced. It was a toy which was presented to Tyco in 1992 by its inventors Ron Dubren and Greg Hyman. The doll, which looked like a chimpanzee (obviously), contained a computer chip which allowed it to laugh when it was tickled by the user.
Tyco immediately jumped on the toy and began working on incorporating it into a Tasmanian Devil doll, because of all the Looney Tunes, the Tasmanian Devil who is basically a living, breathing cyclone of destruction, is easily the one I would most likely go up to and tickle for kicks and giggles.
Also, it's a real shame Tyco didn't have the rights for making Jaws toys...He would have been perfect for a "Tickle Me" toy!
Eventually Tyco lost the rights to producing Looney Toons toys but gained the rights to Sesame Street characters. The company decided to use Elmo for their new toy and the rest was history. Of course now Tickle Me Elmo isn't nearly as possible as it once was, and frankly, Elmo has taken it pretty hard.
No Elmo, NOOOOOOOOOO!
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