Teddy Ruxpin gets digital makeover

Can you and I be friends...again?

That's what Teddy Ruxpin wants to know now that he's being reincarnated with digital cartridges to replace his dated analog cassettes.

Some may recall the 1980s animated storytelling toy and TV character with warm childhood memories. I, for one, was a bit creeped out by its moving eyes and mouth and Saccharine-sweet voice. There were also those who enjoyed rigging the toy so it would play AC/DC cassettes instead of telling Teddy Ruxpin adventures. (How long is it going to take some hacker to do that with the now-digital technology?)

Teddy Ruxpin
Credit: BackPack Toys International

Whatever your Ruxpin memory, it can be relived come September when the new version is released, just in time for the toy's 20th birthday. The original Ruxpin, manufactured by World of Wonder, was an immediate hit when it was launched in 1985. It was later reintroduced by Playskool and then Yes! Entertainment, according to the Teddy Ruxpin FAQ site (one of a many related sites).

Now Hong Kong-based Backpack Toys International is manufacturing the toy, which "boasts the latest technology and easy-to-use controls that have been perfectly designed to accommodate small hands," according to an online statement. Those who just can't wait to buy Ruxpin in stores can preorder one, beginning July 1, through the official Teddy Ruxpin Web site.

The new Ruxpin will sell for $69.99, the same price original bears sold for in 1985, according to a spokesman from Productivity Inc., Backpack Toys' Los Angeles public relations firm.

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