Posted in Nostalgia, TV/Movie Stuff

Live Action Teddy Ruxpin…Now With More Night Terrors!

The title is ironic when you think about it, because he had a whole cassette tape that was meant to lure you to sleep.

Where danger happens.

Wait, how did that get there?!

And yes, “lure” is the correct word.  There is no lulling to sleep when one watches this video.

Teddy Ruxpin seemed to have alot of adventures, but I guess it was safe to say even he needed some downtime.  So, when he wasn’t using the shrinking machine, or flying in the Airship, reuniting with possible long-lost family members, or meeting friends and enemies everywhere he went, he was celebrating his birthday, playing in the snow…and singing lullabies.

Did I mention he did that last thing while acting as a six-foot tall version of himself?

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Did I mention you can’t unsee this?

Come Dream With Me Tonight is a 1987 live action/animated accompaniment to The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin book-and-tape set “Teddy Ruxpin Lullabies: Warm and Cuddly Songs to Dream By” (Book #12 in the 39 “episode” series of adventures). This “special” does not fall into any particular timeframe with the animated series The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, but interlaces footage from that series with live action scenes of two bratty kids that Teddy Ruxpin randomly chose to have an adventure with.  All because they own him.  And they turned the wheel on his tape deck.  That’s it.  There’s no magic to it.  These kids just happened to exist AND have the power to make Teddy Ruxpin gigantic!

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In short, these kids enslaved Teddy Ruxpin!

The actual story of this “special” (I’m assuming this didn’t air on television at any point, but we’ll just refer to it as such) is about two young kids, Insomniac Josh, and his sister, Sleeping Shannon.  These two cue card readers get to accompany Teddy Ruxpin on a dream-time journey while on a flying bed, as Teddy Ruxpin sings them to sleep.

I’d say they are the luckiest kids alive, except they’re kind of brats, and this isn’t Mickey Mouse who whisks them off on the journey.  Which would still make it kind of creepy-like, but most parents would probably be ok with it.

I digress, folks.  Teddy Ruxpin was sorta harmless.

The live action portion of the story begins…well, after this happens.

What else is there to say about this video, except everyone that grew up in the 1980s remembers it?

As the story begins (such as it is), Insomniac Josh…can’t sleep.

So he bothers his sister Shannon with his insomnia!

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And is it me, or are kids in these “Sleepytime” videos always a little too perfectly dressed?  Their hair is fantastic.  Do you see those ribbons?  I wore ribbons like that in the 1980s – they were a big deal back then. Bedrooms are always perfect in these movies too.  They remind me more of the model bedrooms I used to be obsessed with at JC Penneys.

Don’t judge me.  I never said I was a normal kid!

Anyway…

Shannon informs Josh that it is late, and that the two already had a story.  Josh informs his sister that they didn’t have a story from (Insert Product Placement Here) Teddy Ruxpin!

So Josh brings the giant bear to Shannon’s bed, and Shannon gives in for “a little while.”

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Josh turns Teddy Ruxpin on, and is surprised to hear the story Teddy Ruxpin begins to tell…is not a story at all.  Rather, it’s a conversation about not being able to sleep.  And I’m surprised at how fast Teddy Ruxpin started up!  I remember having to wait at least 30 seconds before something actually happened when I turned mine on.  That is an eternity when you’re little.  However, I couldn’t imagine thirty seconds more of these two than the amount of time we have to spend with them already…and we’re not even five minutes in!

Shannon tells Josh to listen, as Teddy Ruxpin begins to sing the full version of “Come Dream with Me Tonight,” which is the version heard on The Airship.  And rather than sit and watch the kids, well, sit and listen, the scene goes into the first set of animated filler clips from the animated series. And it is such a beautiful song too.

No seriously, it’s lovely.

And just as the warm and fuzzy feeling of this familiar song sets in, the song ends. And so do the warm and fuzzies…as Teddy Ruxpin, well…

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Oh dear god.

Teddy Ruxpin goes from being the stuff of making dreams happen, to everything nightmare fuel and Barney-like.  Shannon is surprisingly calm for a kid who is now sitting next to a man-size Teddy Ruxpin while on a floating bed in the sky.  Josh, however, is soooo not ok with this.

Oh hush, Josh, this isn’t the worst (nor scariest) thing that will ever happen to you!

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What follows is a journey into dream land, as Teddy Ruxpin takes the children on a flying bed on a sound stage and chroma key adventure reminiscent of the time I saw Little Nemo as a kid, except this is live action…and a six-foot bear is singing kids to sleep.

There is nothing creepy about this at all.

Each song, like “Come Dream With Me Tonight,” is set to animated scenes from The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin television series.  Which means that if any of this looks familiar to you, that means you listened to the tapes and watched the cartoons. I know I did!

Teddy Ruxpin guides the kids to a peaceful sleep by telling them the benefits of sleep and then works on helping them relax.  Each part of the conversation segues into five additional songs about sleeping and dreams, beginning with the aforementioned “Come Dream With Me Tonight,” before seguing into “Go To Sleep” (such a direct order, don’t you think?) and then “Sleeping Time.”

As we segue back into live action, Teddy Ruxpin is astonished that the kids are still awake, and Josh tells Teddy that he is surprised about how they got in the sky.  Teddy tells the kids that they could be anything they want, wherever they want, and some dreams seem so real, no matter how funny they are, like Josh dreaming of forgetting his homework and everyone making fun of him.

Who hasn’t had that dream?  Did the writer ask his own children for help when writing this?  It would explain the dialogue that sounds like a parent writing down their kids’ conversations from outside a closed bedroom door.

Again, nothing creepy about this.

And we get – you guessed it – another song, this time “Will You Go To Sleep Before I Do.”

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And before Teddy goes into his next song, he has more conversation with his two young charges, and Josh confides in Teddy that he can’t sleep sometimes because he is afraid of the dark.  Teddy explains the benefits of the dark, and that without sleep, we’d all be grumpy.  Shannon makes sure she gets one in on her brother by informing Teddy that “Josh is ALWAYS grumpy!”

She’s a nice sister, isn’t she?

Teddy then decides to break up a potential argument by singing his next song, “This Lovely Night.”

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After this song, Teddy tells the kids it really is time to go to sleep, but the kids are too excited and want to go somewhere – like Hawaii!  Teddy tells them they can go wherever they want in their dreams, and proceeds to sing his final song, “In My Lullabye.”

The actor in the Teddy Ruxpin suit is all too happy to really ham it up for the camera, as the song moves into the final round of animated sequences, before fading back into the bedroom where all of this started.  The bed finally stops flying, the music comes to a close, and both Shannon and Josh are asleep.

And Teddy Ruxpin is no longer man-size.

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As we close in for a shot of the sleeping kids (and their apparently self-aware talking bear), Teddy Ruxpin quietly wishes us a good night.

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And because it’s apparently not creepy for this to happen, Teddy’s eyes close…and his mouth drops open.

*Shudder*

This was the one way I never let my Teddy Ruxpin shut off.  If it happened (and it happened frequently), I’d purposely turn it back on so his eyes would open again.  Because what it all boils down to the desire to have Catatonic Teddy Ruxpin guarding my bedroom, rather than Sleepy Scary Face Teddy Ruxpin.

Even creepier?

Mother comes in (we’ll assume this is Mother), and all we see is her clothes and hands as she moves Teddy Ruxpin back to the nightstand…and shutting off the light as she leaves.

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Sweet dreams, kids.

The closing chords of “In My Lullabye” plays under the credits, as we stare at the “sleeping” Teddy Ruxpin.  29 years doesn’t make this any less creepy, folks.  It was scary then, and it’s…uncomfortable now.

The song ends as the credits come to an end.  And because Teddy Ruxpin may have FINALLY lulled you to sleep, here’s something to jar you awake as a reminder to turn off your VCR…

That’s right, no silence, no transition, nothing.  The video goes from the final tones of the outro song and the parting shot of “sleeping” Teddy Ruxpin (which is nightmare fuel enough), to this logo.  Which leads me to wonder: how many kids screamed in sleep-induced terror after this logo jarred them awake?

I won’t say the logo is the scariest thing you’ve ever heard (I’ve always loved it!), but the transition isn’t the smoothest.

When I first watched this about two years ago (blame a random You Tube search), I wondered (for some reason) which of these kids were dreaming, if the whole thing was a dream…and who thought the whole concept was a wonderful idea.  Don’t get me wrong, the idea behind it is good, and this could easily have been a dull, boring story about two kids watching Teddy Ruxpin talk to them, which would have looked like someone’s home video from 1987.

I swear, the internet is proud to be crazy with things for kids to make fun of their parents for watching!

Despite my obvious nitpicking, this is a lovely accompaniment to the standard book-and-tape stories that made Teddy Ruxpin such a valued childhood toy for ’80s kids everywhere.  The music is harmless, and the animated sequences are beautiful and full of memories of watching the cartoon (something I did regularly when it was on).  It’s almost a shame that Worlds of Wonder was forced into bankruptcy the very year this was released, because there was probably more adventures with Teddy Ruxpin to come.

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I’ll be honest – I could have done without the man-size Teddy Ruxpin. Why not just an animated version in a live-action world, a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  Man-Size Teddy Ruxpin was capable of not being like the precursor to Barney, and yet…he was.

This could have been so much worse, and it wasn’t (as scary as I’m convinced I’ve made it seem).  It’s harmless, and if you can’t lure children in with the visuals, lure them in with the music (it’s on You Tube, after all!), it’s a nice way to ease into Dream Land.

If you really want to see the whole video (at 22 minutes, it is a quick watch), You Tube is all too happy to answer the call!

And there you have it, six songs to dream by, sung by a man-sized talking bear toy, with two children who feign sleep to hang out with Man Teddy Ruxpin.  All the makings of the perfect 1980s children’s VHS special, don’t you think?

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Sure.  There’s nothing creepy here!

Well, it’s getting late (at least, it is at the time I’m writing this portion of the recap), so I’m going to end it here.  My Teddy Ruxpin is sitting on the floor, looking like the catatonic robot he should be.  And I’m fine with that.  Or as fine as I can be when my Teddy Ruxpin is staring straight ahead all night, in the dark, while I sleep.

I’ve decided that sleep is overrated.  Perhaps I’ll sit up tonight with a flashlight.

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Good night.

Author:

Writer, former dancer, geek, nostalgia geek, Secretary by day, daughter, sister/in-law, girlfriend, aunt. Yankees and Giants fan, honorary Avenger (I have a pin, so it is official :-) ), MSTie, and Stargate, Thor, and Hello Kitty collector. And if you want to know anything about me: https://allisonveneziowrites.com/about-allison

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