I guess you figured out where I’m going with this: it’s my birthday!
That’s right, your geek/grand poobah of Allison’s Written Words is celebrating their birthday today! 34 years of awesomeness, geekiness, and awesome geekiness. If 34 can be as great as the last half of 32 and all of 33 was, then I will be satisfied.
Previously, on the first non-hellish birthday nostalgia installment:
Which happened because of this more hellish moment in nostalgia:
So, let me get this straight…birthday hell involves Rainbow Brite, and non-hell involves Strawberry Shortcake? I’d like to think Rainbow Brite isn’t the most terrifying thing you’ll ever watch, but when she’s life-sized and her mouth barely moves, you’ll be grateful for the time Teddy Ruxpin took you on a flying bed adventure.
Wait…that didn’t happen?
If you spent alot of time in front of a television in the mid-1980s (like I obviously did), you may have heard of Teddy Ruxpin. You may have owned him as your personal story-telling slave, but did you know that he also had a cartoon and went on 65 episodes’ worth of adventures?
Trust me, he was more than a life-sized bear that picked the two brattiest kids ever to join him on a magic bed ride, he was also animated and less creepy. Heck, the talking doll was less creepy.
The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin was a first-run syndication weekday cartoon that aired for 65 episodes across one season during the fall of 1987, ending only because the company that created and manufactured the toys and accessories, Worlds of Wonder, filed for bankruptcy. The stories were usually direct results of the book-and-tape sets, so if you didn’t have the bear or all the added goodies, this is what you were missing.
You’re either the luckiest person alive, or the unluckiest, depending on how you view your childhood.
One of those book-and-tape sets (one of the seven that I still own to this day) is “Teddy Ruxpin’s Birthday,” which serves as the eleventh book in the series, and the 46th episode of the cartoon.
And now, for my birthday (and your hopeful non-torture), I proudly (I guess?) present “Teddy Ruxpin’s Birthday”!
This jazzed up “Come Dream With Me Tonight,” is nice. It’s not the original, but it tries so hard. They did it for the kids, remember that.
So we begin the episode with…Grubby bathing and singing. Teddy, meanwhile, is looking in the mirror and wishing himself a Happy Birthday. Grubby needs a towel, but Newton Gimmick is too distracted to remember to hand it to him (despite having it draped on his shoulder), so Teddy brings the towel to him.
Teddy wonders out loud why Grubby is bathing, since he usually hates it (oh, so he has hygiene phobias, does he?), but since Grubby isn’t allowed to give the real reason for his willingness to bathe, he tells Teddy that it is his Aunt Tilly’s anniversary. But not before almost slipping, of course. Teddy asks him if that is all there is today, to which Grubby recovers enough to tell him yes, and that he isn’t forgetting anything. Teddy seems down, but I guess he’ll deal with it.
Newton hasn’t even acknowledged his birthday either, which gives me this distinct Sixteen Candles vibe, starring Teddy Ruxpin as Samantha Baker. Who will be Teddy’s Jake Ryan?
We know what really is happening today, Teddy, and we’d tell you if we could, but, um…limitations. We can’t interact with the TV. Or the talking bear. Limitations.
Meanwhile, over at Jack Tweeg’s castle…
A scientific triumph…buttermilk into gold! Golden buttermilk…doughnuts.
L.B. knows that it isn’t gold, just a buttermilk doughnut. But he really did see gold that looked like doughnuts, and that he was able to get a recipe to Quellor.
Meanwhile, Third Rate Cobra Commander/Skeletor – er, Quellor (OMG, that rhymes with Skeletor!!!!!!) – is following the recipe to make gold, based on Tweeg’s recipe. Quellor’s minions also fight and make fun of each other, but they apologize. For the kids.
And by kids, I mean whiny millennials and people who get offended easily. 1980s kids were built of tougher stuff!
Another meanwhile, Newton Gimmick thinks he has created a sail that will make the airship travel on land. So, landship? And it looks like Gimmick’s plan will work…except for unforeseen obstacles (rocks) getting in the way.
But it does work, and the Teddy Ruxpin sings about sailing away today. Together, today, and worries being put away.
In Misley Meadows, Grubby tells Teddy that there isn’t anything special happening today, when the Wooly Whatzit shows up with a picnic basket. And the Fobs show up too! But only to stand around and watch “what” from. But the little Fobs slip up and ask about cake…which makes Teddy suspicious. But he’s gullible. He doesn’t suspect enough, apparently. He should question everything!
And it was at this exact moment that I realized how much I wanted a Fob for a pet.
The Grunges show up (they just happen to be around, I don’t know), and want to start a game of Grunge Ball, so the group partakes.
They remind me of Fraggles washed in hot.
Back at Tweeg’s castle…
There are lumps in the “gold” batter, and L.B. tries to remedy this, but is failing. He is sent off to find a remedy, which is fine by him. Because apparently he hates being a slave for Tweeg.
Is it me, or does this “gold making” portion of the plot feel like vignettes rather than an actual story, made for the purpose of padding out the storyline? Because there really isn’t any connection between the Tweeg and Quellor stories to the actual plot, but I am 34 years old and I shouldn’t be watching because of observations like this.
Back at Misley Meadow, the Grunge Ball game is ongoing, and the game is tied. Wooly breaks the bat, and is so upset about that, he refuses to run (so he’s out).
In the unconnected storyline, L.B. makes it to Newton’s house, and steals a “labor saving device” he finds on the porch.
Quellor’s minions sample the gold recipe, but it tastes terrible. Quellor winds up in the messy batch, and blames Tweeg for the failed recipe. This ends one of the two unconnected plots.
And we now return to the main plot of this episode…
Back at the Grunge Ball game…
Teddy’s team is winning by one run, and manages to avert a homerun thanks to Leota the Wood Sprite (their “tall stop.” as Grubby puts it). Leota then tells the group that Teddy should get the game ball, as a reminder of his birthday party.
Teddy is surprised by this information, as everyone gathers around to wish him a Happy Birthday. Grubby, it turns out, arranged the whole thing. And they all share a good laugh that is the stuff primetime sitcoms are made of.
Which is interrupted by the second plot that has nothing to do with the birthday storyline.
L.B. returns to Tweeg’s castle, and gives him his found gadget, and they test it out…whatever it is. And however it works.
This concludes the second of the two unconnected plots, but brings us back to what we all came (and stayed) for…birthday stuff!
Teddy’s moonlight party involves presents, cake, and a singing of “It’s Your Birthday,” which shows how fast one can celebrate their birthday.
You’ll be singing this for the rest of the day, trust me.
And there’s fireworks. Because whose birthday is complete without them?
Someone get on that for my birthday!
And the episode ends there, as the jazzed-up instrumental version of “Come Dream With Me Tonight” plays under the show’s closing credits. And it is equally catchy…until all the closing logos find their way in.
And it’s quite the collection of night terrors. If you thought man-sized Teddy Ruxpin was scary, the combination of DiC’s “Kid in Bed,” Atkinson Film-Arts, and LBS Communications (not featured in this video, but featured in the full episode video) is even worse.
Trust me, it is the trifecta of terror.
And someone posted it on You Tube.
Consider my pants peed in.
And if you stuck around for the end of the plot, the episodes always ended with one of those “on the next episode” segments…
…which I’m not finding on You Tube, folks!
(Awkwardly moves on)
This was followed by a final segment, a Public Service Announcement-type segment called “Protect Yourself.”
Teddy Ruxpin served as the national “spokesbear” for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (due to Worlds of Wonder’s partnership with the organization), and his animated self would introduce a then-current child star of the time to discuss an important safety topic for children. Why, you ask? Because it was the 1980s and the only way we learned anything through our cartoons was to have a child actor or He-Man and She-Ra impart something about “bad touch” on us.
I’m not sure which one was worse.
Anyway, then-current child stars. Corey Feldman was relevant enough in 1987 to look like Michael Jackson while telling us about safety. And Tiffany Brissette (Vicki from Small Wonder) drops her robot persona to impart important stuff on us.
There’s a few of these on You Tube, folks. Though I’d really love to see the Jason Bateman one. If anyone finds it, let me know, please?
Oh, and Tiffany Brissette did another one that explained “Good Touch versus Bad Touch,” but the video on You Tube was cut off at the end.
Seriously, Jason Bateman one. Find it for me!
And apparently, EVERYONE has this show on DVD, and has uploaded it to You Tube. So, if you’d like to see it, click play below.
It’s 21 minutes, but a fast 21 minutes. Then again, so was man-sized Teddy Ruxpin’s adventure with those kids.
Decide for yourself which 21 minutes will terrify you less.
Overall, this was a cute episode. I’ve always liked anything that had to do with Teddy Ruxpin (you don’t keep your original bear around just because he makes a cute decoration, after all). The unconnected parts of the episode were likely part of the weekly story arc, but I can’t help but feel like the gold making was a little too disconnected from the overall plot. That could easily have been its own episode, and perhaps it was prelevant in all the other parts that aired that week. I don’t know, since it has easily been 25-plus years since I’ve seen this show. The animation is pretty good too, as it really sticks to the animation in the story books.
I actually owned the book-and-tape set of “Teddy Ruxpin’s Birthday,” and if you must know, that tape is actually on You Tube.
Turns out the gold making pad out only a small portion of the story, because the actual tape is only 14 minutes.
Is it me, or don’t you just love the page-turning prompt?
And there you have it, 34 years old and watching cartoons. Nothing has changed since the age of 32.
Have a great day, and if you’re also celebrating on October 19th…do I really have to share this day with you?
Just kidding, have a great birthday…and day!
“It’s your birthday, it’s your birthday (hooray!)”