My little blog has more brains in this post, than, well…
When I was a kid, the concept of a “smart toy” didn’t require a WiFi signal or digital downloads. Nope, a smart toy talked, and utilized – dig this – cassette tapes. That’s right, cassette tapes. The audio kind, and the video kind!
Yesterday, we explored the possibilities of learning through an interactive videocassette-powered toy, and today, we switch gears to the audiocassette kind.
Meet 2XL. In 1992, he was experiencing a resurgence of his life, having originally been on the market in 1978 from 1981. Waning interest in 2-XL led to its discontinuation in 1981 (Mego Corporation folded not long after). He was considered the first smart toy, and by 1992, there was interest in him again.
Enter Tiger Electronics (a division of Mattel), who recreated and revived 2XL with a new, very modern (well, for the 1990s) design.
This commercial should bring back plenty of memories, if you were old enough to appreciate the excitement of bigger kids over a little kid…
…whose brain is in his finger!
Just trust me on this one!
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I have never forgotten “true or false: a peanut is neither a pea, nor a nut!” as a catch to entice one to buy this.
I did not own a 2-XL. But darned if I remember this commecial! I was nine years old when he was re-introduced to the market, and while he looked cool, if I had been a few years younger, I would have wanted one.
In addition to his light-up eyes and mouth, 2-XL now ran on batteries and had a headphone jack. The sound quality was improved (and yes, his voice was the same!), and the programs on the cassettes were twice as long as the original version’s were.
And yes, you could play your own cassettes in 2-XL (just like we all tried with Cricket and Teddy Ruxpin a few years earlier), but you needed to press the “Question” button first.
2-XL enjoyed a revived life of three years (the same amount of time as his predecessor) on the market, before being discontinued in 1995.
Comic book and licensed characters (all the rage in the 1990s, friends) were the subject of 2-XL cassettes, where you could toy with their fate during a story. (Imagine having that power? It was possible in 1992). 2-XL was so popular during this revived time, a game show hosted by Marc Summers called Pick Your Brain featured 2-XL as a co-host.
I previously delved into the world of 2-XL in a Retroist article from 2018, complete with GIPHY magic.
Of all the commercials for this toy that aired between 1992 and 1995 (there were several), this one definitely stands out the most, and reminds me of why stuff like this was really cool.
But not cool enough for me to want.
And there you have it, “smart toys” in the pre-smart device/gadget/toy age. You know, the Other Dark Ages. It is true, it was a great time to be alive!
So, whiz kids, is a peanut neither a pea, nor a nut?
Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!