Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day!
Better late than never, being that it is Valentine’s Day weekend and all.
When I was trying to think of what I wanted to write about for Valentine’s Day, needing the obligatory holiday post and all, I thought about things I liked as a kid that represented love. Before Valentine’s Day parties at school, I was a kid who was home most days, watching cartoons and playing with my brother. One thing we enjoyed together as little kids was listening to Teddy Ruxpin tell us stories. Before we could read the books, we would look at the pictures while Teddy told the story. I had seven book-and-tape sets – there were so many more – 39 in the storybook series, as well as cassettes in the Answer Box and Picture Show) – and one of those sets was about love. Specifically, the love between a main character and a one-off character.
Grubby’s Romance is the seventh adventure book-and-tape set in The World of Teddy Ruxpin series. The story was also adapted into an episode the animated The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, which pulled its episodes directly from the cassette tape stories. That episode aired as the seventh episode of season one.
“A Most Unusual Experience”
I’ll take “Reviews of Allison’s Written Words for $500, Alex.”
I can make jokes, it’s my site!
Anyway, this story tells of the time that Teddy Ruxpin, Grubby, and Newton Gimmick had a most unusual experience, involving Gimmick’s newly invented “Portable Reducing Machine.” This more portable device operates much like Gimmick’s larger shrinking machine (using The First Crystal, Imagination, which helps shrink and grow the characters), but as the name says, is portable and can be taken along for a journey.
The trio is off to find clues about the other six crystals (Honesty, Trust, Bravery, Friendship, Freedom, and The Black Box) from The Hard to Find City to make it work properly, so they fire up the Airship and prepare to head off in search of those clues.
However, someone else is quite interested in their adventure: Tweeg. And he’s annoyed with Gimmick’s success as an inventor (man, Tweeg must be a terrible inventor!). And the arrival of Gimmick’s two new friends has caused some consternation with Tweeg, who finds them to be an interference.
He sends L.B. The Bounder to “get rid of” Teddy, Grubby, and Newton.
L.B., curious about the device sitting there out in the open, presses the red button on the Portable Reducing Machine, shrinking the trio – and the Airship – down to a very tiny size! Tweeg is thrilled about this, believing the trio to have disappeared.
Of course, the type of day to fly the Airship is perfect when it is normal size, but when it is super tiny and you’re contending with gale force winds, you’re going to run into some problems. Like a “leaf in the wind,” the group is blown into a forest, far away from Newton Gimmick’s home.
The group encounters The Snail, and after asking for his help in locating Newton’s house, decide to go with him to the Annual Spring Dance (he’s late, as usual). The Snail suggests asking the butterflies for help in locating home (the bees are too difficult to ask), and the group arrives at the dance.
Everyone in the forest was there, and that’s when Grubby spots her…
“I Get A Glimpse Of You Out of the Corner Of My Eye…”
Grubby sings a song about his encounter with the love at first sight, spotted from across the room, a Caterpillar named Karen. Despite his reservations about dancing with her, he does. For the next few days, he spends so much time about Karen, as Newton and Teddy figure out a way to get back home. Theirs is a love equated to the twinkle of an eye.
But as fast as they fall in love, Karen begins to behave strangely, building a shell around herself as Grubby watches with sadness. Karen can’t stop herself, and explains that she knows it is what she is supposed to do, and Grubby, beside himself with this, waits for days by the shell. Newton and Teddy discuss this, and Teddy realizes that Karen built a cocoon around herself, as she is a caterpillar and is about to become a butterfly.
By the time Teddy and Newton get to Grubby to tell him this fact, Karen has already emerged from her cocoon. And much to Grubby’s delight, she is something equally amazing to him.
A Beautiful Butterfly
Karen has become a beautiful butterfly during her time in her cocoon shell, and tells her new friends that she remembers The Snail saying that butterflies could lead the Airship home. With Karen and the other butterflies leading the way, the Airship travels back to Newton’s home, landing is successfully.
After landing and positioning itself the same way it was before it was shrunk to a very small size, Grubby asks Karen to push the green button on the Portable Reducing Machine, which restores the Airship and its occupants to normal size.
And thankfully, it works. Because most of Gimmick’s inventions don’t. Thank goodness he got this one right!
Grubby knew it was only an accident that allowed him to be in Karen’s world, and with a tear in his eye, he says goodbye to his love, as she and the other butterflies fly away to fill the summer sky with beauty.
Of course, Tweeg is super unhappy with this turn of events. Which just means that Teddy, Grubby, and Newton are safe…for now.
You can listen to Honey, I Shrunk Teddy Ruxpin – er, Grubby’s Romance – as it was intended on Lost Bedtime Story Classics. This channel has a great and extensive (read: almost complete) collection of Teddy Ruxpin stories, among other treats.
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The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin
As I said, the story appears as an early episode of the television series, but has some extra scenes in the form of a secondary storyline to pad out the run time. The audio adventures run 16 minutes each, but the television series was 21 minutes without commercials.
The series was mostly serialized, but had connecting plots and story arcs within the same week, including the original stories as well as new stories developed for the television series, greatly expanding on the adventures the trio takes. The series aired for 65 episodes over two seasons between 1986 and 1987, ending when Worlds of Wonder faced financial difficulties (they later went into bankruptcy in 1988). Unfortunately, the show ended in a cliffhanger on October 23, 1987 due to this.
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The episode had its own videocassette release, which involved the use of the terrifying man-sized suit from the live action Teddy Ruxpin videos.
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It’s nice to know the mouth moved on the suit, but man was this frightening!
I loved Teddy Ruxpin, and I don’t really have a personal preference as far as the stories went. I remember really liking Grubby’s Romance because of the Portable Shrinking Machine, since these plots in cartoons always seemed to fascinate me as a little kid. As an adult, it seems like no cartoon was complete without a main character facing down shrinking. It is kind of like how science fiction series always have a body switching episode.
Just remember friends, I couldn’t have cared less about the romantic plot line, I liked the shrinking plot line!
But this was a nice story, especially the song Grubby sings about falling in love! Grubby is an upbeat character, but he always had an Eeyore-sound to his voice, so you kind of rooted for him to fall in love. Even if it was accidental.
And Now, You!
Do you have a favorite story from the Teddy Ruxpin series, be it the cassettes or the cartoon? I’d love to know your favorite stories/plots, as well as your memories of Teddy Ruxpin.
In 2016, I wrote about the live action Teddy Ruxpin taking two kids on a trip to help them fall asleep, but I haven’t really done much with Teddy since then. I feel like I should – there’s so much to explore with the series, with YouTube having plenty to see and hear, probably more than many of us Teddy Ruxpin owners ever heard as kids.
I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day, and may you feel the kind of love that Grubby felt, but hopefully not accidentally.
And hopefully, it isn’t “flighty.”
Have a great rest of the weekend!