TV Teddy (partially found animatronic voiceovers for VHS content; 1993)

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TV Teddy.jpg

The "TV Teddy" toy, with the wireless transmitter and VHS tapes.

Status: Partially Found

Around 1993, The company YES! Entertainment, in conjunction with Shoot the Moon Productions, produced TV Teddy. This teddy bear was inspired by the Teddy Ruxpin toy from the 1980s. There were various VHS tapes that had special data hidden on them to allow the toy to appear to interact withe the on-screen content. According to the manual, the toy worked by connecting a wireless transmitter to the composite video line between the VCR and the television.[1] This transmitter would then interpret a barcode along the left side of the video frame and send instructions to the TV Teddy animatronic. This would tell the toy to animate the eyes and mouth, as well as provide a voice-over. The English-language voice of TV Teddy was performed by Kath Soucie, though it is unknown who performed the alternate language versions of the voice.

The basic structure of the VHS content consisted of three parts. The main portion in the middle consisted of the "main attraction". This was some pre-existing content, such as Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or The Berenstain Bears. Because this content was pre-existing, the characters could not interact with TV Teddy. However, TV Teddy would often comment on what happening on screen, sometimes to explain something, and other times to crack a joke. The beginning section and end section of the tape were live action segments known as "Anthony's Attic". This section featured the character of Anthony, played by Douglas Manes, who performed various silly skits in his attic. These sections were made especially for TV Teddy, so Anthony and TV Teddy could have a pre-recorded conversation and appear to interact with one another.[2]

Most of the known VHS tapes were released in the U.S in a collaboration between YES! Entertainment and Family Home Entertainment. However, some tapes were released in the U.K by the toy company Tomy. These tapes used properties that were more familiar over there, such as Super Ted, Postman Pat, and Mr Men. One VHS tape is known to have been released in Italy by the company Giochi Prezioni. This was La Bella e La Bestia, which was a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. A Spanish-language commercial has also surfaced, which suggests that there was a release in either Spain or Mexico. However, no Spanish-language tapes titles are known. Setting aside the VHS tapes, the manual for TV Teddy claims that there were plans for broadcast television programs to use the special TV Teddy barcode to enable to toy to interact with them.[1] However, it is unclear if any additional programs were made for broadcast outside of the VHS tapes, and it is unclear whether any TV Teddy compatible programs were ever broadcast on live television.

Lost Media Status[edit | edit source]

Some VHS tapes have been uploaded to YouTube. These uploads do not contain the TV Teddy voiceover audio. However, the videos usually contain the scrolling barcode on the left side of the video frame. It is possible that playing the digital file, converting the digital video into an analog composite signal, and running the video through an actual TV Teddy could allow the toy to reproduce the audio that was hidden in the barcode. However, whether this method will work depends heavily on the quality of the original VHS capture. As such, if no TV Teddy voiceover audio is known to have been recovered for a VHS, but the VHS video has been uploaded with the barcode, that item will be marked as Lost. However, a link with be provided to the video upload. If the video file is later tested and found to be able to reproduce some or all of the TV Teddy narration, then the status will be updated to Partially Found, Partially Lost, or Found accordingly.

Berenstain Bears[edit | edit source]

Tape Title Voiceover Audio Status Notes
The Berenstain Bears and the Not-so-buried Treasure Lost The tape has been uploaded to YouTube without the audio from TV Teddy. However, the barcode is visible. It may be able to be recovered from the digital video, if the video was run through a TV Teddy.
The Berenstain Bears in Giant Bat Cave Found The tape has been uploaded to the Internet Archive with the TV Teddy animatronic audio recorded separately. The barcode is also visible on the video frame.
The Berenstain Bears and the Wild Wild Honey Lost The tape has been uploaded to YouTube without the audio from TV Teddy. However, the barcode is visible. It may be able to be recovered from the digital video, if the video was run through a TV Teddy.

The Cricket Series[edit | edit source]

Tape Title Voiceover Audio Status Notes
Cricket in Times Square Lost The was the first in the "Cricket" series. The original book was published by George Selden. The VHS was produced by Chuck Jones Enterprises.
Yankee Doodle Cricket Lost

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles[edit | edit source]

Tape Title Voiceover Audio Status Notes
The Four Musketurtles Lost
Return of the Turtleoid Lost

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Tape Title Voiceover Audio Status Notes
Postman Pat's 123 Story Lost This appears to have been an U.K. release by Tomy. The tape has been uploaded to YouTube without the audio from TV Teddy. However, the barcode is visible. It may be able to be recovered from the digital video, if the video was run through a TV Teddy.
Mr. Men in the Great Alphabet Hunt Lost This appears to have been an U.K. release by Tomy. The tape has been uploaded to YouTube without the audio from TV Teddy. However, the barcode is visible. It may be able to be recovered from the digital video, if the video was run through a TV Teddy.
Stanley the Ugly Duckling Lost This was based on the Hans Christian Andersen story. The tape has been uploaded to YouTube without the audio from TV Teddy. However, the barcode is visible. It may be able to be recovered from the digital video, if the video was run through a TV Teddy.
The Elves and the Shoemaker Lost
Thumbelina Lost
The Railway Dragon Lost The tape has been uploaded to YouTube without the audio from TV Teddy. However, the barcode is visible. It may be able to be recovered from the digital video, if the video was run through a TV Teddy.
Shining Time Station: Sweet and Sour Lost The tape has been uploaded to YouTube without the audio from TV Teddy. However, the barcode is visible. It may be able to be recovered from the digital video, if the video was run through a TV Teddy.
Rikki Tikki Tavi Lost
Super Ted and the Great Horrendo AND Super Ted and the Pothole Rescue Lost This appears to have been a U.K. release by Tempo Video and Tomy.
Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends: Thomas and Bertie's Big Race & Other Adventures Lost The tape has been uploaded to YouTube without the audio from TV Teddy. However, the barcode is visible. It may be able to be recovered from the digital video, if the video was run through a TV Teddy.
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe Lost This appears to have been a U.K. release by Tempo Video and Tomy.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit Lost This is based on the Beatrix Potter book.
La Bella e La Bestia Lost This appears to have been an Italian release by Giochi Preziosi. The tape has been uploaded to YouTube without the audio from TV Teddy. However, the barcode is visible. It may be able to be recovered from the digital video, if the video was run through a TV Teddy.
Rupert's Undersea Adventure Lost This appears to have been an U.K. release by Tomy. The tape has been uploaded to YouTube without the audio from TV Teddy. However, the barcode is visible. It may be able to be recovered from the digital video, if the video was run through a TV Teddy.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

An unboxing and review video for the TV Teddy (Courtesy of YouTube user "databits").
English commercial for TV Teddy (Courtesy of YouTube user "weatherguru76").
Spanish commercial for TV Teddy (Courtesy of YouTube user "Jotase").

Images[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]