Fad-Tastic! The Talkboy

    March 9, 2011 at 9:00 am

    There is a reason they are called fads. It’s because they disappeared just as quickly as they blew up in popularity.

    Today’s Fad: The Talkboy

    The Talkboy was a portable variable speed cassette player and recorder manufactured by Tiger Electronics (now owned by Hasbro) in the early 1990s. Much like other Tiger Electronics devices of the era, this device was primarily marketed to children and teens. The Talkboy was originally conceived as a non working prop for the 1992 movie Home Alone 2.

    Here are some things you probably didn’t know about the Talkboy:

    “In 1993 it was made into a retail version, brought on by a massive letter-writing campaign by young fans of the film. The product capitalized on the success of the film’s VHS release. Sales were largely driven by this movie tie-in.” It’s amazing that now companies PAY to have products in films. Back in the day, companies had to invent products.

    “The device itself consisted of a handheld cassette recorder with an integrated grip handle for easy carrying, and an extendable microphone.” For the little voyeur on the go!

    “Additionally, and most distinctively, a switch which toggled between normal and slow speed settings for playback and recording was also included. This feature gave the user the ability to manipulate the speed, and in turn, pitch, of the recorded sound to act as a voice changer.” I could have used that considering I often sounded like a 7-year-old girl.

    “Several spinoff versions of the device were also created by Ralph Osterhout at Team Machina, including a pink-colored “Talkgirl” marketed towards females.” God forbid they use something labeled “boy.”

    “Yak Bak was intended to be a compact, more affordable competitor to the Talkboy introduced by Tiger Electronics in 1993.” Sounds more like something a kid would do after drinking too many Orbitz.

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