in the late 1950's, Ken Forsse had an idea for a puppet show. The main
character in the show would be called Simian Greep, and would be a
bear-like character who loved adventure. Also in the show was a
character named Tweeg and his small, red bouncing henchman friends.
Throughout the 50's, '60's and '70s, as Ken worked for Walt Disney and
other companies, the idea grew, characters were added, and the main
character's name eventually changed from Simian Greep to Teddy
In the early 80's, Ken Forsse formed his own company, Alchemy, using
his decades of experience in the entertainment industry to work for
himself doing designs and performing other creative services to
companies such as Disney, where he designed the costumes used on the TV
show "Welcome To Pooh Corner". Also around this time he brought in two
other men to help him with the company, John Davies and Larry Larsen,
and the trio invented the technology that would be the basis for the
creation of what would become the most popular toy of the mid 1980's.
the ground level work on the "Talking Toy" technology was developed,
AlchemyII needed someone to produce their invention. Ken contacted a
man named Don Kingsborough, who had been an executive at Atari.
Kingsborough had enough money that he could live the remainder of his
life without working again, and was sitting bored on a beach in Hawaii
when he recieved Forsse's call. Immediately he became
intrigued with the talking toy idea and flew back to California.
Although he was burnt out on big business after having to lay off
thousands of employees at the bankrupt Atari Corp, Kingsborough fell in
love with Teddy Ruxpin and immediately began to secure funding to
create a company to produce him. Kingsborough decided to call the
"Worlds of Wonder" mainly because he thought everyone who saw the stock
symbol "WOW" would want to own at least one share.
Christmas of 1985 Teddy Ruxpin was on toy store shelves,
although units quickly sold out and WoW had to go through competing
companies to have additional units manufactured. Teddy became
the best-selling toy of 1985 and 1986, and was among the best selling
toys through the early 1990s.
Worlds of Wonder produced two slightly different versions of Teddy
after the original, the second of which was roughly the same size but
utilized a plastic tape player, and the third of which was smaller in
stature and used cartridges instead of cassette tapes to make Teddy
Despite instant success with Teddy Ruxpin and related products, Worlds
of Wonder struggled and finally closed it's doors in 1991 after
literally marketing itself out of business with an overgrown catalogue
of talking toys including Teddy, Mickey Mouse, Mother Goose and
others. Teddy's rapid success was really only matched by the
sudden decline of the company that manufactured him.
WoW produced, to date, the only version of the Talking Grubby, which is
not a stand alone unit but only animates when connected to the WoW
Teddy via an animation cable. Worlds of Wonder also produced a line of
accompanying "World of Teddy Ruxpin" toys which included miniature
action figures, an Airship, and a line of hand puppets.
The Worlds of Wonder Teddy and it's accessories are not compatible with
any other version of Teddy. Fortunately, a WoW Teddy is very easy to
spot, as it's by far the largest version of the bear, and most widely
available on sites such as Ebay. It is one of two versions that use
cassette tapes to stimulate animation, the other being the late 1990's
Yes! Entertainment edition, which is much smaller and is dressed in a
red shirt and blue "jeans" instead of Teddy's regular tan tunic.
More technical information on the WoW Version can be found at Mathue's
Teddy Ruxpin FAQ.