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Furbies

TopFurbies

As with many toy fads, the popularity of the Furby had less to do with the desires of children than it did with the mindset of their parents – a mindset intent on not missing out on having on. Thus began the Furby craze.


As with many toy fads, the popularity of the Furby had less to do with the desires of children than it did with the mindset of their parents – a mindset intent on not missing out on having on. Thus began the Furby craze.

The Furby, a five inch tall doll with bulging eyes and a round mouth was a cute enough toy (it bore a great resemblance to the character from the movie “Gremlins”). Part of the interest in the toy was that it displayed lifelike qualities, particularly those of needing nurturing. The toy responded to light, sound and touch and had the ability to learn to speak English. Conversely, it could teach its owner how to speak Furbish (a mixture of several language sounds).

The toy was first demonstrated at the 1998 Toy Fair in New York City. The toy was subsequently mentioned in Time magazine and USA Today and on a number of early morning television shows.The Toy Fair took place in February, but the manufacturer (Tiger Electronics) had planned to release it in October. Unfortunately, because of the media exposure, toy stores began placing large orders for the toy as more and more parents began inquiring about its availability. By the time the toy was released in October, Tiger had already sold out the initial lot of 1.3 million units.



 
Strangely, the Furby was involved in a minor controversy when it was banned from National Security Agency offices because of a fear that the Furby might be able to record sensitive information. The ban was later rescinded.

The Furby fad was predicated upon the inability for parents to find the toy. As soon as they became plentiful, interest in them evaporated.