Talking Toy Humor

Toys that Talk



Mattel See 'N Say "the farmer says" Talking Toy (c.1966) - This toy is part of Phonographia because it actually has a miniature phonograph record and record player inside it, powered by pulling the "chatty-ring." When the "farmer arrow" is pointed to a picture of an animal and the chatty-ring is pulled, the animal is identified by a voice that is followed by the animal's sound. For instance, if a cow is selected, the toy says "The cow says mooooooo."

The father's humor is a bit questionable (as the mother correctly questions what's so funny about trying to confuse a baby?). But if you grew up in this era you can probably still hear the distinctive sound of pulling the chatty-ring and remember the variety of the See 'N Say talking toys.



Marvin by Tom Armstrong, 1983






George Bush Action Figure 2003








Teddy Ruxpin, Family Circus by Bil Keane







Talking Tina Doll - John Allen, June 15, 2005

Dennis the Menace - Hank Ketcham, August 20, 1999

The Family Circus, May 9, 2007

Barbie Teen Talk!

G.I. Joe and the Barbie Liberation Organization In 1967, Hasbro introduced the first talking G.I. Joe with a vocabulary that consisted of battle commands. A later version of the talking G.I. Joe became part of talking toy folklore. The following was written by Ed Liebowitz in Smithsonian magazine (August 2002).

In 1993 a prankish group calling itself the Barbie Liberation Organization (BLO) bought several hundred "Teen Talk" Barbies and Talking G.I. Joe Electronic Battle Command Dukes, switched their voice boxes and surreptitiously returned them to toy stores. Brushing Barbie's long blonde hair, an unsuspecting doll owner might hear Barbie cry out: "Eat lead, Cobra," or "Attack, with heavy firepower." G.I. Joe suffered similar indignities. The BLO sent the Smithsonian a "postop" G.I. Joe, who, in his best Barbie soprano voice, warbles such memorable phrases as "Let's plan our dream wedding," "I love to try on clothes" and "Ken's such a dream."

Barbie Girl, Postmodern Jukebox - Cover "Aqua" (1997 in AquaScope) la mode Beach Boys 2015



Teen Talk! Barbie - "Math class is tough!"

In The New York Times article "Toys Will Be Toys: The Stereotypes Unravel," a Mattel talking toy misstep is recalled from 1992:

It learned a lesson last year when a talking Barbie elicited an outcry because she was programmed to say "Math class is tough!" -- reinforcing the myth that facility with numbers is dependent on the Y chromosome. Mattel, the manufacturer, was forced to cut the sentence from the doll's voice box.


Wikipedia has documented the introduction of Teen Talk Barbie and some of the phrases she could randomly speak:

Teen Talk Barbie was introduced at the 1992 American International Toy Fair and became available for sale for about $25 in July that year.[1][2] 350,000 were produced. The dolls contained a voice box programmed with a random assortment of four phrases out of 270 possibilities, including "Will we ever have enough clothes?", "Let's plan our dream wedding!", "I'm studying to be a doctor", "Wanna have a pizza party?", "Want to go shopping?", "Okay, meet me at the mall", "Wouldn't you love to be a lifeguard?", "Let's have a campfire", and "Math class is tough."



The Lincoln Journal, March 29, 2022