The 1990s was a decade that had hundreds of popular toys, from action figures and toy trucks to dolls and stuffed animals. There was plenty of variety when it came to toys in the 1990s, but only a few are now considered timeless classics because of how unique their designs are and how fun they are to play with. The popularity of these timeless toys can also be attributed to the iconic TV ads that featured them. To learn more, here is a list of the most nostalgic “as seen on TV” 90s toys.
Big Mouth Billy Bass
Big Mouth Billy Bass is an animatronic singing toy or prop that is designed to look like a largemouth bass that is displayed on a hunting trophy mount of base. This particular toy or prop is powered by batteries and can sing at least two songs, with some of the most common songs being “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin, and “Take Me to the River” by Al Green and Mabon “Teenie” Hodges.
The Big Mouth Billy Bass prop was invented and sold by novelty manufacturing company Gemmy Industries, who created the prop on December 16, 1998, and released it on January 1, 1999. The fish’s exterior is made of latex rubber, while the interior is a plastic mechanical skeleton that moves using batteries.
The singing and moving features of the Big Mouth Billy Bass are only activated when there is someone who passes by the prop, as the Big Mouth Billy Bass has a motion sensor. The prop is designed to startle passersby, which is why many people install the prop near doors or in hallways. Besides TV commercials, the Big Mouth Billy Bass prop has also appeared in different movies and TV shows, including Family Guy, The Simpsons, The Sopranos, WALL-E, Peppa Pig, and The Office.
Moon shoes are toy shoes that have trampoline-like springs installed at the bottom. These springs allow children to jump much higher compared to jumping with regular shoes, and the height of the jump is similar to how astronauts would jump higher on the moon, which is why the shoes are called “moon shoes.”
The first moon shoes were originally released in the 1950s and featured metal parts, which made them much heavier than the 90s version that had predominantly plastic parts. The original moon shoes were created to fit over a pair of regular shoes, much like how the clamp-on roller skates were placed on the bottom of leather shoes during that time.
The Moon Shoes were revived in the 1980s with the help of the pay television channel Nickelodeon, who marketed the product to children throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Moon shoes became much more popular when it was shown in one of the scenes of “Back To The Future,” a 1985 sci-fi film that was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Michael J. Fox as the protagonist, Marty McFly.
Beanie Babies is a line of stuffed toys that was launched in 1986 by Ty Inc., a toy company founded by the designer of Beanie Babies, H. Ty Warner. These Beanie Babies got their name from the plastic pellets, also known as “beans,” that are used to stuff the toys instead of the common soft stuffing that is made of cotton.
Beanie Babies were introduced in 1993 at the World Toy Fair in New York City. The first batch of Beanie Babies was then sold in stores around Chicago, and this batch features nine original Beanie Babies, namely Legs the Frogs, Spot the Dog, Splash the Whale, Chocolate the Moose, Brownie the Bear, Squealer the Pig, Flash the Dolphin, Pinchers the Lobster, and Patti the Platypus.
Because of how small the quantities were for the first batches of Beanie Babies, it eventually became a fad for many collectors who wanted to collect rare items. The fad was then reported through various media outlets, and it developed into a nationwide craze in the United States, with some even reselling Beanie Babies for hundreds of dollars.
Fortunately, the hype for the Beanie Babies died down by the 2000s, so the stuffed toy can already be bought easily in toy stores. Besides original Beanie Babies characters, Ty Inc. also produced tie-in versions of Beanie Babies in collaboration with popular films and TV shows, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Blue’s Clues, Shrek, Hello Kitty, Peanuts, and Scooby-Doo.
Here are a few Beanie Babies that you can still buy today through online stores:
Marvin’s Magic Drawing Board
Marvin’s Magic Drawing Board is a blackboard-like toy that features a drawing tool that can be pressed onto the board to create rainbow-colored art pieces. The drawing board has a black screen on top, and at the bottom of the black screen is a rainbow-colored sheet that will only appear if the black screen is pushed by the drawing tool. The other end of the drawing is a cleaning tool that can push the black screen upwards so that the art piece created by the user can be erased. So, the drawing board doesn’t need paints or crayons in order for children to create drawings, and because of that, children wouldn’t leave a mess while drawing.
Marvin’s Magic Drawing Board was created by Marvin’s Magic, a company that has manufactured magic products since 1987. Originating from the United Kingdom, Marvin’s Magic was founded by Marvin Berglas, a magician and entrepreneur who is the son of David Berglas, a renowned magician. Besides the Marvin’s Magic Drawing Board, Marvin’s Magic also manufactures magic sets for children and teens, such as Marvin’s Magic Box of Tricks, Marvin’s Amazing Magic Tricks, and Marvin’s Magic Neon Glow Craft Kit.
Super Soaker is a brand of toy water guns that utilizes pressurized air in order to shoot water with a longer range and greater power. While squirt guns or pistols have already been around for decades, the Super Soakers are different since they are typically bigger and have better range and accuracy. The first Super Soaker water gun was invented by NASA and Air Force engineer Lonnie Johnson in the 1980s.
It was in 1989 at the American International Toy Fair in New York City when Johnson met the vice president of Laramie, the first toy company that would manufacture and distribute the Super Soaker. However, before it was called the Super Soaker, Johnson’s invention was first called the “Power Drencher,” and it was only in 1991 that the name of the water gun was changed to “Super Soaker.”
Today, the Super Soaker is produced by Hasbro, who has placed the name under the Nerf brand. In the 1990s, the Super Soaker gained massive popularity thanks to the series of TV advertisements that were created and broadcast through numerous TV channels.
Take a look below for three Nerf Super Soaker products that you can buy online:
Sky Dancers are a line of flying toys that were first released in 1994. In order for the toys to fly, they come with a base that has a pull-string installed, and this pull-string would launch the Sky Dancers up in the air. While in the air, the Sky Dancers would spin thanks to the angles of their wings, which also act as a propeller for the toys.
Galoob, a toy company based in San Francisco, California, released the Sky Dancers toy line during the winter holiday season of 1994. The toy line became an immediate success, although Galoob would later give the rights to manufacture the Sky Dancers toys to another toy company called Play Along Toys in 2005.
Due to the popularity of Sky Dancers in the 1990s, Galoob partnered with two production companies, namely Gaumont Multimedia and Abrams Gentile Entertainment, to create an animated TV show. The original Sky Dancers animated show premiered on the French public national television channel France 2 on April 12, 1997. The show had 27 total episodes, and six of these episodes were released in two VHS titles in the United Kingdom.
These are just some of the most nostalgic “as seen on TV” toys of the 90s. Fortunately, the toys we have mentioned above are still available for purchase today, so you can still buy them if you are feeling nostalgic about these toys that you may have played with when you were a kid.