First things first, I would like to announce that this post right here, marks number 400 for Retro Robot Review, and I do have to say I am pretty dang happy I made it this far, and I really can’t wait to see where the next 400 take us in the world of toys, games, entertainment and beyond.
And so to mark this post as extra special, I decided it was finally time to talk about one of my favorite thrift store finds, which allowed me to reclaim ownership of something I had as a kid, and probably sold in a garage sale for more junk, or my folks hid it, or more than likely my sister broke it from me bugging her with it, and that my friends is the Tiger Electronics Deluxe Talkboy.
Just in case you didn’t know, the Talkboy was based off of a non-working prop from the movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York that was released in 1992 starring Macaulay Culkin playing Kevin McCallister. In the movie Kevin uses the Talkboy for numerous things, such as recording his uncle singing in the shower, responding to his mom, remembering the information of the Plaza Hotel, and getting a reservation there as well. This thing did it all, and we all wanted one, and then in conjunction with John Hughes and the movie studio, on November 20th 1992, the retail version of a working Talkboy hit the shelves at Toys R Us, and then later to the mass markets. It wasn’t until it made it’s way to K-Mart that I was finally able to get my hands on it, and it was as much as I hoped for. It was after this original production that they then released the “Deluxe Talkboy” which I have, that added the slow mode of playback that the original lacked.
The Talkboy came in a package featuring Kevin McCallister using it on the front, in a nice large window display, and the back showed off all the features of it. Inside with the Talkboy you also received a cassette that featured lines from the movie on it, so you too could recreate your favorite scenes as well, the reverse side was left blank so you could have a tape to get started out with your shenanigans with. Now I wasn’t able to get that when I bought it at the Thrift Store, nor do I have it anymore, but thankfully someone went and uploaded the whole thing onto YouTube, so we can relive it all.
Here it is…
Now as far as the features of the actual Talkboy, it was a battery operated recording and playback device, with Play, Stop, Fast Forward, Rewind and Record buttons on the top that were easily accessible due to the way it was built and meant to be held by it’s hand grip,and it had a large microphone, that extended out, however I never noticed a difference with it either way.
When the Talkboy was made in mass production, there was a few slight changes from the screen used one, such as the design of the buttons, they were smaller and spaced apart on the film prop version, where as they were made larger and placed next to each other for ease of use, as well the face representations of them were now color coded unlike the all black version in the film.
All in all I think this still holds up as a great representation of the screen used one, but made accessible for us, it was what I consider my first movie prop replica that I have ever owned, and am so glad that I was able to get my grubby little hands on it again.
But this wasn’t the end of the Talkboy’s reign either, with the success of it, Tiger Electronics continued to make updated versions of it to release years after the original was no longer available.
The next released was the Deluxe Talkgirl, now in a pink and purple color, it had everything the Talkboy had, but was prettier because that’s what all girls want right….I mean really even then they should’ve known to keep making the screen used one, but some ad wizard thought it up and Tiger went with it, and that wasn’t the last of it either.
Next they released the Talkboy F/X + which was a pen version of the Talkboy that used an internal memory to record small clips onto it, and then it had six buttons to play effects as well, and wouldn’t you know it there was the Talkgirl F/X + as well made again in that pink and purple motif.
Lastly they released the Talkboy Jr which again used an internal memory for recording, and kept the same sound effect buttons as the F/X + did and again, there was the Talkgirl Jr featuring the same pink and purple colors because they needed to get these in both the girls and boys aisles of the store after all.
And lastly they went one step further in the portability of the Talkboy by making the Talkboy Watch aka the Tic Talker, that again used the same gimmicks of the previous internal memory ones, but also featured the time and the ability to wear it on your wrist, finally that kid at school was going to be put in his place as his calculator watch had nothing on this bad boy.
Well there you have it kids, the Talkboy, one of the great toys that came from the film to our homes, and if you’re able to find one, I highly recommend getting it, even tho it will just sit on your shelf and be a conversation starter, it’ll look damn fine doing so, and if you do choose to actually use it, why not toss in a great album such as the Home Alone Christmas Cassette, and get your Holiday started right.