Cultural Icons

Written by Alana Jolley

March 27, 2014

Cultural Icons

Ken Forsse who invented the children’s Cultural Icon of the 1980’s has passed away as reported by TMZ (March 26, 2014) yesterday.  The Teddy Ruxpin toy bear made Forsse famous; and Teddy may be one of the most famous of all children’s Cultural Icons.  There was even a TV show named after the bear.  Today there are still a large collection of books for children that tell of Ruxpin’s many adventures.  None of these books are nightmarish in any way, yet In the RIP (rest in peace) article about Forsse and his toy invention, the reporter said that the children’s icon, Teddy Ruxpin, had been, “Giving young children nightmares since 1985.”  That is a sad thing to say about Teddy Ruxpin; and I believe it is a totally false statement!

As a mom, with a daughter that loved Teddy Ruxpin, I believe the TMZ reporter is completely unfamiliar with the Teddy Ruxpin cultural icon.  Small cassette tapes (yes there were such things) with Teddy’s voice, sang lullabies and told bedtime stories.  My little girl went to sleep many nights listening to Teddy’s sweet little voice, while hugging him tightly.  She never had any nightmares, as a result of Teddy’s stories or songs.  In fact, just the opposite, he was comforting at the end of a child’s hard day.

Teddy Ruxpin, the cultural icon in the late 20th century was not always Teddy Ruxpin.  His name began as Simian Greep, which Forsse preferred at first.  He eventually decided to change the first name to Teddy.  He then borrowed the last name of Ruxpin from another character, but the manufacturer did not like the name Ruxpin.  Finally, they asked groups of children which name they preferred.  The children overwhelmingly preferred the Teddy name and not the Simian name; and they, like Forsse, preferred Ruxpin over Greep. That is how Teddy, a children’s cultural icon, became Teddy Ruxpin.

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