Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

Tickle Me Elmo

After watching kids playing in a park, toy inventor Ron Dubren decided to create a stuffed animal that would laugh when tickled by its owner. He, along with engineer Greg Hyman, made a stuffed monkey with an electronic chip in its stomach designed to make the creature giggle. The monkey never saw success, but Dubren's idea did. When Tyco was licensed to produce a new line of Sesame Street toys in 1996, Dubren was asked to apply his laughing technology to an Elmo doll. Tickle Me Elmo and his laughing fits were an instant success, and Elmo became the most desired toy of the 1996 holiday shopping season. Because of short supplies, retailers were besieged by Elmo-seeking mobs willing to pay anything for the "it" toy.