Baby Baa Baa: Still Talking after 30 Years
Mattel's Hug 'n Talk Lamb
Baby Baa Baa was a born conversationalist, and he is oh-so-charismatic -- though admittedly, he has always been limited to a handful of key phrases. They are expressions like "I'm Baby Baa Baa," "I love you," and "I'm baa-ashful". Believe it or not, this Mattel Hug n' Talk lamb can still talk after 30 years!
I was well into elementary school when I got him, in 1981. I've always assumed this accounted for the unusual longevity of his talk box. While I did press his voice box over and over, I did it for a shorter span of time than I would have if I had gotten him as a tot. Now I'm not so sure about my explanation...
Recently I came across someone -- no, two people -- advertising Baby Baa Baa lambs for sale on the internet. One commented that the voice dragged a little on some phrases, but it was amazing that such an old toy was talking at all.
Hmm... well, I now know of three thirty-year-old Baby Baa Baas, all talking. And now I am contemplating that maybe the little lamb just comes from good stock!
Here's a tribute to Baby Baa Baa and some of his friends, old and new.
Image: The author's Baby Baa Baa (in years gone by)
Little Known Facts about (my) Baby Baa Baa
Here are some little known facts about Baby Baa Baa -- mine, anyway:
He was the first stuffed animal not inducted into the Justice League of America. My brother initiated this ritual when he was quite small (and I was smaller). My brother was Superman, and I was Aquaman; all stuffed animals were inducted as Justice League members, even though there were not enough baby bib capes to go around.
The last animal inducted into the Justice League was also a lamb. There was some dissention about her name.
I imagine my brother was little indeed when he began the ritual of giving stuffed animals simple names that were also labels. There was Rabbit, Bunk Bear, Baby Bear, Mother Doggie...
As Superman, my brother got final approval overstuffed animal names. He was not about to break ritual and let me give my lamb toy some random little girl's name. I said the lamb was Amanda. But my brother said it was Lamb.
By the time Baby Baa Baa came around two years later, though, my brother no longer interested himself in what I named stuffed animals.
Though a childhood stuffed animal, Baby Baa Baa inherited a different world than earlier ones. He never played "Find the Animals" -- at least not with my brother. (I am trying to remember if he might have played with a younger neighbor.)
Baby Baa Baa also never attended Sunday School at the Justice League of America. In character as Superman, my brother was also a Sunday School teacher. We arranged the stuffed animals in a circle on my floor, and passed out old Sunday School workbooks.
Baby Baa Baa did do a little modeling. I am older than I appear in that picture. I was a little actress in junior high and Baby Baa was briefly a little prop.
Baby Baa Baa-isms
Like other Hug 'n Talk toys, Baby Baa Baa has a small daisy-shaped patch over his voice box that says "Hug Me". He has a unique lamb voice and six phrases:
- I'm Baby Baa Baa.
- I love you.
- Take care of me.
- Cuddle me.
- I'm baa-ashful.
- I'm just a baby.
Vintage Baby Baa Baa - Not Mine!
Baby Baa Baa is difficult to come by these days, and the price tag can be steep. When I came across the lamb below, I first suspected it was overpriced. After browsing around a little more and seeing what people had paid, or were charging, for a 1978 Hug 'n Talk Napper, I no longer thought so.
The other Baby Baa Baa I came across for sale (on a French site) was priced at more than twice this amount. I think it's voice box was in better condition. (This one has a voice box that is working, but not working perfectly.)
I don't know how Baby Baa Baa and Napper compare, or how the condition affects price; what I can say is that I am not aware of any sales or transactions under $100 -- not on one with a working voice box.
My own Baby Baa Baa is not for sale.
I don't have a car or a television. My furniture comes from the thrift store. My computers are netbooks (and not brand new). The most expensive single item I own may be my thirty-year-old Mattel Hug 'n Talk.
He's not going anywhere.
A Hug 'n Talk Discussion - Hug 'n Tell!
This discussion is about Baby Baa Baa's friend, Hug 'n Talk Napper, who was introduced a year earlier, in 1978. There are quite a few folks reminiscing about Napper. Some own one, others merely pine.
One person with a non-talking Napper inquired whether someone who had a still-talking one could email the recording so he could hear his little voice again.
Baby Baa Baa and Napper are very similar. If you are looking to buy or sell a Baby Baa Baa, or improve the condition of one on the shelf, you might take a look at the Napper discussion. (You could also start a Baby Baa Baa one!)
- Hug 'n Talk Napper
From "In the 80's".
Baby Baa Baa and Rufus in 2012: Old Friends
Should Stuffed Animals Talk?
Should Plushies Talk?
Mattel Hug 'n Talk Doll
There were also dolls under the Hug 'n Talk banner. The video below gives a clue as to why it is so extraordinary that some of these toys still have their original voice boxes.
Yes, I did something like what you see in the video once upon a time: squeeze, squeeze that flower-shaped "Hug Me" button, over and over and over.
Repairing Plushies... - And their Little Voice Boxes
Baby Baa Baa's Friend Napper
Here is a Napper with a working voice box!
Through the Years - Vintage Dolls and Plushies
The characters pictured here have been together for over thirty years -- well, more or less. Some were in my parent's garage for years while others might have remained with me. Baby Baa probably spent more time with me than the others.
The poodle is older than the others toys. It belonged to a cousin who was older than me by more than 20 years -- that dog is probably from the 50's!
The hot pink puppy is Rufus, a Dakin Dream Pet. He is a 1976 edition and not the most common Dakin Rufus you see on the internet.