Monday, May 5, 2008
I thought I had all of the Furbies. Apparently, I do not. The above photos include only some of the Furbies that I do not have.
I have enough. The bookshelves in our home office are lined with more than two hundred unopened Furbies, most of which are regular adult Furbies. The collection also includes Furby babies, Shelbies (a clam-like interactive Friend of Furby), Japanese speaking Furbies, a Spanish speaking Furby, a few 2006 new & improved Furbies, and a couple of Furby knock-offs from Asia. I even have the Gizmo Furby, a result of the settlement made after the Furby makers were sued for creating a toy that closely resembled the mogwai of the film "Gremlins."
And the Gizmo one is sooo cute! Especially his voice.
I don't know that I would have started collecting Furbies so feverishly had I known that Hasbro and Tiger Electronics were going to release such an overwhelming amount of different Furbies. At first, I was delighted when the first Furbies came out in '98. There were six different patterns of fur, in basic shades of black, white, and grey. The fur patterns of the second generation of Furbies branched out to natural animal prints, including tiger stripes and dalmatian spots. I was a little frightened when the fourth generation came out. They looked a little evil, with their fluorescent bright hues and black-lined eyes, kind of like Chucky from "Child's Play."
"They're evil little killing machines," my coworkers told me in 1999. "Y2K is going to trigger their murder programs and you're going to end up a big bloody, pulpy schmear in your bed on January 1st."
I was working in Japan that year and making decent money at my theme park gig, there, so I spent a small fortune on Furbies (plus an additional, smaller fortune to get them shipped back home). I panicked at the thought of all Furbies being sold out by the time I returned to Los Angeles.
Back home, my roommates dismissed them as 3D Tamagotchi's (remember those?!).
"Why do you collect them?" people ask. "Why do you buy them, and what are you going to do with them?"
We'll see. I may end up carting them around to toy conventions, two or three decades from now, and see if they increase in value. And if they don't, *shrug*, I've had a lot of fun collecting them.
Why do I buy them? They remind me of a children's book that I had read in the early seventies--the title, I cannot remember for the life of me. In the story, a loner child had found a fuzzy little creature with big ears. And it could talk. He was small enough to fit in her pocket or ride on her shoulder, so he was able to go everywhere with her. She had an instant friend and a constant companion. She never had to feel alone again.
The Furbies remind me of that story, and of the fuzzy, friendly creature. I would've loved a little pocket friend like that when I was in second or third grade. Now that I'm an adult, I wonder if the fuzzy creature represented 'inner child' to me, even at such a young age. I don't think I could have articulated it, back then, but I knew that the tiny creature who could talk was something to cherish and love and protect and nurture. Maybe my fascination for the story was a result of yearnings for the actual child I was, then, and not inner child.
Even as I am typing this, my Furbies are all staring from sixteen bookshelves, some of them looking right at me, and all of them with open smiles. I'm not sure why it makes me feel happy to look at all the different Furbies with all of their many different colors and patterns. It's almost like getting a direct hit of endorphins when I look at them. Like people, they are all basically the same and yet at the same time, each one is unique.
I never tire of looking at them.
Each Furby has the same basic design, but each one is different. Some of them are wearing hats or crowns. The wizard Furby has a purple cape with yellow stars and a matching peaked hat (he's the Harry Potter Furby). There's a presidential candidate Furby in a tie and blazer, a jester Furby with the appropriate hat and collar, and an angel Furby with a halo and a pair of wings. There are holiday Furbies, including a Halloween witch Furby, a Santa Furby, and a reindeer Furby. There are even two different Furbies for Y2K.
Obviously, they did not burst forth from their unopened packages to kill me in my sleep, as my coworkers had predicted. On our office shelves they remain, in full view, and not in storage.
To see the entire collection of all the Furbies, click here!