A little talking robot that sings, does activities, talks, tells jokes, and reminds you of important things?
Who is this genius toy?
His name is Casey!
Introduced by Playskool in 1985, Casey was a singing, talking, interactive blue plastic robot with a cassette player that played his special cassettes with stories and activities (he switched between story mode and standard cassette player with the flick of a switch on his head). You could get Casey to ask you questions by pushing his “Go Tie.”
His digital eyes and mouth moved with his cassette tapes. And of course, he could play your cassette tapes, just like other talking toys could. Though I’m sure his mouth actually did make some kind of movement, even if it wasn’t synced with your music.
The movement alone probably excited more than a few kids in 1985.
What Did Casey Have To Teach?
Well, everything your standard thinly-veiled educational toy did!
Casey taught letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and also told stories and jokes. And the year he was introduced, he also had an important message for kids writing their Christmas lists, which was conveniently slipped into this commercial…
Upload via Allison Venezio Preston / Allison’s Written Words
Yeah, not-so-subtly reminded you that he needed a home.
Oh Casey, you’re so funny, conning kids into wanting you!
Casey’s Short Life
Sounds like a dark turn, doesn’t it?
As a cassette player, Casey never really took off, and was discontinued after 1986, making him a collector’s item today. He’s super cute, but the biggest disadvantage is that he doesn’t have a way to record, so if you wanted to record your voice onto a cassette tape (and who didn’t when they were kids?) you needed a standard cassette deck. This wasn’t uncommon with toys of this nature, since talking dolls didn’t record either, but this type of toy could have done great with a recording method, even if the microphone was simply built in and not a separate piece.
Another huge disadvantage Casey has was his inability to rewind the cassette. Of course, Teddy Ruxpin had a similar disadvantage (Cricket, however, did not). If you wanted to rewind a cassette tape in Casey, you’d have to flip the tape over and press “fast forward.” Playing a tape meant pressing Casey’s “Go Tie” (I seriously love that). There were better children’s cassette players on the market at the time, especially the Talk ‘n Play, which Playskool (under Hasbro) began manufacturing in 1986 (it had been previously manufactured in 1984 by Child Guidance), which allowed for interactivity, recording, and the main function of Casey – edutainment.
As a children’s toy though, he was pretty cute. I was aware he existed, but don’t think I would have asked for him as a gift…no matter how much he tried to con me into it!
So, you know what Casey’s purpose was, and that he will try to con you into asking for him for your very nostalgic Christmas 1985, but would you like to see how he works?
Of course you do!
Demonstrations of Casey!
This pretty cool demonstration video was put together by MTN Productions, who also was able to repair this Casey that was purchased from eBay. He looks pretty cool, and surprise – his mouth does move with what is being said on the cassette tape!
Upload via MTN Productions
Did you have Casey, or know someone who did? I’d love to hear your stories/memories of Casey the Robot, and if he lured you into asking for him for Christmas!
And speaking of Christmas…
Yes he will – four days and counting, to be exact!