Elmo: Tickle Me X-treme!
Gage must have one.
Yes, I am one of those parents that is completely buying into the hype. It's so cute & funny, and I am convinced it will make my son's heart sing!
Meet 'Top Secret Elmo'
By Olivia Barker, USA TODAY
For a guy who has giggled, squawked, sung and shouted, Elmo sure is quiet these days.
Ten years after the original Elmo was the must-have toy, a new version called T.M.X. will make its appearance in the fall.
His latest incarnation is about to be introduced at Toy Fair, but only in a manner of speaking.
The toy industry will reveal at its annual trade show starting Feb. 12 that the new Elmo's name is T.M.X., a nod to his moniker Tickle Me Elmo, as well as his 10th birthday. The plush toy will cost about $40, compared with his previous recommended retail of $29.99. He will require six AA batteries (included).
But that's about all that is known.
Elmo's new identity is shrouded in the kind of secrecy typically reserved for the latest Harry Potter book or iPod. His full, furry self won't be revealed until T.M.X. hits store shelves in September. The delay is unprecedented, toy experts say.
Back in 1996, Tickle Me Elmo mania made grown men cry — in happiness over snagging one of the elusive toys — and drove desperate moms to duke it out in store aisles. He was one of the last huge hits of the toy industry, which is betting that this successor will stimulate sales in the upcoming holiday season. "The toy is so magical that we want to keep a little suspense around it," says Neil Friedman, president of Mattel Brands, which include Fisher-Price, the maker of Elmo.
The only available image of the red phenomenon features him in silhouette, in a haze, giving off a "Tenth Coming of Elmo" aura. A short promotional video shows an anointed few watching and reacting to the new toy; all had to sign confidentiality agreements.
"That's truly amazing," Jim Silver, co-publisher of Toy Wishes magazine, gushes in the clip.
The soundtrack is Bachman-Turner Overdrive's You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet.
Silver says he has seen nothing like it, but he can't say much else about it — yet. "The first reaction I had was, 'Where are the wires?' Because I didn't think anything like that could move on its own."
The effect was akin to puppetry, but with no strings attached. "It was very impressive," Silver says.
Of all of Elmo's alter egos, "this is the first one in a long time that's a real 'wow,' and you go, 'How did they do that?' " says toy analyst Chris Byrne, who laughs heartily at T.M.X.'s antics in the video. "This is a quantum leap forward," like the original, "another breakthrough in the preschool plush category."
No wonder, then, that the toy's new name also can be read as Tickle Me Elmo Extreme, Fisher-Price says.
Though Byrne predicts the company will sell every T.M.X. it makes, he says he doesn't think Elmo will fuel any slugfests in the next holiday season. "The culture has moved beyond that, the whole hot-toy phenomenon," he says.
There hasn't been a widespread playthings craze since Furby was unleashed in 1998.
T.M.X.'s cloak-and-dagger debut is "completely consistent with the way things are marketed in this country," Byrne says. "Because this is such a fickle consumer society, raising the volume on that buzz is really important."
And though the toy is silent now, does T.M.X. live up to that buzz?
"To me," he says, "it does."
On another note....the TMX Elmo in a store, if you can find it, will cost around 40 bucks.
Just saw a brand new, in the box TMX Elmo on Amazon.com for $299.95.
Are you kidding me???
My son doesnt need one THAT bad.
You'll be able to find them in thrift stores in a year. I'm not paying $300 for an Elmo doll!