"Hi kids, we're home early..."

Time to have some real "hi-tech" fun. Talk Boys were the shit. If these things didn't get you laid, you probably needed a shower, and even then, I'm not sure about you about you. Back in the day, these were the absolute, coolest, possible, thing, you could have in your arsenal of childhood gear. Period. Bar none. End of discussion. I didn't even realize back in the day that they were just a promotional toy tie-in for Home Alone 2. Sure, I knew Kevin McAllister had one in Home Alone 2, and it was damn rad, but they were just such a fact of life that I thought they existed outside the movie and that Kevin just had one because he was fucking RAD already. But either way, "tape recorders bitch!"

What made the Talk Boy so radical, so... sexy... besides the shiny grey Back to the Future DeLorean exterior, the classic-Oldsmobileish-font, the buttons for "play" (ooh baby...), was that little telescopic mic-scope thing that... extended out. Aw-yeah. That's how ya get chicks. These things were all-male... and not just because of the ridiculously sexist "Boy" in the title like the Game Boy (because come on, if handheld games got to rock out with external genitals, why not tape recorders?). That is, until the girls just HAD to ruin it with their pink-colored "Talk Girl" edition (wait, didn't they have those extendy things too??) that probably cost more. Whatever, I guess Talk Boys had to reproduce somehow. Whatever the gender, these things also had this sick grip handle (so you could hold it so classy all one-handed), and all the buttons right in reach... Fast-Forward, Rewind, Play, Stop, and Record. It's actually amazing to me now just how... normal... these things were, considering just how F'n AWESOME they made you feel to flash around. Basically, they were just tape recorders. But I'm kinda burying the lead. Let's talk about the Talk Boy Deluxe's sexiest, most "Radical!", most "Ex-cel-LENNNT!" feature... the pitch changer.

This button was called "slow playback"... which means you could play back your recordings slower, at a lower pitch, to disguise your voice, ("just like Kevin did in the movie!!"). This had the effect, both in the advertisements and in the movie, of making your voice sound more like an adult's... which meant the possibility that you could probably impersonate your mom or dad over the phone too ("just like Kevin did in the movie!!"). I'm sure kids used this to play hooky from school back in the day, purchase stuff over the phone with their parent's credit card ("just like...!" *knees 8yo me in the nuts*)... or at least, to make themselves sound more like a serial killer. I know for a fact kids recorded their burps and farts and slowed them down on the thing, to make them sound even more... ominous. Don't ask me how I know. The feature also allowed you to speed up recordings too, so you could sound more like your little sister I guess, or make recordings of your little sister sound even more like one of the Chipmunks than she already did!

The tape-deck even came with a cassette tape where one side was just sound effects and clips from Home Alone 2 you could use to annoy people. Because what 90s toy would be complete without it being used to ANNOY people? What else were you gonna do with a tape recorder besides record your burps and farts?

The eight-year-old me wanted one of these for the holidays. The twenty-four-year-old me does too... for all the same reasons.

Nice sweater dingus! Cool Talk Boy though.

1 comment:

  1. Very cute!

    There's nothing more intriguing than encouraging a kid's impishness with technology. I remember the plethora of electronic contraptions which I used to make as a kid, myself. I had one of those 150-in-1 Radio Shack kits where you could make all these different projects.