If you've ever seen Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, you know Macaulay Culkin's character Kevin McCallister used the Talkboy (pictured above in a 1993 commercial) for various nefarious deeds. At its heart it was simply a cassette tape player with a microphone and speaker.
What made it special, however, was its capability to slow down and speed up the recording, effectively letting you do a better Darth Vader than you could ever do in front of a box fan.
Unfortunately, that very same feature made the device a heartbreaker. It ate more tapes than batteries. Worse yet, it was designed to rip out the tape when you tried to open the latch door. Those (such as me) who put enough trust in it to stick music tapes in often ended up with piles of tape or epic re-spooling sessions to get their favorite maxi-single to play again.
Tiger, the maker of the device, went on to make a pink "Talkgirl" version and even a pen and keychain version that did the same thing (only without tape), although by then most had moved on to Stretch Armstrong.
February 13, 2009 4:00 AM PST
Photo by: Eton
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