This sure beats the toys we had years ago.
There are some toys so iconic that even if you were too old to play with them or never had them in your toy box you still recognize instantly. The Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone is one such plaything, with generations of children growing up babbling into the bright red handset. Now, as an anniversary special the company has made it so that the dummy phone can actually make phone calls for the first time ever.
The Chatter Telephone was released in 1961, a time when more and more households were having phone lines installed. Up until that point phones were usually reserved for the wealthy and to make calls average folks would have had to go into town.
But, by the 1960s a wave of affluence created an increased market for toys that mimicked the things adults used on a daily basis. Toy kitchens, vacuums, and phones became the norm and we’re still buying them for kids all these years later.
In honor of the 60th anniversary of the toy’s release to the public, Fisher-Price have given this cheerful toy an upgrade. A Bluetooth connection inside allows one to use the rotary dial to actually place a phone call and the headset can be used for its original purpose. For the first time in decades kids can experience what it’s like to “hang up” a phone instead of simply pushing an off button.
There is also a speaker phone function which operates by way of a small red button near the dial, one of the only obvious differences between this new-fangled model and the previous non-functional ones. A USB port on the back recharges the device.
For those who get nostalgic about the toys they and their children grew up with, this new Chatter Telephone could be the perfect way for adults and children to play together since a grown-up would need to set up the Bluetooth connection and supervise the call.
While it’s fascinating to think about using a toy phone that actually works, for many children this would be the first time they’ve seen a phone like this. Landlines are all but vanishing as smart phones fulfill an ever-broader range of functions in our lives.
A video ad for the toy announces that “the past has finally arrived” and revels in the “bulky design” of the iconic Chatter Telephone. A slogan sums up the connection between past and present distinctly: “Your first mobile phone is now a real mobile phone.”