How Teddy Ruxpin went from a head on a stick to an ’80s phenomenon

Teddy Ruxpin needs an eye massage. After 30 years in a cramped storage garage near Los Angeles, his brown eyes no longer blink. It’s a common problem with bears his age. But with a click of the volume wheel on his back, his snout comes to life. Motors whirl. A speaker crackles. He sings his famous opening line: “Come dream with me tonight.”

It’s a humid summer day outside Los Angeles, and I’m with the toy’s creators in a storage facility nicknamed The Vault. We’re sorting through dusty boxes of merchandise, original artwork, tapes and blueprints that shed light on Teddy’s whimsical, Disney-infused origin story and the rich fantasy universe he roamed.