Big Mouth Billy Bass

Big Mouth Billy Bass The Singing Sensation.jpg

Big Mouth Billy Bass is an animatronic singing prop, representing a largemouth bass, invented on December 16, 1998, sold from January 1, 1999, and popular in the early 2000s.[1][2] The fish is made of latex rubber with a plastic mechanical skeleton inside of it; at first glance, it appears to be a mounted game fish. The product was conceived by Gemmy Industries product development vice president Joe Pellettieri following a visit to a Bass Pro Shop.[3] The device turns its head towards a person, facing them, and then wiggles its tail on its trophy plaque and sings kitschy cover songs, such as "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin and "Take Me To The River" by Al Green, who said he received more royalties from it than from any other recording of the song.[4] The singing mechanism was originally activated by a motion sensor and intended to startle a passerby. Eventually, a button was added to activate it. In addition, many variants of Big Mouth Billy Bass were also produced by Gemmy using different types of game fish and other aquatic animals, with some of them being Travis the Rainbow Trout, Cool Catfish, and Rocky Lobster.

The concept was even later adapted into a large mounted deer head, known as "Buck, the Animated Trophy" (voiced by Clint Ford), as well as a medium-sized mounted bear head.[5]

Big Mouth Billy Bass Sings for the HolidaysEdit

On December 7, 1999, a special holiday version of the Big Mouth Billy Bass was released by Gemmy Industries. The fish had a Santa hat on his head and a ribbon with a sleigh bell on his tail.[6]

Other versions of the Big Mouth Billy BassEdit

The following are some other versions of the Big Mouth Billy Bass that were released by Gemmy Industries:

In popular cultureEdit

The success of the Big Mouth Billy Bass has made it an icon that appears frequently in pop culture. Some of the device's appearances include:

  • A Big Mouth Billy Bass appears in the 2010 film Lemmy, when Kilmister activates the device hanging next to his bathroom mirror in his Los Angeles home.[18]
  • A Big Mouth Billy Bass appears in the 2008 film WALL-E, where it is found amidst the ruins of abandoned civilization.[19] The Bass' operation startles an Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator (EVE), who then threatens it with her arm cannon before the titular character promptly convinces her to stand down.
  • Big Mouth Billy Bass was mentioned in the 2003 film Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie wherein Jeff Foxworthy said that a person with more than three of the toys (which Jeff himself is admittedly guilty of) "might be a redneck".[20]
  • Queen Elizabeth II has a Big Mouth Billy Bass, which she displays on the grand piano of Balmoral Castle.[5]
  • On Chuck, then-assistant store manager Morgan Grimes sports a Big Mouth Billy Bass on his office wall, emulating his manager and de facto stepfather Big Mike who has a large trophy fish (Marlin) mounted on his office wall.[21]
  • In the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode 1x11, Gil Grissom was seen to own a Big Mouth Billy Bass placed above his office door because its motion sensor was better than a watch dog.[22]
  • On the television show George Lopez, George has a singing fish in his office.[23]
  • The device is seen on the television show The Sopranos (in the 2001 episodes, "Second Opinion" and "...To Save Us All from Satan's Power"), where Tony Soprano uses one to beat one of his underlings for leaving it on his desk, and receives another from his daughter as a present.[24]
  • The device appeared on The Daily Show as "Michele Bachmann's Big Mouth Billie Vagina" in 2011 introduced by The Daily Show's Senior Women Issue Correspondent Kristen Schaal.[25]
  • In the first episode of the fourth season of Whose Line is it Anyway?, Wayne Brady pretends to be a singing bass in the "Let's Make a Date" segment.[26]
  • In the seventh episode of the twelfth season of The Simpsons, The Great Money Caper, after receiving money in a con-artist ring, Bart asks Homer what to get first, Homer promptly replies, "A singing rubber fish, of course."[27]
  • One appears on the wall of Wernham Hogg offices in The Office, including a brief scene in which David Brent demonstrates it to camera. Unfortunately, the batteries were dead.[28]
  • In 2012, Big Mouth Billy Bass was a Christmas ornament in Hallmark Cards, Inc. Keepsake Ornament line.[29]
  • In the DVD documentary "Destiny Rules", which chronicles the making of Fleetwood Mac's 2003 studio album Say You Will, Stevie Nicks is shown placing a Big Mouth Billy Bass on a kitchen counter, saying "Alright, now this is going to inject some humor into the recording of this record", whereupon the bass begins to sing "Take Me To The River".[30]
  • In the 2010 video game Fallout: New Vegas, Cass, a possible companion to the player, admits to never having seen a real fish but notes that a bar she visited in Redding had a plastic one mounted on the wall which used to be able to sing.[31]
  • Big Mouth Billy Bass is pictured in Joshua Oppenheimer's film The Act of Killing (2012).[32]
  • In the "You're All Going to Diet" episode of The Last Man on Earth in 2016, numerous singing fishes perform the Three Dog Night song "Joy to the World" as an alarm system.[33][34]
  • In the battle royale game Fortnite: Battle Royale, players can encounter non-operational Big Mouth Billy Basses in buildings, which can be harvested for some wood. Late into the game's sixth season, players are challenged to find several of them and dance under each one.[35]
  • On Riverdale, Jughead Jones and his father F.P. have a Big Mouth Billy Bass in their trailer park home.[36][37][38]
  • Big Mouth Billy Bass appears on the AMC television show, Fear the Walking Dead, season 4, episode 5, "Laura."
  • In the Arthur episode "Arthur and Los Vecinos," D.W. is gifted a singing fish named Thelma that sings "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."
  • A parody of Big Mouth Billy Bass is the central plot point in "Big City Greens" Season 1, Episode 12, named "Barry Cuda"
  • In the Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode "The Jimmy Jab Games II," Amy mentions that Jake removed the batteries from their smoke detector to power his Big Mouth Billy Bass.
  • A Big Mouth Billy Bass plays a prominent role in the What We Do in the Shadows (TV series) episode "On the Run".
  • A Big Mouth Billy Bass can be seen hanging over the entrance to the bathroom of Lou's Coffee Shop, as seen in season one of Fargo (TV series).


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  2. ^ "Bizarre Inventions that Made Serious Bucks". Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Sobey, Ed; Sobey, Woody (2008). The Way Toys Work: The Science Behind the Magic 8 Ball, Etch a Sketch, Boomerang, and More. Chicago Review. pp. 21–23. ISBN 9781613743096.
  4. ^ "GUY TURNS HIS BIG MOUTH BILLY BASS INTO AN ALEXA!". 105.7 The Hawk. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Schuessler, Heidi, Getting Under the Skin of a Fish That Can Get Under Yours, The New York Times, December 14, 2000, last accessed May 7, 2008.
  6. ^ Schuessler, Heidi (December 14, 2000). "Getting Under the Skin of a Fish That Can Get Under Yours" – via
  7. ^ "Gemmy - Christmas Big Mouth Billy Bass (Blues Version)". YouTube. July 17, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  8. ^ "Gemmy - Christmas Big Mouth Billy Bass (Country Version)". YouTube. July 17, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  9. ^ "Something Fishy: Big Mouth Billy Bass". June 9, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  10. ^ Maya, Diposting oleh Jianta. "Big Mouth Billy Bass - Fish Mounted". Ready for Future. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  11. ^ "Big Mouth Billy Bass Junior". YouTube. April 2, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  12. ^ Entis, Laura (October 15, 2014). "King of Kitsch: Meet the Company Behind Big Mouth Billy Bass and a Dozen Other Novelty Items From Your Childhood". Entrepreneur. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  13. ^ "Big Mouth Billy Bones 15 Year Edition!". YouTube. November 1, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  14. ^ "Singing Zombie Fish". Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  15. ^ "Big Mouth Billy Bass 15th Anniversary Christmas". Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  16. ^ "Amazon Alexa-compatible Big Mouth Billy Bass is the only holiday gift that matters". Fast Company. November 28, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  17. ^ Krol, Jake. "This $40 talking fish has Amazon Alexa inside". Mashable. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  18. ^ "Lemmy (2010)". IMDB. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  19. ^ Bartkowiak, Mathew J. (October 19, 2012). "Sounds of the Future: Essays on Music in Science Fiction Film". McFarland. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  20. ^ Foley, Rich. "2007.29.07 Loads of fun with Billy Bass and Sterlena". Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  21. ^ "Chuck (TV Series 2007–2012)". IMDB. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  22. ^ Stringer, Kortney (November 30, 2000). "Big Mouth Billy Bass Amuses Some People, But Annoys Others as Novelty Wears Off". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  23. ^ Bilello, Joe. "George Lopez: 'You Wanna Make The Streets Safer Deport The Police'". Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  24. ^ "10 Incredibly Shameless Product Placements In Well-Loved TV Shows". November 15, 2013. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  25. ^ "Daily Show rips Bachmann's buffoonery over HPV vaccine (Warning: NSFW)". Daily Kos. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  26. ^ "Whose Line - Let's Make a Date - 4x01". YouTube. June 26, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  27. ^ "The Great Money Caper". The Simpsons Archive.
  28. ^ ScreenPrism. "The One to Watch For A Comedy Legacy: "The Office (UK)" S1E1 – "Downsize" | ScreenPrism". Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  29. ^ "Big mouth Billy bass singing Christmas ornament". YouTube. October 16, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  30. ^ Howe, Zoë (October 13, 2014). "Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams and Rumours". Omnibus Press. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  31. ^ Oxhorn (August 13, 2017). "Cass: The Jaded Woman - The Full Story of Rose of Sharon Cassidy - Fallout New Vegas Lore". YouTube. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  32. ^ McAlinden, Carrie True surrealism: Walter Benjamin and The Act of Killing , BFI, December 3, 2013, last accessed September 28, 2014.
  33. ^ Bacle, Ariana (October 17, 2016). "'The Last Man on Earth' Recap: The Gang Gets Creative With Security". Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  34. ^ Murthi, Vikram. "The Last Man On Earth spins its wheels, but at least Jeremiah was a bullfrog". TV Club. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  35. ^ Tassi, Paul (November 15, 2018). "'Fortnite' Challenge: Where To Dance With A Fish Trophy At 7 Different Named Locations". Forbes. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  36. ^ "Riverdale Recap: Blast From the Past". Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  37. ^ Ferguson, LaToya. "In Riverdale, you can't go home again". TV Club. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  38. ^ zkywalker (January 11, 2018). "Syrup, Walk With Me: A Riverdale Fashion Retrospective 2×09". zkywalkers. Retrieved March 13, 2019.