Chatter Telephone

The Chatter Telephone is a pull toy for toddlers 12 to 36 months of age.[1] Introduced in 1961 by the Fisher-Price company as the "Talk Back Phone" for infants and children, which was updated to the name Chatter Telephone in 1962, is a roll along pull toy. It has a smiling face, and when the toy is pulled, it makes a chattering sound and the eyes move up and down. The toy has a rotary dial that rings a bell, and was conceived as a way to teach children how to dial a phone.[2]

Chatter Telephone
Modern Chatter Telephone.jpg
Modern version of the Chatter Telephone
TypeToy telephone
CountryUnited States
Availability1961; 61 years ago (1961)–present
MaterialsWood, plastic
Slogan"Look who's talking now!"

The original version was made of wood, with a polyethylene receiver and cord.[3] In 2000, Fisher-Price changed the rotary dial for a push-button version with lights in an effort to modernize the toy, but consumers complained and the rotary version returned to the market the following year.[4] The Chatter Telephone was designed by Ernest Thornell,[5] whose daughter Tina would drag around a metal phone while playing. This gave him the idea of adding wheels, which with a bent axle permitted the movement of eyes, adding to the "whimsical" nature, that Herman Fisher desired of all Fisher-Price toys (from phone conversation with Ernie Thornell and recollections of Herm Fisher by John Smith).

From its introduction through the 1970s, the Chatter Telephone was Fisher-Price's best selling product.[6] It has been cited as one of the company's offerings that helped save Fisher Price in the 1990s following a failed attempt to market toys for older children in the late 1980s,[7] and enjoys continuing popularity.[8] It is available both as an authentic reproduction[9] and in a modern form.[10]

In popular cultureEdit

  • In 1985, Fisher-Price offered to donate a Chatter Telephone, Rock A Stack, and Activity Center to NASA for Senator Jake Garn to play with while on the STS-51-D space shuttle mission. This offer was rejected as NASA felt there was insufficient time to test the toys for safety.[11]
  • In 2005, the Chatter Telephone was chosen as one of Dr. Toy's Best Classic Toys.[13]
  • Chatter Telephone appears in the 2010 animated film Toy Story 3 as a supporting character, helping Woody save his friends from Lotso. He is voiced by Teddy Newton and speaks with a film noir style, and a Brooklyn accent.[14]
  • The Chatter Telephone influenced a real-life art car created by Howard Davis for his telecommunications company.[15]


  1. ^ "Brilliant Basics™ Chatter Telephone®". Fisher-Price. Archived from the original on 2013-06-03. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  2. ^ Coopee, Todd. "Chatter Phone from Fisher-Price (1962)".
  3. ^ "Louis Wiesel: Your Christmas Wond [sic] Fisher Price Toys". The Tuscaloosa News. 1963-12-05. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  4. ^ Barnes, Julian (2001-02-10). "Where Did You Go, Raggedy Ann?; Toys in the Age of Electronics". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  5. ^ Shared in a phone conversation on 8-31-16 between Eric Smith and Mr. Thornell; he went on to share that the inspiration for the toy came from his daughter.
  6. ^ Moss, Meredith (1980-12-09). "Flash is fine but kids still go for classic toys". The Miami News. The Cox News Service. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  7. ^ Germain, David (1992-12-25). "Kids Save the Day for Fisher Price". Gainesville Sun. AP. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  8. ^ "Retro Toys". WCTV Tallahassee Thomasville Valdosta. 28 December 2008. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  9. ^ "Fisher Price Chatter Telephone". Archived from the original on 28 November 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  10. ^ "Chatter Phone-Fisher Price Toys". Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  11. ^ "Space senator's toys must be borrowed". The Spokesman Review. 1985-02-24. Retrieved 7 March 2010.[dead link]
  12. ^ "Toy Industry Association Announces Its "Century of Toys List"". All Business. Business Wire. 2003-01-21. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  13. ^ "Dr. Toy's Best Classic Toys, 2005". Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  14. ^ Toy Story 3 at IMDb
  15. ^ "The Phone Car". Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011.

External linksEdit