It’s the late 80’s. I’m exploding with excitement about my new buddy, a Cricket doll. This is no ordinary child’s toy; Cricket is a very large 25″ battery-operated doll that talks and sings when a cassette tape is inserted in her back! As the tape plays her high-pitched voice, her eyes and mouth move accordingly. She arrives clad in a pink sweater, yellow undies, a pleated mint green skirt, yellow socks and pink hi-top sneakers with monogrammed laces. Blue-eyed and blonde, Cricket embodied the chipper American girl prominent in TV and cartoons. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was smitten with my new friend. It’s only now, two decades later that I understand why, as an Israeli-born, brown-eyed brunette, I felt like the epitome of a foreigner (I’ll save my notions of Americanism and childhood trauma for another time).
Cricket came equipped with pre-recorded tapes and a full-sized cassette tape player lodged in her back! However, her tapes (which boasted corny songs paired with idioms such as “Are we having fun or what?” and “I’ll be talkin’ to ya!”) did not meet my musical standards and I quickly discovered that I could record my own tapes and control what she said and sang. This realization led to grand performances and operas featuring the dynamic duo: Leerone and Cricket, of course. I still can’t believe what my parents and grandparents were willing to endure! You can imagine, I’ve searched endlessly for these cassette tapes to see if maybe I was a child prodigy but, sadly they are nowhere to be found. And it’s probably for the best anyway because learning to sing in key required a few years of practice 😉
For the record, Cricket was supposedly available in an African-American version as well with short curly hair and no ribbons, but I have yet to see her.
Here are some pics of one of my grand performances, including two additional stars- my grandma Suzanne and grandpa Jacques: