It was the stuff of nightmares before and it’s the stuff of nightmares now. An absolutely terrifying throwback Tickle Me Elmo Without Skin video has resurfaced on social media.
To take a dive into its history, Tickle Me Elmo first hit the store shelves in mid-1996. The widely popular toy was released by Tyco Preschool and was promoted by Rosie O’Donnell, who showed it off on her daytime talk show in October 1996. “He’s a cute little monster,” O’Donnell gushed at the time, per People. “Elmo has all the innocence of a 2-year-old. He wants to take love and give love with that purity.” The advertising was enough to send Christmas shoppers in a craze trying to find the adorable toy.
However, it was only a matter of time before someone managed to turn the lovable toy into something absolutely scary. The Instagram account, onlynintieskidsknow, posted video of someone holding a Tickle Me Elmo without skin and it is seen cracking up laughing and saying, “Hey, that tickles” as the holder tickles it. “Thanks I hate it,” the caption of the post reads.
Followers of the Instagram account quickly had some thoughts about the video. “Oh hell nah… I’m out!!!” one follower declared. Another then wrote, “Stop it! Stop it!”
Tickle Me Elmo Creator Described the Toy as a ‘Once-in-a-Lifetime’ Thing
During an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 1996, Tickle Me Elmo creator, Ron Dubren, spoke about the toy’s quick rise to popularity.
“This will be my most successful toy,” Dubren said about Tickle Me Elmo. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Lots of toymakers who are better than me won’t have this experience. There are things like luck and timing, and things you can’t predict.”
Dubren also stated that Tickle Me Elmo was originally known as Tickle Me Chimp. It was a joint effort of both Dubren and co-investor Greg Hyman. From there, the toy was transformed into Tickle Me Taz, the Tasmanian Devil. Finally, Tyco Preschool then took on the toy and made it into Tickle Me Elmo.
Although he didn’t mention how much he made off Tickle Me, Dubren stated that the adorable toy made him and his family “financially freer” than they ever were. “It’s true there had been dolls that laughed before,” he said. “But it was the way I defined it. It was a doll that giggled when you tickled it, and when you tickled it more, it giggled more.”
In regards to other Tickle Me toys, Dubren added there was one character that won’t be a part of the cute tickle lineup. “But not Oscar. Do you know why? He’s a grouch. How would he laugh?”
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