From Hatchimals to Tickle Me Elmo: 10 toy crazes

When these toys, action figures and play sets burst onto the scene, parents toppled over each other to get one and store owners struggled to keep the shelves stocked.

Parents, children and collectors couldn't get enough of these crowd-pleasers

When these toys, action figures and play sets burst onto the scene, parents toppled over each other to get one and store owners struggled to keep the shelves stocked. Here are products that flew off toy store shelves almost as soon as they arrived.


Hatchimals, furry little robots that hatch from an egg and respond to cues, are among this year's top-selling toys. Amateur reviews of the toy uploaded to YouTube boosted demand worldwide. Now parents from London, England, to Fayetteville, Ga., to Corner Brook, N.L., are scouring stores, desperate to find one.

(Spin Master/Canadian Press)


Following the success of Disney's film Frozen, retailers were unable to keep up with the demand for related merchandise. Some consumers shelled out over $1,500 US apiece for an Elsa dress on eBay, while others have turned to handmade versions sold on Etsy.

(Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

Buzz Lightyear

One of the co-stars of Pixar's 1995 film Toy Story, the actual toy of Buzz Lightyear sold out in many stores that year's Christmas season. The character is an homage to astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and voiced by Tim Allen.

(Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images) (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

Cabbage Patch Kids

Created by Xavier Roberts in 1978 and originally called "Little People," the Cabbage Patch Kids were some of the most successful toys throughout the 1980s. In 2002, the original Cabbage Patch Kids doll was relaunched and retailed for $265, and new versions are still produced today.

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images) (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Tickle Me Elmo

The first Tickle Me Elmo launched in 1996, and would fetch prices of $1,500 US or more in second-hand sales after they disappeared off store shelves.

(Shiho Fukada/Associated Press) (Shiho Fukada/Associated Press)

Bandai Tamagotchi

Bandai's Tamagotchi was the first "virtual pet" toy to become popular in North America. It launched in 1996, distracting schoolchildren everywhere, but can now more easily be found in mobile app form.


The Furby, originally launched in 1998, was a furry creature that spoke a gibberish language that was supposed to mimic the process of learning how to speak English.

(Gregory Bull/Associated Press)


Nintendo's Pokemon franchise spans two decades of video games, action figures, cartoon shows and more. In 1999 Burger King took out full-page newspaper ads apologizing for selling out of all Pokemon toys and cards in its restaurants.

(Junko Kimura/Getty Images) (Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

Nintendo Wii

The Nintendo Wii became wildly popular thanks to its simplified motion controls, and demand outpaced supply for up to a year after its 2006 launch. By the end of 2013, Nintendo had sold more than 100 million Wiis.

(Yuriko Nakao/Reuters) (Yuriko Nakao/Reuters)

Malibu Stacy

The 1994 episode of The Simpsons "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy" featured a talking doll that incited riots whenever a new shipment arrived in stores. The Stacy doll spoofed a talking version of the real-life Barbie doll lines.

(20th Century Fox Home Entertainment/YouTube)