Speak & Spell

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The popular ’80s toy, the Speak & Spell, was an educational toy designed to teach kids how to spell words. It made its debut into the world in 1978, but peaked among the youth until the early ’90s. It was everything a parent could hope for in a toy: it educated children while they thought they were playing a game!

How does it work though? The Speak & Spell would speak a word and then ask the player to spell that word. You then would proceed to spell out that word using the keyboard, and following your anticipation, the “game” would let you know if you were correct or not.

The toy even had mini-games that came with the console such as “Mystery Word,” which worked like a game of Hangman.

Kids loved the fact that this toy could literally talk back to them, as other similar games invented prior did not have that capability. Commercials began to appear on TV…

One even featured Mr. Bill Cosby!:

Speak & Spell became a necessity for every 80s household, and we started to see it featured in popular movies and songs. For example, the Speak & Spell is what our favorite little alien E.T. used to “phone home!” (Noteworthy: Mary saying “Ouuuuuch”)

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He makes a makeshift communicator to talk to his family on his home planet, and here we see the famous Speak & Spell as a key component of it, because, how else would you contact life on another planet?!

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Similarly, we see the Speak & Spell makes a (slightly horrifying) appearance in the third installment of the Poltergeist series, Poltergeist III, starring the late Heather O’Rourke in 1988. Before the spirits come out to mess with her, she is playing with her Speak & Spell.
Now, the Speak & Spell is still around for newer generations, with an iPhone/iPad app!
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Not quite the same, but still cool.
You’re welcome.

 

Big

I’ve heard many good things about the movie Big. However, when it comes to Tom Hanks, I usually have to force myself to watch the movie. He’s not one of my favorites, but he always charms me when I do start watching him onscreen. Big was no different. After hearing multiple defensive arguments from my parents, I gave in and began watching the movie. I was immediately enthralled. Much to my surprise, Tom Hanks brilliantly played his role as a younger boy. I completely believed in his buoyant attitude towards life and his joyous personality while even at work. The part that truly got me was the very well known piano scene in the toy store. The story starts with Josh, a boy who wishes he was older mainly because the girl he likes goes for older guys. When he is at a carnival with his family, he plays a Fortune game where he wishes to be older, and that night his wish comes true.

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How could you not fall in love with him at this point? This part, which I saw before I watched the movie, was extremely touching now that I had seen the parts that led up to it. I hope this movie was a sign for all adults to not work too hard and to find the joy in their lives, because even though I’ve only lived 20 years, the film still made me think about taking everything too seriously. Not to mention, I could not stop laughing at the part where Susan comes home with Josh (Tom Hanks’ character) and the confusion shown on her face with what Josh was saying. She was expecting sex, or at least a little action, and he thought “playing” was physically playing with the toys in his apartment. The miscommunication in the scene was hilarious, and one of my favorite parts of the film.