Texas Instruments Speak & Spell

Do you recognize this vintage learning toy?  I remember it though I was too old to play with it in the late 1970s or early 1980s.  It's the Texas Instruments Speak & Spell, an electronic toy designed to help youngsters improve their spelling skills. 

The Speak & Spell was one of the first handheld devices that had a display and changeable game cartridges.  I have been reading about it and it really does have an ineresting technical history, which you can read about on Wikipedia by clicking here. It is interesting that there is a Speak & Spell on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

This toy has a history in the movies, too. As shown in this Youtube video, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial used the Texas Instruments Speak & Spell to build his  interstellar communicator.  

SPOILER ALERT: Beware that this video contains clips from throughout the movie. It does, however, do a good job of showing how E.T. used the Speak & Spell to communicate with home.

The Speak & Spell also appeared as Mr. Spell in two Disney movies, Toy Story and Toy Story 2 and in a number of horror movies including Bride of Chucky and Poltergeist III. 

It turns out that E.T. wasn't the only one to manipulate the Speak and Spell. According to Digital Trends, musicians are now using Speak & Spell units for "circuit bending in their music, where the guts have been modified to create new sounds."

For these reasons and, I expect a bit of nostalgia, the Texas Instruments Speak & Spell sells consistently on eBay:

Treasures By Brenda
You never know what treasures
I might have in store for you!

Quick Links:

Click here to see my Texas Instruments Speak & Spell listing on eBay.

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