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The Secret Histories (and Controversies) of Your Fave '90s Toys


Although Troll dolls and Lisa Frank stationery still have a special place in every '90s kid's heart, the reality is that many of our fave toys from that era were engrossed in scandals, from newsworthy controversies to unknown origin stories. Not like that'll stop us from bidding on Beanie Babies on eBay, but it is rather interesting to know. Below, the dark stories behind Furbies, slap bracelets, and more. You've been warned.

1. Beanie Babies

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The '90s Beanie Babies craze was truly insane. Although as kids we only remember buying up the toys at stores and then trading them with our friends, the fad was actually a lot darker than you remember. People were so obsessed with getting their hands on rare Beanie Babies supposedly worth thousands, it ignited a wave of criminality and even an underground black market. Divorced couples fought over Beanie Baby assets, children were trampled, and a burglar dubbed "the Beanie Baby bandit" terrorized New Yorkers.

But another side to the Beanie Baby story was the company itself, namely its elusive billionaire founder, Ty Warner. In the '90s, the company aggressively went after knock-offs, filed more than 50 lawsuits, and even encouraged young consumers to report counterfeiters to the company. As for Ty himself, in 2014 he was sentenced to two years probation for concealing $107 million from the IRS in an offshore account. Apparently, Princess Bears are serious business.