Reflecting On The Burger King Pokmon Disaster Of 1999
The 1990s were undoubtedly the golden age of kids’ meals.
The standard kids’ meal started with a burger , fries, and a soda: simple and dependable. This was the era before the apple slices and milk, the “healthy” children’s options that exist today. The experience was just blissful, highly caloric, mass-produced delight, in all its saturated-fat and high-fructose glory. And the crown jewel of the kids’ meal, of coursesometimes the first course, and rarely the lastwas the toy that came with the meal.
Some of the most iconic toys of the 90sTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tamagotchi, Disney charactersshowed up on greasy trays across the country. But, perhaps the biggest frenzy arrived with a series of Pokémon collectibles from Burger King at the turn of the millennium. Pokémania hit a fever pitch in 1999, and the frenzy had a body count.
TIME magazine helped introduce the Japanese-imported phenomenon known as Pokémon to the mainstream with its November 22 cover story. At the very center of the pagea space normally occupied by heads of state, religious leaders, and business magnatesa Poliwhirl leaped out at the reader.
“For many kids it’s now an addiction: cards, video games, toys, a new movie. Is it bad for them?”TIME asked.
It felt a tad out of touch, sure, with just enough fear-mongering to lead a few parents to pause on their next trip to Toys”R”Us. Nonetheless, there was a kernel of foreshadowing in TIME‘s query.
The 1999 TIME cover announcing Pokémania.
Burger King Pokemon Balls: 1999
These plastic balls came with Burger King’s Kids Meals and opened up to reveal one of 57 Pokemon toys inside. But one child reportedly suffocated after one half of the ball got stuck, covering her nose and mouth, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Burger King recalled more than 25 million of them.
Are Burger King Toys Worth Anything
Burger King Toys That Are Worth An Insane Amount Of Money Today
- Pokémon’ Set Of 57: $325. Photo: eBay. If you want to cash in on some rare Burger King Pokémon toys, you gotta catch ’em all!
- Little Mermaid’ Glass: $110. Photo: eBay.
- Toy Story’ And ‘Toy Story 2′ Collectible Set: $45. Photo: eBay.
- Scooby Doo’ Glow-In-The-Dark Set: $47.
Here’s a quick recap of the 20 most expensive Pokémon cards in the world:
- Pikachu Expedition $5,999.
- First Edition Shadowless Holographic Blastoise $1,500.
- Holographic Shadlowless First Edition Mewtwo $1,500.
- Gastly Expedition $999.
|Charizard Gold Star 100/101 Frontiers ULTRA RARE Pokémon Card PSA 10 GEM MINT||$1,250.00|
|1999 Pokémon Base Set 1st Edition Charizard Graded PSA 9 MINT First Shadowless||$1,200.00|
|POKÉMON CHANSEY FIRST 1ST ED EDITION BASE HOLO PSA 10 THICK VERSION||$1,195.00|
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Suffocation Risk And Recall
On December 11, 1999, a 13-month-old girl in Sonora, California suffocated on the container, and was found deceased in her playpen with half of the ball covering her nose and mouth. Following her death, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department issued a warning about the containers. This was the first time a Burger King toy was blamed for a death. Two days later, the Consumer Product Safety Commission asked Burger King to recall the containers, which Burger King refused to do. They stated they were afraid to create anxiety for parents, as it was too soon to confirm whether the ball was responsible for the child’s death, wanting to wait for an independent confirmation of the cause of death. The autopsy results had not been completed and released. Burger King spokesperson Kim Miller stated if it turned out the container was a choking hazard, they would pull them out. However, they did not want to end a promotion if there was no issue with it. The toys found in the containers were not a part of the proposed recall.
Burger King has stated its toy safety problems have not been fixed, as in a two-year period, they have recalled three toys intended for toddlers however, they showed the distinction between this recall and the Pokémon recall, stating there were no injuries in these recalls.
Embarrassing: The Land Before Time
The original Land Before Time is a fantastic movie, which it genuinely gave Disney a run for its money. Sadly, the film would become a franchise with countless direct-to-video sequels that became increasingly diluted as time went on.
Accordingly, the Burger King toys based on the series were just as bad.
In all honesty, theyre still worth a relatively pretty penny, but the toys themselves were cheaply built and their wind-up gimmicks burnt out way too quick.
If you cant play with a toy, whats the point?
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Fortune: Toy Story 1 And 2
With Toy Story 4 around the corner, we’ve found ourselves with Toy Story on the brain.
Inarguably one of the greatest film trios of all time, the stellar series about what toys do when their owners arent around has touched millions of hearts across the globe.
With that in mind, no one should be surprised to read that the first two film’s Burger King toys are worth some decent moolah.
No, thats not a snake in your boots, its $45.
Better scoop it up before One-Eyed Bart steals it.
Fortune: The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
In the strange time before the Lord of the Rings films became a worldwide phenomenon, Burger King released a toy collection based on the upcoming Fellowship of the Ring, featuring many of the characters.
They were essentially detailed statues mounted on a One Ring base, which if pressed, would utter a sound-clip from the movie. Sadly, the audio isnt that clear or audible, but that doesn’t matter if you own the full set.
If youve got the full Fellowship, you can score $60 or more by selling them.
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Boy’s Death Spurs New Alert On Burger King Pokemon Ball
The Consumer Product Safety Commission plans to issue its second nationwide alert in a month after a 4-month-old Indianapolis boy suffocated in his crib on a Burger King Pokemon ball.
Zachary Jones is the second infant nationwide to suffocate on one of the “Poke Balls,” a hollow red-and-white plastic toy about the size of a tennis ball that opens clamshell-style. He suffocated Tuesday after half of the ball-shaped container lodged over his mouth and nose.
“This is a danger parents wouldn’t even imagine, because these balls look innocent enough, but they can be deadly if they get stuck over a child’s face,” safety commission spokesman Russ Rader said Wednesday.
Millions of the toys were handed out with Burger King children’s meals late last year.
On Dec. 27, Burger King issued a recall for millions of the toys after the Dec. 11 suffocation death of a Sonora, Calif., girl who was found in her playpen with half a ball over her nose and mouth.
Burger King Is Recalling Pokemon Balls
After the suffocation death of a 13-month-old girl, Burger King Corp. on Monday announced a voluntary recall of more than 25 million Pokemon balls, another setback in the fast-food chains $22-million promotion.
The Miami-based company said the Poke Balls”–red-and-white ball-shaped plastic containers–may pose a hazard to children under age 3.
The containers, made by Equity Marketing Inc. in Los Angeles, are used to hold Pokemon toys that Burger King offered to customers during a 56-day promotion that was one of the largest in the history of the fast-food industry.
The balls, which are less than 3 inches in diameter, pull apart to reveal a toy inside. Half of the container could become stuck on a childs face, Burger King said.
A girl in Northern California reportedly suffocated this month when one-half of a Pokemon ball covered her nose and mouth. Burger King also was contacted by a man who said his 18-month-old daughter had a ball stuck over her face but he pulled the ball away and his daughter was not injured, Burger King spokeswoman Kim Miller said. We have never been linked or associated with a death in any way, so obviously we are taking this very seriously, Miller said.
The packaging on the balls described them as safety-tested and recommended for children of all ages. Miller said parents should immediately take the balls away from children younger than 3.
Customers can return their Pokemon balls and receive a free order of French fries through March 15.
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Burger King Pokemon Toy Collection
Back in 1999, Burger King ran an ambitious campaign of including one of 57 different Pokemon as toys in their kids meals. I managed to collect the majority of the Pokemon toys, so lets take a closer look at them. You can either watch the video linked down below or continue reading.
The toys themselves were split into different categories as shown on this promotional poster.
Lets start with the Poke Beanbags. The characters available in this form were Gyarados, Golbat, Butterfree, Meowth, Oddish, Snorlax, Togepi, and Poliwhirl. Togepi is the only Pokemon to receive a toy that isnt from the first generation of Pokemon.
Three variations of a plush Pikachu were made and it was classified in its own category of talking. Each Pikachu variation said its name in a slightly different way when its stomach was squeezed. Unfortunately, mine no longer talk, but I believe one said Pikachu and the other Pika-Pika-Pika. You can tell the difference in the variations by the letters on the tags. I have letters B and C, and I am missing version A.
The next category of toys was my favorite: the Light Ups. The characters available were Charmander, Raichu, Gengar, Mew, and Mewtwo. These toys have a switch on them that when turned on, lights up the toy. Its too bad these toys were designed so you cannot replace the batteries and mine no longer light up.
All of the toys were packaged in opaque plastic so you couldnt see which Pokemon figure you received.
Burger King Recalls Pokemon Balls
Dec. 28, 1999 — Burger King is voluntarily recalling millions of plastic balls that contain the Pokemon toys included in its “Regular Kids” meal following the suffocation of a toddler in Sonora, Calif.
The balls may pose a suffocation hazard to children under 3 years of age, according to Burger King spokesperson Kim Miller.
A 13-month-girl reportedly suffocated on Dec. 11 when one-half of a Pokemon ball was found covering her nose and mouth. According to the company, an 18-month-old Kansas girl also had half of the ball stuck to her face, but her father pulled it off before she was hurt.
The balls are between 2-3/4″ and 3″ in diameter. They were distributed in a variety of colors including hot pink and red and white.
“Big Kids” meals will continue to contain Pokemon toys in balls, but the “Regular Kids” meals — which are intended for younger children — will not, Miller tells WebMD.
“It’s like any other toy in the house, if you have an older child that you buy a toy for that’s suitable for ages 6 and up, 8 and up, 10 and up … it’s the same kind of situation here,” says Miller. “What we’re saying is that we’ll include them in the big kids meals, but if you have small kids in your house, discard the toys or keep a watchful eye. We’re just notifying parents that there’s a potential issue here.”
Consumers can bring both halves of the ball to a Burger King restaurant for a free small order of fries, says Miller.
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Fortune: Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron
One of Dreamworks’ earlier and lesser-known films , Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, was about an untamed horse who eventually develops a deep friendship with a Lakota native.
Just as with other animated movies, Burger King cross-promoted with film-based toys.
If youve got a full, sealed set, youre looking at $70.
Which means that you’d better start digging through your basement, looking for that one Kids Meal horse toy you’d never bothered to open.
Burger King Promotional Pokmon Toys
The 1999 Burger King promotional Pokémon toys were a set of toys distributed with Kids Meals at Burger King from November 8 to December 31, 1999. All toys were paired with trading cards, which were made exclusively for this promotion. The toys were used to promote Pokémon: The First Movie. There are 59 toys in total . There were also a set of six 23-karat gold plated cards which came in Poké Balls that were available to buy at the restaurant chain that year. The promotion used the slogan “Gotta catch ’em here!”, a parody of the Pokémon slogan “Gotta catch ’em all!“.
A promotional poster was also distributed at restaurants which had run out of toys . The paper “Burger King crown” was also given a Pokémon edition.
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Burger King Pokeballs With Gold Plated Cards
I still have an un-opened one around here somewhere. I saved it in case it was valuable someday.
Awesome. Even if they dont become worth alot, still cool to have. I have boxes for 3 of them, not mint, but not bad either
I saved it in case it was valuable someday.
Why did everyone say this about toys back in the day? Like the Beanie Babies “Oh, these are going to be worth something one day!” Was this a marketing scheme by the toy companies, or do people just ascribe value to these collectibles themselves?
Are My Pokemon Cards Worth Anything
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Embarrassing: Burger King Kids Club Bug Riders
The ultra-hip and painfully-90s boomers, I.Q., J.D., Lingo, Snaps, Wheels, Jazz and their epic leader, Kid Vid, were all members of Burger Kings Kids Club. They acted as child-friendly mascots for the anti-Happy Meal.
This group would receive quite a few toy sets during their tenure, and while most of which were pretty darn cool, they also had their share of misfires. The bug-riding variant was definitely one of them.
Compared to other offerings, these cheap-looking and barely-functional toys were not only weird to look at, but not that fun to play with.
Set Of 4 Red Burger King Pokemon Balls W/ 23k Gold Plated Cards
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Fortune: Star Wars Episode Iii
Is it any surprise whatsoever that a Star Wars-related item would be so intensely collectible? No, we didnt think so.
With Episode IIIs eminent debut, Burger King went all out with an awesome collection of super-deformed Star Wars toys. Best of all, they werent limited to prequel characters they spanned the entire saga.
And, honestly, who didnt want an Obi-Wan Magic 8-Ball?
Even now, years later, people still do. The whole set is worth around $60, which is not bad at all.
Embarrassing: Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer
Oh, goodness gracious, where to start?
Its really no surprise that something related to Rise of the Silver Surface is awful.
The film was one of the larger superhero-related flops, and it sunk the franchise for what seemed like ages until the next Fantastic Four film sunk it again.
The toys themselves seem like they could possibly be fun to play with, but whose decision was it to hideously mutate the majority of the cast with disproportionate limbs?
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Burger King Pokemon Balls For Sale
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Fortune: Scooby Doo Glow
The question Scooby Doo, where are you!? has been asked for decades, and there was a very specific moment in time where a completely reasonable answer was immortalized in plastic at Burger King.
These Scooby Doo toys were surprisingly well-detailed, solid and articulated.
Heck, they could even glow in the dark, which is always decisively cool.
Even better, is that the set is worth $47 dollars, which aint too bad for a bumbling pup and a few mystery-solving teenagers.
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