Hey, Kid! (1991)

Hey, Kid! (1991)

Christopher Bloodworth


T he Hey, Kid!, more commonly known as the Hell Kid after later events, was originally developed in 1991.

At the Chicago Toy Fair in 1991, the Hey, Kid! was announced with much fanfare as it was leaps above the other toys being marketed at the time.

Gabriel Tanner, the Hey, Kid!‘s engineer was quoted as saying, “What we tried to do was create a synthetic life form. Now we know that the Hey, Kid! doesn’t have any form of artificial intelligence built in, but what it does have is a vast library of actions and words its can use depending on the circumstance.”

At the fair, it demonstrated several of its built in commands. Dress was one of these. Gabriel stood in front of a crowd of onlookers and pointed to a pile of clothing.

“Dress!” He commanded the Hey, Kid!.

The Hey, Kid! went over to the pile and, to the delight of the rapt audience, began to dress itself. When it finished, it turned back to Gabriel and said, “I’m a real kid now!”

It was slated to have a dominate 4th quarter market share based on projected Christmas sales. Unfortunately, the Hey, Kid! never made it to market.

On October 2, 1991, police responded to a 911 call at Gabriel Tanner’s house. What was found shocked and horrified the responding officers.

Gabriel Tanner was found dead in his study. Cause of death was ruled as suicide by gunshot to the heart.

Mark Tanner (10) was found hiding under the table in the dining room.

“I told it to dress,” Mark is quoted as saying. “But I pointed at Jerry.”

The Hey, Kid! was found standing in the middle of the room that the Tanner brothers shared, wearing Jerry Tanner’s (11) skin and repeating the same phrase over and over to onlooking police.

“I’m a real kid now!”

“I’m a real kid now!”

“I’m a real kid now!”

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