1998: Furby fever sweeps Indianapolis

Furby dolls 1998
Posted at 5:30 AM, Nov 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-23 05:30:02-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Following in the footsteps of trailblazing toys like Tickle-Me-Elmo and Tamagachi, the Furby became the must-have toy for kids in central Indiana 25 years ago.

Furby toys for sale

WRTV reporter Gai-Linn Bartnick spoke with Black Friday shoppers at a central Indiana Target store, each hoping to snag the furry mechanical creature.

“None of their friends have them so they wanted to be the first,” Florence Corbin said. I went to Canada and New York and they didn't have them, so that's where we're at, still looking for Furbies.”

A Target manager said their phones were ringing off the hook.

“I'd say every morning about 8 o'clock, as soon as the store opens, we have guests calling to see if we have gotten the Furbies in on that day’s truck,” Hal Page said.

WRTV reporter Norman Cox talked with people who braved the cold outside the Eastgate Mall, where a line formed outside before the building opened. Conflicting store hours resulted in confusion and frustration.

KB ad 1998
A customer calls KB Toys to clarify the store's hours.

"I think this is wrong and I don't need them that bad," said one customer.

But others knew exactly why they were there.

"Well, I never heard of them until Wednesday,” one woman said. “And the grandkids want them, so Grandma's going out and get them."

KB Toy Store manager Jena Mohr attempted to prevent chaos.

KB Manager
KB Toys manager Jena Mohr informs guest of a Furby purchase limit.

"It's two per family,” Mohr said. “I don't want one entire family taking all the Furbies.”

Christmas came early for those lucky enough to snag a Furby.

“My son'll love him,” another woman said. “This is what he wanted and if I didn't have it for Christmas, he wouldn't be happy. He's got the thing everybody wants.”

Well, not everybody.

“The whole idea of Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of Jesus and his birthday,” one man said. “And these people don't care nothing about that.”