On Monday, I posted about how some copies of the interactive talking book Potty Time With Elmo reportedly say "Who wants to die?" instead of "Who wants to try to go potty?" BB reader Maria Burke reports a similar surreal situation involving her "Shout!" Dancing Elmo Doll. Here's what she writes:
My Shout Elmo said you make Elmo wanna shout beat up elmo, shoot his foot out. If Fisherprice had taken my concerns seriously perhaps this book (Potty Time) may have never been produced and each book have been scrutinized before it went out for sale. I had requested that Fisherprice check each puppet or modify it so it was more audible….
I did discuss the matter in a web site that I belong to …. and I wrote to Sesame Street, FisherPrice and even the Toy Guy as well as have a short clip on channel Ten. Fisherprice considered my case isolative and not worthy of investigating further seeing that all their "Elmo's" appeared to sound appropriate but I asked several people on the street what they heard and they did not hear BE LIKE ELMO clearly. Now this new book is out and it worries me that bad subliminal messages are being infiltrated and the target is people who don't speak English and those children are getting the message. I would advice all parents to monitor all the new toys and really really listen.
I don't buy the effectiveness of (read BoingBoing!) subliminals (read BoingBoing!), but Maria sent me an audio clip of what indeed sounds like Elmo singing "beat up elmo" and "shoot his foot out."
These Elmo oddities remind me of the famous Barbie Liberation Organization action of 1993 when the group switched the voiceboxes of hundreds of Barbie and GI Joe dolls and placed them back on store shelves.
Link to the Evil Elmo thread on Weird Reality, an MSN Group where Maria posted her story. Link to the sound file. (If you're using Firefox, you may have to hit "save link as" to download and then play the file as it seems to cut off otherwise.)
UPDATE: Thanks to Matt Tolley and the other readers who point out that Elmo could actually be singing the less offensive (and less interesting) phrases, "be like Elmo" and "stick your foot out."