Launched in 1993, the original line of Beanie Babies featured nine animals—including Legs the Frog, Spot the Dog, Flash the Dolphin, Squealer the Pig—that became so popular that its parent company, Ty Warner, Inc., amassed a reported $6 billion fortune. But not everyone fared as well.
Chris Robinson, son of longtime GENERAL HOSPITAL actor Chris Robinson (Rick Webber), chose to direct a documentary, Bankrupt By Beanies, about his family and their not-so-secret obsession in Bankrupt by Beanies.
It tells the very true life story of Robinson and his father, who became obsessed with collecting Beanie Babies for their future value after their 1993 debut.
"This is like admitting to a drug addiction," he confesses in the opening scene of the film. $100,000 deep in the Beanie Babies craze and the family noticed a problem: there was no return on investment.
According to the younger Robinson in a new interview with DazedDigital, his father's obsession began "almost overnight. The first Beanies were bought while my brother Christian and I were at a hockey camp during the summer. Our younger brother Taylor was with our parents in Boston and they happened to go into a shop that sold them. He wanted one and, being the baby, he got one. And then some idiot had to tell my dad that they were valuable and collector's items and the whole thing snowballed from there."
Robinson and his brothers would eat at McDonalds so many times a day to get Teenie Beanies, an offshoot of the original which were tucked in Happy Meals, that they became ill. (One of their friends was taken to the hospital because he ate too much of the fast food).
The Beanie craze died in 1999, and the Robinson family may be stuck with thousands of Beanie Babies. Their value has dramatically decreased over the last decade: many of them retail online for less than a dollar each. But Robinson says he doesn't regret the experience.
"I'm mostly just apathetic to them at this point," he told Dazed Digital. "I see the whole time period as one of bonding with my family, despite it being an extraordinary waste of money that would have been better spent on pretty much anything else."
Check out the short documentary below.
The younger Robinson explores the romances, the breakups, and most importantly the nine children from six separate relationships that resulted from his father's constant need of a woman at his side.