|Publisher(s)||Winning Moves (present)|
|Age range||4 and up|
Crocodile Dentist is a game made for young children, first published by Milton Bradley in 1990. A smaller travel version of the game was released in 1993 and is currently being produced by Winning Moves. The game was the brainchild of Robert B. Fuhrer, who later created Gator Golf, and many other toys and games.
The goal of the game is to "extract" the plastic teeth from a crocodile toy's mouth by pulling them out with plastic pliers. If the "sore tooth" is pulled, the mouth will snap shut and lunge toward whoever pulled the sore tooth, and the person who caused the mouth to shut is the loser. The travel version of Crocodile Dentist featured slightly different gameplay, where instead of pulling the teeth out of the crocodile's mouth the players had to push the crocodile's teeth down into its gum (this objective would be used in future versions of the full size game).
Crocodile Dentist went through several changes during its development phase. Fuhrer and his technicians were told to tweak the length and speed of the crocodile's lunging motion so that the toy would not cause eye injuries. Fuhrer also added a pair of plastic pliers to quell fears that children would hurt their fingers. However, the game testers later thought that the toy lacked excitement, and though the pliers remained in the final product, Fuhrer restored the original lunging motion.
Several commentators listed the product as one of the strangest new toys available. "What kind of mind came up with this game?" asked the York Daily Record's Mike Argento, who included it in his 1992 Bizarre Toy Awards. Twelve years later, however, Argento admitted that the game had "passed into classic status".
The success of Crocodile Dentist led Robert Fuhrer to design several other crocodile-themed games. One of those, Crocodile Golf, became the popular Gator Golf.
In popular culture
A 1993 episode of The Price Is Right featured a blooper involving the travel version of Crocodile Dentist. The game was used as one of the small prizes in the pricing game Pathfinder, and host Bob Barker and model Janice Pennington decided to try it out. Barker triggered the sore tooth, which caused the crocodile's jaw to close on his finger and Barker to yelp in pain.
The main characters are seen playing the game in the Men Behaving Badly episode Ten, with Dorothy's ten-year-old nephew.
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- Drew Fetherston. "Playing With Toys Is Serious Work: Robert B. Fuhrer's life revolves around games". Newsday. December 5, 1994. C03.
- Pete Bishop. "Hottest games going from burst to splat!". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 1, 1991. H4.
- Bruce D. Ebert. "What's hot in toyland?" Daily Press. December 3, 1991. C1.
- Beth Snyder. "Familiar favorites are still popular". York Daily Record. October 19, 1992. D6.
- Emily Heller. "What's hot for the holidays?" The Bradenton Herald. November 15, 1992. E1.
- "Toy makers take a walk on the weird side". The Orange County Register. November 14, 1993. E04.
- Randy Peterson. "Want to see something really odd? Check..." The Salt Lake Tribune. December 1, 1993. C7.
- Mike Argento. "First annual bizarre toy awards". York Daily Record. December 5, 1992. 6.
- Mike Argento. "Toys of our times". York Daily Record. November 25, 2004. Living, 1.
- The Price Is Right episode from November 30, 1993.