It was back in 1998 when the scales of silliness were filled by a crazy talking fish — Billy Bass. Remember? Okay, It’s the middle of summer and things are slow on the lake, so it’s time to remember this icon of specialty toys for big boys.
Memories of Billy Bass were brought back to life for me a few weeks ago when my wife and I stopped for lunch at the Flying Fish restaurant in downtown Little Rock for lunch. There on the wall, was Billy…and Billy…and Billy…and more Billy’s.
The Restaurant had hundreds of Billy Bass talking fishes donated and put them on the world’s first Billy Bass Adoption Center wall. The restaurant is full of them. You can’t even go to the restroom without a Billy to serenade you.
If you don’t remember Billy Bass singing “Take me to the River…”, then you need to google the sillly swimmer and watch him in action. Billy Bass has graced the wall’s of President George Bush’s office; Queen Elizabeth had one at Balmoral Castle and he’s been on more TV shows than Al Gore (who also had one given to him by President Bill Clinton). No kidding. I have one in the attic and would take it to the wall, but I don’t want to leave my Pet Rock up there by itself.
One Billy even foiled a sporting good store burglary when the motion-detector-activated singing fish scared off a burglar, making him drop his stolen items in the floor and flee in fish fear.
They were originally sold in specialty shops, but the fish really took to water when Bass Pro picked it up in the early 2000’s. Nobody ever admitted how many were sold, but the manufacturer did say it was in the millions, which probably made them come up with the other song Billy sings, “Don’t Worry. Be Happy”.