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Riots in toy shops, mass hysteria and 24-hour-news: remembering the Beanie Babies craze of the 1990ss

They were meant for children, but it was adults who behaved immaturely

Illustration: Kate Hazell

There’s a scene in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory where Charlie, having been unsuccessful before in finding a prize-winning golden ticket in his chocolate bar, uncovers one in a bar he opens in the street. Within seconds, a mob—a mob of adults—has descended on him. “Run Charlie!” the shopkeeper says. “Run all the way home, and don’t stop until you get there!”  

It’s an eerie, strange movie, and not just when…

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