Big Mouth Billy Bass, which became known by many as the perfect novelty gag gift for dad, originally started out as something of a cultural icon, taking up highly coveted wall space in the residences of everyone from President Bill Clinton to Queen Elizabeth. But what was it about Big Mouth Billy Bass the singing wall-fish that led to its leaving such a lasting mark on American culture?
Making its first appearance at a gift convention in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2000, Something Fishy Big Mouth Billy Bass (which originally sold for around $29.95) soon took on an animatronic life of its own, with sales skyrocketing to unforeseen volumes valued at nearly $100 million by the end of that year. Popular stores such as Spencer Gifts and Cracker Barrel sold them so fast, they couldn't keep their shelves stocked. This left Billy's small-town Texas manufacturer, Gemmy Industries, struggling to keep up with demand. But just as quickly as the wall-fish swam into consumers’ hearts, it fell from favor, becoming yet another relic of 2000s consumer culture.