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Anne McDermott: Singing bass is reeling them in

Anne McDermott
Anne McDermott  

CNN National Correspondent Anne McDermott reports on some of the wildly popular items this Christmas season.

Q: What's the big item that has surprised retailers this year?

MCDERMOTT: One of the big sellers this year is the singing fish, Billy Bass, and his friends. There is now a shark, trout, frog, and even a gopher. All of them sing and move.

The fish were originally meant to appeal to outdoorsmen. It looks like a fish that has been stuffed on a plaque, the sort of thing sport fishermen would hang on the wall. The funny thing is that as soon as the company came out with the singing fish, they found everybody liked them or people hated them in a way that made them want to buy the item as presents for friends and relatives.

There's sort of a love-hate relationship with these fish. They drive you crazy, but they're appealing in some bizarre way and people are buying them.

This is something interesting: We've confirmed via Buckingham Palace that Queen Elizabeth has one. We do not know who gave it to her, but the queen does have one of the singing fish. We don't know if it's Billy Bass; it could be one of his compatriots, perhaps Travis Trout.

We have also learned the British Prime Minister Tony Blair has one. Again, the identity of the giver is not known.

And we were looking at some video of George W. Bush and one of my colleagues said, 'Hey, look on the wall!' There was one of the fish on the wall.

My mother seems to have only recently discovered the singing fish and she was just delighted by it, and kept asking me, 'Wouldn't you like one?'

Q: Any other surprisingly hot-selling items?

McDERMOTT: A continuing good seller is the ever popular Chia Pet. It still does well, according to the man who runs the company. Chia Pets have been around for almost 20 years. They're not interactive; they're not high-tech; but kids like them.

In case you're wondering why you don't see the Chia Pet advertisements througout the year, they're only sold at Christmastime.

We also went to a novelty gift store where they sell all kinds of entertaining and surreal gadgets. We asked them what was the biggest selling item this year. The guy said, 'Same as always.'

I asked, 'And what is that?'

'Lava lamps,' he replied.



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