What drove Beanie Babies craze in 1990s — and its collapse?

“There was a very small slice or window of time where you could have made a lot of money on Beanie Babies. And very few people sold at that time because I guess everyone thinks that the bubble is not quite going to pop,” says director Yemisi Brookes. Photo by Brian Hardzinski/KCRW

Beanie Babies — the tiny pellet-filled stuffed animals — were all the rage in the late 1990s. Peanut the royal blue elephant or Princess the purple teddy bear were supposed to pay for your kids’ college or your retirement. Eventually the hype and hysteria came crashing back to Earth. Yemisi Brookes tells the story of this Beanie Babies boom and bust in a new documentary called “Beanie Mania,” which debuts Thursday night on HBO Max.

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