The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, more commonly known as the Live Action Special, was a 45 minute movie that served as the original pilot for the The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin animated series.
Originally, Alchemy II Inc., the company who created Teddy Ruxpin, had hoped to create a live-action series using animatronic characters, as Ken Forsse had helped Disney do with the earlier shows Welcome to Pooh Corner and Dumbo's Circus. However, due to production costs and difficulties in this format, Forsse, Alchemy II, and Worlds of Wonder decided that standard animation would be a better route. The pilot episode of what would have been the animatronic series was instead broadcast as a stand-alone ABC Movie of the week in 1985 and also aired in syndication as a 2-part episode. The special has also been released on both VHS tape and Betamax. The movie used primarily the same voice talent as the Teddy Ruxpin toy had, most of which (with the exception of Phil Baron and Will Ryan) were replaced in the later animated TV series by Canadian voice talent due to labor laws.
After Teddy Ruxpin and his best friend Grubby discover a map and one half of a medallion in an old chest, they decide to go on an adventure to the land of Grundo. After being chased along by Bounders, they meet Newton Gimmick, a kindly inventor who offers to help the two in their quest via his new invention, The Airship.
Teddy, Grubby, and Gimmick travel the land to find the Treasure. Along the way they are followed by Tweeg and his Bounder companion L.B. Tweeg switches their real map with a fake one, resulting in the trio travelling South instead of North. Out of fuel and out of ideas, they end up as prisoners of the Mudblups when they crash into The Great Desert. There, they meet Prince Arin, the Illiper Prince who explains how he is in search of his little sister who has been kidnapped. An earthquake provides an escape as Teddy, Gimmick, and Prince Arin manage to climb their way out of the rocks.
While trying to figure out how to rescue Grubby, Gimmick remembers that while they were in the caves, a Grunge with a camera had taken a picture of them. The flash created a confusion among the Mudblups. The three return with bright, distracting lanterns to rescue Grubby. Once out of the caves and onto The Airship, the trio agrees to help Prince Arin find his sister, reasoning that Princess Aruzia is worth more than any treasure.
After journeying for a while, The Airship begins to run out of water. The group is forced to land by a nearby waterfall, where they meet The
Wooly What's-It, who tells them of a Wizard that will help them find Arin's sister. They arrive at the Wizard's home, and after some "magic" (really just a projection of film on a screen) learn that Princess Aruzia was kidnapped by the Gutangs and kept in the Hard to Find City. Grubby realizes that is the same place they were looking for to find the treasure. After camping for the night, Tweeg sees the group flying away, and hitches a ride on the rudder of the Airship.
Once they arrive at the Hard to Find City, the four begin to search. They easily overcome the Gutangs and use their masks to disguise themselves. Arin eventually finds his sister, frees her, and there is a warm reunion between the two. As they make their way through the city, Teddy finds an Illiop vault. There, he discovers the other half of the medallion still in place on the wall. He unites the two, and discovers the true meaning of the words: "Only the Pure of Spirit, May find the Treasure of Knowledge."
The medallion is sealed together, and the treasure appears along with a pillar that rises showing six Crystals. The group takes the Crystals and leaves the treasure behind, declaring that the Crystals are much more important. Tweeg, on the other hand, revels in his newfound wealth and spends his time plotting on how to get it all down from the mountain. As soon as he removes the treasure from the vault, however, it all fades away.
After a battle with the Gutangs, the group of friends is able to escape the City and return Princess Aruzia home. The special ends with Wooly waving to the Airship as they fly away triumphantly
- B.J. Ward: Ilana Ruxpin (voice)
- Phil Baron: Teddy Ruxpin (voice)
- Will Ryan: Grubby, Tweeg, Wooly (voice)
- Tony Pope: Gimmick (voice)
- Katie Leigh: Princess Aruzia (voice)
- Russi Taylor: Leota (voice)