Author James Patterson Reminisces About His Surprise Side Gig: Writing the Toys "R" Us Jingle

The bestselling author co-wrote the incredibly catchy tune in 1982

<p>Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post/Getty; Matthew Horwood/Getty</p> James Patterson; a Toys

Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post/Getty; Matthew Horwood/Getty

James Patterson; a Toys 'R' Us store

James Patterson is a Toys "R" Us kid!

The prolific 77-year-old author has co-written novels with Dolly Parton and Bill Clinton, but his collaboration with fellow author and advertising executive Linda Kaplan Thaler on the iconic Toys "R" Us jingle may be his most recognizable work to kids who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s.

Patterson stopped by Live with Kelly and Mark on June 6 to talk about his latest novel, Eruption, but host Kelly Ripa turned the conversation to the theme song that is no doubt stuck in your head right now.

“My favorite part of when I was doing research on you was that you wrote the jingle that we all know and love and was a staple in all of our lives,” Ripa told Patterson.

Related: Toys 'R' Us Is Making a Comeback! What to Know About Big Return Thanks to Macy's

“I wrong some of the language,” Patterson said, noting that Thaler wrote the music.

The bestselling author then sang the jingle’s unforgettable opening lyric: “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys "R" Us kid.”

<p>Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty</p> A Toys 'R' Us store in Hong Kong in 2019

Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty

A Toys 'R' Us store in Hong Kong in 2019

As Thaler told Inside Edition in 2018, she and Patterson co-wrote the song in 1982 when they were both working for the J. Walter Thompson ad agency. “I wanted to think like a child because I was imagining kids singing it,” she said of writing the tune on a toy piano.

“I knew that I had done something that was going to be catchy because there was a little 4-year-old running on the street, and his mother said to him, ‘If you don’t stop singing that song, we are never gonna make it to school,’ ” she recalled.

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Thaler added that she and Patterson thought the jingle would be a “one-time thing” and had no idea it would have the staying power it did, playing in Toys "R" Us commercials throughout the ’80s and ’90s.

“That’s a big moment in my life,” Patterson told Ripa and Mark Consuelos. “It was good, it was great. That’s a fun one and kids obviously loved it. And we do remember it, it’s great.”

<p>Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post/Getty</p> James Patterson in 2013

Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post/Getty

James Patterson in 2013

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Following a rough few years, Toys "R" Us has made something of a comeback. The once-ubiquitous toy retailer filed for bankruptcy in 2018, closing all of its U.S. stores over the next few years. But in 2021, its parent company announced plans to open Toys "R" Us stores within 400 Macy’s locations across the U.S. The same year, a new flagship store opened in the American Dream shopping complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with another store opening in Bloomington, Minnesota’s Mall of America late last year.

Through the ups and downs, though, that jingle persists. As Consuelos told Patterson, pointing to his head, “It’s stuck here forever.”

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