Big Mouth Billy Bass Is Being Reincarnated Thanks to Amazon’s Alexa

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A 20-year-old fish has a new lease on life thanks in part to a two-year-old prank. - Credit by Animation: Dianna McDougall; Sources: Getty Images, YouTube
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Big Mouth Billy Bass, the plaque-mounted animatronic fish that croons punny songs like “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” “I Will Survive” and “Take Me to the River” while flapping his tail and moving his head to serenade you, is being reincarnated with an Alexa integration that allows him to respond to voice commands.

You’ll still need a compatible Echo device, but, once paired, Big Mouth Billy Bass “lip syncs to the spoken responses of Alexa and dances to the beat of songs from Amazon Music.”

He can also tell you about the weather and news and provide random facts, moving his fish lips along with Alexa’s responses. He also reacts to timers, alarms and notifications “by moving his head and tail.” What’s more, he sings “Fishin’ Time.”

And it gets better: When this Billy is plugged in, he responds: “Woo-hoo, that feels good!”

Big Mouth Billy Bass is one of the new offerings from the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit, a collection of self-service APIs and technical documentation Amazon released in September. Seasonal lighting and décor company Gemmy Industries used it to create the Alexa-connected bass.

It is available for pre-order on Amazon for $39.99 and will be released Dec. 1.

According to an announcement, Big Mouth Billy Bass was first sold in 1999 and became “a pop culture phenomenon.” Indeed, country store/restaurant Cracker Barrel calls Billy an “iconic singing wall decoration.”

The idea to sync up Billy with Alexa reportedly hails from 2016 when a developer hacked his Alexa to speak through the fish.

Just two short years later, here we are.

“We’re thrilled to work with Gemmy and bring customers fun, delightful accessories that extend Alexa’s capabilities,” said Pete Thompson, vice president of the Alexa Voice Service, in a statement. “With the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit, Gemmy has created playful new experiences that build on what customers already know and love about Alexa.”

@lisalacy Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.