Big Mouth Billy Bass soon became a full-tilt, pop- culture phenomenon. BOATING Magazine's ever-vigilant Tech Team beat the trend and performed a product test of Billy ("Making Waves," May 2000) to rave reviews. Soon Billy was hanging with Whoopi Goldberg on Hollywood Squares. Regis Philbin contacted Gemmy to design a special Billy Bass that used a recording of Philbin singing "Pennies from Heaven" as a farewell gift to Kathie Lee Gifford. Soon everyone had to have one - even the Queen of England and her daughter, Princess. Although Gemmy officials won't release figures, Big Mouth Billy Bass is estimated to have racked up more than $100,000,000 in sales last year. Not bad for a gadget that some retailers guess costs $4.50 to $6 to manufacture. Billy's success unleashed the inevitable cast of knockoffs and copy?catfish that include Boogie Bass, Travis Trout, Salmo the Salmon, Rocky Lobster, and Jaws, a singing shark that belts out a rendition of "Mack the Knife."