The company was founded as The Wallace Berrie Company in 1966 by Wallace Berrie. In 1979 the company obtained worldwide rights to The Smurfs and released figurines in 1979 at $1.50 each. The figurines became one of the best-selling toys of 1982. That year, the company acquired the Applause division from Knickerbocker Toys, which came with the licenses to Disney, Sesame Street, and Raggedy Ann and Andy. In 1986, the company changed its name to Applause Inc. and released California Raisins merchandise. It would also produce various Batman merchandise, focusing largely on small figures and dolls, from the late 1980s into the early 1990s. In 1992, Applause released the Magic Trolls Babies toy line.
From 1991 to 1995, the company built a strong retail business by focusing on its classic entertainment licensed brands with award-winning in-store merchandising displays to stabilize revenues and profitability as a platform for incremental growth from entertainment event properties,e.g. The Lion King, Pocohantas, Little Mermaid, Star Trek, and Star Wars. Also during this period, one of the most significant events was the company's acquisition of the licensed rights to the very popular Looney Tunes characters.
In late 1995 the company acquired Woodland Hills, California company, Dakin Inc., the most widely recognized brand name in stuffed animals. Dakin was founded in 1955 by Richard Dakin as an import business. This acquisition strengthened Applause's generic stuffed animal business to balance out its already strong entertainment license portfolio.
In 2005, CEO Bob Solomon died, and the company was forced to file for bankruptcy. It was acquired in a bankruptcy auction by Russ Berrie.