Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Behold — Wacky Packages from the near-distant past (1974 or thereabouts)

This tiny shoebox from my Mom's closet (technically my brother's former closet, now the parental gym room), has been such a wealth of memories this week. First we explored toys of 1974 through a Kenner rebate booklet. Then we delighted in the sights and sounds of the original Battlestar Galactica, via a couple of absurd trading cards.

And now, the pièce de résistance—my brother's Wacky Pack collection. I had a collection too but it might have been incorporated herein, or perhaps it's in ANOTHER shoebox in my former closet (we can hope). I just remember having more than what I've posted here (mostly from Series 9, it would appear). Also, with one exception, I left out dated humor, which would mostly entail the making fun of the homeless, once known as "bums" and "hobos." (See sample below: Uncle Bum's convicted rice is prefered (sic) by panhandlers, freeloaders and hobos in jails. Net Sentence: 30 Days)

Not much commentary. What could I add? Wacky Packs were an obsession for us. And I thank my Mom for hanging onto these collectible stickers for FORTY YEARS now. We can't seem to throw these out, however dopey they are. As I read through these once more, I kept thinking, these are so dumb, so, so dumb. And yet by the seventh card, I was giggling. By the tenth, I was laughing out loud. Pure and simple, satirical consumer products, drawn by future underground legends including Art Spiegelman, Kim Deitch, Bill Griffiths and Drew Friedman, were tonic to me.

The 70s were not an easy decade for avoiding consumerism. Some families fled to the wilderness, but there was no escape. We were a generation saturated by advertising and now we're drowning in it. And if marketing geniuses have their way, we can only drown further. Drown and drown again!

We might as well poke fun at it.

1 comment:

Dee See said...

Wacky Packages! I couldn't wait to buy them with my allowance every week. Unfortunately, I stuck them to every available surface. Remember the gum that came in the packs? My favorite was Crust Toothpaste.