Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's Wacky!

Early June, 1980.  My sister Jen and I are up early, and we're on a mission.  We've got our 10-speeds ready to go.  We make the 1.5 mile trek to Hansen's Dairy to see if we'll discover the treasure.....

SUCCESS!!!  We've both snagged the elusive Wacky Packages stickers once again!

And such was the routine during the Summer of '80.  Perhaps I should've commiserated with Jen before writing this post; I believe I've amalgamated my memories of this summer.  I can't remember whether this was a daily, weekly, or monthly occurrence.  But the soundtrack of this memory always includes Gary Numan's "Cars".

I also don't know if this was just a Green Bay/Ashwaubenon thing, a Wisconsin thing, a regional thing or if this was a nationwide craze that summer.  All I know is that the good people at Hansen's Dairy were geniuses for selling these packages.  It didn't hurt that they had amazing ice cream, too! (Sadly, all of the original Hansen's stores are now gone; the last one closed last year when the owner filed for bankruptcy.  There's a reincarnation but as they say, "You can't go home again.")

For those of you uninitiated into the world of Wacky Packages, it's a great concept:  take iconic brand names, spoof them, add R. Crumb-esque illustrations, and package them for kids and advertising aficionados. Collect 'em All!  Incidentally, my collection here was part of my "buy back my childhood" phase; these are from Ebay.  There is only one of my original stickers in existence and it's stuck on an avocado green storage compartment box in my basement.  :D   I know it was Wacky Packages that fueled my love affair with print advertising; I've always loved advertising in all forms (first with TV, of course) but I would pore over these stickers, marveling at every little nuance (even the weights and trademarks are spoofed!  That's high art to an 11 year-old).

To both my sister's and my wonderment, Wacky Packages have returned - and THIS time, they've got erasers.  As you can see here, there is also a corresponding sticker that's much smaller than the original, which is fine with me!  The price is a little different, too; I paid $2.99 for the new set and I recall the old ones being either $.69 or $.99.  Such is 31 years' inflation.  :D


  1. I had a friend who used to carry a picture of Pride & Joy dishwashing liquid in his wallet and he'd say to people, "do you want to see my pride & joy?" Of course, thinking it would be a photo of his children or wife, or both, people would enthusiastically (sometimes) agree...and then, of course, the moans would begin!

  2. OMG Annie - I have that same wallet photo! :D I got it from a motivational speaker. That's so funny! :D

  3. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED those Whacky Packs! No one knew what I was talking about. So happy to see this post!