Sunday, November 25, 2012

BC2012: Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont

Oh my God, I loved this book! My wife got a kick out of it, too. The authors go through dozens of "The Lost Toys, Tastes & Trends of the '70s & '80s" ranging from "After School Specials" to ZOOM. Weebles, "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, Fisher Price little people, The Love Boat (as well as Fantasy Island, of course), Slime, Jolt Cola, Encyclopedia Brown books, View-Master, Malibu Barbie, and Schoolhouse Rock are all included.

One trend I had completely forgotten was "pen pals," where kids would exchange letters with someone living far away, often in another country. The idea seems so quaint today when someone in India can read my blog entries mere seconds after those thoughts have left my brain.

Cooper and Bellmont have done their research not just regarding the past, but also "where they are now." Surprisingly, a lot of the things we thought disappeared forever years ago have either been resurrected or never went away. You can still buy candy cigarettes, Moon Boots, Sea-Monkeys, and Shrinky-Dinks. Walmart reintroduced Garanimals in 2008.

I learned a lot, too. I had no idea Stretch Armstrong was filled with corn syrup!

It was especially fun to share this book with my wife and compare childhood memories. The authors also drop in references to things that didn't merit their own entries. There is even a detailed index, a particularly rare feature in an "A to Z" formatted book. I only wish the publishers had given the authors another 50 pages to fill (they apologize in advance for omissions*). I truly didn't want this book to end. Smiles, everyone, smiles!

* Like Merlin. Simon is included, but what about Merlin?

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