Monday, February 14, 2011


May we present our own little Valentine's Day present: Our BOOK, "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," is now available for pre-order at Amazon and other online bookstores. (Publication date is June 7.)

FROM GAEL: We started working on the concept for the book back in early 2007, but really, it began further back than that. For me, it began when I first became really aware that I was not a baby boomer like my six siblings are. Coonskin caps and Bobby Sherman and Ozzie and Harriet, folk music and hippies and worrying about the draft -- I knew what these things were, but couldn't relate on a personal level.

Yet anyone who grew up in the '70s and '80s would have drowned in baby-boom culture if they didn't figure out how to swim with the current. It surrounded us, in our music, our TV, our movies, our products. Growing up in a world of things that aren't really yours is an odd feeling. And when I started Pop Culture Junk Mail in 1999, a big part of it was about celebrating the culture I grew up with, from Malibu Barbie to "Schoolhouse Rock."

Some people think remembering this kind of pop culture is useless and the memories a waste, fluff with no meaning. I disagree. My first example is always the skateboarders in "Dogtown and Z-Boys." They became such fierce skaters because they skated in abandoned pools. Pools that were probably great big sparkling luxurious pools of water when the baby boom kids were growing up, but once the kids of the '70s came along, had been emptied and started to crack. Yet the skaters turned them into something amazing.

I believe kids of the '70s and '80s have had to do that in numerous parts of their lives. Some of us were practically raised by television, and thankfully there were shows like "Sesame Street" and "Electric Company" to make that not quite so lonely. Lots of us were kids of broken homes, and when we needed to turn to someone for advice, Judy Blume books and Sassy Magazine often came through for us.

Our book remembers all these things, and so many more. Pen pals. Pay phones. Charlie's Angels trading cards. Marathon candy bars. Mystery Date. "Dark Shadows." Time-Life series books. "The Love Boat." Story songs. Killer animal movies. Time for Timer. Big families. We share our own memories and also tell you whatever happened to the item in question. Is it gone, still going strong, or has it been revised and reintroduced?

We hope you'll like the book. It's as close as we could come to jumping back in a time machine and stepping out on one day of our past. Reading it will take you along with us.

FROM BRIAN: I echo everything that Gael says, and just want to add that "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?" in its final form is exactly what we'd hoped for when we started noodling this FOUR YEARS AGO. It's a lot like this blog, full of memories of the toys, food, school supplies, books, movies and trends that impacted us -- and you -- growing up. What's been especially gratifying as we've shared some of those memories here on the blog over the past year is that we keep hearing the same reactions from you guys: "I remember that!" and "Man, I forgot about that one!" That's exactly what we were hoping for, and can't wait for you to see the actual book.

This is a big deal for us, and we're excited to share it with you. I've been obsessed with pop culture since I was a kid. TV, movies, toys and food all fascinated me; while most kids were thrilled when their school's football team won state, I did backflips the day my parents had cable installed. Both Gael and I have an unabated affection for the trends -- and the stuff -- that made our fellow kids of the '70s and '80s, and us, who we are today, and we're glad you do, too.

June 7, here we come!

1 comment:

Shannon said...

It seems like the media tried to force feed baby boomer nostalgia down my throat as a kid but then something changed one day.

I used to work with a lot of people younger than me and they all were jealous of my status as a child of the 80s, and pop culture has been noticing too. Ever notice how there is an I love the 70s (1 and 2) an I love the 90s (1 and 2) and 3 I love the 80s. While there are NO TV shows called I love the 60s or 50s. All the baby boomer stuff is now treated a as history being rediscoverd a'la Mad Men and nobody ever says where were you when Kennedy died anymore. Now it's more of an emphasis on stuff we do remember like the Challenger explosion.