Thursday, June 30, 2011

There's a new girl in town, with a brand new ... creamer?

Sometimes I browse the TV props on eBay, and here are some great ones for sale:

The creamer from Mel's Diner on "Alice"

A coaster that looks more like a saucer from "The Cosby Show"

The coffeepot from "Bewitched"

A plate from 'Leave It to Beaver"

An ugly but oh-so-Seventies ash tray from "The Brady Bunch" (shown above)

Mr. T's ammo vest from "The A Team"

Jack's bedroom change tray from "Three's Company"

Metal dish from "Little House on the Prairie"

Teapot from "The Waltons"

Your questions: Sodalicious, Whip 'n Chill

We get some great email from readers commenting on or asking about lost beloved items. We'll try and share a few when we get them and invite anyone reading to share your thoughts and memories. Here are a few"

From Judy:
I used to make a dessert called Whip 'n Chill.  It was a dessert-like mousse and it was delicious!  It came in a box and you added milk and blended it with a mixer.  I believe it was made in the 70's.

Also from Judy:
My 20-something daughters used to love a snack item called Sodalicious.  It was gummy and chewy in texture, similar to Gummi Bears.  These came in little packets and were soda-flavored.  I believe they came in root beer, grape, orange, and cola flavors. If you can find out anything about these items, I'd love it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Join us for a chat!

Sarah D. Bunting and the folks at the very awesome Tomato Nation have picked "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?" as their next read-along book, and have invited us to take part in a live chat on Wednesday night, starting at 8:30 Eastern. If you've read the book, and even if you haven't, we hope you'll join us on Wednesday.

All you have to do is visit the site, and share your questions, comments and favorite memories from the '70s and '80s. Talk with you then!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Classic Clip Monday: "Hemo the Magnificent"

On Thursday, we had a great discussion of short school films that we watched and would love to see again. Both here on the blog and on Facebook, people contributed their memories.

My friend Stephanie remembers watching (and passing out at) "Hemo the Magnificent," about the circulatory system.

I started to play it on YouTube, and my husband Rob instantly remembered it and knew what came next. It is a little bloody, but also fascinating. And directed by FRANK CAPRA!

Was this one of your school films?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Funky Food Friday: King Vitaman

There were two kinds of moms in the '70s. One let you buy whatever cereal you wanted (also known as: my mom!). Others tried (often fighting a losing battle) to get you to eat healthier cereal, and there weren't a lot of choices back then. Kix, maybe. Or even Life.

I get the impression that my mom was sold by the King Vitaman name into thinking it as somehow healthier for us, but because it had a dressed-up character on the box, she figured we'd go for it. The cereal came along in 1970 and yes, it's still being made today.

Jay Ward (Rocky and Bulwinkle!) created the mascot, and according to Wikipedia, ex-vaudevillian George Mann was the jolly looking king on the box. He died in 1977 but lived on via the box photo until he was replaced by an animated king in 2000.

I remember it being kind of Cap'n Crunchy, and the shapes were little crowns. One online commenter says that in the 1980s, the company took half the sugar out and the cereal lost its appeal, but I can't vouch for that.

It was never my favorite cereal, but when it was all mom would buy, it did fine. Was it a part of your breakfast routine?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book giveaway

Our pals at Retroland are giving away two copies of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?"! Just head over to their site or Facebook page to find out how to enter.

"Winter of the Witch" and other elusive classroom short films

While neither Brian nor I remember "Winter of the Witch," we love this story (by the very cool Jennifer Mendelsohn) because it's EXACTLY what our book gets at. That one nagging memory that you slowly, over years, convince yourself you dreamed, or that somehow you were the only one it happened to. And then when you find a kindred spirit who remembers it (or open our book and find it there), it's EUPHORIA! Like finally scratching that out-of-reach itch.
"Winter of the Witch" was a 1969 short that a lot of kids saw in school, and it later haunted their minds for decades. Magic trippy pancakes! Further proof that filmmakers like the Kroffts were far from alone in their unique Sixties craziness.

Did you see it? Or is there another film, maybe seen in school, maybe not, that occasionally seeks out the corners of your mind? Post it here and we'll put our retro community minds to work!

I'll start us off with mine:

In second grade, we had to watch a short about how to use the phone. I don't remember much about it except I can totally visualize the interior of that house in my mind even today, and I think the kids were taught to answer it "Johnson residence, Kim speaking" or whatever their names were. And I wanted to answer OUR phone all fancy that way but no one did it at our house and looking back, why were kids encouraged to tell total strangers and possible pervs their real name anyway? I know, I know, different times. Can anyone find this short online for me? Would love to see it again

Monday, June 20, 2011

Smurfy new friends

Had awesome interviews this morning at Seattle's Q13 news and KOMO-AM radio, and are prepping for a reading/signing/trivia quiz/prize giveaway at University Books at 7 pm. But already the highlight of our day has happened -- we met the Smurfs. Papa Smurf, Smurfette and the third one, who introduced itself as "Normal Smurf." As if any Smurfs are normal.

Classic Clip Monday: Leggy Fashion Dolls

The awesome Matt of Scrubbles burned some old commercials to DVD, and one of them was for these Leggy Fashion Dolls.

Man, I don't remember them (they were only out one year, 1972-1973) but I feel like they were so weird I should. They were 10 inches tall and 7 inches of that were legs! Here are some great photos.

The Wikipedia entry is written in a very British way, but these were out in North America and Europe both. The entry says dolls very much like these were released in 2007 but didn't last either.

Crazy Foam

We were discussing Mr. Bubble turning 50 and it made me think of Crazy Foam! Only I couldn't remember what it was called until Carole on our Facebook site remembered!
These were those straight cans of spray bath foam with plastic heads--superheroes, clowns, etc--on the top. The foam squirted out their mouths, or, as Carole said "nothing like having Batman puke in your tub."

Plaid Stallions found an ad for it and it was only 88 cents a can! I wouldn't think anyone would buy Robin but the Plaid Stallion poster says he got that one, and actually wanted it. I also love the anonymous comment on that post: "Back on one of those late 70's Christmas mornings, my older brother shot some Superman Crazy Foam into my mouth. Needless to say, we're not very close these days."

Not all of the heroes barfed up the foam. Another Plaid Stallions post shows that Spidey actually hucked it out his nose.

Check out this vintage commercial for it. I think the kid squirting out pretty much the whole can of Smurf foam is pretty accurate. As another commentor notes, that'd be $2-$3 per bath.

Oh, and dig this COLOR version of Crazy Foam. I remember this too -- not the colors, but that it was thick enough you could ball it up and shape it. Though in this ad when the girl smashes it into her face it looks a little like she's just killed herself with it.

Did you have this stuff? Any fond memories? Which hero/character did you have?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Made our day

Thanks so much to Wil Wheaton for tweeting that our book is "awesome." We think he is, too! It's a mutual admiration society.

In Seattle? Join us (or hear us, or watch us) on Monday

Seattleites: You can see us Monday on Q-13 news at 9:15 am, hear us on KOMO AM at 11 am, and win prizes/hear a reading/get a signed copy at University Books (4326 University Way NE) at 7 pm!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Seattle book readings

Just a reminder that the first of our two Seattle book readings is this Saturday! I'm kind of terrified no one will come to these. Brian and I will both be at them...his very first visit to the Emerald City!
Saturday, June 18: Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way NE., Lake Forest Park
6:30 PM (I feel like this is a weird time...but it is at 6:30 not 7)
We'll have 70s-80s trivia, prizes, snacks, props, will do a little reading from the book and sign books for anyone who wants. Completely casual but would love to see you there.

If you can't make it, there is another one!
Monday, June 20: University Books, 4326 University Way, N.E., Seattle
7 pm (this seems a more normal time)
And again, retro trivia, prizes, snacks, props, a reading and book signings.

Please come to either or both! Bring friends! Relatives, even!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mr. Bubble

Which rotund, anthropomorphic and iconic mascot just turned 50? Nope -- KoolAid Man hit that milestone a few years back. Over the weekend, Mr. Bubble celebrated a half century of keeping kids clean, with the world's largest bubble bath.

While we were at the Mall of America Barnes & Noble in Bloomington, Minn., doing our first book signing on Saturday, Mr. Bubble was just across the street at the Water Park of America, splashing and surfing with hundreds of his closest swimsuit-clad friends to mark the occasion. (Not bad for a guy who's been around since 1961.)
Did your childhood bathtime ritual include this li'l pink dude? You can still find him today, in a variety of forms, including bubble bath, foam soap, body wash and hand soap.

Monday, June 13, 2011

KARE 11 Saturday segment

We were on KARE 11 Saturday in the Twin Cities, chatting about a bunch of the fun toys, games and food we cover in the book. Thanks a lot to everybody who came out to our first-ever book signing, at Barnes & Noble Mall of America! Here's a link.

Friday, June 10, 2011

TODAY show

We talked about the book with Kathie Lee and Hoda on the TODAY show. Crazy!

Our Today Show segment!

Check out this great MSN video: What happened to Pop Rocks, Pudding Pops?

Here's the latest "Pudding Pops" media coverage

While we're waiting for the Today Show segment to air, here's a look at some of the latest and greatest print, broadcast and online coverage of "Pudding Pops," including -- most recently --, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Retroist.

Funky Food Friday: Almost Home Cookies

Oh man, saw these Almost Home packaged chocolate-chip cookies on Hillary's I'm Remembering and about fell over.

I am not a big cookie fan (I know! Sacrilege! Not a big pizza person either!), but Almost Home, with their sampler-designed bag, totally stuck in my head.

They were a Nabisco product, and from the commercial below I guess they weren't those big soft cookies, but they look like they were.

(Also, how awesome is this 1987 commercial? And SNOOPY'S GETTING MARRIED? What what what?)

Do you remember these cookies? Or the name of the soft packaged cookies that is totally escaping me now, but that came in blue and red packages?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

We're on the Today Show!

We taped a segment for Today today! It went pretty darn well -- we had a huge table of toys, games and food from the book to talk about. And Hoda is a huge Quisp fan -- who knew? It's set to air at about 10:30ish on Friday.

This has all been so surreal -- thanks a ton for your interest and support!

Scented Swatch watches

Swatch watches symbolized the switch from the 1970s to the 1980s for me. My 1970s watch was a clunky black digital, with a band that didn't bend and made you sweat and the same ugly digital face as any other digital watch. Swatches, with their bright colors and fun attitudes, were the 1980s on your wrist.

It took me a long time to get into the Swatch world, but I think eventually I did get one. I don't think, however, that it was this awesome scented one, Granita di Frutta. But that smell will forever stay with me because I was a Seventeen magazine addict in the days before Sassy hit, and if I recall correctly, they had an ad for this particular Swatch, scented in the same smell. I loved it, and the smell didn't flee the magazine insert or whatever, it stuck around for months. In fact, looking at that link from Hillary Buckholtz's great "I'm Remembering," I think that's a picture of the magazine and the scented ad itself. Here's a closeup on Flickr.

This 1985 Chicago Tribune article (bless you, Internet) says Granita di Frutta watches were the ones with "bands in Italian snow-cone flavors that are scented to match their colors: iced mint, sweet raspberry and mellow banana." Raspberry is the only one I ever heard of, then, but man, has its scent lingered in my brain, all these years.

Here's another blogger who went through her issue of Seventeen and reports that the Swatch scent still lingers.

Did you have a Swatch? A scented one? Did you know someone who did?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rainbow stickers

I found the Slouching Towards Awesomeness blog because they mentioned our book (thank you!), but I had to link to this entry on transparent rainbow stickers. I had one on my bedroom window, facing the road, probably for all of high school, and I LOVED it.

It was beautiful, it was colorful, the transparency made it almost seem like part of the window, not just a sticker. There were tons of stickers stuck all over the '80s, and many were rainbows. I've written entries before raving about crazy scratch-n-sniff stickers. But this rainbow sticker may have been my absolute favorite, stuck right above the white window pane where I once scribbled the lyrics to Air Supply's "I'm All Out Of Love." (In PENCIL, Mom, OK, it was PENCIL!)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

30 Rock, here we come!

We're thrilled to announce we're taking a quick trip to New York this be on the Today Show! We're taping tomorrow, and it's set to air on Friday in the fourth hour-- with Hoda and Kathie Lee.

We'll chat about the book, and show off a bunch of fun, retro toys, food and games.

It's going to be a whirlwind trip, but we'll update you from the road as much as we can!

"Pudding Pops" is in bookstores and online today!

"Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?” is officially available! Thanks a million to everybody for all the great support as we’ve waited for today to get here. We really do appreciate it. And despite all the writing, blog discussions and interviews that have happened already, it’s really all just getting started!

Here’s a little look at some of our thoughts from the last several years of putting the book together:

Gael's favorite entries: Atari 2600, Six Million Dollar Man doll

Brian’s favorite entries: Hugo, Man of a Thousand Faces; Roosevelt Franklin

Entry Gael wishes she could go back and add into the book: "Emergency!"

Entry Brian wishes he could go back and add into the book: “CHiPs”

Gael's most precious retro possession: 1972 Mystery Date game

Brian’s most precious retro possession: Hugo, Man of a Thousand Faces

Retro food Gael would bring back if she could:
Marathon candy bars

Retro food Brian would bring back if he could: Koogle

Most surprising thing Gael learned while researching the book: Milky Way Midnight candy bars used to be labeled Forever Yours

Most surprising thing Brian learned while researching the book: Shakey’s Pizza is still around!

Most depressing thing Gael learned while researching the book: Fisher-Price Little People aren't little any more.

Most depressing thing Brian learned while researching the book: Not a lot of people seem to remember the classic -- and very strange -- kiddie-gangster flick “Bugsy Malone”

Stay tuned!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Candy Cigarettes, Taco Flavor Doritos and Pepsi Light

With just one day (!) until the launch of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes & Trends of the '70s & '80s," we thought we'd talk about some of our favorite childhood foods. Mmm...candy cigarettes, Taco Flavor Doritos and Pepsi Light.

"Pudding Pops" goes coast to coast

Did you hear Gael's interview on NPR's "All Things Considered" over the weekend, interspersed with all sorts of fun audio clips from days gone by? The story, accompanying article, photos and an excerpt from the book are all posted here.

Here's a little taste! "Do you have the Eight is Enough theme music burned into your brain? Do you fall into a Proustian reverie at the fizzy punch of Pop Rocks? Are you old enough to remember carrying a metal lunch box to school — and clobbering your friends with it? Then you're the perfect age to appreciate a new book called Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes & Trends of the '70s & '80s. It's a catalogue of things designed to make you smile and say, 'Oh yeah, I remember that!'"

Friday, June 3, 2011

Funky Food Friday: Vanilly Crunch, and other short-lived cereals

So what's the short-lived cereal that you remember best? For some reason, mine is Vanilly Crunch, a vanilla-flavored Cap'n Crunch version whose mascot was Wilma the Winsome White Whale.

In the commercial below, she swims up to Cap'n Crunch's ship, blows him kisses, and then opens her mouth to reveal box after box of the stuff.

Cap'n Crunch also had another short-lived flavor, Punch Crunch. Who wants fruit punch-flavored cereal? Why was a hippo their mascot?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Pudding Pops" is popping up in some great places

Fashion Plates! Underoos! Dynamite Magazine! Jen Chaney just posted a really fun piece on her Celebritology blog on, where we weigh in on whether some of the iconic stuff from the '70s and '80s might come back. A shorter version is set to run in Sunday's Post.

Visit our "In the News" page on for more links to news coverage!

Please vote for "Pudding Pops"!

Sarah Bunting over at Tomato Nation has included "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?" as one of the books in the running for their next Tomato Nation Read-Along. Visitors to this awesome site will read and discuss the winning book later this month. So please head over there and vote for us! We think we'd be a great fit. But hurry, voting closes early next week. Thanks!

Stretch Armstrong and Stretch Monster

Stretch Armstrong was one of those awesome toys. He was more than a doll or an action figure -- he was kind of like a game. There were no rules that we knew of, but it wasn't difficult to figure out either. You stretched him. And stretched him some more, and usually poked him with a scissors or math compass or something to see exactly what kind of goo was inside.

He also had friends. There was Stretch Serpent. An Incredible Hulk Stretch. Eventually, there was a dog, named Fetch Armstrong. There was a see-through alien guys named Stretch X-Ray. But best of all was Stretch Monster, his green lizardy enemy.

They still have stretchy toys -- Whoopi Goldberg did the voice of a stretchy purple octopus in "Toy Story 3," but these were true classics. They're trying to recapture the magic with Taylor Lautner starring in a "Stretch Armstrong" movie, but that's just kinda sad.

There's even a Stretch Armstrong Web site remembering the toys. He doesn't have good news for those hoping to acquire an old one on eBay, saying that only 40,000 Stretches were made, and even fewer of the weird little friends, like the monsters. But check out how many the site owner has!

Was there a Stretch in your life?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Our reading/signing at Barnes & Noble Har Mar in Roseville, Minn., that was originally scheduled for June 9 has been rescheduled for Monday, June 13, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. We're looking forward to it, and hope to see you there!

Check out our site for all the latest on bookstore events and media appearances.

Vincent Price

Who didn't love Vincent Price? Whether you thought of him in his classic horror movies, as a guest on "Bionic Woman" or "The Brady Bunch Hour," his "Muppet Show" segment or "Thriller" voiceover, because of his goofy apple sculpture-shrunken head thing, he was awesome.

Price would have been 100 last week, there's a wonderful Metafilter post about his great career, including this photo of Price with the father of one Metafilter poster.

How could one voice be so creepy, yet so courteous? Vincent Price has no modern equivalent.