I Found My Wacky Packs, Part 3

I started this series (Part 1, Part 2) about a month ago, and didn’t mean to let Part 3 wait this long… But through a busy schedule and demands on my time, I’ve become quite a bit… well… “scatterbrained” seems a nice, polite term for it.

For those new to this series, not long ago I found the covers to a looseleaf notebook to which I, as a child, had affixed all of my Wacky Packages. This was in the mid-1970’s, at the height of Wacky Pack Mania, when EVERYBODY was collecting them.

Here’s today’s cover:
Wacky Packs Page 3

And here are close-ups of the stickers, largely (but not completely) free of commentary.
Wacky Packs Page 3_1

Wacky Packs Page 3_2

Wacky Packs Page 3_3

Wacky Packs Page 3_4

Wacky Packs Page 3_6

This “Beanball” pack reminds me that there the always interesting and edifying Topps Archives recently had a couple of posts (here and here) about the Wacky Packages which made fun of Topps products (which was done to further underline the satirical aspect of it… “See, we poke fun at ourselves!”)

Wacky Packs Page 3_5

STWTW: I Found My Wacky Packages, Part 1

…Another in a series of “So That’s Where That Went” posts…

Nearly two months ago I wrote a post about a big hobby regret of mine.  That regret was that, as a kid, I stuck most of my Wacky Packages stickers on a notebook.

In that post, I’d mentioned that I still had the Wacky-encrusted covers of that notebook, but I didn’t remember where it was.

In the past two months, I had a minor epiphany… I was looking for that in my collectibles, but it was a school notebook, so maybe it’s in with my school stuff…

BINGO!  I struck paydirt, and I decided that I would share my stuck stickers in all of their 40-year-old glory.  I’m going to dedicate one post to each of the sides of the front and back covers… and we’ll start with what I think was the inside front cover… I’ve lost track of which was which, and it doesn’t really matter anyway.

Page 1 Page 1_1 Page 1_2 Page 1_3 Page 1_4 Page 1_5 Page 1_6

Blog Bat-Around: My Wacky Regret

This post is part of a “Bat Around” question posed by the esteemed proprietor of the Garvey Cey Russell Lopes blog:

What cards have you owned that you regret are no longer in your collection?

I have to admit, I didn’t think I’d be taking part in this because I couldn’t think of any cards that really were worth writing about. I haven’t done a whole lot of trading or selling, and most of it has been either duplicates or card I had no interest in keeping.

Just as I was about to punt, I thought of another angle on the subject, and then most of this post formed in my head before I had a chance to attempt to write it all down…

Back when I was a kid in the mid 1970’s, there were a lot of different toys and games and collectibles to occupy the youth of America, but there was one thing that united everybody in my school (and many other schools)… It seemed like every kid, boys and girls alike, spent some of their allowances on Topps Wacky Packages stickers, commonly known as “Wacky Packs”.
1979 Topps Wacky Packages Gyppy Pop

For those who aren’t familiar with Wacky Packs, they were stickers that featured parodies of common products of the day… but they weren’t gentle little parodies, they were like Mad Magazine in a pack…. funny, subversive and very nicely illustrated by professional artists.
1970's Topps Wacky Packages_0004

But they were stickers… and if you’re a kid, what do you do with stickers? You stick them on things.  (Joe from 1975 adds “That’s what stickers are for.  Duh.”)

Unlike many of the sticker sets that would follow in later years, there was no such thing as a Wacky Packages album, so we were left to stick them wherever we saw fit.
1970's Topps Wacky Packages_0001
Like many kids, my preferred target for my Wacky Packs was the looseleaf binder I used for school. I eventually had the entire binder, front and back, inside and outside, covered with Wacky Packs. That binder eventually got too beat-up to use, but I hung on to it because, well, it had all my Wacky Packs on it. When it started to fall apart, I kept the two main pieces and I still have them…. somewhere.
1970's Topps Wacky Packages_0003

With the exception of the “Gyppy Pop” which I got late last year, the Wacky Packs I’m sharing here are “doubles” I had… No point in sticking them on my binder when I’ve already got the same one on there, right?

…But if I’d only saved my Wacky Packs like I’d saved all of my baseball and football and hockey cards… or even like I’d hung on to my small assortment of “Welcome Back, Kotter” cards… I’d have a really nice collection enshrined in 9-pocket pages, rather than a pair of battered pieces of a looseleaf binder, lost in a box that’s buried in a closet.

Before I close this out, I’d like to thank GCRL for reviving the Bat-around concept. Back several years ago when bat-arounds were more common, I would always enjoy reading them and I’d think “Man, if I had a blog, I could have a lot of fun with these”…. and because of the way things go, I started my blog too late to participate in one…

…until now. Thank you!

Welcome Back, Wacky Packs!

The other day I was going through some small, random items that had been sitting on a bookshelf untouched for a few years.  In that stack of items, I found an odd assortment of cards, including a 2006 Topps Steelers team set I’d completely forgotten I had…

2006 Topps Troy Polamalu
(Well, there are a bunch of cards I can remove from my football wantlist…)

…Also a few 1983 Topps Hockey Stickers:

1982-83 Topps Hockey Sticker Glenn Resch
(Wow, Chico Resch with the Colorado Rockies.  I’d forgotten he’d played for them.)

But the main bit of excitement in the stack were some 1970’s Wacky Packages stickers and Topps “Welcome Back, Kotter” cards… Cards I had since I was a kid, but got misplaced as did so many things in my house (and my life).

I’ll start off with the Kotter…  For you young’uns, “Welcome Back, Kotter” was a TV show in the mid-to-late 1970’s that was meant to be centered around comedian Gabe Kaplan, but is now better known as the launching point of John Travolta’s career.  This was before “Saturday Night Fever” or even “The Boy In The Plastic Bubble”

1976 Topps Welcome Back Kotter_0003

When I was a kid, I loved this show.  It was relatively smart-ass for its time, which fit right in with my sense of humor.  That being said, it was very much a sitcom, and hasn’t aged all that well…

1976 Topps Welcome Back Kotter_0002

…But if you’re around anyone of a certain age, raise your arm like Horshack above and go “OOH!  OOH OOH!”, you will get a reaction.

Many of the card backs have jokes that I’m pretty sure were from the Topps staff and not from the show.  This is one of the better jokes from the cards I have:

1976 Topps Welcome Back Kotter_0004
…straight out of a Bazooka Joe comic.

These cards fall into the same category as the handful of Star Wars cards I had as a kid — I will never get rid of them, but I can’t see myself getting any more.

Moving on to something I may (or may not) start collecting again at some point…

Back in the 1970’s, Wacky Packs were one of those kid crazes that swept across the country and it seemed that no kid was immune to it’s allure.  Everybody I knew bought them and stuck them on notebooks, doors, and whatever else kids put stickers on.  They were pretty much the Silly Bandz, Webkinz and/or Pokemon of the day.

1970's Topps Wacky Packages_0001

To me they fell into the “sweet spot” for a kid: Subversive enough that your Mom didn’t like them, but not so subversive that your Mom wouldn’t let you have them.

1970's Topps Wacky Packages_0002

A lot of my Wacky Packs came from the “ice cream man” who parked outside of my elementary school when school let out. Now there was an astute businessman…

1970's Topps Wacky Packages_0003

The majority of my Wacky Pack collection ended up on the cover of one of my loose leaf notebooks. The spine of the notebook is long gone, but I held on to the sticker-covered front and back covers. I’ve been meaning to scan that and share it sometime, but I’d have to remember where it is first.

1970's Topps Wacky Packages_0004

I could see myself going back and collecting more of these, but right now I’ve got far too much on my wantlists to even think about it.

Are there any active Wacky Pack collectors out there?  Does anybody else still have your original Wacky Packs, or were yours all stuck to items you no longer have?

If anybody has a Wacky Pack-related blog post or some such, I’d love to see it; feel free to leave a link in the comments.