One of the more OCD things I did at Brian's booth was to try and find a stricker and checklist card from each of the sixteen different 1973-74 Wacky Packages series (told you it was and OCD thing!). I didn't get 'em all but came very, very close. In many instances I picked out a sticker of a parodied Topps product. As you probably know, Topps issued a parody of one of their products in each series for legal reasons. This allowed them to assert they were poking fun at their own wares as well as those of dozens of national brands. The checklists all have puzzles on their fronts and those are all "Topps" products as well, for obvious reasons. So I thought it would be fun to look at the Topps products that were subjected to lampooning. We'll kick off with the first eight series this week and then finish up next time.
Series 1 takes on the Bazooka, the bubblegum that really made the company. Unless you missed out on the originals and myriad reissues, you likely know this resulted in the wonderfully named Gadzooka:
That's not the first time Gadzooka showed up in a Wacky Packages pack though. The first issue of Wackys was in 1967 and they were die cut:
You had to moisten the back of the 67's to stick them anywhere-no peel off backing then!
For reference, here is the 1973 Bazooka wrapper graphic that was being mocked:
Series 2 brought us a real Sugarmess:
That's actually not all that great of a design but the original left little to work with:
Did you know Sugarmess is the only repeated design in the entire 16 series?!
Next up in series 3 is my all time favorite Wacky Package:
It makes sense, since my favorite baseball wrappers are from 1973 as well:
Might as well show all four. I'm not sure but the batter looks roughly based upon Rod Carew. The catcher image is clearly meant to be Thurman Munson:
Steve Carlton for sizzle:
But who is our manager. Possibly Dick Williams, which would make sense given that the A's won the World Series in 1972 and he looks to be wearing a vest but I'm not 100% certain. If that was a definite 23 on his back it would nail the source as Williams.
Ah, but we're not done with series 3 yet. Behold the mighty Foolball:
Pretty spot on for a 1973 Football parody:
The series 3 puzzle showed Beanball-sorry Foolball!
Series 4 Wackys brought us a parody of itself: Wormy Packages:
I'm kind of wondering if this was the inspiration for Gummy Worms, first marketed in 1981 if Wikipedia can be believed. Here is the real deal:
Series 5 brought us more gum in Big Baddy:
I got that from www.lostwackys.com. There is a ridiculous amount of Wacky Packages stuff over there, go check it out!
Big Buddy was something I remember getting from the ice cream truck:
I used to love the real thing, also purchased from the ice cream truck:
Series 7 brings a parody of a very old Topps product and one that was a Hallowe'en staple in my neighborhood; wrap your mind around this bad boy:
You can pick up the year change to 1974 from the indicia. Bozo was a major cash cow for Topps starting in the late 40's and it was originally sold in bulk to jobbers for their gumball machine clients. As this shot from the Lost Wackys site shows, that marketing plan evolved over the years:
Series 8 brought a TV parody:
Much like Beanball and Foolball, Kong Fu was a pretty spot on imitation:
More fun next week grasshoppers!