I went into a neat candy store in Gettysburg a few weeks ago called Sweeet! As I was looking through all of the retro candy on display, I saw something that took me back to my elementary school days at Sandalwood Elementary.
After school, my friend Richard and I would walk next door to the Farm Store for an afterschool treat. Rather than buying baseball or football cards, we would spend our allowance money on Wacky Packages.
For those of you who don’t know, Wacky Packages were parody stickers of popular products that you would find in grocery stores. They came in packs that were the same size as sports cards. You would get stickers, a puzzle piece and a stick of hard gum. We had a ball collecting them.
Topps first released Wacky Packages in 1967 as die-cut cards. They didn’t do too well. In 1969, Topps tried a variation called Wacky Ads, which incorporated Wacky Packs into an advertisement. These also didn’t too well.
Then came 1973 and Topps re-released some of the original Wacky Packs as stickers. They quickly caught on as kids like me started collecting them. We would trade doubles trying to get a complete set before the next series came out.
The fad lasted until 1975 through 15 series. A 16th series came out in 1977, though I don’t think I was aware of it. I also didn’t see the various attempts that Topps made to revive the series. The efforts were a mix of re-released series from the early 70’s and new series.
It wasn’t until 2004, that Wacky Packs seemed to catch on with a new generation of collectors or perhaps, people like me rediscovered them. The new series were billed as “All-New Series.” New products were spoofed as stickers on one side and the backs have either a puzzle piece or a new Wacky Ad.
The All-New 9th Series just came out recently and though the products weren’t the same as the ones from my childhood, they still have the retro feel. It’s nice to sit down and look through my old collection and now my new ones.
Here’s a great web page with a listing of most of the Wacky Pack series and plenty of pictures.