Wacky Wednesdays – Dots n’ Shots edition.

Happy Leap Day, everyone!  February 29th – a perfect day to launch Wacky Wednesdays.

Long before I started collecting candy, I was collecting and sticking Wacky Packages.  But my love of both originated at the same time; during my early childhood in the 1970′s.

For those that might not know, Wacky Packages are packaging parody stickers, whose targets are exclusively consumer-purchased products.  Wacky Packages were a huge phenomenon in the early 70′s, having even outsold baseball cards for a time -  an unprecedented feat where non-sport cards were concerned.

I loved Wackys, and much to the chagrin of my mother, my older brother Jeff and I pasted our childhood closet door with them.  Later, when we had to find a way to remove those stickers, it would be to our chagrin, but that’s another story.

Topps Wacky Packages stickers from the 1970's. (c) Topps

A big seller in the 70′s with minor revivals in the 80′s and 90′s, it would not be until the 2000′s when Wackys would experience a full-blown Renaissance.  Launching Wacky Packages “All-New Series” in 2004, they have since released seven more All-New Series, as well as two series of “Wacky Flashbacks”, multiple series of successful postcards, and finally the wonderful Wacky Packages “Old School”, having just launched a third series two weeks ago.   Beyond the stickers themselves there have been countless licensed items that have tapped into the retro-nostalgia market for the brand.

As a candy collector, I’ve enjoyed tracking down the original candy packages that Wacky Packages are based on.   So, if a Wacky Package released in 1974 parodied Sugar Babies, I will try to find a 1974 Sugar Babies pack to match.  It’s a challenge, but it’s rewarding and I like putting the original packaging context to the stickers.

With that in mind, today I’m launching a new feature here on CollectingCandy.com: Wacky Wednesdays.  Each week, I’ll be presenting a Wacky Packages sticker and the piece of original candy packaging that it parodies.

I’ll also be sharing my tales of consulting for the Wacky Packages Old School series.  [I have often helped the folks behind Old School zero in on the proper era of 1970's packaging to work from.]  I think it’s going to be a fun weekly feature, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.

Today’s Wacky Package sticker comes from 1973′s Wacky Packages Series 5 – it’s a parody of a Mason Dots candy box called SHOTS:

Topps Wacky Packages - Series 5 - SHOTS - 1973 - (c) Topps

Here’s the Dots candy box I have that matches the Shots parody:

Mason - DOTS - 10-cent candy box - 1970's

I have a number of 1970′s Mason Dots boxes, and I believe I can safely point to this one as the same version used by the original Wacky artist to work from.  But due to the nature of multiple size boxes offered for Dots back then, it’s impossible to be absolutely sure.  Needless to say, this one appears to match up on all relevant points.

Mason Dots are a classic American candy that have been around for generations, so it’s only fitting that they should have received the Wacky treatment.  The Wacky is simple and straightforward as was the original box.  Eventually I’ll be doing a larger retrospective on Dots themselves.  They have a long history, and a robust modern life, with regular special editions and holiday versions released.

So that’s it for today’s Wacky Wednesday.  I hope you’ll drop by each week to check out the new editions as we go along.

Before wrapping up, I’d like to plug a few Wacky-related items that I’m a big fan of.

For anyone who has fond memories of Wacky Packages or even a mild curiosity, I’d like to recommend two publications from Abrams publishing;  they are Wacky Packages, and Wacky Packages: New, New, New.  Both books beautifully reproduce the original  artwork and combine to showcase the first fourteen series of 1970′s Wacky Packages.

I’d also like to recommend the currently available Topps Wacky Packages Old School series 3, which picks up where the original Wackys left off.  Bringing new parodies of 1970′s products that never made it into the original series of stickers, they’re a lot of fun.  Conceived by my pal David Gross, he’s also the artist behind all of the new parody paintings therein.  Available only at the Topps Online Store.

Topps Wacky Packages Old School series 3 promo

If you’d like to learn more about the fun world of Wacky Packages, drop by the Wacky Packages Forum here:

About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others. Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books. Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s TheActionRoom.com. My Google Profile+
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8 Responses to Wacky Wednesdays – Dots n’ Shots edition.

  1. Jason, I love the idea of this feature. I was a big fan of Wacky Packages and I look forward to you matching them up with actual product packaging samples.

    Pax

  2. Scot Leibacher says:

    Very entertaining read Jason. I also enjoy comparing the original packaging to the Wacky Packages’ parody of the same item to see how well the gag writers and artists incorporate the original design and text into their spoof. Thanks for taking you vast storehouse of info and applying it in this fashion.

  3. DominicSzymanski says:

    Hey Jason, I’m 10 years old. I think collecting old candies is really cool. I love your one article about all of those old candy bars you found and then compared to the new ones!

    -Dominic

  4. MESquirrel says:

    Regarding that “Arsenal Shots”, parody of Mason Dots, where did you find that? The actual sticker reads “Delicious Gun Drops” on the bottom left. Unless it was Photoshopped out, you might have a rare reprint.

    • jasonliebig says:

      Nothing so exciting, I’m afraid. These are images from the Abrams books. I believe, when possible, they scanned from original paintings.

  5. Jay M says:

    I use to live for Wacky Packages! Every spare cash I got when I was 8-9 yrs went to these and I got so excited when I had enough to purchase a pack! Great memories!

  6. Tom says:

    Regarding your chagrin at removing stickers from your closet door, I know where that story is going. I had a similar experience with my Marvel Comics stickers on my bedroom door. Heartbreaking as each one tore. I was able to salavage some and pasted them to sheets of paper which I still have.

  7. Mike J. says:

    I, too, covered my bedroom door with stickers. It was a lot of trouble scraping them off when I moved out.

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