Fad-Tastic! Garbage Pail Kids

    January 12, 2011 at 11:00 am

    There is a reason they are called fads. It’s because they disappeared just as quickly as they blew up in popularity.

    Today’s Subject: Garbage Pail Kids

    Garbage Pail Kids were a series of trading cards produced by the Topps Company starting in 1985. They were designed to parody the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls created by Xavier Roberts, which were immensely popular at the time. Fifteen regular series were released in the US, with various sets released in other countries. Two large format card editions were also released, as well as a set of posters. The cards became hugely popular because many parent organizations and schools banned them.

    Here are some things you didn’t know about Garbage Pail Kids:

    “The series was the brainchild of Topps consultant and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman, who came up with the product idea after the success of his earlier creations, Garbage Candy and Wacky Packages.” Imagine winning a Pulitzer AND creating Garbage Pail Kids. Now that’s a full life.

    “An animated television series was also created, but its initial scheduled broadcast in the US was postponed due to parental complaints. The show did make a brief appearance on US television years after it was originally intended to air, and it was also briefly aired in Europe.” I don’t remember that show but I’m sure it was years after fans of the cards were too old to watch or care.

    “During the height of the card series popularity, Garbage Pail Kids were banned in many schools worldwide. One of the main reasons for the ban was that teachers cited them as distractions during class.” Maybe class was just boring teacher? I went to a catholic school, and I don’t remember the cards specifically being banned, because bringing ANYTHING to school wasn’t allowed. Jesus hated toys.

    “In 2003, Topps reintroduced Garbage Pail Kids with all-new cards, dubbed the All New Series. The second series of new cards featured unique ID numbers on the back of first silver- and later gold-foil insert cards that can be redeemed online at the official Garbage Pail Kids website, where visitors can build and ‘gross out’ their own Garbage Pail Kids.” That sounds like way too much work.

    “On August 21, 1987, a film based on the cards was released; however, the film was both a critical and commercial disaster.” I remember wanting to go see it in the theater. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the movie. Looks like not many people did.

    “On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 0% critic rating and a 37% audience rating.” Well, I guess that kills any idea of watching it now.

    “Topps released a ‘flashback’ set in 2010, featuring characters from the original 1985-87 Garbage Pail Kids series plus 6 previously unpublished “Lost” characters and 10 “Where Are They Now” cards showing classic Garbage Pail Kids characters drawn as they would appear today.” Guess I now know what to get my kid for his birthday.

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