If you were a kid in the 80s or had kids in the 80s you probably remember the years when America thought of Bill Cosby as the world’s greatest dad and amateur ice cream man, hawking Jell-o Pudding Pops in a series of commercials where the comedian put on his Dr. Huxtable act with a bunch of other people’s kids. And what a brilliant idea! Prepackaged pudding – meets – ice cream, two of everyone’s favourite desserts with the all-American Jell-O logo slapped on the box. But sometime in the mid-90s parent company General Foods (who also brought us those ridiculously melodramatic ads for the powdered International Coffees) pulled the plug without warning on the pops. So whatever happened to Pudding Pops?
For starters, despite internet rumours you may have heard, Jell-O Pudding Pops are still off the shelf, so let’s get that out of the way.
General Foods seemed to be on a roll following the original 1979 Pudding Pops with Gelatin Pops and Fruit Bars, with $300 million a year in popsicle sales just 5 years after launch. But somehow with all that money coming in, it still didn’t justify the cost to put the product out for a company who was bought out in 1985 by Phillip Morris and combined with Kraft Foods in 1990. So, the pops were dropped. They tried again in 2004, licensing the Jell-O name to Popsicle brand (they make Fudgsicles) who used the same molds as the originals but slightly changed the formula, resulting in not-a-pudding-pop that reflected in poor product sales. While they did last until 2011 somewhere in space-time, Popsicle pulled the new Jello-O Pudding Pops off the market that year without official explanation.
Now there are other, inferior pudding pops out there by companies like Kemp’s at Target but these clearly lack the crisp thin coating the official pops had back in the 80s that held the whole works together while the pudding softened. Now a die-hard fan reports that Giant Brand Pudding Pops sold at Giant Food Stores are the closest ever made but if you’re really jonesing for a good old pop, Jell-O does sell pop-making kits all over the place with the molds. And here’s a pro tip: freeze ‘em, dip ‘em in cold water and freeze ‘em again for that authentic icy crunch.
The thing I loved about First Tooth Baby ponies as a kid (and a collector!) was all that cool stuff they came with- especially those adorable little tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes. Learn all about them in the new update to the First Tooth Baby Pony page here on Yello80s.com !
Atari Home Computers 1981 courtesy markydkiehl
Grow up playing Space Invaders on your 2600? Swap carts with your friends to play on ColecoVision? Spend weekends with the posse at the mall embroiled in Pac-Man tournaments? If you’ve ever wondered where video game icon Atari came from, check out the Atari page on Yello80s and read all about the company’s beginnings and review comprehensive game lists from their most iconic consoles.
In 1982 a gentle picture book by Raymond Briggs about a boy’s nighttime adventure with his snowman was brought to life to become a beloved 80s animated classic: the Snowman. This wordless animation introduced a new classic Christmas tune Walking in the Air to the world. When the special aired in the UK it originally had an introduction by Briggs himself speaking about his own boyhood Christmas but in subsequent airings had alternative openers including one with David Bowie, which is the one which aired in the US. For the film’s 20th anniversary DVD release yet another, animated opener was recorded. Here is the original special with the Raymond Briggs operning as it was intended to be viewed:
The Snowman courtesy xBeps
One of the best parts of the 80s was the absolute gold mine of toys and toys that were detailed, well-thought out and tied to our favourite cartoons and movies. An 80s Christmas came with an 80s-size Christmas wish-list and where did we get all our lofty ideas for Santa? TV of course! Have a sit and watch the big Yello80s Toy Playlist- find some old favourites and discover some “new” items for that fantasy 80s wish-list.
Few things garnered as much Christmas excitement in the early 80s than Atari!
The Puffalumps were a soft toy for young children made in the 80s by Fisher Price. The Christmas Mouse was one of the last Puffalumps released.
Do you know all the Care Bears- I mean, all of them? They started out as just 10 bears from the folks at American Greetings over 35 years ago but they’ve grown and they keep on adding more to the family! Come on over to the Yello80s Care Bear Characters page and meet em all and see how some of your favourites have changed over the years with new colours, tummy symbols and even genders.
These days boxed drinks are regulated to the preschool set or asian grocery stores (Vitasoy, anyone?) but back in the 80s you could find just about anything in a box ready to pop in a lunchbox – Hi-C, YooHoo, and milk. Ugh. It just sounds horrible to me but when a drink called Sip Ups debuted with its catchy commercial of smiling dancing kids I whistled a different tune. It seems kind of redunant now- I mean, we all drank milk in half-pint boxes at school already- but I can see the straw would have been a draw until Burple and the like came out and blasted the milk box right into the retroverse. Trademarked by Dairymen, Inc., Sip-ups came in Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry and may have also had a blueberry flavour but this has been debated.
Everything seems like it was better when you were a kid, or that’s what people like to think anyway. In the case of holiday candy though, we definitely had it best when we were kids. Consider the makings of an epic 80s trick or treat haul:
Mike n Ikes
Bach’s Harvest Mix
Sour Patch Kids
Bubble gum cigarettes
Nik L Nip Wax bottles
Peanut butter candy kisses
Funsize (back when they were short and fat) candy bars-
Now and Laters
Tart n Tinys
Indian salted Pumpkin Seeds
Feuit Stripe gum
Tops Bubble Gum juice
Brach’s scary tart snacks
Lifesaver creme suckers