Friday, February 24, 2012

Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont

Crissy dolls. Encyclopedia Brown. Choco-diles. Seven Up Bar. The 70s and 80s had a particular flavour that is instantly identifiable. Some of the items that were so popular then continue to this day; others have been revamped and revised, and some have been discontinued altogether. They went quietly from the shelves, confusing loyal fans who have spent years trying to replicate tastes, sounds, and appearances. This book asks the question that has been on a generation's mind: whatever happened to Pudding Pops?

As a pop culture enthusiast, resisting this book was a futile effort. I eagerly paged through the book, thinking back at things I'd experienced in my own life (Connect Four, Choose Your Own Adventure, TV theme songs) and things that I've seen covered in other nostalgia-based works. Owing both to a slightly different age bracket as well as a different country of origin (Canada, which has its own lost tastes, toys, and trends), there were many things here that I was learning about for the first time (Zoom, O'Boisies, the Hal Needham stunt set). One of the limitations of reading this book was that, as a paper book, it was entirely self-contained. At many times I wished I was reading it with my laptop so I could do Google image searches, look up unknown names on IMDB, and (the biggest wish) check out old commercials on YouTube. My longing for web connections also had me thinking about my own era and if we will continue to have the same time of "What happened to...?" or "Remember the..." publications that have come before. When so many things are catalogued online and details are just a wikipedia click away, will we ever have to wonder what happened to a forgotten memory? I'm not so young that I don't remember a time before the internet, so I know the difference that finding online evidence can make in validating a childhood memory (there are still a few that I can't anyone else remembering). At any rate, Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops is a fun look back at a 'simpler time' and the stuff that has captured the imaginations of a generation of people.

Check out the blog that spawned the book, GenXtinct.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Sunshine by Norma Klein
The Official Preppy Handbook edited by Lisa Birbach
Just Can't Get Enough: Toys, Games, and Other Stuff from the 80s that Rocked by Matthew Robinson and Jensen Karp
From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century by David Mansour
Totally Tubular 80s Toys by Mark Bellomo

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