New book asks, ‘Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?’

Matt K. Lewis | Senior Contributor

If you grew up in the 1970s and ‘80s, chances are you grew up eating pudding pops in the summer, eating lunch out of a metal lunchbox emblazoned with superheroes, or playing with Weebles, the toys that wobble but don’t fall down.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont reminisce about these fads, and more, in their new book, “Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the ‘70s and ‘80s.” (And yes, during our recent conversation, they did explain the fate of the pudding pops that Bill Cosby so famously pushed.)

“We realize that the ‘70s and ‘80s are not the kind of generations you would hang on the wall, Fashingbauer Cooper said. “You know what, it’s not the best generation, but it’s our generation, and we had a ball in those decades.”

She and Bellmont said that the shared, concentrated experiences (kids back then only watched a few TV channels, played outside and liked riding in the back of station wagons) led to the generation’s fondness for the fads described in their book. But they expressed worry that kids today, who have hundreds of TV channels and video games at their fingertips, won’t enjoy the same sorts of childhood memories.

“Will kids of today feel fondly about something like Angry Birds?” Fashingbauer Cooper asked dubiously.

The two authors suggested their children’s generation might look up to pop stars such as Britney Spears and Justin Bieber. “I hope not!” Fashingbauer Cooper said. “They’ll look back fondly on things for sure, but I hope they’re a little less flat-out commercial than Justin Bieber or American Idol.”

And as to the fate of pudding pops? They’ve been reincarnated, Fishingbauer-Cooper said. In 2004, the treats came back on the market with a slightly different shape. They are still on the shelves, but have been increasingly rare, she said.

“They’re like bigfoot sightings now,” Bellmont said. “But it’s kind of fun to be a part of that!”

Check out my full nostalgic conversation with the authors here.

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