Garbage Pail Kids: Cheap Toys & Crummy Candy!

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When Topps struck gold with the Garbage Pail Kids, someone eventually realized that they were shooting themselves in the foot by limiting sales merely to trading card sticker sets. Eventually, the gruesome characters appeared in various other forms, ranging from Halloween costumes to schooltime pencil toppers. Today, we take a trip back to one of GPK’s stranger serve-ups, the register-side, impulsively purchased “Cheap Toys & Crummy Candy” collection. Hey, at least they were honest about it. Strictly for the diehards, the novelties’ basic charm was heightened by some clever packaging and the fact that this clever packaging masked the shitty candy from consumer sight.

In honor of GPK’s impending resurgence, which actually looks way more inspired and true to its roots than I personally would’ve bet on, let’s take a look back at their idea of a “candy” item. They’re no Snickers bars, but then, Snickers didn’t come with tiny, single-colored Garbage Pail Kids figurines. The universe of sweets remains balanced.

Check out that packaging — you know I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff by now, and this one really takes the cake. Little, plastic “garbage bags” sealed with yellow twisty-ties hide the figures and candy, forcing kids to buy tons of the things if they wanted to collect the complete set of ten toys. On looks alone, these were irresistible to a GPK fan, and a great way to cap off those fifteen minute runs to the store to buy more disgusting trading cards. Besides, there weren’t many official GPK figures, so this stuff really laid a siren song on us.

The candy itself was indeed crummy. Small, vaguely flavored discs, each bearing the Garbage Pail Kids logo. You got a sealed bag containing a bunch of appropriately unwanted colors — even the oft-sought “cherry reds” looked more like chalky slices of antacid, and to be honest, Tums tastes a whole lot better than these. But whatever, no one who bought the bags was interested in candy anyway. If anything, it was only in there to prevent kids from getting too good of a grasp on which figure was in there by feeling around. It’s a good thing these things didn’t last — with the way Garbage Pail Kids were regarded by our superiors, I’m sure someone would’ve called the candy blasphemous parodies of the Body of Christ. If there’s one thing lemon-flavored chalk doesn’t deserve, it’s the distinction of having spit at religion. Save that coup for something we actually wanted to eat.

The figures themselves are vending machine fare all the way — small chunks of plastic, molded to look like ten of the more popular characters. Yes, they made an “Adam Bomb” figure, a glory offset by the less desirable “Graffiti Petey” and “Brett Sweat” figures. Don’t cry, though, “Messy Tessie” made an appearance, too. Actually, no, it was “Leaky Lindsay.” Same deal. What the Hell am I talking about?

Anyway, the figure shown above is “Double Heather,” a Siamese twin apparently covered in blood. Each bag also contained a checklist picturing each of the figures, which you can view here. Notice how several of them also appeared in the infamous Garbage Pail Kids Movie? There was also a second set of ten, mostly unavailable in the U.S., with more familiar movie characters like “Ali Gator.” It’s tough to imagine Ali Gator as being the character kids went nutso for, but the proof is in the pudding. The vomit and fly covered pudding, mixed by kids with three eyes and lizards growing out of their necks. Gotta love GPK.

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58 thoughts on “Garbage Pail Kids: Cheap Toys & Crummy Candy!

  1. EnderWiggin

    Man. Garbage pail kids messed up my mind when I was a kid. You ever see those toads in national geographic that have a million eggs embeded in their backs? Those always disgusted me. Sorta got the same affect from gpk…Damn….aren’t the kids super collectible now? I remember when I was in florida maybe 10 years ago, we visited someone’s house and they had a huge bag full of that stuff. I SHOULD’VE TAKEN IT. I’m pretty sure they just threw it all out. Bleh. Hey Matt, your site is awesome by the way :) Keeps me going during my extremely boring summer.

  2. Some Weird Guy

    As a reply to Lynn’s comment about choux, choux does mean cabbage, but it’s also a French slang term of endearment, as in "mon petit choux." I guess it’s meant to say that the GPK are little dears or something. Why, I don’t know.

  3. Lady Jaye

    Actually, this is because Cabbage Patch Kids was known in Canada as P’tits Bouts de choux in French. So, whoever translated the Garbage Patch Kids name decided to include a reference to the original series, thus including the word choux in French (the word poubelle is the translation for Garbage).

    Frankly, though, I never saw a bilingual display box for the series, as I knew it only under its English name, even though I live in Quebec.

    Still, I find it interesting that it’s a Canadian display box that’s used for that article…

  4. Matt

    The box shown is from the UK — apparently, the candy pieces there were "garbage shaped." Oh, another note — finally OPENED the actual candy discs. On top of the GPK logo, they each have a character’s name on the other side. Odd that they went through the trouble, but still notable for some reason that escapes me now.

  5. Lady Jaye

    UK? That’s odd. Usually, European boxes tend to be multilingual or to cover only the local language. Oh well. But the reference to the French name of Cabbage Patch Kids still stand.

  6. Lady Jaye

    That reminds me: Have you guys ever seen the Garbage candy (or whatever it’s called)? It comes in a tiny colored plastic garbage can. You’d flip the top open and you’d have multicolored, garbage-shaped candy (fishbone, running shoe, can…). Taste-wise, it’s similar to Sweet Tarts and other tarty candy (yum!).

    [10 minutes later] I can’t believe it!!! I was searching on Google for a link to put here to pictures of Garbage candy when I found this tidbit of interesting info: Art Spiegelman (the author of the Maus graphic novel) worked at Topps for nearly 20 years, starting in 1966. Some of his creations for Topps include: Garbage Candy, Wacky Packages and Garbage Pail Kids.

    Here’s the link to the site where I found that info: http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/biography/Spiegelman.html Not exactly a bozo site, IMO.

  7. filo tin

    Have you guys ever seen aeia lapimore?

    She’s this weird freak girl that travels the country claiming shes a living garbage pail kid,even though no one that sees her even remembers what they are :)

    anyways, she’s ridiculously ugly, and deformed. It’s quite sad.

  8. chris63859@msn.com

    email me if you have cheap toys and one of you said something of having series 2 cheap toys could you send a pic if you see this post? i havent seen any but have a few series 1 cheap toys.
    chris63859@msn.com

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