Monday, June 13, 2011

Review of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?: The Lost Toys, Tastes & Trends of the '70s and '80s"

“Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops: The Lost Toys, Tastes & Trends of the ‘70s and ‘80s” is truly that, a compendium of things that are apt to be forgotten. However, unintentionally, Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont, the editors, have touched upon another lost facet of the ‘70s: the encyclopedia. I think the authors summed up the problem with this book in the titular entry on encyclopedias: “the general idea lives on online, thanks to Wikipedia and other reference sites.” The book may still appeal to 40- and 50-year-olds nostalgic for books – real books! Made of paper and stuff! – but “Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops” is just a static, snarkier version of Wikipedia, prone to quickly become out-of-date. Worse, its entries are brief, merely skimming the topics presented. Some of the topics worked in this brief format; the entry on “Hugo, the Man of A Thousand Faces” was funny – remember that hideous doll advertised in 1970s comics?

However, other entries on subjects with which I was more intimately acquainted were lacking. Many were no more than summaries with a few lame jokes added. If you want to relive the nostalgia of the ‘70s, skip this book and google “retro toys” instead. To start you on the way, I’d recommend this blog entry on the Archie Christian Comics, for which Cooper and Bellmont provided only a dim summary: