|Fact 1: Camals
The Camals gag originally appeared by Paul Laikin in Cracked Magazine in issue #21 from September of 1961, upside down camel and all, but it was originally named "Gamals", after the president of Egypt (Gamal Abdel-Nasser). Art Spiegelman, who drew up the original wackys in 1967, originally borrowed the gag as "Gamals" directly from the Cracked version, but some executive at Topps, probably Joel Shorin, said kids won't understand that reference, change it to Camals. As if that was any clearer. And thus was born a gag to be debated by a million kids but never solved until the modern age.
|Laikin also wrote gags for Wackys series 1, so It was probably he who submitted the Gamals gag. Since Laikin didn't draw...Art had to do the rough. Today, Paul Laikin's son Aaron Laikin painted the final art on some of the Garbage Pail Kids for series 3, and he will probably continue painting stuff for Topps cards.|
|Fact 2: Bum Chex
Bum Chex, along with Choke Wagon, was pulled early and replaced by Windhex, making it one of the toughest titles in a complete 1-16. Bum Chex also has the distinction that it is the only one that artist Norm Saunders actually signed. He slipped his signature in by signing one of the checks, the green one. He was not allowed to sign the works because Topps wanted to keep their artists top secret, so as not to have them stolen by other companies. Norm slipped his intials in various other places, but this is the only one known where he got the full name in. Another one of the checks is signed by Ray Hammond who used to paint the logos on the packagings depicted in Wackys. Whose signatures are on the other checks? Nobody's quite sure.
|I understand about the signing thing as a general Topps policy, but with someone who had the profile of Saunders (having illustrated magazine covers, comic book covers, etc.) it's hard to believe people wouldn't recognize his style anyway. Weird how in those days you got the same shitty treatment no matter what you had accomplished. It's hard to imagine companies mistreating greats like Saunders, Wolverton, etc.|
|Fact 3: Blecch Shampoo
"Bob Blecchman is a cartoonist (he was supposed to show up at the party ...but didn't ). I haven't seen him for 30 years...But I think there is a Wacky that Artie [Spiegelman] wrote called "Blecch Shampoo"...or something like that that is based on Blecchman's name." -Jay
Delphi msg 1246.1 "Well it turns out I remembered correctly. I looked through some old Mad Mags last night and found a back cover ad from about 1964-65 for Blecch Shampoo." -Jay
About the Quacker Oats duck. Why are his eyes half-closed on the sticker, giving him that stoned expression, while on the early boxes his eyes are wide-open?
On Melty Way, the bug-eyed alien is referred to as "Spa Fon". If you've never read EC Sci-Fi comics, two phrases are used repeatedly as exclamations of alien critters: "Squa Tront" and "Spa Fon". In fact, one of the most famous EC Fanzines of the sixties was called "Squa Tront".
It certainly doesn't seem much of a stretch that the creators of Wacky Packs were EC fans, and this was a little tribute.
|John Benson, the guy who edited the fanzine Spa Fon, was an old chum of Art's and Mine in our youth. I just came back from this comic library event in Ohio. I spent the weekend hanging out with fellow speakers Art Spiegelman and Al Feldstein (former editor of the EC comics in the '50s) who coined the phraise "Squa Tront" and "Spa Fon". The whole EC/Mad thing was the direct precursor of the Wacky stuff.|
|Fascinating Jay. I am a huge fan of Mad, EC and wackys all! Feldstein has always been a hero of mine. I admire anyone who could singlehandedly write that many stories every month (Feldstein was writing almost the entire EC line early on, and literately), and his tenure on Mad (through 1984) corresponds exactly to the period of the mag I love. I'm glad to hear he is well and presumably still working on his western paintings.
Long Live EC and wackys and the creators thereof! Squa Tront!
|Yep. Wally Wood was not only one of the best Sci-Fi artists of all time (on books like Weird Science and Weird Fantasy for EC), but also a prolific humor artist for the original Mad comic book, so there's a connection there too. Also, I would guess guys like Jay and Spiegelman were around the right age to have scene EC's as kids and been part of EC fandom during the 60's....has Jay ever commented on this?|
|Fact 7: Metrekill Diet Drink
Once upon a time there was a company called: Mead Johnson and Co. (currently part of Bristol Myers Co.). In 1962 Mead Johnson came out with marvelous new product that became an instant best-seller. The product, called "Metrecal" was a liquid dietary supplement. Consumers were urged to have a can of Metrecal rather than their normal lunch. Metrecal would provide all the vitamins and nutrients needed for health with few of the calories that usually went along with lunch. And so, in 1962, as Americans became more diet-conscious, drinking Metrecal became quite a fad, and the earnings and stock price of Mead Johnson climbed sharply at precisely the time the stock market was taking one of its worst baths since the Great Depression.
Like the most fads, the Metrecal boom did not last very long. By 1963 and 1964, just when the general stock market was recovering, Americans got pretty sick and tired of drinking Metrecal for lunch, and the big boost in earnings and stock prices that Mead Johnson had earlier enjoyed began to fade away.
Later in 1960s, just about the time the market took another slump, Mead Johnson came out with another product. This one was called "Nutrament". Nutrament was a dietary supplement that was supposed to put on weight, and skinny teenagers bought it by the case to improve their appearance. Yes, you guessed it! Nutrament was the same product as Metrecal except that if you drank it in addition to lunch you could put on weight rather than loose it. Again Mead Johnson prospered while the market slumped.
B. Malkiel, Random Walk Down Wall Street.
|Fact 8: Horrid
Anybody ever notice that the guy on "Horrid" is holding a can whose first two letters are "AR" not "HO"?
|Wow! I never noticed that, Greg, until you brought it up. Good one!|
|Fact 9: Crakola
Did you ever notice that almost all Crakola sew-on patches are different? Here are eight, and there are many more. The coloring of the crayons is different in every single one. Sometimes they are the same. There must be some true number of different ones, but who knows what it is.
|Fact 10: Poopsie
Poopsi or Poopsie? On the Wacky Ad, the spelling was Poopsi (closer to Pepsi). Jay did the original gag rough...and it said "Poopsi". Rick Verisi did the wrapper and box. If he didn't put in the "e"....it's probably just an error...but nobody cared about that kind of detail then.