Tag Archives: 1982

Trapper Keeper, the Sophisticated School Supply

About a month ago my buddy Philip Reed over at BattleGrip.com send me a link to a vintage newspaper article about the introduction of Mead’s Trapper Keeper notebook system that was originally published in the Reading Eagle in December of 1982.


I love getting pointed to or stumbling across articles like this that address cool, yet let’s be honest, rather mundane aspects of what it was like to be a kid in the 80s.  I mean I can just imagine what it was like in a household around the end of summer where a kid had been badgering their parents to get them that new orange Trapper Keeper with the badass Lamborghini  and sunglasses on it because they absolutely had to have it to do well in the coming school year.  At first the parents are balking at the idea, I mean the last thing that want to do is to shill out another $5 for an expansive notebook when they know for a fact that their kid lost three of those expansive newfangled mechanical pencils the year prior, and will probably go through three more this year.  But then after skimming through the paper one morning the father saw this piece about Mead’s new notebook system and they realized, hey, maybe there’s something too this…

Trapper Keeper - Reading Eagle - Dec - 12 - 1982

Granted, this short article by J. Earl Ruthardt is basically a glorified advertisement for Mead and it’s products, there are some fun bits in information in there for the 80s nostalgia enthusiast.  I mean, I assumed that the Trapper Keeper evolved from other Mead notebooks, but it was cool to learn that preceding the Trapper Keeper were two other products, The Mead Organizer and the Mead Data-Center (the latter of which sounds badass, though I’m sure it’s just a three ring binder with folders that fit inside.)  It was also neat to discover that the revolutionary design of the Trapper Keeper was crowd-sourced from surveys with kids all over the country where Mead could get an idea of the notebook woes students had to deal with on a daily basis.

I also think it’s interesting that the design alone was the biggest selling point initially since the graphic design of the folders back in 1982 was still the standard one-color outer folder with no embellishments for crazy 80s era imagery.  So if these were so popular that they were flying off shelves and selling out at stores across the country in 1982, I have to imagine that when they started slapping on airbrushed dolphins, photos of bounding kittens and the aforementioned Lamborghinis sales must have at least doubled.  20 million dollars in sales for a single type of school supply.  I think that means that at least 1 in every 4 kids in the country must have owned at least one in 1982.  Pretty crazy stuff.

And since I love showing off my vintage Trapper Keeper, here it is again…




Peel Here #116: The Extra Terrestrial Edition…

4560287382_404990f06c_oLately I’ve been going back through some of my older sticker posts here at Branded and looking for gaps in what I’ve covered (80s pop culture-wise.)  I was kind of surprised that I never invested in any E.T. stickers when I initially started collecting.  So I’ve since remedied that and thought it was high time I shared the handful of stickers I’ve picked up over the last year.  E.T. the Extra Terrestrial is one of those touchstone flicks that basically defines the childhood experience of the early 80s, establishing and creating the template for the glut of kid adventure films that would come in its wake.

The merchandising blitz for the flick touched on pretty much every possible product from lunchboxes to toothbrushes, so it was no surprise when Topps released a set of trading cards and stickers in 1982…

Topps ET Wax Wrapper

Like a lot of the Topps card sets this one featured a sticker-card subset which featured 12 cards instead of the normal 11 that Topps typically issued.  Not only was there an extra sticker to collect, but it was presented in a slightly weird format.  Usually Topps featured full card size, die-cut stickers, and this one did have a lot of them, but two of the cards are actually comprised of 16 mini sticker sheets.  I think this is the only time Topps did this if I’m not mistaken…

1   3   5

2         4


7   8   9

10   11   12

As was pretty standard for the time there were 9 different card backs which form a puzzle poster…

cardback poster

Topps wasn’t the only E.T. sticker game in town though as the merch blitz for the film was pretty damn intense.  I’ve only managed to pick up a few other examples of stickers, though I think they’re pretty cool, in particular these Diamond Toymakers Sniff-Ums scratch and sniff stickers (also from 1982)…


There were at least 4 different scents; from left to right Flower, Grape, Peanut Butter and Pine.  I love that the line art on these was repurposed so much within the set…

Next up is a Hallmark sticker sheet that I assume was meant for teachers to use on homework and tests….


I freaking love the idea of E.T. playing arcade games and I feel like this was a total missed opportunity in the film.  I was wonder if there were any Atari commercials featuring E.T. playing his doomed game, and sure enough there is a Christmas themed one where he does just that!  Also, while I’m on the subject there’s also another rad E.T. Atari commercial that features Andre Gower (Sean from Monster Squad) as Elliot too…

The last sticker I have to share today is another Hallmark sheet, though this one features just one single giant sticker…

Giant Sticker

I know there are way more E.T. stickers floating around out there (I’ve seen pictures of plenty of puffy and fuzzy stickers as well), but this is all I have in my collection.  Anyone have any other favorite E.T. stickers in your collections?

Awesome 80s Bedrooms: Who’s the Boss Edition

While writing about a bunch of these awesome bedrooms from 80s movies I figured at some point, if I want to keep finding new rooms to deconstruct I’d eventually have to branch out into TV series as well.  I was actually kind of psyched about this because I remember there being some amazing bedrooms in shows like Silver Spoons and Punky Brewster, and while both of those series do feature neat bedrooms (Rickey has a race car bed and Punky slept in a freaking wheel barrow/carriage) surprisingly there really is little to no actual pop culture junk to dissect.  Then the other night the girlfriend and I were watching some old episodes of Who’s the Boss when a bunch of fun stuff caught my eye in Johnathan’s room.  Enough that I felt like it warranted a bit more examination, so let’s take a closer look at Johnathan Bower’s awesome bedroom…



As you can see in the screenshot above the majority of the stuff in Johnathan’s room is pretty generic kid’s junk ranging from the super cheapo carnival stuffed animals to over-sized novelty sunglasses.  But the Darth Vader Star Wars action figure carrying case caught my eye which is what prompted me to take a closer look at the room, so let’s start there…


1). Kenner Darth Vader Star Wars Collector’s Case from 1980


2). Giant Crayola Crayon Plastic Novelty Coin Bank

Crayola Crayon Bank

3). Imperial Dragons & Daggers Battle Sword from 1983

imperial-1983-dragons and daggers battle sword

If ever there was a product in the 80s that I coveted hard core and never managed to procure it was those damn giant crayon banks.  At some point I managed to get my hands on a giant Coke bottle bank, but what I really wanted was the crayon bank because they looked so cool.  I remember seeing over-sized stuff like this in flicks like The toy, Big, and Jumpin’ Jack Flash and for some reason felt like my life wouldn’t be complete without one.  Guess I managed to survive alright though.  As for that Imperial Battle Sword, one of the set designers must of loved that line of toys because as you can see in this next shot Johnathan had practically one of every release from that series…


4). Imperial Dragons, Knight & Daggers Sabretooth Serpent from 1983

imperial dragons knights and beasts sabertooth serpent

imperial dragons knights and beasts sabertooth serpent 2

5). Imperial Dragons, Knight & Daggers Battle Beast from 1983

imperial dragons knights and beasts battle beast

6). Imperial Dragons & Daggers Fantasy Creatures from 1983

imperial-1983-fantasy creature 2

imperial-1983-fantasy creature 1

7). Imperial Dragons, Knight & Daggers Rhino Revenger from 1983

imperial dragons knights and beasts rhino_avenger

From what I can gather on these Imperial fantasy toys, they all came in multiple color combinations, so there were green and orange Sabretooth Serpents with red saddles as well as Purple and blue with gold (or red) saddles, and ever combo in between.  Any which way you cut it these were cheaper Masters of the Universe knock-offs that are pretty damn awesome for what they are.  Basically they were designed to be interchangeable with the MOTU figures as animal beast accessories that all came advertised with “12 Warrior Weapons” that you could use for your existing Masters figures.  Kind of ingenious.

Speaking of Masters of the Universe, the last main thing I wanted to point out in Johnathan’s room is a pretty super rare sought after item….


8). Spectra Star Trap Jaw Kite from 1982

MOTU spectra star kites

These Spectra Star kites were freaking awesome and featured an almost 5 foot full body version of the character.  I love that Johnathan has his hanging on his wall (as it’s what I would do with one if I could get my hands on a cheap one now.)  From time to time you see the He-Man and Skeletor kites pop up on ebay, but I’ve never seen a Trap Jaw.

Huge thanks to Liz Vitale from the rad Puppatoons site for identifying a couple more toys!  When it comes to stuff like plush dolls and horses, unless they’re Ewoks or 30-30 from Bravestarr I’m pretty clueless, so thanks Liz for adding a bit more info!  Here they are…


9). JC Penny Exclusive Breyer Chestnut Stallion from 1982

Bryer Stallion 1983

10). Giant Pink stuffed Snake from Kay Bee Toys

Pink Stuffed Snake from Kaybee Toys

Be sure to check out all the other Awesome 80s Bedrooms I’ve deconstructed

Halloween Hangover: Robbie’s Room from Poltergeist

Well another Halloween season has come and gone, but I’m not quite ready for it to complete move on.  I’d intended to post more during the month, but like always life got in the way and blah blah blah.  You know what it’s like.  So, as a little bit of an extra Halloween-y goodie I thought it’d be fun to take a closer look at another pop culture bedroom (I examined rooms from The Monster Squad and Adventures in Babysitting earlier in the year), this time Robbie and Carol Anne’s room from Poltergeist!


Now I’m going to concentrate on Robbie’s half of the room because honestly Carol A\nne’s side was pretty darn sparse and boring.  Seriously, there’s just nothing to it, see…

Poltergeist 3

I mean there’s that cow poster, a Precious Moments poster, and that baby carriage, but I’m falling asleep just listing that stuff.  Robbie’s side of the room on the the other hand is chock full of all kinds of 80s era awesome.  I mean just check out this one screen shot!

Poltergeist 8

Alright, let’s break this room down…

1). Darth Vader Action Figure Carrying case.


2). Toys ‘R Us Geoffrey Sleeping Bag.

3). Speak & Spell.


4). Empire Strike Back Host Laser Turret and Imperial Probe Droid playset

Turret and Probot

5). Star Wars Tie Fighter.

tie 2

6). Poster from the movie Alien.


7). Star Wars bedsheets.

That is a whole lot of awesome for just one scene in the film, and that’s not even counting the stuff that I can’t identify (like that blue robot thing on the floor just to the right of his mom or the weird 1988 Superbowl Champion poster above his bed that makes no sense considering the movie was released in 1982!)  First off, I have to say that it’s pretty cool that Robbie was such a huge fan of Star Wars, though I guess that was pretty indicative of every other kid from the time.  I know I had a metric ton of Star Wars toys by this time including those sheets.

**Update**  Thanks to Esteban from the Roboplastic Apocalypse for identifying the blue robot as Karrio, the Micronauts carrying case!



It’s also not even half of the SW stuff in his room…

Poltergeist 5

In fact, here’s some more in the above screenshot.

8). Star Wars A New Hope poster.

9). Yoda Hand Puppet.


10). Taun Taun and various Star Wars action figures (including Tatooine Luke, Hoth Han Solo, FX-7 Medical Droid, and R2-D2)


While collecting screenshots of Robbie’s room it was kind of neat to notice that the toys on the shelf behind his bed kept moving around from scene to scene so either they were always getting knocked over or Oliver Robins was having fun playing with them between takes!

Here’s one last screenshot with yet more Star Wars stuff!

Poltergeist 9

11). C3-P0 and R2-D2 poster (it’s dark in the screenshot, but trust me, I’ve stared at it long enough to recognize them.)

12). Darth Vader poster.

13). Bert & Ernie poster.

14). Kick ass Chewbacca jacket!

So, anything I missed?

Other Awesome Bedrooms I’ve covered…

Sara’s Room from Adventures in Babysitting

Eugene’s Room from The Monster Squad

Mikey’s room from the Goonies

David’s room from Flight of the Navigator

Ben’s room from The Explorers

Pee Wee’s room from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Elliot’s room from E.T.

Fred Savage’s room from The Princess Bride

Josh’s room from Big

A Good Thing About Moving…

So I recently moved house, which is part of what’s been keeping me so silent on the internet these past few months, but in the process I found some treasures I didn’t even realize I had!  A little while after my sister passed away I took charge of all the family photos so that I could organize and scan them all so we’d have an easy to share set of digital snapshots.  My main focus was getting to all the pictures of my sister, but I kept a stack of photos of myself as a kid that I haven’t had a chance to look through until this past month.  One of the awesome side effects of a move (seriously, you have to try and look on the bright side right?) is that it forces you to take stock of everything you own.  It all has to be packed up, moved and unpacked, so you get a couple chances to find things that have been lost or discover things you never realized you had.

One of laments about my childhood is that by the time I came along my parents had lost a lot of the zest for taking pictures that they had with my sister.  So I don’t have any Halloween photos, or all that many Christmas morning shots.  Well, apparently my parents had been sitting on some pictures that are exactly the kind of things I’ve been dying to post on Branded but thought didn’t exist.  There weren’t a ton, but there were a few really cool snapshots, like this one of me and my friend Timmy playing with his Millennium Falcon sometime in 1982…

Shawn Star Wars small

Man, how I remember coveting that thing!  I had some really cool Star Wars junk as a kid (a couple of At-Ats, an X-Wing, Snow Speeder, and a Y-Wing), but isn’t it always the case that the stuff you didn’t have always seemed cooler than the stuff you did?  Well, at least I got a chance to play with it and wasn’t just drooling over the pages in the Sears or JC Penny Catalogs…