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Peel Here 122: Filling in the gap of the Shirt Tales

4560287382_404990f06c_oIt’s kind of crazy, over the last 10 years I’ve collected, traded and sold so many 80s stickers that I often forget what I’ve already acquired or written about here at Branded.  Part of this is because so many of my stickers are sitting in stacks packed away in boxes (and have been for years) because I haven’t found a great way to store or display them.  Over the past few months I’ve been amassing a small collection of Hallmark Shirt Tales sticker sheets thinking that, that was a brand I had yet to write about.  When I sat down to put this Peel Here column together I surprised myself when I realized that I had already written about some Shirt Tales stickers almost 9 years ago.  Well, luckily, the sticker sheets I’ve been collecting did not overlap with what I’d written about before, so now I can fill in the gaps with some more vintage Shirt Tales stickers…

The Shirt Tales made their Hallmark debut back in 1980 as a series of greeting cards, stationary and stickers.  The characters were created by Janet Elizabeth Manco and featured a series of happy, rotund and super furry animals wearing multicolored t-shirts.  These shirts usually featured some sort of salutation or emotion, especially at the outset of the brand.  There were a bunch of different animal characters, none of which were named until later on when the cards became super popular and the company was grooming the brand for additional merchandising.  Of the original animals featured, only one, Rick Racoon, would be a stand out that would make it past the greeting cards and stickers on to the cartoon.  Here’s an example of one of the earliest sheets released in 1980…

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This one has a fun collection of animals including a walrus, koala, pig, rabbit, beaver, cat, monkey, and Rick the Raccoon up on the top right.  In this second sheet, you can see a progression of the art style on these critters from rotund/cutesy to slightly more realistic.  There’s also some new animals including a penguin, skunk, bear, and what I believe is a tiger at the bottom center, though I do not think this is considered Tyg.

1980 Shirt Tales stickers

A context clue for these characters is the copyright date underneath them.  These first three sheets were all released in 1980, and all of these characters were created that year.  Later on, when we get into the characters that male it onto the cartoon, you’ll notice that they retain their copyright date on the sticker sheets (so you’ll see a 1980 next to Rick for instance.)

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This fourth sheet has a continuation of the art style evolution as the characters are becoming more and more aligned with how they’d look in the eventual cartoon.  This sheet is also fun because the stickers were flocked and you could feel the fur on them.  This was released in 1981, and on it you’ll notice the introduction of three more of the permanent characters, Pammy (the panda), Bogey (the orangutan), and Tyg (the tiger.)


This next sheet finally transitions into the more or less final look for the Shirt Tales, as well as featuring the full main and final cast of characters that would see the brand make the jump from stationary to animation (with the inclusion of Digger the mole.)  This sheet was released in 1982…

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Also, I love the way they worked the rainbows into that one above. Especially Rick’s badass rainbow wing hat.  So this next one is a sheet of banana-scented Shirt Tales stickers from 1982.  Not sure how many other scents there were in this series…

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And the last new sheet I have is this next one which goes full on into the cartoon look and feel of the Shirt Tales up to and including their awesome car and treehouse!  Note that each of the characters have different copyright dates…

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Since I’m posting all these new sticker sheets I figured I might as well also include the two sheets I shared way back in 2007…



Last, but not least, this Halloween stick-r-treat sticker from sometime in 1982-83…

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There are probably like 6,000 other Shirt Tales sticker sheets that were released between 1980 and 1987 when the brand was active, but these are the nine I’ve been able to source.  I wonder if Hallmark has ever considered bringing this brand back?  Seems long overdue, and a quick search of the Hallmark site says, yes, yes it has started to make a comeback!

A ton of 80s cartoons finally coming to DVD!

The last few years we’ve been going through a relative drought of 80s cartoons on DVD.  Though I was super happy with Shout! Factory re-issuing Transformers (recently vastly encheapened) and G.I. Joe on DVD in the past couple of years, there are still some big holes in my collection that seemed would go unfilled forever.  Well some 80s cartoon god must have heard my laments because there are a ton of new to DVD titles coming in the next six months or so!

As you can see from the advertisement above, the Warner Archive (manufactured on demand DVDs) is releasing some great catalog titles including the Go Bots (shipping on May 17th), Mr. T (shipping today), and finally a complete set of the Herculoids (shipping on June 14th) on DVD!

In addition to these awesome WB titles, Shout! Factory is currently prepping releases of M.A.S.K. (shipping in August), the Japanese Transformers Headmasters series (shipping on July 5th), as well as a re-issue of Jem (to be announced officially soon) on DVD.

Still keeping my fingers crossed that the Warner Archive will release the second half of the Silverhawks someday…