Saturday, April 17, 2010

Junk Drawer: Waltons Lunchbox, 1973, Aladdin Industries

Click each for bigger.

I grew up in the suburbs but, ever since I can remember, always longed for the city. And so it was with a special dread that I loathed The Waltons, that goody-goody fake rural hell filled with boring people and their mundane woes. God, I hated that show. I was baffled by the idea that it was able to arouse feelings of nostalgia in people. Were they crazy?

Here's the other side, where we see the cretinous Waltons trying to get their truck unstuck, a job which would be considerably easier minus the seven passengers weighing it down:

On one side, John Boy Walton, the single most annoying character in 1970s television, and that's saying something:

On the bottom, let's all gather 'round and have a lot of fun watching Gramps getting his hair cut. THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE DID BEFORE THE INTERNETS:

On the other side, the house. It's nice enough, I guess, if you like that sort of thing:

And, finally, on the top, the littlest Waltons cavorting with vermin (I removed the handle for scanning):

It's a nice, embossed lunchbox. I can't imagine this one was very popular with kids, though, so it appears to be pretty scarce, judging from past eBay auctions. Retrocrush features it in their "worst lunchboxes of all time" lineup.

Inside this lunchbox is a full set of Mad Magazine trading cards (still available from Amazon!), a pharmaceutical company promotional key chain, and a Chapstick™.


sagetyrtle said...

"This is what people did before the internets." HEE. So true. I remember it well, 1983, we used to gather around the hot-air vent in the winter and wait for it to turn on.

Allen said...

My girlfriend has a teenage son who lived with us for a while. I was forever having to explain the references in Family Guy to him. On one episode they parodied the whole "Good night, Mary Ellen" "Good night, Jim Bob" thing.

I told him, "well there was this really cheesy show called The Waltons. It was about this guy looking back and telling stories about his family during the 1930's." He said, "Oh, you mean just like How I met your Mother."

Lady Wesley said...

Princess, I must vehemently disagree! John Boy was not nearly as annoying as J.J. (Dy-no-mite!) Evans.

Peteykins said...

Lady Wesley, that honestly is specifically a question I asked myself before writing this post: is John Boy or JJ more annoying? I stand by my decision.

Matty Boy said...

Allen: Thanks for the comment. Excellent and hard to top!

The blond kid looking at the squirrel's junk looks both excited and appalled at the same time.

I, on the other hand, am merely appalled.

Peteykins, did you buy this as an adult? If doesn't make much sense for you to have bought it when it was introduced, given how much you loathe this stuff.

Peteykins said...

Oh, and for the record, third place goes to the entire cast of Small Wonder.

Peteykins said...

Matty, I got it in a thrift store when I was buying lots of lunchboxes. They were great to put stuff in, funny and dated, and at the time (early 1980s) were plentiful and cheap in thrift stores; I don't think I ever spent more than a dollar on one. I particularly liked, naturally, weirder or campier ones, so the Waltons one was impossible to resist, it was so unlikely.

I was definitely ahead of the curve on lunchbox collecting. At one point I had over 50, and at the peak of the lunchbox craze in the 90s, I briefly made my living (between jobs) selling them for outrageous prices at a groovy vintage shop in San Diego.

Shortly after, the lunchbox market crashed hard, and it turns out I was smart to cash in when I did. Boxes I sold then for $60 to $100 (seriously!) can be routinely purchased today on eBay for $10 to $20.

Today I have 15-20 of them. I don't treat them like delicate objects, but I do have some choice ones.

What? No! said...

Walton's reverse-engineered from the internets at of course:

Elizabeth: John-Boy?
John-Boy: Yes, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Did they really give you a big present?
John-Boy: They did.
Elizabeth: Was he nice?
John-Boy: Well he was very busy, he didn't pay too much attention to me.
Elizabeth: That's the way most big brothers are.
John-Boy: Well I'll try to remember that.
Elizabeth: But they're still nice to have.
John-Boy: Goodnight, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Goodnight, John-Boy.

Season 3, Episode 2 THE FIRST DAY. The raccoon on the lunch box is probably "Pete, Elizabeth's sick raccoon". It's getting weird...

Christopher said...

Good Times was contraband in my liliwhite suburb. I remember kids being forbidden from watching it as it was too ghetto. (Apparently the ghetto would rub off through the TV.)

I always liked the Waltons though. I'm a rare kind of city kid. If I didn't live in the city I'd live on a farm. It's the middle I can't stand. I'm an extremist maybe.

Karen Zipdrive said...

I particularly love that the picture of the Walton kids cavorting with live vittles is located near the clasp that opens the box.
I bet if Mike Huckabee were to see that pic, his mouth would water.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Mmmmm, Michael Learned.

HRH King Friday XIII, Ret. said...

I would totally keep my weed in that thing.

drew in sf said...

I do believe I owned that lunchbox in an entirely unironic manner in the early/mid 70s, when I was yet a wee lad of 6 or 7. In addition to allowing me to securely transport my peanut butter and jelly and express my personal style of bucolic dignity, it was a formidable weapon against drifters and carpetbaggers.

Anonymous said...

At least their house had a second chance at coolness when it was used as The Dragonfly Inn on "Gilmore Girls!"

Jason Zenobia said...

Thank you so much for turning me on to Retrocrush and reminding me of the painfully boring Waltons.