LOCAL Houston | The City Guide MAY 2015 - Page 28

Local May_Final.qxp_002houston 4/23/15 12:19 PM Page 28 WACKY PACKS If you mention the name Wacky Packs to children of the 1970s, you’re guaranteed to elicit a response unlike any other craze in the last few decades. Billed as “the number one children’s craze of the last 1,000 years” by Entertainment Weekly, the stickers and trading cards that spoofed classic household items became the only non-sports card to continually outsell baseball cards. Everyday products like Cap’n Crunch were spoofed as Cap’n Crud, just like Hot Wheels became Shot Wheels. Nothing was off-limits, covering everything from cereal (Wheaties became Weakies) to drinks (Kool-Aid became Kook Aid) to cologne (Old Spice became Old Spit). Originally created in 1967, the cultural phenomenon that captured the attention of America’s youth quickly became a hot item, selling out daily. MICHAEL CRIST, an avid collector in Houston, knows all about Wacky Pack’s scarcity. Born and raised in Fredericksburg, Virginia, he vividly remembers going to the local 7-11 as a child in 1973 and looking at the sticker images. Each pack came with a stick of gum, and it was almost impossible to purchase due to their popularity. “One of the reasons why they were ‘sold out’ was that one of the kids who lived closest to the neighborhood 7-11 store would get there first and buy them all to resell at school. It was the craze at the time to trade stickers with classmates to complete each series – there were 16 original series (488 total stickers),” recalls Michael. His love for Wacky Packs has never left him, and after eBay launched and allowed him and other collectors to gain access to rare sticker and card collections, he moved on to collecting the actual illustrators’ paintings. To this day he has amassed a collection of over 100 original and replica paintings of various spoofs, which began with his first purchase in 1998. Over 15 years later, and Michael Crist continues to collect when he can with an appreciation for the art form itself. By Adam Bergen| Photography by Max Burkhalter 28 L O C A L | may 15