Berry Blue Jell-O arrived in 1992, and the fanfare — at least in my imagined version of things — was enormous.
Here were raspberries and blueberries, finally putting aside their differences to take over the planet. This was perhaps the first signal of the “blue candy” craze that would stain the nation throughout the ‘90s.
I don’t know what the truth was, but we had our rumors. In my neighborhood, the story was that a ban on blue food dye had finally been lifted, freeing confectioners to make everything look like sea water from a tropical hotel brochure.
True or not, the story seemed to fit. All through the ‘90s, everything was coming out blue. Blue M&Ms and blue Blow Pops were the kings of this burgeoning fad, but it didn’t end there. Not by a long shot. Even foods that made no sense being blue, became blue.
For a time, every kid I knew spent their days wandering around with blue-tinted tongues. It was weird and great.
And this? This is something Jell-O calls the Star Spangled Snack. Found the recipe in a Berry Blue promo booklet from its debut year. As soon as I saw the Star Spangled Snack, I knew I had to make it. It isn’t electric sex gleaming in the window, but it is electric blue Jell-O gleaming on a wooden plank.
How to do it, and it’s real easy:
Make red Jell-O. Make blue Jell-O. Cut into half-inch squares. Create a layer with the red squares. Add a second layer of Cool Whip. Third layer of blue squares. Top with another dollop of Cool Whip, adorned with a sugar-sprinkled marshmallow.
The end result? Something that photographs better than a Baby Pygmy Marmoset, trained to give cameramen a thumbs-up. Read More…
I was always more into the action figures, but The Real Ghostbusters collection was truly a “pretend play” pioneer.
The Proton Pack came out in 1986. Every boy I knew had one. There was no room for “maybes” on the chance to become a real, live Ghostbuster.
A chance to make lots of noise! A chance to smack a big foam rod into things! A chance to catch ghosts!
Learn more in today’s shitty vlog:
Rekindling this flame has completely reinvigorated my spark for all things Slimer.
Real Ghostbusters toys still have legions of fans, but I don’t think they get enough credit. If you think about how outside-the-box those toys were, from the ballsy weird figures to the ridiculous kid-scale equipment, it’s easy to believe that there will never again be a line a playthings so great in such a variety of ways.
After the jump, see a few more pictures of the Proton Pack. I took ‘em, so I might as well post ‘em. Read More…
I grew up swearing that “Brain” was the best Gremlin ever.
You might remember Brain from Gremlins 2. He’s the one who gained the ability to speak, and used that ability to sing “New York, New York” while other Gremlins sorted through crates of plastic explosives.
Brain was a great Gremlin, but he wasn’t the best.
George was the best.
Since I’ve written about my George obsession no less than a hundred times over the years, I’ll keep this brief.
From that gnarly-but-cute scowl to the legendary “mi-cro-waf” scene, George quietly became the ultimate Gremlin.
Better than Mohawk. Better than the one that turned into vegetables. Yes, even better than Brain.
Point of this: The toy gods at NECA semi-recently released the latest wave of Gremlins action figures, and George was among them – both in his Gremlin form, and his super swank fuzzy Mogwai form.
Because there was no way to choose between them without invoking a total mental breakdown, I bought both.
I took photos, of course. The problem is, I can’t decide which of these two photos is better:
Is it this one, with its red-to-purple paper background?
Or is it this one, which presents George the Gremlin and George the Mogwai as rock collectors, out on the hunt?
Opinions, please? There can only be one true Photo of the Georges. If I’m going to get a hundred wallet-sized versions run off, I need to choose wisely.
Thanks in advance.
Dead serious about the wallet photos, by the way. Snapfish is open and waiting in another tab.
This week’s Saturday Night Thread is brought to you by some kind of fruity salad from Wendy’s.
We’ve all had those nights when we’re hungry, hopeless and scouring YouTube for old fast food commercials. You’ll sit there watching Jason Alexander fumble around with a McDLT, angry that you can’t do the same thing today.
It’s tasty irony. Fast foods normally go extinct because they’re unpopular, but it’s because they go extinct that certain fast foods grow into legends. Your stomach is just like you: It doesn’t want things until they’re no longer attainable.
I guess it’s that phenomena that’s turned me into such a devoted scout of “limited time” food items. Take Wendy’s new Berry Almond Chicken Salad, a short release in celebration of All Things Summer. It’s here now, but it won’t be here forever, and it might not return next year.
Decades from now, the next-next-next generation will trade memories about that long ago June when Wendy’s shoved a bunch of waxy strawberry parts into mounds of lettuce. The thought makes me want to archive this while I still can, like a mutant version of a curator.
I probably wouldn’t have bothered, but I just find the Berry Almond Salad so utterly fascinating.
I know that “fruit in fast food salads” is nothing new, but it’s usually just apples and oranges. I am so tired of apples and oranges. Here, there are blueberries and huge slices of strawberries. Seriously huge. Like, I’m looking at these strawberry pieces and imagining them whole, and my brain simply cannot comprehend strawberries of that size. God knows what kind of voodoo magic is going on in Wendy’s secret laboratories. If only they’d use their powers for something more critical than giant strawberries.
There’s also lettuce, cheese, a generous amount of sliced almonds (you get a whole baggie of those), and grilled chicken pieces that look much better in person than they do in that photo.
Actually, the whole salad looks better in person. I tried to get the photo just right, but neither my camera nor the salad would cooperate. Maybe salad hates technology. Maybe it’s the other way around. Or maybe food from Wendy’s just isn’t meant for close-ups under hard light.
Taste? Very good. It totally works. You just need to avoid eating the chicken and strawberries in the same bite. It will only make you feel like you’re eating slimy candy chicken.
I made my own dressing at home, because fast food salad dressings come in two types: Delicious but as unhealthy as a triple cheeseburger, or fat free and flavored like the cold urine of a rabbit who ate nothing but lemons.
I’m not even sure what their “stock dressing” for this one is, because the guy at Wendy’s gave me three different packets. Avocado Ranch, Creamy Red Jalapeno and Raspberry Vinaigrette. These will remain forever inside our Refrigerator Drawer of Fast Food Condiments. We never take anything out of there, and I shudder to think about how old some of those ketchup packets must be by now, but God damn, when the guy at Wendy’s gives you a bunch of salad dressing, you don’t throw it away.
Someday, I’ll figure out a way to repurpose that dressing. It’s good to have goals.
Happy SNT, if you’re here for it. You might not be. Slow week here on Dino Drac. Working on fixing that. I just need people to stop hiring me.
In a single comment, your job is to explain what you’re seeing here.
There’s much to consider, but I don’t want to influence things. What does this mean to you? Tell the story of what you see. There are no wrong answers.
I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday, duh. Got smacked in the face with several new gigs that required immediate attention, and will continue requiring attention over the next few weeks.
I guess this is the part where I remind everyone, but mostly myself, that Dinosaur Dracula is a hobby, and as much as I’d like to spend seven days a week babbling about Easy Cheese, it just isn’t practical. If I did that, I wouldn’t be able to afford Easy Cheese.
But, while I’ll need a day or two to get a handle on those gigs, the site won’t “pull an X-E” and grind to a screeching halt whenever I have other things to do. I’ll just need to budget my time more effectively and steer clear of, I don’t know, Bejeweled XXVIII.
Anyway, I did have a little time today, so I started digging through my Ludicrous Bins of Stuff to see what I might like to cover over the next few weeks. The first thing that grabbed me? Garfield and Friends Fruit Snacks.
You might remember ‘em from this old article, and yes, I still have them. In fact, I have more Garfield and Friends Fruit Snacks than ever. I’m quite positive that I never had this many before, and can only conclude that they’ve somehow multiplied, on their own.
I’m not complaining. The delicious bits of berry Fimo came out in the early ‘90s (the box above is from ’93), and were the absolute 100% best thing a kid could ever stuff in his or her lunchbox. These were unbelievably good.
If you’ve never tried them, I’m sure you’re assuming that they were no different from the thousand other fruit snack brands. WRONG. I can’t really pinpoint an exact reason, but between the flavor, the consistency and the fact that half of them were Odie-shaped, Garfield and Friends Fruit Snacks were narcotics-level addicting.
Thank God these arrived before serving sizes were such a hot-button issue, because nobody ate single pouches of these. You just kept going until you had no more. An hour later, you got the shakes.
Visually, they’re showing their age. Any fruit snack would after twenty years. Collectively, they’re looking a bit like Ursula’s garden of imprisoned polyps.
Also, they kind of reek. They don’t smell bad, really, but the odor is strong. Perhaps it’s a case of fruit snack pheromones, which would go a long way in explaining how mine managed to multiply. Really makes me wonder what else might be happening in those Ludicrous Bins of Stuff. I know I had a full box of Urkel-O’s in there. Do I have two now?
I totally ate some, by the way. Once I got past the mental issues involved with chewing twenty-year-old candy, they honestly weren’t bad at all. Not as good as fresh Garfield Fruit Snacks, but still better than anything I’m going to find in a supermarket today. At least, this is what I have to tell myself, otherwise I’ll feel like a real clown for having eaten food from 1993.
I’ve said it before, but I grew up in a time when kids respected Garfield. Today’s Internet lampoons him to no end, but I can’t do that. Look at what he gave us! Three great holiday specials. That killer Macy’s balloon. An awesome cartoon. Fruit snacks that still taste good after nearly two decades.
I will never, ever hate on that cat.