Remember when Ghostbusters Cereal had those sweet holographic boxes?
It wasn’t just Ghostbusters Cereal, either. By the end of the ‘80s, Ralston had blessed no less than four other brands with the same treatment: Nintendo Cereal System, Cookie Crisp, Dinersaurs (dinosaurs who operated a diner, because wtf) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal.
This was a time when holograms didn’t just look cool, but were revered as huge, expensive productions. Remember how you felt about Super Naturals and Visionaries action figures? Or Lazer Blazers stickers?
Back in the ‘80s, a kid’s first thought after seeing any remotely holographic thing was, “That costs more than Pluto, which at press time is still part of the crew.” And since I’m already fibbin’, let’s also say that the kids then grew second heads and renamed themselves after their favorite colors.
I may joke about the way Ralston’s pop-bred cereals tasted, but the presentation was always top notch. Ghostbusters Cereal was some of their best work, but it was just one of several Ralston cereals that felt more like toys than breakfast. Adding holograms was just the cherry on top.
At the peak of the promotion, Ralston famously offered T-SHIRTS bearing the same kickass holograms that were on the boxes. Even by late ‘80s standards, the $5.95 asking price was absurdly low. Like if Ralston also sold $200 overcoats, I’d call those holo-shirts a loss leader.
I said the promotion was famous, and I meant it. There isn’t a person my age who didn’t grab at least one of Ralston’s hologram boxes, even if it was just the damn Cookie Crisp. All of us saw them, all of us had them, and all of us knew about this crazy t-shirt offer.
…but only the tiniest fraction of us actually ordered the shirts. I’ve been peddling nostalgia for over fifteen years, and I’ve only ever heard from two people who claimed to. (And given that the average on web truthfulness is no greater than 50%, at least one of them lied.)
The five shirts debuted in 1989. By then, I was at an age where it was perfectly acceptable to eat cartoony cereals, but less so to advertise that fact via apparel. I know it’s hard to imagine ten-year-olds wishing they were younger, but if you’re my age and you ate Ghostbusters Cereal in 1989, ya did.
(Note: By 1989, it’d been rechristened as REAL Ghostbusters Cereal. This detail didn’t seem to be worth mentioning until I remembered that I hate being corrected by strangers, or really anyone.)
My point is, the shirts were scarcely seen even in their time, and do not pop up regularly on the collectors’ market. It’s even rarer to find one in decent condition.
So now you understand why I’m freaking out over the latest addition to my pile of garbage: A RALSTON GHOSTBUSTERS CEREAL HOLOGRAM T-SHIRT IN UNWORN, MINT CONDITION.
Go ahead and cheer.
I said cheer! Cheer for minutes.
The hologram is just a thick sheet of paper protected by a plastic sleeve, which was then glued to a t-shirt with little regard for washing machine wear-and-tear. Behold, the world’s first dry-clean-only Ghostbusters t-shirt. I’ve been soaked.
But no, seriously, it’s cool. So cool. I will never use this t-shirt to handle coffee spills or egg white mishaps, no matter how desperate the situation.
The shirt is a snug fit even for Larry, which is just more demonstrable proof that children are small.
My new goal is to get thin enough to wear this t-shirt, which by rough estimations should take seven years and four “no, you don’t necessarily need that organ” surgeries.
Sounds ridic, but someday I’ll be wearing this shirt while trying to pick the right $7 birthday card in CVS, and some other weird dude will give me the secret club thumbs up.
No pain, no gain… even if the “gain” in this case would only amount to an awkward “heh” before I flee to the car like a broken-winged bat.
Thanks for reading about my old shirt. You were my excuse to buy it, after all.