August 4th, 2011
02:31 PM ET
Remember the "Sweet Pickles" bus commercial?
In a fit of '80s TV nostalgia, I recently had the commercial's song stuck in my head ("Smart moms know... how kids' minds grow... upon 'Sweet Pickles'").
"Sweet Pickles" was a subscription-based series of children's books and learning activities. Created by Richard Hefter, Jaquelyn Reinach and Ruth Lerner in 1977, "Sweet Pickles" spanned 40 books and was geared toward children ages 2-6.
According to SweetPickles.com, the series sold over 50 million copies. The books focused on the 26 personified residents of the fictional town of Sweet Pickles (e.g. Accusing Alligator, Jealous Jackal, Goof-off Goose). The characters would each get into a "pickle" based on their exaggerated humanistic traits.
In the commercial, the green "Sweet Pickles" bus is seen driving down the residential street of a leafy town. Goof-off Goose exits the bus and hand-delivers a box to a little boy.
As a preschooler in the early '80s, I thought when the commercial voiceover actor said, "We'll send the 'Sweet Pickles' bus to your door," he meant I'd soon peek out the window and see the "Sweet Pickles" bus at my curb. Not so. If you look closely at the commercial, you'll see that the "bus" that came to "your door" was actually a bus-shaped box of sweet (pickles) loot that came through the regular mail.
A Google search revealed some hilarious and touching findings that prove I'm certainly not the only one overcome with a bout of "Sweet Pickles" déjà vu from time to time. [Note: Grammar and spelling errors remain untouched]:
"back then they didnt have the '18 or older to order' Rule so My Sister when she was little she called with our cousin kevin because they thought the bus and the animals would come and play with them it turns out it just came through the mail so our grandma had to pay for them and they got in big trouble.so our other cousin keith junior burned them in a fire and said kevin started the fire.a few weeks ago my sister found the sweet picle cards at a garage sale and kept them to give to kevin."
"I also remember the imfamous bus from the 1980s that would pull up to the house and costumed characters waved from inside. I remember my mom telling my younger sister 'they don't really do that if you order it!'"
"Now, obviously the bus never actually came to your house, but try telling that to a four year old who just lost a turtle because you've been feeding it iceberg lettuce for three months. she told me the turtle left to go see his mother, and i looked all over the yard for it heartbroken that it didn't love me anymore, i'm sure. so i was duped on the Sweet Pickles bus too. the books would come in the mail. she used to take them out of the box while i was taking a bath, or nap, or playing in the backyard. then out of nowhere she'd tell me that i missed the bus, that it came and somehow there wasn't enough time to get me because the stork had to go to other children's houses too. there was always a message for me from the Iguana. i really wanted to meet the iguana. i'd make her read his book Me Too, Iguana over and over. i used to pack it into my Strawberry Shortcake bag to take to the sitters with me every day. i'm not sure when it finally occurred to me that the Pickle bus didn't really exist, or that my turtle died of malnutrition. but i'm traumatized, really. and i think i'd still like to meet that Iguana."
The rights to "Sweet Pickles" were recently acquired by Bento Box Entertainment - the team behind FOX's animated series "Bob's Burgers." According to Variety, Bento is looking to produce "Sweet Pickles" TV adaptations, a digital re-launch of the books, and merchandise.
What about you? Were you duped by that commercial? If not, what ad campaigns took you for a fool as a child?
All deceptive advertising aside, were you a "Sweet Pickles" subscriber? If so, what do you remember most about "Sweet Pickles?"
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