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VINTAGE SCHOOL LUNCH BOXES

by Keith Barber

VINTAGE SCHOOL LUNCH BOXES

“FAT ALBERT AND THE COSBY KIDS” — A touchstone of my childhood, I can remember carrying my metal Thermos brand lunch box with Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids to Grove Park Elementary every single day. The contents: one peanut butter and jelly sandwich; one bag of Fritos or Wise potato chips and Kool Aid in the Fat Albert thermos jug. We were such health food nuts back in the 1970s. I remember where I was every Saturday morning at 11 a.m.: tuned into CBS watching the latest adventures of the Cosby Kids as Bill Cosby narrated in his usual tongue-incheek manner. “Hey, hey, hey!”

“CHARLIE’S ANGELS” — This was the favorite lunch box of many of my female elementary school classmates. Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd looked hot even in those cheesy artists’ renderings. After Farrah left the cast, it was never the same.

DONNY AND MARIE —“I’m a little bit country/ and I’m a little bit rock ‘n roll.” Yes, I must admit I could be heard singing along with Donny and Marie Osmond on Friday nights, but that doesn’t make any less of a man. Does it?

ET — By the time this lunch box arrived in 1982, I was a freshman in high school and well past the metal lunch box phase. I was way too cool to carry around some metal lunch box. ET: The Extraterrestrial was a timeless film, so I couldn’t blame any kid in elementary school for wanting to look at Elliot and the friendly little alien every day at lunchtime.

BATMAN AND ROBIN — The animated version of “Batman and Robin” was far superior to the campy, live-action “Batman” of the late 1960s. Thank goodness the metal lunch box reflected the cartoon not the live action TV show. Superhero lunch boxes had some of the coolest artwork and Batman and Robin was no exception.

“BATTLESTAR GALACTICA” — One of the many science-fiction shows that attempted to cash in on the box office bonanza of Star Wars in the late 1970s. I remember the special effects of the TV show paling in comparison to George Lucas’ achievement in his trilogy of films. But still, the lunch box was sweet!

PLANET OF THE APES — I’ll never forget seeing Planet of the Apes on TV at the young age of 5. Once again, a science-fiction masterpiece that inspired a host of sequels and an awesome lunch box that elicited “ooh’s” and “ah’s” from envious fifth-graders.

“THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN” —Some 1970s TV shows stay with you forever. I’ll never forget the opening sequence of “The Six Million Dollar Man” when the experimental aircraft crashes and they have to rebuild Steve Austin, making him bigger, faster, stronger. And those sound effects! The lunch box did the amazing show justice.

THE SWEATHOGS — John Travolta and friends looked absolutely terrible in the artists’ renderings on this lunch box styled after the show “Welcome Back, Kotter,” but Vinny Barbarino cracked me up. So just seeing the lunch box in the cafeteria put a smile on my face.

“SUPER FRIENDS” — Who didn’t watch “Super Friends” on Saturday mornings? It was one of the greatest casting achievements of all time. But like the old studio days of Hollywood, the Super Friends were exclusive to DC Comics, so you never saw Spider-Man teaming up with Superman to defeat the evil villain. Spider- Man was in Marvel Comics as everyone knows. Despite the absence of Spidey, the “Super Friends” lunch box was one of my favorites.

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