Trading Cards That Spoof Cabbage Patch Kids Are Hit With Kids, Not ParentsLAWRENCE KILMAN , Associated Press
Feb. 5, 1986 11:45 PM ET
NEW YORK (AP) _ A spoof of Cabbage Patch Kids called ''Garbage Pail Kids'' is the latest fad in schools, and it's driving parents and teachers crazy.
Like Cabbage Patch Kids, the Garbage Pail Kids have round faces and pudgy bodies, but that is where the similarities end.
The Garbage Pail Kids are ugly and nasty.
There is Acne Amy, a pimple-plagued adolescent with braces; Mad Mike, a savage in a leopardskin wielding a sword and an ax; and Wacky Jackie, in a padlocked straitjacket.
There are many others, like Greaser Greg, a juvenile delinquent with his death's head T-shirt and a cigarette; Dead Fred, who has a bullet in his forehead; and Wrinkled Rita, a Miami matron who needs about a gallon of wrinkle cream.
The cards also offer citations for a variety of questionable, albeit humorous, behavior. For example, there is a ''Bully License,'' and a permit which confers ''full legal right to gorge yourself'' on junk foods.
Topps Chewing Gum Inc., better known for baseball cards and Bazooka bubble gum, began selling Garbage Pail Kids last June. The company cannot manufacturer the cards fast enough to meet demand.
Norman Liss, a spokesman for the company, said demand was high in all regions of the country, but he declined to release sales figures.
The popularity of the cards has caused concern. Several schools have banned them, and parents have been writing to complain.
''Kids like them because their parents don't like them,'' said Rick Anguilla, editor of Toy and Hobby World, a trade magazine. ''Once kids know they're not supposed to have them, they just want them even more.''
''They're anti-everything,'' Anguilla said. ''They're a spoof on Cabbage Patch dolls. For all the people who love the Cabbage Patch, there's a segment of society that dislikes the Cabbage Patch doll and like spoofing it.''
Liss said the cards were successful because Topps knows ''what children are thinking and what interests them.''
But what children like doesn't always conform to what adults think is best.
In Greenwich, Conn., the cards were banned from the private Brunswick School because students were playing with them instead of doing their work.
Similar bans were enacted at elementary schools in Ossining and Montrose, N.Y., where principals were concerned with students swapping and selling the cards during class.
Liss said the company has received about 100 complaints from parents.
''Any time something is that popular, and kids bring them to school where their friends are, these things happen,'' he said. ''We certainly don't want to disrupt classes, but the cards are very, very popular.''
The cards come in packs of five and sell for 25 cents. That includes a stick of chewing gum.
''I'd say there are only about five kids in my class who aren't collecting them,'' said Bo Bolle, a 9-year-old fan in San Francisco. ''Twenty-five out of 30, that's pretty good.''
Guadalupe Ricco-Pena, a counselor at the Alvarado Elementary School in San Francisco, said the violent images on some of the cards can be harmful.
''If the child was already being exposed to violence in the home, these cards could reinforce it,'' he said.
But Anguilla said the cards are ''nothing to lose sleep over.
''Relative to baseball cards they might seem a little nasty, but relative to 'Eliminator,' 'Terminator,' and what's on television every day, it's fairly harmless.''
Frances Schachter, supervising pediatric psychologist at the Metropolitan Hospital Center in New York, also said the cards were not something that parents should get overly excited about.
''It is unimportant in the overall scheme of things,'' she said. ''I think there is a kind of general threat to traditional authority and it's bad for kids. Kids are being too early exposed to things.
''I think this kind of thing is just one more added to the undermining of traditional values. I think we could do without it.''