Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Notes from a Brat: The TV Lunchbox Kids Again

When I was a child in the 1960s and early 1970s TV-themed "tie-in" lunchboxes were a big thing. The colour screen on the box's exterior was probably more important than any nutrients carried on the inside. The graphic was part of your identity: Perhaps you were a Bonanza fan, a "Bat-fan", or you gravitated towards the Irwin Allen fantasy shows such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea or Lost in Space. It did not matter whether or not these dramatic television programs were good (most were not) but the lunchboxes were a way of advertising our programming -- a statement as to what we little ones thought was cool on television.

I remember sitting on the school bus one day, waiting for the vehicle to finish loading up kids outside of the CFB Baden Elementary School (in then West Germany). A fellow traveller in the seat immediately in front of mine had in his possession what must have looked to me like a pretty specimen of a lunchbox: It had a rich green trim; it showed some futuristic vehicle; it was adorned with the title Land of the Giants. (What's Land of the Giants? I learned something new and important.)

My favourite of the TV lunchboxes was the one for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. The artwork, lame on many themed boxes for some inexplicable reason, was absolutely dynamic here: The front-of-box illustration depicted the submarine "Seaview" approaching a giant (giant!) octopus that was resting, but looking mighty angry, with the Flying Sub in its tentacles, on the ocean floor.

I never did get that lunchbox, simply because I never asked for it. My own box was of no TV-theme. It had a tartan pattern with the thermos inside sharing the same pattern. For all its blandness, that lunchbox served me well. When we moved back to Canada there was no need for this piece of school equipment as my school, Frederick Campbell Elementary in CFB Borden, was a few minutes walk from the house. I'd go home, eat, and pop on CFTO and meet The Flintstones.

Also, by this time the television series' Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Land of the Giants had been cancelled. Suddenly their tie-in lunchboxes had become worthless....

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