Before I get into today’s Peel Here column proper, I wanted to take a second to let everyone know that I’ve made it ten million times easier to browse through the archives of this column.   In the past the Peel Here banners above and to the left in the sidebar have pulled up all of the previous columns on one page that took roughly eleven months, 7 days, and three hours to load.  Not anymore.  Now these banners will whisk you away to a brand new single portal page that’s split up into volumes (each 12 columns get their own volume.)  So if you really wanted to take a second look at those C.H.i.P.s stickers, or you missed out on the 7-Eleven Rock Coins, you can now just browse through the various volumes (each of which list the posts in that volume.)  You can either click on a volume to be taken to a page with all twelve of those posts, or you can click on the individual column you want to see. 

I recently rearranged my archive of Cartoon Commentary! columns in a similar fashion so 90% of Branded is very accessible via the sidebar banners now.  It’s a small step, but I hope it improves the browsing of the site.   Someday I’ll get Libsyn to include the "next-page, previous-page" functionality in their blogging engine, but I’m not holding my breath…

Anyway, enough about site maintenance, you came here for some nostalgia right?  Well let me present a fun set of Topps cards originally distributed back in 1978, the almost complete (I’m missing sticker #10) Three’s Company sticker set…

This set is sort of a weird duck.   Like most Topps stickers (and subsets to regular card series) this set comes in a multiple of eleven with 44 total cards.   This is a little weird as the majority of the Topps licensed stickers at this time came in the form of 22 count subsets of a much larger series of bubblegum cards.  This Three’s Company set is just stickers, there aren’t any regular cards.  From what I can tell, Topps really didn’t start doing these 44 card sticker sets until the mid 80s with the Supergirl, 21 Jump Street, Return to Oz and Little Shop of Horrors sets (not to mention the various rock music sets featuring Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran, and Menudo.)   Also, aside from a handful of card-backs illustrating how to peel off the sticker, the majority of the set has blank white backs.  I have seen other blank backed sets, like the Incredible Hulk or Mork and Mindy, as well as sets that just had ads on the card-backs like the stickers for the first Alien flick.  There are some variations of these stickers though, that include at least one set of puzzle backs that form to make a 15-card poster of Suzanne Sommers.

Here’s what the poster looked like…

Anyway, as far as the stickers themselves go, I have to say that I think it weird that so many sitcoms had this sort of merchandising in the 70s and 80s.  I can clearly see how popular some of these shows were, but it seems like there’s a big leap between trying your best to catch the most recent episode of the show for a few laughs and running out to your local 7-Eleven to pick up 10 to 15 packs of cards in hopes of completing a set of Three’s Company stickers.  It’s really the hobby of the young or borderline obsessed, and again, I have a hard time seeing kids really getting into these stickers, even if they do love the show.  It seems like an impulse, single pack purchase.  Out of five stickers you’re bound to get at least one Suzanne Sommers and John Ritter headshot sticker, and then you’re done.  Alright, maybe some kids were looking for a Joyce Dewitt, but seriously at the time, who was pining for a Mr. Roper sticker?  I can totally see the beauty in the sticker now, from a distance though.

Maybe I’m having a hard time getting my brain around this set because my exposure to the series was really limited as a kid.  The only time I ever really got a chance to watch it was on those rare occasions when I was out sick from school.  The show, along with other staples like C.H.i.P.s, Gomer Pyle USMC, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeanie, primarily played in re-run syndication during the mid-afternoons in my area.  Just hearing the opening bars of the theme song makes my stomach feel a bit queasy since I was usually sick when I saw the show…

I wonder whose job it was to come up with the flavor text on these stickers?  It’s pretty atrocious stuff.  I noticed something similar with the Mork and Mindy card set (which had totally non-show related speech and thought bubbles added to all of the screencaps.)