10 Terrible Lunch Boxes No Kid Ever Wanted to Own
These vintage lunchbox may be popular with today's collectors, but to kids at school they spelt social disaster...
10) McDonalds Sheriff of Cactus County (Aladdin, 1982)
We’re fairly certain this lunchbox was the inspiration for the Stephen King novel ‘It’.
If there was an award for “Creepiest image of a clown most likely to come to life, reach out and try to claw your face off” then this lunchbox would be the world champion.
Also, any kids who owned this box were reminded every day that their packed lunches sucked compared to a McDonalds.
9) Emergency! (Aladdin, 1973)
This domed box, made by Aladdin in 1973, was based on the long-running television show about the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
It’s also the only box we can find that clearly has a dead body on the front. Hey kids, enjoy your lunch, and don’t forget the dangers of smoke inhalation!
8) Lidsville (Aladdin, 1971)
Sid and Marty Kroft, creators of some of the most terrifying children’s shows ever made, out-did themselves with Lidsville.
The synopsis – ‘Eddie Munster trapped in a land of giant hats’ – sounds like the first words of someone waking up from a fever-dream, and the show itself was the 20-minute hellish hallucination that precedes those words.
Like all Kroft shows, Lidsville featured giant puppets that seemed like they may start screaming for human flesh at any minute, and the box graphics captured the insanity all too well.
Essentially, the Lidsville lunchbox was a type of portable nightmare that kids could carry around with them all day long.
7) The Flying Nun (Aladdin, 1968)
Because kids love nuns, right? There is no way any kid in 1968 asked for a lunchbox based on a failing Sally Field religious sitcom.
If you were given this lunchbox as a child, your parents were deliberately trying to send you a message. That message was “We hate you, and we’re sending you to a convent boarding school.”
6) Mr Merlin (King Seeley Thermos, 1981)
1981 was a bad year for lunchboxes. There was an Annie: The Movie box, a Fall Guy box with Lee Majors on fire, or this abomination.
Mr Merlin ran for one season, and featured a kid being taught wizardry by Merlin the Magician disguised as a car mechanic in San Francisco. The artists over at King Seeley captured the magic and mystery of the show by featuring an old man in a baseball cap and a teenage boy that looks like Joannie Cunningham from Happy Days.
They also released it after the show was cancelled. You were better off praying your Empire Strikes Back box could survive another year.
5) Disco (Aladdin, 1978)
Disco was originally an underground music scene, born in black and Latino urban gay nightclubs across the U.S and fuelled by a heady mix of cocaine and casual sex - the perfect subject for a child’s lunch box.
4) Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Aladdin, 1973)
In 1973 there were two things every kid in America loved – existentialism and sea birds.
So Aladdin were on to a winner with their 1973 lunchbox based on the metaphysical novella ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’, which had just been turned into a film with a soundtrack by children’s favourite Neil Diamond.
A follow-up lunchbox based on ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ was sadly cancelled, when it was discovered the company’s creative team had all suffered nervous breakdowns.
3) Hee Haw (King Seeley Thermos, 1970)
These giant, leering, middle-aged hillbilly faces were just made to be put on a children’s lunchbox. If you were at school in 1970, having a Hee-Haw lunch box really made a statement. And that statement was: “In about 40 year’s time, I’m going to really hate the President.”
2) Metrics (King Seeley Thermos, 1976)
This lunchbox was designed to make the metric system interesting, using fun subjects that all kids love like Olympic sports, race cars, power generators and medical prescriptions.
Few of these boxes survived in good condition, as most were used as shields to prevent their owners being beaten senseless by bullies who loved imperial measurements.
1) Gentle Ben (Aladdin, 1968)
“Okay team, we’ve won the license to make the lunchboxes for Gentle Ben. It’s a family show about a boy and a loveable bear starring Clint Howard, and...yes he does have a weird face but he’s a little kid, I’m sure he’ll grow out of it. Anyway, we need something cute with the ugly kid and the bear so get to work!”
One week later.
“Here’s the Gentle Ben design boss, what do you think?”
“You’re all fired.”
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