Saturday, January 28, 2023

1986 Fleer Grossville High

Today, for what appears to be the first time ever on APTBNL, we're going to open an odd wax pack from 1986:

Grossville High!
Fleer released this set in a fairly obvious attempt to ride the coattails of the Topps Garbage Pail Kids craze that began the previous year. I wonder how upset Topps was at Fleer for doing this. I can't find any information online that documents a court battle or anything of that nature, so maybe Topps wasn't that worried. (Once we look through the pack, I think you'll understand why.)
As you can see from the image above, each wax pack contained 5 stickers and 1 stick of bubble gum. Fittingly, the stick of gum in this particular pack was pretty gross with some mold issues. I decided to not take a photo of it.
Another point of interest is that each pack wrapper featured one of three members of Grossville High. This pack was the Norman Nerdwood variation. There was also Judy Cooty (misspelled "Cudy" on the wrapper) and Prof. Bob Beaker.

Also note the "1st Series" designation on the left-hand side of the wrapper. This inaugural series consisted of 66 cards, and it seems like Fleer had big plans to expand the Grossville franchise. Unfortunately, this first series was also the last series. The stickers never caught on.

Now let's get to the five stickers inside my pack.

Keep searching, Debbie. You'll find someone.

After just the first two stickers, you can see how Fleer even copy-catted the Garbage Pail Kid names by using rhyming or alliterative techniques. (Topps even had a GPK girl named "Dana Druff" in their 4th series that same year of 1986. I wonder which card was released first.)

Here's Fanny Form, who appears to be a school secretary. It's nice that Fleer gave a nod to some of the administrative staff at Grossville High.

Dale Fail has not so cleverly hidden a "Ratman" comic inside a copy of War and Peace. Classic move. I love the look on that teacher's face in the background.

Finally, we've got Guy Fly checking the contents of a cafeteria trash can. I think it's interesting that Fleer went so far as to trademark the names of every character. It's another example of how they might have been hoping the cards would really take off and generate a bunch of merchandise. Not to be.
Next up are a couple of card backs.

Here's a list of announcements from Miss Fanny Form. She's thorough, if nothing else.

This "yearbook" design was the more standard version of a card back, with quite a number of characters in the set receiving the treatment.

Note that there might be an error on the back of this one. Dale Fail's class award is listed as "most likely to succeed". With a name like Dale Fail, I wonder if they meant to say "most likely NOT to succeed".

Also note the "Canew Ideas" company name at the bottom. I couldn't find much information on this Pennsylvania entity, but they did release a couple of comic books in 1991 under the title "Revenge of the Oil Slick Ducks".

So that's that. Grossville High, for the first time on the blog. These five cards were indeed pretty gross, but after looking through the 66-card checklist and some of the associated images, I think we were pretty fortunate here with the gross factor.

What do you think of this odd, one-off set? Leave your thoughts in the comment section, and thanks for reading!


Matt said...

Wow...I remember those! I completely forgot about them too!

Fuji said...

My LCS and local convenience stores had packs of GPK, but I never saw these. But I'm pretty sure I've seen packs of these sitting in bins at card shows over the years.

Anonymous said...

Never heard of these, though I'm plenty old enough to remember 1986.

gregory said...

Thanks for the comments, guys!

jay said...

Wow, this is the first that I've heard of this set. I think maybe Topps was too tired of seeing Fleer in the courtroom at this point to even bother.

gregory said...

You might be right, Jay!