It’s always the way: I am tearing the place apart looking for something which I never find but I uncover something which I had completely forgotten about. In this case I found a couple 0f pages of stickers promoting Joe Dante’s Gremlins (1984) and the fruity goodness of Hi-C!
I was looking through a battered, four-drawer filing cabinet looking for photographic stills from the Star Wars Fan Club which I never did find. Instead I found a plain manila envelope containing these sheets of stickers. It must have been a mail-in promotion for the film which they hoped would cause a stampede of kids into theaters and a stampede of their parents to purchase the official drink of these critters, Hi-C!
The hope was to have a merchandising bonanza like Star Wars and the notion of going into cuteness over-drive must have been floating around the heads of filmmakers in the early ’80s being that Spielberg had a big hit with E.T. and Lucas practically derailed Star Wars with the infusion of Teddy Bears in Return of the Jedi. These guys couldn’t let go of cute which probably explains the Pokemon predecessor Gizmo as pictured above.
Of course, the final product was a little more twisted than cute in the hands of director and Philadelphia College of Art graduate Joe Dante. Dante had started his career working on Roger Corman’s exploitation films and made a name for himself with the excellent werewolf opus The Howling. He had a goofy sense of humor, but I was surprised at the time that he would take on what appeared to be a kids movie. Despite the studio’s desire to sell toys, it wasn’t really a very kid friendly film. I remember hoping my nieces and nephews who were very young at the time would avoid the film as cable television beat it to death after it’s initial theatrical run. There were scenes that would doubtless give kids nightmares and a remarkably grim scene where Phoebe Cates describes how she learned the truth about Santa Claus that I am amazed was left in the film.
But I liked it, and somewhere along the course of the way, I ordered stickers from Hi-C! My nieces and nephews drank Hi-C in the little boxes which I think were new at the time. There must have been a mail-in coupon on the label. It looks like I ordered them, looked at them and filed them away a few decades ago.