The Totally Sweet ’90s: From Clear Cola to Furby, and Grunge to “Whatever,” the Toys, Tastes, and Trends That Defined a Decade

BOOK: The Totally Sweet ’90s: From Clear Cola to Furby, and Grunge to “Whatever,” the Toys, Tastes, and Trends That Defined a Decade
12.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Advance Praise for

The Totally Sweet '90s

“Mr. Dewey gives
The Totally Sweet '90s
an A+! Should be on the required reading list for all Baysiders. But don't worry, no need for caffeine pills, Jesse. Each page is a delightful reminiscence of that sometimes glorious but all too often ignominious (look it up, slacker) decade that polished off the twentieth century.”

—Patrick O'Brien, actor from
Saved by the Bell




From Clear Cola to Furby, and Grunge
to “Whatever,” the Toys, Tastes, and Trends
That Defined a Decade

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
and Brian Bellmont



Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

For more information about the Penguin Group, visit

Copyright © 2013 by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont

Photographs by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

PERIGEE is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

The “P” design is a trademark belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Cooper, Gael Fashingbauer.

The totally sweet '90s : from clear cola to Furby, and grunge to “whatever,” the toys, tastes, and trends that defined a decade / Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont.

pages    cm

“A Perigee Book.”

Includes index.

ISBN: 978-1-101-62399-2

1. Popular culture—United States—History—20th century.  2. United States—Social life and
customs—1971–  3. Nineteen nineties.  I. Bellmont, Brian.  II. Title.

E169.Z82C675    2013

973.929—dc23                2013000219

First edition: June 2013

Text design by Tiffany Estreicher

While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers, Internet addresses, and other contact information at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

Most Perigee books are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. Special books, or book excerpts, can also be created to fit specific needs. For details, write:
[email protected]

This one's for our siblings—
Rudge, Claudia, Drew, Clio, Anne,
and Dave on Gael's side,
and Mike, Dave, and Kevin on Brian's.

And also for the friends who helped us survive and thrive in the 1990s.
For Gael, that's Lisa Olchefske Gilbert, Sue Dillon, Bob Seabold and
Bobbe Norenberg, Scott and Stacy Pampuch, Todd Mannis, Dan Dosen,
Scott Feraro, and Matt Gillen. For Brian, that would be Chris Moore,
Mike Zipko, Kathleen Hennessy, Dave Aeikens, and all the folks
at WEAU, CONUS, Axiom, and Shandwick.

Table of Contents

Kids of the '90s, Unite!

Adam Sandler Songs on Saturday Night Live

The Adventures of Pete & Pete

America's Funniest Home Videos

American Gladiators

Andrew “Dice” Clay

Arch Deluxe

Austin Stories

“Baby Got Back”

Baby-Sitters Club Books

Barney & Friends


Beanie Babies

Beavis and Butt-Head

Bee Girl

Behind the Music

The Big Lebowski

Big Mouth Billy Bass

Bill Nye the Science Guy

Billy Bob Thornton

The Blair Witch Project

Blossom Fashion

Blue's Clues

Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting

Body Glitter

Bottled Water

Boy Bands

The Brady Bunch Revival

Brenda Walsh

Bubble Tape

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Bungee Jumping


Caller ID and Star-69

Calvin and Hobbes

Cassette Tapes

Celebrity Movies

Cheetos Paws

Clarissa Explains It All

Clear Colas


“Closing Time”

Coke MagiCan Promotion


Cuba Gooding Jr.

Dawson's Creek

Department 56

Dippin' Dots

Discovery Zone

“Don't Copy That Floppy!”

Doritos 3D

Dream Phone Game


Earring Magic Ken

Ebola Virus

Facial Hair

Fanny Packs


Father of the Bride

Fax Machines

Floppy Disks

Forrest Gump


Free Willy


Fruit by the Foot



Game Boy

George Foreman Grill

Giant Cell Phones

Goosebumps Books

Got Milk? Ad Campaign

Groundhog Day


Hacky Sack

Happy Fun Ball

Have You Ever…You Will!

Home Alone


If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Books

“I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)”

“I'm the King of the World!”

Inline Skates

“I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up” Ads

Janet Reno's Dance Party

Jell-O Jigglers

The Jerry Springer Show

Jim Carrey

Jim's Journal

Juice Boxes

Kid Cuisine

Kindergarten Cop

Koosh Balls

Kris Kross

Lamb Chop's Play Along

Leisure Suit Larry

Light-Up Sneakers

The Lion King

Lisa Frank School Supplies

Mac Classic II


Magic Eye Pictures

Magic Middles Cookies

Martha Stewart

MC Hammer


Melrose Place


Micro Machines

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

Milli Vanilli


Movie Rental Stores

Movies with Twist Endings

My So-Called Life

Mystery Science Theater 3000


Nerf Guns


The Nutty Professor

OK Soda

The Olsen Twins

Online Services

Oprah's Book Club


The Oregon Trail

Pajama Pants


Party of Five



Pop Up Video

Pretty Woman

Pulp Fiction

The Real World

The Return of Donny Osmond

Ring Pops

Riot Grrrl

Rise of the Disney Princess


Roller Shoes


Salute Your Shorts

Saved by the Bell


Scrunchies and Little Kid Barrettes



Slap Bracelets


Socker Boppers

Sour Candy

Spice Girls

Spuds Mackenzie

Squeezit Drinks

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Wars Prequel Mania

Surge Soda

Swing Dancing


Taco Bell Chihuahua

Talk Show Boom


Tan M&M's

Teddy Ruxpin

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Terrible Saturday Night Live Movies

“The More You Know” Public Service Announcements

Thomas Kinkade Art

Tickle Me Elmo Craze

Topsy Tail

Troll Dolls

Turbo Football

Upper Deck Baseball Cards


Violent Video Games


Wayne's World

Whassup? Ads


Where's Waldo?

Windows 95

WWJD Bracelets

The X-Files

X Games

Xena: Warrior Princess

Y2K Panic






About the Author

Kids of the '90s, Unite!

know, you've spent a lifetime celebrating the nostalgia of older generations. Every other week a magazine cover remembers the enormous social changes of the 1960s, a shaggy 1970s band goes on tour, or a hideous fashion trend of the 1980s returns. That's all well and good, even if jelly shoes haven't gotten any more comfortable in thirty years.

But maybe you still smile when you hear someone mention
The Oregon Trail
, or when you find your old Lisa Frank notebook in your mom's closet. Or maybe you get sucked in to watching the entire
Big Lebowski
every time it pops up on cable. Or you can't bear to throw away your cassette tapes, even though you haven't owned a tape player for years. There's nothing wrong with holding fond memories of your own chosen decade—even if you still can't figure out why Urkel was ever popular.

The reason we wrote this book—and its 1970s–1980s-themed predecessor,
Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?
—is that we believe the lost toys, tastes, and trends of an era do more than just remind us of what we liked as kids. They tell us a lot about who we were then, and who we are today. You can't figure out where you're going until you understand how you got there.

BOOK: The Totally Sweet ’90s: From Clear Cola to Furby, and Grunge to “Whatever,” the Toys, Tastes, and Trends That Defined a Decade
12.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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