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'Why did they ever get rid of ... ?' April edition

By Steve Schwartzman
On April 2, 2014

Oh my … the last “Why did they ever get rid of … ?” of the school year. We sure had some good times, didn’t we?

Well, before I get overemotional and turn this thing into about the thousandth nostalgia-based pop culture photo blog on the Interwebs, lets unveil our final list. And for those who are claiming they aren’t overcome with pure sentiment right now, as if.

— Why did they ever get rid of colored Ketchup? Look, ketchup as an entity was never really the sexiest of the food fixins — as it’s pretty obvious that title goes to Cholula, don’t even front. Outside of faking unrealistically bright gushing scabs, the appeal for ketchup to a young audience never saved face and got tragically relegated to the tops of meatloafs the world over.

It was time for a kid-friendly ketchup advocate. Enter the colored ketchup generation. Imagine a world where everything at your family barbeque was color by number, like those paper place settings you got at diners with a small box of four crayons, but real life. How it found its way off of our store shelves I’ll never know, and to make matters worse, it’ll probably never come back unless it becomes an iPhone app.

— Why did they ever get rid of MASH? No, no, not the show — granted that was awesome too — but the ever-famed, jealously-guarded, socio-economic case study that was the MASH fortune teller.

It was a sociology final in colored pencil all on wide-ruled paper. All you needed was four seeded lists, a common knowledge of every cute kid in your elementary school class and a moderator skilled in drawing a spiral but still having the wherewithal to stop drawing when abruptly instructed to. What made this phenomenon as special as it was? Its pin-point accuracy. Think I’m lying? Come prove it to me over at my backwoods shack and I’ll take you in a ride in my Weinermobile with my wife, Laura Lee Winslow from “Family Matters.” I didn’t think it would happen when I heard it in third grade either, but it’ll happen to you. You just wait.

— Top reader selection: Why did they ever get rid of the Trapper Keeper? Just when you thought you could never hire a Secret Service outfit for your milky pens and protractor, in walked the Trapper Keeper, the only stationary carrier with its own truss beams and cemented foundation.

Nothing broke that thing apart. I’m telling you. I once subjected my Keeper to the worst of all physical treatments — a Macho Man Randy Savage flying elbow drop from my living room couch, twice — and even after that, it probably still has fewer blemishes than I do.

— Why did they ever get rid of LA Lights? It was “Tron” for childrens shoes. How is this not a no-brainer?

— Why did they ever get rid of Mall Madness? It brought about two ’90s phenomenons that we may never see again: girl-inspired board games that were simply decorated with clip art purses and dudes with bangs and malls in all forms. Without these cardboard-boxed time passers now, what do girls do? Read? It just doesn’t add up.

And finally, to end an era …

— Why did they ever get rid of celebrity inspired Saturday-morning cartoons? MC Hammer, Mr. T, the Harlem Globetrotters, Mary Kate and Ashley, even Kid ’n Play. Having a cartoon based on your personage was an honor and rite of passage only matched by having your own breakfast cereal — you all loved Urkel-Os. Don’t lie to me.

Now I can be the first to admit that this part of history was dated and may not work as well today. But come on: There was so much more we could have added to this gold mine. I mean honestly, how was there never an ’N Sync cartoon, or an animated Red Hot Chili Peppers murder mystery special? At the very least, why not a Baha Men program where the one-hit wonder quartet comically owns a pet store full of talking dogs? These things write themselves.

Weird to say it, but there is your “Why did they ever get rid of … ?” for the year. If I missed anything, tweet it at me and we can keep the world of childhood nostalgia alive. If not for me, do it for Jonathan Taylor Thomas. He’ll take all the relevance he can get.

Steve Schwartzman is a senior finishing a degree in communication studies. With eight years of column writing and improvisational comedy under his belt, he lives to make you laugh. Send thoughts to or hit him up on Twitter @SESchwartzman.

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