Monday, November 19, 2012

C.A.: 1977 Hostess Dave Lopes

(Welcome to my VACATION! I couldn't be more pleased right now. Sit back and enjoy a post from someone who is elated to be writing about cards when the most important thing going on in his life right now is WRITING ABOUT CARDS! It's Cardboard Appreciation time. This is the 165th in a series):

This is the first and only Hostess card that I ever obtained by eating a package of Hostess Twinkies. It came off a panel from a box that was at my grandmother's house in 1977. I couldn't tell you who the other two players were on the panel. They instantly disappeared when the Lopes card came into view.

Outside of that one moment, I never knew the double-sided joy of empty calories and flimsy trading cards. Hostess was off-limits in my family. It wasn't like it was a rule posted on the kitchen wall. They just never made it into the house.

We did find Hostess for sale at the school cafeteria snack table at lunch time. And when I heard last week that Hostess was closing its doors forever, my first thought was "what are the schools going to sell kids for dessert now?"

Those were the only school desserts that I knew: various kinds of ice cream and Hostess products. We never knew TastyKake. And Little Debbie? That was for kids with mismatched shoes who lived in trailers (I was such a judgmental kid). Hostess was above that. Hostess was cool! They had Peanuts characters working for them and they made BASEBALL CARDS!

As a tribute to those wonderful years between 1975-1979 when Hostess came out with a set of baseball cards every year, I thought I'd rank each of the Hostess sets.

But then I looked at them and, well, there isn't much difference between them.

The 1978 set, which you see here, and the 1979 set are essentially the same. The 1979 set put the information that you see at the bottom of this card on the top, with all the same colors and positioning.

The initial set, in 1975, is just as simplistic as the '78 and '79 sets. If you like no-frills, Hostess was for you (it probably figured you were so buzzed from sugar, anything would look exciting).

The 1977 set threw a bit of a curve and would be the most dynamic of the Hostess sets (the 1993 Hostess set excluded, of course), if it weren't for the 1976 set:

Gee, I miss the bicentennial. Everything on earth was red, white and blue in a U.S. flag pattern.

But that's as wild and crazy as Hostess got.

Which means I can't exactly do a countdown of Hostess cards. What's the point?

But I CAN do a countdown of my favorite Hostess snacks.

This is food I never eat anymore. In fact, I had given up stuff like this long before my health mandated it. About a year or so ago, I tried a Twinkie for the first time in decades. And it tasted awful (as kids, we would notice that every once in awhile you could bite into a Twinkie and get a whiff of something that smelled almost like gasoline. Anybody else experience that? No? Well, it was enough to convince us that we probably weren't eating actual food).

Twinkies were never my favorite of the Hostess snacks and they always received too much publicity. But there were definite favorites of mine and that's what you're going to see here. I'm going to reveal my top five Hostess snacks.

May they rest in peace (and, no, I'm not buying any of them off ebay).

5. Sno Balls.

(Who is putting these things on a plate?)

I would only buy Sno Balls in the cafeteria if there was nothing else. No other Hostess. No ice cream. Nothing. They were kind of weird and bouncy, and being teenage boys, you couldn't bring these things back to your table without people making comments about breasts. It was all very uncomfortable. But they tasted nice and marshmellow-like-ish. ... Sort of.

4. Ding Dongs.

OK, I probably didn't really have any Ding Dongs, no matter what I said here. But I did have plenty of Ring Dings, which was Drake's equivalent of Ding Dongs. It was all the same, and Hostess eventually consumed Drake's anyway. I LOVED Ring Dings/Ding Dongs. It was my preferred dessert cake for a period.

3. Raspberry Zingers.

They have been referred to as "Twinkies on Steroids," and I always considered them the "most sophisticated snack cake," if fake red icing can actually be sophisticated. This was probably as close to Entenmann's as Hostess got.

Some people probably don't like these because of the coconut, but I used to buy them out the vending machine periodically at work and they were still great. Chocolate Zingers were tremendous, too, but Hostess didn't get more exotic than raspberry Zingers.

2. Orange-Flavored Cup Cakes.

Hostess' Chocolate Cup Cakes weren't good enough for me. I had to gravitate to the sickly orange-yellow cakes. These pop up in the vending machine at work all the time, and I was powerless to their bright shiny fake orange mating call. The guilt that would wash over me as I put my money into the vending machine was only superseded by the joy obtained from those orangyish cakes.

1. Ho Hos.

Ho Hos is the best Hostess snack-cake BY FAR. Don't throw that Yodel crap at me or those knock-off Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. HO HOS ARE THE BEST EVAR!!!

How do I know? Because I have come across several people in my life who have confessed to eating an entire box of Ho Hos in one sitting, with no after effects. I knew a girl, a good friend of mine, who did this. And she was as skinny as they come. I am grateful that these have never made it into my house, because I could easily be 600 pounds with Ho Hos in regular rotation.

I was reading the article about Hostess going under and the reasons why, and I kept coming back to a sentence that said that people had just moved on to different kinds of snack desserts, and I thought "what else is there besides Hostess? What?"

Obviously they're eating something. I've seen people.

I guess I'm just out of the loop because I've cut myself off from all that stuff (true fact: I had a brownie at dinner last night. It was the first brownie I had eaten in eight months. I looked at it like it was going to smite me dead).

Hostess was just another example of why it was great to be a kid back in the '70s. Unfortunately, it's also just another example of how we can never go back to that time again.

On the good side, I can still keep on obtaining Hostess cards -- without gaining 600 pounds in the process.


  1. Ho Hos rule. We never had Hostess snacks at school, but I've eaten a Ding Dong or two. Damn you all for what you're thinking right now!!

  2. The Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls are the bomb, but Ho Hos are (were?) still better. I have a feeling people have moved on from Hostess to the cheaper packages (like Little Debbie) - Twinkies and other Hostess products are priced up to three times higher than the "generic" brands and face it, for the type of family that would buy these as snacks, cost outweighs flavor by a long shot.

    That said, Hostess (chocolate) Cup Cakes were the bomb, especially when they were on sale, and the Ding Dongs were just as good. Anything chocolate + creamy filling = great dessert for me.

  3. Meh. Someone will by the Intellectual property (brand) in the bankruptcy and Twinkies, Ho-Hos and what-not will be back on the shelf again in no time.

  4. One of the more popular posts over at Phungo

    1977 Topps Hostess Sheet

  5. When I read about Hostess the other day I thought I should go get a box of Twinkies and Ding Dongsfor my kids so they could try them before they no longer existed. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from work and found about 10 people in the snack food aisle doing the same thing as me. They had nothing Hostess except those little doughnuts in a bag. I have to pass two grocery stores on the way home so I tried the second one with the same results as the first. Just for fun I thoughts I would check ebay for Twinkies. I found 10 packs of Twinkies on there for $20 and they had bids. Just for kicks I checked again now and the price has come down to $8 with free shipping per box.

  6. Enjoyed your post very much. I really miss cards like Hostess and Kelloggs. But you're very wrong about Little Debbie! Hostess always tasted marginal. Even at 10 years old, Twinkies tasted like bargain mattress filling. On the other hand, Little Debbie just gets better and better! lol. Just the other day, I tossed a box of Little Debbie Christmas Trees in the basket. They're in my work desk right now. There's 4 of them left... I'll have one now.

  7. all you Yankees take a chill pill. Hostess Canada is still in business and still makes Ho Hos, Twinkies, Ding Dongs, etc....

    if you need a fix, nip across the border and stop at 7-11 or Mac's if you're out west.

  8. ding dongs....pop them in the fridge for double the goodness.

  9. All of them, except Crumb Cakes, taste great in the refrigerator, freezer or Canada. Go for it.

  10. Growing up in a house full of kids, we were never allowed to have both Ho Ho's out of a pack...

    So you guessed it, I only had one ho.

  11. As far as Hostess- you're right, it's Ho Ho's. The best snack cakes, however, are the lil' Debbie's Zebra cakes.

  12. Amen to Ho Ho's !

    Great Host....I mean post

  13. Tastycake Butterscotch Krimpets... if you have to have snack cakes, go for the best. The only thing Hostess made that I'd miss were their lemon pies.

  14. Twinkies were over rated, but they're iconic nonetheless.

    I always liked HoHos, remember the foil? It was an unwritten rule with my brother and me that after you ate the HoHo you had to take your juice glass and make the foil absolutely flat. That was even more fun than pulling apart Oreos.