I have news for Trent, happiness is a Get Smart lunchbox. One of my goals in recent years, by the way, was to get my mitts on an original Get Smart box. Ok, I may need to re-evaluate my life plans, but nevertheless, I finally got a box! It is not the world's greatest GS box, but it is still a box. Therefore, the time is right that I should pay a homage to the picture-riffic world of lunchboxes.
The Original Get Smart Lunchbox
I think the neat thing about the original box is that it has such awesome graphics. The bottom of the box has a scene from "Mr. Big" on it, while the top has Max and the Chief under the Cone of Silence. Kudos to such great art goes to lunchbox artist Nick LoBianco. Aside from painting lunchboxes, Mr. LoBianco also designed the famed Monkees' guitar logo in 1966.
Made in 1966 by King Seeley, the original Get Smart lunchbox can be a tad pricey depending on what shape the box is in and whom it's being bought from. Hence, Ebay auctions on these puppies really do get ridiculous. I saw a near mint one on auction for *cough* $185! However, used boxes go for cheaper -usually being on the underside of $100. One should watch their pocket book and use sense when considering buying a box. I once saw a GS box in an antique mall for $35. That was all very well and good, but Max's face was nothing but a big brown rust spot! Ugh!
Issued the same year, and by the same people, the thermos features the scenes from the back of the original box: 99 is tied up and Max is shooting at killers that oddly resemble a pack of Dr. Evil clones. The thermos above has a replacement top as the original one is supposed to be red, not beige. A near mint price is roughly around $88, but a used one can go for as little as $15.
The "Collectible" tins:
Collectible tins are not lunchboxes -or so the purists say. They are, however, pretty nifty additions to any GS collection and are reasonably cheap. The box at left is a mini tin and goes for around $7 and the box at right is a full size tin (full size does not mean it's as roomy as the '66 model, though) and runs about $10. These boxes first appeared in 2000 and also make nifty purses.
The Key Chain:
That's the second smallest lunchbox I've ever seen! The key chain lunchbox, which first graced the world with its presence in 1998, not only holds keys, but can also be used as a handy dandy pill box. The design is red plastic with the same images from the 1966 box. Fun and nutritious bonus: the key chain comes with a Get Smart a mini thermos and a plastic fruit snack. Yummy.
How to treat a box:
Boxes should be treated with Kidd gloves! The number one lunchbox enemy is water! Do not take Mr. Lunchbox for a swim because he'll rust! The number two enemy is a damp environment that promotes rust. Basements, garages, and tool sheds are not good places for metal boxes. The number three enemy is direct sunlight due to the fact that the images on the box will fade. It's best to keep the box away from the old bay window's line of fire not only to prevent fading, but also to keep it from rusting.
The first metal box was 1949's Hopalong Cassidy. Carrying a colorful box featuring the coolest cartoon or TV show of the year has always been the in thing for elementary kids to do. Therefore, the Hopalong Cassidy lunch kit led to a trend spanning five decades.
The fond days of metal lunchboxes ended in 1987 when King Seeley cut production on the last metal box, Rambo.
Allegedly, the production of metal boxes ended not because a metal Popples Box (1986) couldn't compete with a plastic Rainbow Brite box (1983), but because in 1972 a group of mothers complained that the metal boxes were hazardous and pressed Florida state legislature for a ban such lunchboxes. The claim was that kids could hurt themselves by bonking each other on the head with the metal boxes. This ruling on metal lunchboxes, however is appearing to be more myth than reality as actual proof of such a law is yet to be found.