Updated: Apr 9, 2022
April 8th, 1982
If you’re counting—and you totally should be—this is my third article related to Easter since I started writing for the 80sXchange. Since I took the time to mention this mundane fact, you’re probably expecting I have a point. Like, I don’t know, something about theme and purpose. Underlying messages related to holidays in the 1980s, or something like that? But no. I don’t. I just thought it was a fun way to introduce yet another “This Day in 1980-Something.”
You still there? Oh, good. I thought I scared you off with the intrusively conversational, borderline schizophrenic first paragraph. I blame this style shift on the mind warping amount of research necessary to complete an article in this particular series. After a couple hours of archive deep dives, tossing around varying combinations of words that look more and more like insanity infused gibberish, the article finally took shape. My digital pile of possibilities tottered then tipped.
What caught my eye in this first advertisement from the Lackawanna Leader was “Mickey Rats,” which I took as some kind of twisted Mickey Mouse knockoff. I imagined a grotesque Chuck E. Cheese abomination, smoking a cigar through the matted fur of a stained rat suit while children searched the sticky corners of a bar for Easter eggs. It took only a brief Internet search to realize Mickey Rats was just the name of the bar. I was only a little disappointed.
For whatever reason, when I hear about Easter parties, I always assume they’re for children. So it took me a minute to notice everything in this advertisement was targeting adults. I should have become aware earlier (it does say “Adult Easter Egg Hunt” right on the page), but I guess the whole Mikey Mouse comparison threw me off.
I have to say, the parties being described do sound fun. Free Easter eggs, free chocolate rabbits (and we already know I feel about those), the egg hunt (I wonder what makes it “adult?”), and jellybean shots.
I had to look up what a jellybean shot is. Though nice to look at, I’m not sure I’d want to drink it. But check that price! 75 cents? I dare you to find a bar selling shots that cheap anymore.
Now here’s a newspaper page I can get behind! Yes, even as an adult, I’m drawn to silly jokes and cut outs. An activity page like this would have activated my imagination and fueled at least an hour or two of my day. All you need is construction paper, glue, and scissors. And what kid could resist something called “Fact-A-Roonies?”
No kid, that’s who.
I don’t know what it is about this ad that cracks me up. Is it because they boast having both filled and unfilled Easter baskets? Is it the loving gaze of admiration the bunny displays while staring at the list of offerings from Dundee Pharmacy? Or maybe the revelation that they have the complete line of Russell Stover Candies. It's as if they're muttering under their breath, “Not like Bob's pharmacy down the road. They only have five varieties.”
On second thought, I think the funniest part is the way, almost as an afterthought, they exclaim in all caps right as you’re trying to turn the page: "HALLMARK EASTER CARDS!"
Because I’m sadistic, I’ll leave you with this horrifying image of the Easter Bunny. (Yes, it's from April 1st. I'm cheating). The picture looks like it’d be right at home on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. I can almost hear Robert Stack explaining, “The bewildering case of the Creepster Bunny.”
Stack would saunter into frame and drawl, “Three hundred plastic eggs filled with explosives and chocolate. An escaped mental patient from a hospital for the criminally insane. New Castle’s annual Easter Roll.”
He'd let this sink in before continuing, “On April 11th, 1980, only two short years ago, the unthinkable happened…”
I’ll let you fill in the grim details with your overactive imaginations. But one thing’s for sure. If Robert Stack is telling us about it, nothing good could have happened.
Finish the story: What happened in New Castle on that fateful day in1980?