The 18 most Eighties things we found in the 1982 Sears catalog

It was all about puffed sleeves and Pac-Man.

Images: Sears

Are you ready for the most tubular, bodacious, radical flashback? Sure, some of this stuff may you say, "Gag me with a spoon!" but it's the Eighties, baby!

We flipped through the 1982 Sears Wish Book to find 18 things that just screamed "1982" to us. Pull up your leg warmers and let's roll.

1. Puffed sleeves on every sleeve.


As Jerry Seinfeld famously protested a decade later, "I don't wanna be a pirate!" Well, if the show was set in 1982, he wouldn't have had a choice. Elaine wouldn't, at least. To be honest, the look was more "pioneer woman" than "pirate." It was hard to find a dress without puffed sleeves, or to use to technical fashion term "leg-o'-mutton" sleeves. (Really.)

2. Novelty radios shaped like all sorts of things.


"Billie Jean" just sounded better when it was coming out of a plastic hamburger, roller skate or ketchup bottle.

3. A bounty of boomboxes.


Or, as some pejoratively called the stereos back then, "ghetto blasters." If they came in a giant cardboard box, you could unfold it and — viola! — instant breakdancing pad.

4. A whole heap of He-Man.


The Masters of the Universe toys hit stores in 1982. Even the action figures were jealous of Arnold Schwarzenegger. These little dudes were jacked.

5. Off-brand Izod shirts.


Izod and Polo were the preferred brands for preppies poppin' colors, but those shirts were priced a bit steep for the rest of us. Instead of proudly showing off the alligator embroidered on their breast, kids instead had to settle for the fox of JCPenney or — our favorite — the incredibly named "Braggin' Dragon" line of knockoffs from Sears. Let's be honest. They may have been cheaper, but a dragon breathing fire is cooler than some 'gator.

6. $550 microwaves.


If you wanted popcorn in 120 seconds, you really had to pay out the nose. That's the equivalent of $1,500 today. Hot Pockets were introduced in 1983. At these prices, those suckers were gourmet food.

7. Digital watches out the wazoo.


They may not have been able to count your steps or take a phone call, but these babies were still "smart." After all, some of them were calculators, or even video games! 

8. Five pages of Smurf goods.


That's a la la la-la la lot of smurfin' Smurf stuff.

9. Nine pages of Annie merch.


Leapin' lizards! If you didn't live through the era (or if you just forgot) you can't fully comprehend how huge Annie was at the time. The film adaptation of the musical had just hit theaters, and Sears nabbed the redhead star of the show, Aileen Quinn, to peddle the Little Orphan goods. Bedsheets, wigs, inflatable punching bags, dolls — Annie was on EVERYTHING.

10. Star Wars shampoo.


What better way to was that Annie wig — or your Wookie costume — than with a bottle of R2-D2 suds?

11. Pac-Man fever.


Pac-Man Fever? More like Pac-Man Flu. It was highly infectious and everybody came down with it. How else to explain the slippers, clothing, games and toys devoted to the pellet-chomper?

12. This line of Cheryl Tiegs activewear.


Pink and gray sweats, puffy vest. That was the look. Comfortable and ready to aerobicize. If you were a mall girl, at least. It wasn't complete without the headband ($4.99). 

13. M*A*S*H leisureware.


The beloved sitcom may have been in its final season, but it was as popular as ever. You had to stock up on 4077th p.j.s in time for the finale — the most watched episode in the history of television.

14. Cabbage Patch kids — and their papers.


You didn't buy a Cabbage Patch Kid. You adopted a Cabbage Patch Kid. These things had more paperwork than procuring a passport.

15. Oo la la! Sasson!


Fashionista coveted the jeans of designer Maurice Sasson — certainly to be confused with Vidal Sassoon. Multiple pages in the Wish Book declared, "Oo la la!" on items that nobody would — or should — say "Oo la la" about, namely gray nylon luggage and toddler apparel.

16. Bean bags as legitimate living room furniture.


Oh, these sittin' sacks were not to be relegated to a basement or child's bedroom. You could plop a bean-bag down in your den and seem sophisticated. Though good luck looking sophisticated as you tried to climb out of the thing.

17. Beaucoup BMX bikes.


Everybody wanted to cruise the neighbor like Elliott's crew in E.T., the blockbuster of the year. Which brings us to…

18. A slew of Speak & Spells.


There was more on offer than the standard red version. Don't forger the blue Speak & Math, or the yellow Speak & Read. Of course, everyone wanted the red, the one E.T. used to phone home. Can we use one to contact a spaceship and take us back to 1982?

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idkwut2use 36 months ago
I want the pink dog radio (and maybe a few others. x3)
Love boomboxes (especially my old translucent turquoise Jeep one from a catalog—possibly Sears or JC Penney?), beanbags (had shiny pink and purple ones), digital watches, Annie, Pac-Man, Smurfs…fun stuff!
DylanSelf 36 months ago
The watches are no surprise. That's how Richard Sears started this catalog-fueled empire. He had a friend who managed a railroad station and had an abundance of watches in the lost and found, so he put pictures of them in a catalog, which he distributed all around to see if anybody wanted to buy them, and the rest is history. Man, I love looking at pictures of these catalogs.
eddiec 61 months ago
I used to have a Pac-Man wristwatch back then.
EricFuller 62 months ago
The batteries cost more over time than the Boom Box.
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