Way back in 1980 and 81, the Rockbrat has memories of buying Chu-Bops from my local paper shop in suburban Sydney. Much like footy cards, Chu-Bops became a cool thing to collect and trade in the school yard. So, what were Chu Bops? Chu-Bops were packs of record-shaped bubblegum that came housed in a small 3” x 3” replica album cover.
Chu-Bops were introduced in 1980 by the Amural Products Company from the US, and were imported into Australia for sale. At a guess, they were about 20 or 30 cents each. It was quite a decision to make, whether to sacrifice 20 cents of mixed lollies and go for the Chu-Bop. Yet it wasn’t for the gum you were shelling out your hard earned chocolate money, but the unique album cover that the gum was enclosed in. The first series they produced, consisted of eight different rock and soul album covers by assorted artists including The Knack, Pat Benatar, Rush, The Spinners and Abba. Each miniature album had a song lyric (usually the biggest hit) printed on the back side. They also had a detachable flap that was an order form for mail order offers.
Some contained an offer for a collectors display album to hold your Chu-Bops collection. Other flaps had order forms for joining the artist’s fan club, and some in the later series had a one dollar coupon for the CBS various artists LP “In Harmony.” Some of the later series also replaced the lyrics with the artist’s bio. The mini-albums came wrapped in shrink. (I still have about 8 left, all still shrink wrapped. See the photo). Chu-Bops were sold in their own counter display box.
Nine series were produced between 1980 and 1983. Series six was all Elvis Presley albums. Series eight was all Beatles, and series nine was all Rolling Stones. Nowadays you walk into a newsagent and footy cards are about $5 a pack. Back then, 5 bucks would have bought you a bag of Fonzies or UFOs, a couple of bobbies and kerls, a can of Leed and about $3.50 change!