Since I stumbled upon it in the incomparable pop-culture landfill that is Foy's, the WTF Bus
has enjoyed pride of place in my kitchen. Periodically, I would stop to dust it with reverent astonishment, knowing that surely it had broken the mold in terms of green motorcoach-shaped randomness and that there was nothing in the world quite like it.
I was in a "budget" craft store and a blur of green and cartoon characters caught my eye.
Hm, how vaguely familiar.
Of course, this time the cast of characters is a bit different. You've got the leonine Neal Cassady there at the wheel, followed by a giraffe and zebra with oddly wide grins for being sandwiched between two predators. Only the goose looks appropriately apprehensive at being along on this ride.
Flip the box and you see Sasquatch McYellownails, Disproportionate Parrot, Toothless Crocodile and what looks very much like the mascot mouse from the original WTF bus. Baloo the Bear brings up the rear. I really, really wished that one of them had a pair of eyeglasses askew. That would have really made it complete. Also, this is apparently the narrowest bus on record, since the driver can get his elbows out both windows from the steering wheel.
Looking at the back, we see that this must be a two-headed turtle. One head's giving a thumbs-up on the first side, and the other head is looking out the back going, "GET ME OUT OF HERE!"
Now, to save you the trouble of finding the first bus's pictures, I took some comparison shots.
As you can see, it's only slightly smaller, but the exact shade of green. The animal cracker logo replaces Santa and St. Nonsequitur, but the overall shape is very similar.
The creator of the animal cracker box thought that perhaps the driver should be visible from the side. Also, that they should have an extra axle. And they crammed in a couple more passengers.
I think we can all agree that the Animal Cracker bus could have benefited from a rocket-powered pig somewhere in the design.
At first glance, there aren't a lot of similarities, right? No creepy earflap manchild coming to get you, no Rob Schneider at the wheel. But then I took a closer look. Look at the lion's hat. It's cut off at almost the exact place that Rob Schneider's hair cuts off. Look at the aqua background. And look at the way the lion's arbitrary patch of chest hair matches up with the cravat. Coincidence, you say?
Instead of ragged tin and tetanus, the animal cracker bus has a rather harmless cardboard base. We also see that it's made by Dairy State Foods, Milwaukee, WI.
Now, here's where pondering the mysteries of the universe comes in.
It's a complete coincidence, and two graphic artists on opposite sides of the world came up with the idea for a similarly-sized green bus, filled with unlikely cartoon characters, to market their products to children, and I happened to find them both.
The person who designed the animal cracker bus somehow found one of the tin Indian bus toys (someone other than Foy's has to be selling them, right?) and was either being lazy or paying homage.
The graphic designers for both buses work in India, and one stole the other's idea.
The graphic designer for the Animal Cracker bus reads i-mockery and works fast.
Either way, I'm privileged and a bit weirded out to have been the one to stumble upon both of these items.
I'm wondering if this heralds the beginning of a very bizarre and specific collection.