I had so much fun researching old Kids numbers on my original 1-800-WHA-DAFK blog, that I've decided to keep it going with this lost club, from Kids Pics.
The Happy Hamster/Kid Pics Video Club
937 E Hazelwood Ave
Rahway, NJ 07065
The Pitch: If you got a $0.50-4.00 VHS tape of Superman, Minnie Mouse or other random cartoons during the late 80's and early 90's, you could see the Happy Hamster, pushing himself onto you as your new best friend. He'd start the tape by asking you to cuddle up, "get cozy", and start enjoying "your favorite cartoons" with him.
You would then not see him again until the end of the tape, provided that you didn't touch that dial.
At the end of your tape, he'd tell you that he was just named the head of the Kids Pics club.
If you join for $10 plus $3 shipping, you will be treated to:
1. A newsletter
2. A poster that reads "The Happy Hamsters Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits"
3. A t-shirt (Sizes Small 6-8, Medium 10-12, Large 14-16)
4. An hour long tape of Mickey Mouse, Mighty Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Casper and other assorted cartoons.
And if you are a special member, you can also order the Happy Hamster singing Michael Jackson songs on a Vinyl Album, CD or Cassette tape.
You also have to send in your child's photo, their likes and dislikes, a mini bio and an additional 6% sales tax if you are from New Jersey. You were told this would get your kid into a future newsletter, and tell the world all about him/her.
In reality? Pedo creeps took your child's information. Many parents were disgusted when they started getting pageant requests in the mail, from sponsors that had bought the children's I.D. from Kid Pics.
Fate: Sometime in 1990, Kids Pics was rendered defunct. The address now belongs to Curiel, a company devoted to ship transportation. http://www.curielgroup.com/
Top Hat Sasquatch has a few surviving pictures here: http://tophatsasquatch.com/the-happy-hampster/ though it's not clear where the Happy Hamster is now.
UPDATE: Here's a little extra history, courtesy of Oddity Archive:
Kid Pics was a subsidiary of AmVest Video, and may have ceased production as early as 1990. There was a second record released, where the Hamster and his friends parody the Ghostbusters. The company was regarded as a bootlegging company, due to it's suspicious business practices, leaving the record tab on each tape, and hit-or-miss quality.
The Happy Hamster was almost an off-shoot Alvin and the Chipmunks character, but was altered due to a cease and desist request from the rights holders of Alvin. When the second album was released, extra tracks were added, to "prove" that these were Rahway, new Jersey Hamsters singing, NOT chipmunks.