Haven't done this in a while... Inspired by my recent favourite TV show, "Mad Men". Mad Men is a viciously authentic portrayal of Madison Avenue in the early 1960s (or so I understand - I wasn't on Madison Avenue in the early 1960s so I don't really know, but that's the buzz).
We've been through this before... I'm not that old, but I'm impressed with the changes in our world in just my brief experience. It's fascinating to look at how much different our lives are today.
So, without further ado... Do you remember:
- Removable pop-tops on soda/beer cans? Soda/beer cans with NO pop-top (you had to use a church key?) Why a church key is called a church key?
- Rotary (twist) light switches on the wall?
- Push-button light switches on the wall?
- Self-powered TV remote controls (Not sure how these worked - seemed like black magic to me. They were made of bakelite (!) and could induce physiological effects if directed at your brain. I'm not kidding.)
- Bakelite (I know we've done that one before).
- Sodas for .10 (saw it on Mad Men, remembered it)
- Soda machines where you pulled the bottle out of a pair of refrigerated metal jaws behind a long glass door. (Also on Mad Men).
Some obvious ones, also inspired by Mad Men:
- Smoking in the office (like everybody, all the time)
- Drinking in the office (ditto)
- Debaucherous office parties (those still go on, right??)
- Working in an office where all the adult men were WWII veterans?
Some consumerist stuff:
- The first time you saw color TV (doesn't count if it was before you saw black and white TV)
- The first time you saw TV (doesn't count if it was after 1970).
- Cigarette ads on TV
- Liquor ads on TV
- The ABC Mystery Movie
- The Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom
- The Marlboro Man
- The Marlboro Man theme
- "Harvey's Bristol Creme" TV ads (where did THAT come from?)
- The old Barbie doll (before they made her figure more anatomically realistic)
- GI Joe with painted hair
- GI Joe with painted hair and WWII fatigues
- Miniature electric cars
- Go-karts with no roll cage and no helmets
- Playing "war" against the Germans and the Japanese (I think we did this before)
- Pop-rocks, candy cigarettes, toy switchblades
- Snap-n-pops (I miss those), cap guns (both the paper and the plastic kind)
- The urban legend that Mikey from the Life Cereal commercial died from Pop-rocks
- Mikey from the Life Cereal commercial
- Life cereal (is it still around?)
- The Green Hornet TV series
- (Who played the Green Hornet's sidekick Kato? No fair Googling!)
- Pastel and bright earth tone polyester leisure suits (probably the worst fashion disaster since the middle ages)
- Men wearing hats all the time
- Aftermarket or dealer-installed air conditioners in cars
- the green "Ecology" flag (whoa - how 70s is that! I guess we're getting a little ahead of Mad Men now)
- Eartha Kitt (heard her first big hit "Monotonous" on the radio today)
- France Nguyen
- The New Christy Minstrels
(Don't know where that came from... I'm kind of drifting I guess)
Do you remember how much stuff used to cost? Like other than sodas? For example a Mercedes Benz S-class was under $10K in 1977. But TV sets cost way more in the 1960s (even in unadjusted dollars) than they do today. I paid something like $300 in early-1980s dollars for the first color TV I ever bought - and it was like 13' or something.
What I'm really interested in is remembering how we did things before the information revolution. There used to be these huge books at the library that listed businesses and what they produced, where to contact them, etc. I wish I could remember what they were called. How about reading the newspaper to actually get important information? Not just news but classified ads, weather, etc? Or religiously watching local TV news for the weather report? (Maybe some people still do that?)
I'm also interested in remembering what the world was like before overdevelopment - when you really had to plan ahead, and maybe travel a long way, if you needed to buy something specific.
How about running to the mailbox every day in late fall looking for the Sears Christmas Catalog? Have I mentioned that one before?
Finally I heard on NPR this week that Art Ferrante, of "Ferrante and Teicher" fame, died the other day. His partner Lou Teicher died last year. I was always a huge fan of theirs, expecially the soundtrack from "Exodus", which was their biggest hit. Anybody else out there remember them?