OK, I know that this post is gonna date me (not like anyone else will! Hah!), but after reading a remember the '90s post on Kristen's blog and a remember the '80s post over on Robyn's blog, I decided to do a post on the big things that I can remember from when I was growing up.
Warning! If you can remember these things, it's likely that you, too, are as old as most dirt! LOL
• The children's shows I remember don't involve purple dinosaurs, gayish dancing creatures with TVs in their tummies, or blue dogs. Sesame Street was THE shit. It was a big reason I started reading early. That was followed closely by Electric Company, then Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and Captain Kangeroo.
• The ONLY time we could watch cartoons were Saturday mornings. They didn't air after school or at any other time of the day, let alone 24 hours. Once the live-action shows came on, cartoon time was over, followed by Pops taking over the remote control to watch bowling, baseball, football or ABC's Wide World of Sports. Bugs Bunny and his crew reigned supreme — Roadrunner and Coyote toons were my fave. Next in line were the Hanna & Barbera toons — Captain Caveman, Grape Ape, Yogi and Booboo, etc. And let's not forget the Professor and Sherman going back in time, or the Go-Go Gophers, or Speed Buggy (room-a-zoom-zoom, Tink!) and Scooby Doo. Ooh! Tom and Jerry! Hong Kong Fooey. Inch High, Private Eye.
• After the toons were the weird kids shows — Sigmund the Seamonster, HR Puff-n-Stuff, the Bugaloos, Electro Wman and Dyna Girl and the like. Saturday morning television employed a ton of whacked-out, drug-influenced creative types, apparently.
• Fantasy Island. Charlie's Angels. The Dukes of Hazzard. BJ McKay and his best friend the Bear. Real People. That's Incredible. Diff'rent Strokes. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and then you have The Facts of Life. Three's Company. Gunsmoke. Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Walt Disney Presents. Kung-Fu Theater. These were the staples of my television experience.
• Drive-in movie theaters, and open-air theaters. Saw Lady and the Tramp, The Big Bus, Escape from Witch Mountain, The Shaggy D.A. and the like in these venues.
• LP's on vinyl to 8-track tapes to cassette tapes to CDs. Wow. I remember my first stereo — a turntable and two speakers. LOL. My first boombox, because I wasn't specific enough with my mom, was an 8-track player. Making tapes from songs on the radio. The FIRST time a dual-cassette recorder came along so you could record tape-to-tape. How expensive the first Walkmans were. Trying to decide between VHS and Betamax.
• I remember a time before cable television, when there were no remote controls. When I and my siblings were the remote controls on our huge in-wooden-cabinet television. When cable premiered and the "remote" was a box with all these push-in buttons on two levels, connected to the TV by a long-ass cord.
• I remember sneaking out into the living room when MTV launched at midnight. Duhn! Da-dunh! Da-na-na-nuh! Flashing colors, the astronaut on the moon. All videos, all the time, except when the veejays were talking. Yes folks, they used to play music videos on the music video networks. Now THAT's nostalgia!!
• There used to be this type of gas called "regular." Full service was the standard. Some gas stations only sold gas, oil, fan belts, other car items and maps. There were soda machines outside, though — served in glass bottles that you could get 10 cents for when your returned them.
• You used to have to edge your lawn with these scissor-like clippers. No weed-whackers.
• Before there were minivans, large families had station wagons — usually with fake wood applied to the sides and a rack on top for the luggage. Ours had a back-back seat that folded up so you could look where you'd just been. We hated that seat.
• Supermarkets put your groceries into brown paper bags. Ice cream, meat and cans and jars were double-bagged. You could get bubblegum and weird candies if you begged for a nickel or dime or (dare we?) quarter for the machines on the way out.
• Space Invaders revolutionized the world of arcade games. Then it was Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. Learn the patterns and rule. Galaga. Stargate. It kept getting better. Track & Field. And then ... holy shit ... Dragon's Lair. Wow! The graphics are intense!
• At home, it was Pong that started it all. When the Atari 2600 came out, the earth shook. Eight-bit graphics! Boxy tanks shooting each other in Combat, or pixelated bi-planes. Or, race cars that looked like they were drawn by 8-year-olds.
• In high school, we learned computer programming on state-of-the-art Apple IIe's! If A, Run B. We still had to type out term papers on typewriters. Use carbon paper if you want a duplicate! If you were lucky, your family could afford an ELECTRIC typewriter! Especially one of those with the correction ribbon on the bottom! Research was done on microfiche machines. School films were shown on antique projectors that were sometimes noisier than the audio on the films, which came in metal cannisters. The smart kids got to be AV geeks.
• Anyone else remember when "erasable" pens came out? Or solar calculators? Or the NFL pencils and folders?
• Big Wheels were the bomb. Until the Mean Green Machine came out. Skateboarding and BMX bikes were just becoming popular. My parents wouldn't but me a Redline BMX bike, so I built my own out of scrap parts.
• Coveted toys for boys: G.I. Joes, preferably with kung-fu grip. And the accessories kits were required to get the cool guns and stuff. Army Men were the shit. Green guys were good guys (American). Grey guys were bad guys (Germans). Then you could get British and Japanese Army Men too. The basic Army Men: captain with the .45, stand-up shooting guy, kneeling shooting guy, laying down machine gunner, bayonnet guy, radio guy, mortar guy, bazooka guy, handgrenade guy, flamethrower guy, Jeep driver. If you were lucky, you got deluxe packages that had two-man machine gunner teams, the "follow me" guy. You could get medics with stretchers AND patients. Some even had guys that looked like they were being blown up. You were either a Matchbox kid or a Hot Wheels kid ... if you were into the latter, you could get the orange track to do jumps and loops. Electric football — the premiere NFL version, not the green vs. the red. Electric racetrack — with the little guns to control the speed.
Yikes ... that was a long trip down memory lane ...