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Catalog Goodness #5: Imagic Video Game Cartridges for Mattel & Atari (1982)

From the first golden age of video gaming we have this 1982 catalog for the Imagic video game cartridge collection, available for Atari and Intellivision.

Catalog Goodness #5: Imagic Video Game Cartridges for Mattel & Atari (1982)

The catalog itself contains mostly descriptions of Imagic’s games along with cover art photos and game shots. Here are a few from games I played on the trusty old Atari 2600 back in the day:

Catalog Goodness #5: Imagic Video Game Cartridges for Mattel & Atari (1982)

Demon Attack

Catalog Goodness #5: Imagic Video Game Cartridges for Mattel & Atari (1982)

Cosmic Ark

Towards the back is a beautiful storage center, complete with faux wood grain.

Catalog Goodness #5: Imagic Video Game Cartridges for Mattel & Atari (1982)

And as many other video companies had in the ’80s, Imagic offered their own brand-specific club membership. Theirs was cleverly named the Imagic Numb Thumb Club. On the plus side, they offered a sweet game poster. On the down side, no awesome patches like Activision.

Catalog Goodness #5: Imagic Video Game Cartridges for Mattel & Atari (1982) Catalog Goodness #5: Imagic Video Game Cartridges for Mattel & Atari (1982)

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The State of Computing 1993

Time Capsule: Personal Computing, 1993 Style

The first thing one must know about computers of the 1990s were that they had two primary attributes — they were boxy and gray. Oh, and they were also super expensive. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun to revisit those heady, pre-internet days when only the luckiest (or the ones with a ton of disposable income) had their own PC. So let’s head back three decades and do just that, through the magic of preserved photos and vintage advertising.

I haven’t been in college for many years. Do they still have computer labs? I remember the thrill of sending my first non-America Online email with one in 19…well, that’s not important. Well even if they do, I’d be shocked to find any dot matrix printers there.

No, that’s not a camera at the bottom of this computer. That’s what us old folks remember as a track ball. It came in handy when navigating around the whopping screens on laptops of the day. According to this site, the Siemens Nixdorf PCD-4NL was positioned as a compact subnotebook. It was offered with a VGA color or grayscale display; the dimensions were 36 (with color display 39) × 269 × 199 mm with a weight of just over 2 kg. An external floppy disk drive was available as an accessory.

1993 graphic on how modems work, from BYTE Magazine

I don’t really have any commentary on this other than to say that I love a good modem infographic.

And now a word from the Tandy Sensation!

Amstrad NC150 Notepad Computer

I certainly don’t want to forget about my European friends, so here’s a neat item from ’93. This is the Amstrad NC150 Notepad Computer. Amstrad was a British electronics company (1968-2010) and was a big player in the UK PC market during the late 1980s. The NC150 was an intermediate version of the NC100 and was only sold in Italy and France. Its main selling point was ease of use and simplicity, thus the “User Friendly” label at the top of the unit.

1993 Prodigy promo image

Before they were eclipsed by America Online, Prodigy was the biggest player in America’s online service provider space. And here’s a cool piece of trivia for you — the company was founded as a joint venture (Trintex) in 1984 by CBS, IBM, and… you guessed it, Sears, Roebuck and Company. Man, was there anything Sears wasn’t involved in back in the day?

Man, I can just hear that keyboard clicking in my head now.

Prodigy changed ownership hands in 1996, went public in 1999, and was essentially subsumed by SBC Communications — formerly Southwestern Bell — in 2001.

1993 Apple Newton magazine ad

I certainly don’t want to leave my non-PC friends out of this roundup. So let’s take a moment to remember the ill-fated Apple Newton, which lasted not quite five years. Perhaps Newton’s most lasting legacy — other than being the butt of a great Simpsons joke — is introducing the term Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) into the popular lexicon. Alas, the Palm Pilot ate Newton’s lunch and relegated the latter to a technological footnote.

Mosaic web browser 1993

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what the internet was like for most people in 1993. In a word, rudimentary. What you’re looking at here is one of the first browsers of note, Mosaic. Version 1.0 of Mosaic was released in April 1993 and introduced such features as icons, bookmarks, and pictures. Fancy!

1993 ZyXEL modem magazine ad

And speaking of the internet, let’s wrap this up by remembering the days when you had a choice to make — either you could use your home telephone or the internet, but not both. That’s because for most home computer users, the humble dial-up modem was their only way to access the web. A typical modem ran for anywhere from $200-500 in 1993 bucks, or from $400-1,000 in 2023 value. I can’t speak for you but I know those blazing fast speeds were worth every penny.

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Ad Break #1: Schaefer Beer, 1977

Schaefer Beer ad 1977

Schaefer Beer’s consistently great taste starts with country pure water heading for the Schaefer Brewery in Lehigh Valley. There, every Schaefer is Kraeusen-Brewed, brewed twice, to give you a smooth, crisp, consistently great-tasting beer. That’s Schaefer consistency. Put it to the test!

Your last one tastes as good as your first.

(Schafer Beer is available at concession stands.)

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Postcards from the Past #5: St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I thought one good way to celebrate is to take a look at one of New York City’s most beloved landmarks, St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City (postcard)

I’m not sure of the date but I’d guess mid 20th century based on the little I can see of the cars. Here’s the back:

St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City (postcard)

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is located on Fifth Avenue at 50th Street. It is the leading Catholic Church in New York City and one of the grandest Cathedrals in the World. Cornerstone 1858. Dedication 1879. Consecration 1910. Restoration 1947. Built of American marbles in modified French Gothic.

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That’s Entertainment! #7: The Greatest American Hero

From Wikipedia:

The Greatest American Hero is an American comedy-drama superhero television series that aired on ABC. Created by producer Stephen J. Cannell, it premiered as a two-hour pilot movie on March 18, 1981, and ran until February 2, 1983. The series features William Katt as teacher Ralph Hinkley, Robert Culp as FBI agent Bill Maxwell, and Connie Sellecca as lawyer Pam Davidson. The lead character’s surname was changed from “Hinkley” to “Hanley” for the latter part of the first season, immediately after President Ronald Reagan and three others were shot and wounded by John Hinckley Jr. on March 30, 1981. The character’s name was reverted to “Hinkley” after a few months had passed.

The series chronicles Ralph’s adventures after a group of aliens gives him a red and black suit that grants him superhuman abilities. Unfortunately for Ralph, who hates wearing the suit, he immediately loses its instruction booklet, and thus has to learn how to use its powers by trial and error, often with comical results.

William Katt as The Greatest American Hero

On the Season 1 DVD, Stephen J. Cannell notes that the symbol design on the front of the suit is actually based on a pair of scissors that he had on his desk during the design of the uniform. He said that the costume designer asked him what he wanted the suit’s chest emblem to look like. He said he had not really thought about it. The designer then picked the scissors up off the desk, held them upside down, and said “That’s your emblem”. Cannell was fine with that decision.

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Catalog Goodness #4: Ronson Shaver (Emil Braude & Sons, 1959)

Is it a microphone? A futuristic communications device? No! It’s the wonderful new Ronson electric shaver, the most advanced electric shaver ever made! And it can be yours by order from Email Braude & Sons’ 1959 catalog.

Ronson Shaver (Emil Braude & Sons, 1959)

Emil Braude & Sons were wholesale distributors nationally advertised watches, jewelry, silverware, clocks, and appliances. They were based out of Chicago, Illinois.

(image courtesy Flickr)

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Comic Book Rack #4: Hi-School Romance, March 1954

Hi-School Romance, March 1954

Here’s a mid-century gem from Harvey Comics: It’s issue #26 of Hi-School Romance, publication date March 1954. One of the common tropes I’ve noticed from these romance comics is that the kid with the bow tie always seems to be choice #2 for the heartbroken girl. Well, not Eddie Fisher, but the other kids.

This cover, with art by Julius La Rosa, comes from the “Rage of Night” story. The others stories are just as delightfully named — “Trapped by Desire,” “Tempted!” and “I Lied to My Love.” So scandalous! So steamy!

Retrotisements — 1972 Pontiac New Car Lineup

For the 1972 model year, Pontiac had ten models for sale in the US, covering six types. Those types and models were compact (Ventura II), mid-size (LeMans), full-size (Catalina, Catalina Brougham, Bonneville, and Grand Ville), station wagon (Safari and Grand Safari), personal luxury (Grand Prix), and muscle car (GTO and Firebird). In addition to the various print and TV ads for those models, Pontiac seemed particularly proud of its bumpers this year.

Here is a gallery of advertisements and advertising images for each of those models, as well as some generic ads.

1972 Pontiac (general)

1972 Bonneville

1972 Pontiac Bonneville dealer postcard

1972 Catalina

1972 Pontiac Catalina print advertisement

1972 Firebird

1972 Pontiac Firebird print advertisement

1972 Firebird Formula 455

1972 Pontiac Firebird Formula 455 print advertisement

1972 Grand Prix

1972 Pontiac Grand Prix print advertisement
1972 Pontiac Grand Prix print advertisement

1972 Grand Ville

1972 Pontiac Grand Ville print advertisement

1972 GTO

1972 Pontiac GTO print advertisement

1972 LeMans

1972 Pontiac Le Mans print advertisement
1972 Pontiac Le Mans print advertisement

1972 Luxury LeMans

1972 Pontiac Luxury LeMans advertisement
1972 Pontiac Luxury LeMans advertisement

1972 Safari

1972 Pontiac Safari and Ventura print advertisement

1972 Ventura Sprint II

1972 Pontiac Ventura Sprint II print advertisement