Few things indicate that a TV show has broken through into pop culture at large like getting its own set of trading cards. Naturally, most of these programs don't really need or deserve a trading card set, but that's another topic altogether. While some shows -- particularly ones heavy on action or in the sci-fi/fantasy genres -- lend themselves to interesting cards, more often than not you just got a still photo of some cast member that says, "Remember that this was a person on our show? So do we." Regardless, let's look take a trip back to the days when you could find cards for almost any show imaginable, issued by giants of the field such as Topps, Donruss, and Fleer.
Many, many years ago, when television technology was still somewhat crude, stations used still images to promote upcoming shows or events. Often they used slides that were simply projected to the screen. Of course, the need for these slides is long past but they remain a fascinating reminder of a simpler TV age. And so I was thrilled to come across a series of them for sale on eBay recently. According to the seller of these slides, they were used by NBC affiliate WRC-TV Channel 4, and were shown thanks to a piece of technology called a film chain. The film chain allows a station to convert a slide into an electronic signal and project it to a TV camera for broadcast. I'm not certain of the dates on these, but I suspect many of them are from the 1950s and '60s. I know the 1960s are in...
Here's a neat slide from what I assume was somebody's vacation to Nashville, Tennessee sometime in the 1970s. All I really have to go by for that date guess are the partial car views we get. Most prominent in this slide is the tour bus for country music legend Ernest Tubb. We also see signs for other tourist traps like Loretta Lynn's Western Store, Tubb's record shop, and Eddie & Joe's Putter Place. If anyone can provide a date for this slide, let me know in the comments.
Here are some wonderful artifacts from the days when public utility companies at least tried to pretend like they cared about their customers or wanted some sort of connection with their communities. This gallery features covers from a series of Christmas "Cooky Books" produced by the Wisconsin Electric Power Company in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. The designs run from homey but bland to festive to delightfully cheerful and mid-century. One note: In fairness, the current version of this company, We Energies, still produces this book. Good on them. Most scans courtesy eBay. Click on any image for the full-size version.
Like many of you, the heyday of department stores and discount stores is still filled with warm feelings of nostalgia. So imagine my delight in stumbling across these photographs taken at a Kmart sometime in the 1970s. I have little other information to go on here -- no year or location. But perhaps one of my eagle-eyed readers can discern both from some clues in these pics. What they show is a very busy Kmart somewhere (presumably) in the western United States. All I know is that the store -- located right next to a Safeway -- was packed that day and people were really into the yarn. Enjoy!
I know that making fun of 1970s fashion is an easy thing to do, and I certainly enjoy a good bell-bottom or earth tone joke as much as the next guy. But one thing that gets overlooked in '70s jokes is how primitive the home exercise equipment of that time looks compared to now. To illustrate, here are three pages from the Fall 1977 Sears catalog that showcase home workout equipment made up of approximately 86.3% pipes and belts. Let's get physical!
Whether for their graphic design, optimistic photographs, or quaint vintage charm, I always have a blast looking at old college course catalogs. So I'm going to share some of my favorites with you, grouped by decade. Up first are the groovy '70s. Here are one dozen college course catalogs from the Me Decade, covering both undergraduate and graduate schools from small junior/community colleges to well-known and prestigious universities. (All images courtesy the Internet Archive.)
These days preserving memories of Halloween parties and trick or treating is as simple as clicking an icon on your phone. Back in the day it not only meant fumbling with a camera and film, but also finding a way to preserve all those spooky and cute memories. To remind us all of simpler Halloween times, here is a gallery of 13 vintage slides (some Kodachrome) depicting kids (and kids at heart) getting into the Halloween spirit with costumes, jack-o-lanterns, parades, and of course trick or treating for candy!
I was a little too young to have seen the Paul Lynde Halloween Special from 1976, but as a lifelong Kiss fan I knew of it. Here's a national newspaper ad that ABC ran for the special, which aired on October 29, 1976. Featured on the show were Tim Conway, Roz Kelly, Margaret Hamilton, Florence Henderson, Betty White, and of course the aforementioned Kiss.