Thursday, January 17, 2008

Do You Recall These?

A while back, I wrote on this blog about going with my dad to replace the vacuum tubes in our old television when I was a kid. Thinking about that caused me to remember some other things that those of us who have reached "middle age" may recall that our younger friends and neighbors may not have any recollection about. Do you remember the following things? I do!
  • Adjusting the "vertical hold" knob on the TV to stop the picture from rolling.
  • TVs and "Hi-Fis" were built into a piece of furniture.
  • Stacking records on the "changer", and using the fat spindle that went over the small one. The skinny one was for 33 rpm "LPs", while the fat one was for "45s". Then there were those "78s".
  • Gathering pop bottles to return to the store for the 2 cents per bottle deposit refund.
  • Regular Cokes came in 6.5 oz. bottles, King Size was 10 oz., and then they started making the extra tall 16 oz. bottles.
  • Coke bottles has the name of the city where the bottle originated on the bottom.
  • Bottle caps had cork inside rather than plastic.
  • Appliance cords that had cloth insulation around them rather than plastic.
  • Trading stamps, such as S&H, Top Value, and Plaid.
  • Service station attendants who checked the oil, the tires, and pumped your gasoline for you. They also actually had service bays and mechanics on duty.
  • Free road maps available at service stations.
  • U.S. Currency was usually "Silver Certificates", redeemable on demand in pure silver.
  • Ben Franklin silver dollars, Mercury dimes, indian head nickles, and wheat pennies.
  • U.S. coins from before 1964, when they were not made of layers you could see on the edge.
  • The NBC peacock on the TV, while the announcer intoned, "The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC". In our house, it was black and white anyway.
  • Parents warned us that sitting too close to the TV would ruin our eyes, as would watching it with the lights off. (Come to think of it, I DO wear glasses!)
  • Baby car seats that just hooked over the back of the seat, and had little steering wheels on them so the baby could pretend to drive.
  • Tricycles, wagons, and such were made of metal. So were Tonka Toy trucks.
  • Getting a polio vaccine, first as a shot, then on a sugar cube. Also getting the smallpox vaccination.
  • Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, and Erector Sets (yeah, these are still around, but not so popular anymore).
  • You could get spanked at school, and if you did, you'd probably get another one when you got home.
  • TVs were made in the U.S. by companies like RCA, Zenith, Emerson, and Philco.
  • AM radio was king, and the band entended only to 1600 kilocycles per second, now called kilohertz.
  • Celsius temperatures were called Centigrade temperatures.
  • Air raid drills at school where you crawled under your desk, tucked your head between your legs, and placed your hands over the back of your neck.
  • A fun passtime in the spring was flying a kite, and the best ones were homemade.
  • Clock radios with hands, before those "digital" ones came out with the flip digits.
  • Radio was local, rather than the same syndicated junk coast to coast.
  • Many drugstores had soda fountains where you could get something to eat and an ice cream treat.
  • Fishing was catching a fish with a long bamboo pole, line, hook, a bobber, and a worm.
  • Shampoo came in glass bottles that were easy to drop and break in the shower (e.g. Prell and Breck).
  • Pycopay toothbrushes ("Get a Pycopay today!"), Pepsodent and Ipana toothpaste. ("You'll wonder where the yellow went, when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!")
  • Brylcreem ("A little dab'll do ya!"), Vitalis, and Rose hair dressing for men.
  • Five Day deodorant pads.
  • Rotary dial telephones.
  • Big Ben alarm clocks.
  • Cigarette commercials on TV ("Over, under, around, and through; Pall Mall delivers flavor to you."; "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should."; "I'd walk a mile for a Camel!"; "Happiness is the taste of Kent"; "Show us your Lark!"; "LS/MFT, Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco"; "Come to where the flavor is, come to Marlboro Country."; "You can take Salem out of the country, can't take the country out of Salem"; "Chesterfield 101s, a silly millimeter longer!"; "You've come a long way baby, now you have your own cigarette...Virginia Slims!")
  • Flat tires were not the rare occurrence they are today.
  • Chrysler experimented with an automatic transmission controlled by push buttons rather than a gear shift lever.
  • Cars that you had to push a button after turning the key to start the engine.
  • High beam switches on the floor board of cars.
  • Those little spinner knobs people put on their steering wheels.
  • Comic books were a dime, then went to 12 cents. Comics like Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and various western and science fiction comics were popular, as well as Superman and other super hero titles.
  • A nickel Hershey bar that was bigger than the ones we have now for over half a dollar. The dime size was more than a kid could comfortably eat at once.
  • A quarter was a good weekly allowance for a kid.
  • Pic mosquito coils burned at the drive-in theater to keep the bugs at bay. The drive in also had playground equipment, and featured cartoons between the two main feature films.
  • Dentists had drills run by an electric motor and a belt. You had to spit in a sink with swirly water, and the tray was rimmed with white pointy porcelain that looked like pointed little teeth.
  • Movie monsters like Dracula, Wolfman and The Blob were scary!
What things do YOU remember?


Anonymous said...

Am I the only person who thinks the theme from all of the Indiana Jones movies sounds like "Happiness Is?"

Anonymous said...

I remember when UHF television was so new you had to get a separate adapter to use with your VHF hi/lo television. I remember when my market had NO UHF station.

I remember FM adapters to use with your AM car radio and a car stereo was something you bought and put in the car yourself. The big innovation in OEM car audio was a rear speaker right in the middle of the back seat.

I remember when seatbelts were not even available as an option and dashboards were hard steel.

I remember soda machines where the top opened and you slid bottles out of racks through a gate your coin temporarily opened.

I remember pinball machines and not only that, but pinball machines that only had bells for noises, not recorded music.

I remember airliners with propellers.

I remember sonic booms being a regular feature in populated areas after trans-sonic jet fighter/bombers became common.

I remember when the Altec-Lansing Voice of the Theater speaker system was the be-all and end-all of speakers--every movie theater had precisely one--right in the middle of the area behind the screen, which was very large, like two stories tall (I think--that's how it seemed anyway).

I remember when I fully expected to survive a full-out nuclear exchange between superpowers through the means of fallout shelter improvised from a sturdy work-bench in the basement over which earth was hastily spread through a basement window. I also remember pre-fabricated bomb-shelters made out of a huge hunk of corrugated steel pipe one could have installed like a septic tank. Two relatives in my family had reinforced bomb shelters in their basements and one had a Geiger counter.

I remember when cars had all-wheel drum brakes.

I remember when car tires were bias-ply.

I remember when a "racer" bicycle had three speeds in an internally-geared rear hub and most bicycles were coaster-brake equipped with no hand-brakes. They all came with fenders and you took them off to make your bike look cool instead of having to buy the fenders as a separate option as they are now.

I remember when the "dime store" sold goldfish and baby red-eared slider turtles in cardboard Chinese take-out food cartons. Tropical fish were guppies.

And I remember when if you heard or read the words "civil" and "right" in the same sentence or paragraph it was most likely to be something to do with it being the right thing to do to be civil to your fellow man rather than license for 15% of the population to be obstinately obnoxious.