1. Disneyland Prospectus – Over at BoingBoing they’ve got a gem: a prospectus for the original Disneyland park in California. For a Disney history nerd like me it’s great to be able to read through the details of the pitch that Roy and Walt Disney made to raise money to build the park.
Something that’s always stuck out to me about Walt’s vision for Disneyland (and the Magic Kingdom) was the focus on Americana; Main Street, USA was the entryway for both parks. Sure, a future vision in the form of Tomorrowland was always a component of the park but that was tough to nail down and less permanent – it had to be updated every so often (to my chagrin, as I miss the Tomorrowland of the ’80s). Main Street, USA, though – that was a fixed moment in time that had passed us by even in 1955.
The second thing that stuck out to me, as the BoingBoing article points out, is the focus on shopping. We can see now on this side of things the success Disney’s had in manufacturing takeaway sentiments of their experience that, to their customers, holds almost as genuine a value as the experience of being at the park itself – something most theme parks would kill for. What’s seen in these documents reflects a really charming approach to that given the sales channels of the time – mail order catalogs. In 1955, shopping had emerged as an American hobby and Disney was going to be on the front of that wave.
Anyway, inspiring stuff. Here’s a color version of the map but hit the links to see more!
2. Tomytronic Puckman – Pac-Man began his life in Japan as Puckman until Namco got wise and realized that “Puck” could easily be vandalized and changed the name. Thankfully, a Japanese commercial for a handheld tabletop version of Puck-Man was recorded before then:
3. Card Sharks – As a kid I loved Card Sharks, the game show that featured players guessing whether each card was going to be higher or lower than the previous card and winning fabulous prizes for doing so, but in retrospect I think it was just because the cards they used were gigantic. And the logo had a great, New York Seltzer feel to it as well:
Card Sharks debuted in 1978 and ran on and off until 2002, in a few different iterations. They all featured big cards, though. Huge ones. Here’s an old episode:
4. Flintstones Busch Beer – The Flintstones were no strangers to adult product tie-ins. Their enthusiasm for Winston cigarettes is well documented, but what beer do Fred and Barney prefer? The answer, apparently, is Busch. Here’s an overlong short created for Busch employees in which Fred and Barney use beer to persuade Mr. Slate to give them their jobs back. The creepy lady’s hand that appears and strokes your head when beer is consumed – that’s real, right?
5. Humpty Hump on Arsenio – Here’s Digital Underground and a very young Tupac Shakur performing on the Arsenio Hall show. What a ’90s sentence to type!