Christmas 1981 – We’ll Be Back To Pick You Up Later

1981. By the time Santa came, the world had been through the ringer.  Bob Marley died, Reagan was shot, Walter Cronkite left our televisions, the first AIDS cases were officially recognized, Muhammed Ali lost his last ever fight, the Cold War raged on, and the Iran Contra scandal caught its spark. But! Also in 1981,…

Christmas in 1980 – They’re Afraid Of Your Snake, Yoda

Christmas, 1980. Carter’s on his way out, Reagan’s on his way in, Rubik’s Cubes are the must-have holiday toy, The Empire Strikes Back rules the theaters and Dallas rules the living room.  Here’s a look at the holiday ad surge you’d have seen if you were a television viewer or magazine reader in Christmas of 1980.  It’s…

For Digestion’s Sake – Thanksgiving Ads (1940s-1990s)

Holiday traditions in the United States grow and change over the years, but there’s one constant: everyone wants a piece of your holiday spending money.  These Thanksgiving ads ranging from 1942 to 1991 showcase the different angles these companies took to try and get at your wallet. In doing so they speak to the design…

Incrediburgable – Burger Chef (1950s-90s)

If I asked you to name a burger restaurant established in the 1950s with a patented cooking method, a signature burger with the word “Big” in the title, a packaged meal themed just for kids, and a roster of make-believe characters, what name would you guess? You’d say Burger Chef, right? (courtesy Burger Chef Memories)…

Where The Future Comes From – 1983 Atari In-House Promo

It’s easy to contain Atari nostalgia in a memory of charming simplicity. The 2600 and 5200 served as building blocks (no pun intended) for the lush and vibrant gaming worlds we take for granted today, and when we look back at that generation the graphics, sound, and gameplay seem like a natural “step one” to…

Mysteries of the Unknown – Time-Life Books (1980s)

The “Mysteries of the Unknown” series is the jewel in the Time-Life crown. You can’t talk for long about Time-Life books without this exploration into the paranormal coming up. It makes sense; UFO abductions, Stonehenge and Easter Island, telekinesis, ESP, and deja vu were at super-high popularity in the ’80s. Magazines and books like “Mysteries…

The Enchanted World – Time Life Books (1985)

Back in the ’80s you could have probably convinced me that Time-Life was a branch of the Department of Education; their authoritative ads for book series on everything from UFOs to the Civil War to The Old West to pasta recipes came across to a young me as more of a public service than a…

Followup Friday: 1981 Atari Ad

No cartoon interpretations here, just a gorgeous rainbow stack of Atari game boxes in a beautifully designed print ad from 1981.  And an odd claim that Space Invaders “launched the space age game category”. Do they think Pong takes place on Earth?

The Computer Will “Razz” You – 1981 Atari VCS Catalog

The idea of print catalogs being annually mailed to houses as the sole way of informing a consumer of a company’s upcoming product line is a quaint one; it harkens a time when marketing technology was limited and opted-in consumer interest was guaranteed – two qualities that don’t exist anymore.   Taking that view would…

All Hail the Hamburglar (1970-1980s)

It’s weird to single out individual aspects of McDonaldland for the sake of pointing out how strange that individual aspect is. The whole idea is strange.  The wonderful thing about McDonaldland isn’t just the absurdity of a fast-food themed magical wonderland populated with less than two-dozen beings each resembling a fast-food menu item or category…