Monday, February 10, 2014

Crazy Catalog Stuff - Part 3: 70s Tech

As you probably can imagine, in this blogging business I acquire quite a few catalogs and such. Occasionally, a seller has made the offer of separating out just the sections that I want in order to save on postage. Shocked at such wanton destruction of irreplaceable 70s memorabilia, I recoil in horror saying "NEVER, send me the entire 1037 page tome!"  For scattered thither - among the seemingly endless pages of lavender, flower print draperies and avocado, shag pile carpets - are true gems to be mined.  And no where is this more evident than in the wonders of 70s technology....

Kids today have no idea, but in eons past a color TV was a BIG deal (as you can see from these prices!).  Of course, it doesn't make me feel very good about their quality when they use a picture from another part of the catalog and superimpose it on the screen?!?  I can't blame them for using Kathy for this, but still.  Also "the TV that thinks in color".  Okay, I'd rather that my TV didn't "think" at all.  Perhaps the NSA was checking up on us a lot earlier than we realize? (Check out the pic of the "brain" with all the colors in it - kind of icky if you ask me).

Yes, there was a time before phones had cameras.  Shocking, I know.  In fact, with a regular camera, you had to take the film into one of those places to have it developed.  So here, we have a type of Instamatic. What will those techie types dream up next?.  And , yes, once again they use pics from other parts of the catalog in the album (1).

Oh boy! Now you were probably thinking to yourself  "Well he HAS to have something about those 8 track tapes!" (2)  Well I did you one better - an 8 track player with quadraphonic sound! (3)  So we have not one, but TWO 70s tech failures in one product.

Speaking of getting everyday life on film, I'm sure everyone remembers these!  There must have been some kind of law that required every dad to buy one and take one reel of film before putting it up in the attic forever.

Everyone knows that the 70s was when the omnipresent microwave burst upon the consumer world.  But what did people do with those pesky leftovers before that? (4)  Well, here is the answer "The Mini Meal Toaster!".  As an added bonus, we also have the "Astro-Grill".  The 70s were definitely a time of rapid technological progress!

Back to the TVs!  Just to prove that that first pic wasn't an anomaly, here we have a pic of Karen on the TV.

Not all 70s tech ideas are obsolete today.  No, no, no!!  The keg cooler that is also a mini fridge is still just as cool today as back then.  I want one in my man cave so that I enjoy my 8 track tapes in quadraphonic surround sound!!!

footnotes (boy, we have a bunch this week)

(1)  Yeah, I checked out the tiny pics in the album.  At first I thought that one may be Kathy, but no dice.

(2)  As you recall, those 8 track tapes had the nasty habit of getting "eaten" when played.  High school parking lots across the land where littered with little piles of tapes after they had been ripped out in anger by their owner and tossed out the window of their Trans Am.

(3) My best friend in high school got a quad stereo system for his birthday.  Man, I was SOOOOOOO jealous.

(4) When microwaves first came out, they were kind of a bust.  Why?  Well they tried to market them as a complete replacement to the conventional oven, with recipe books and special cookware.  Then everyone figured out what they are good for: heating up leftovers. They have been a fixture in American kitchens ever since...


  1. Love this post! I vividly remember getting our 1st color TV. It was Saturday morning and the cartoons were on! I was mesmerized! Ours was a "blonde" console model. Being the modern parents that they were my Dad owned the movie camera and projector, the 8-track with quads, and he also had the "wood grained and vinyl" bar! Those bars could be a post of their own!

    1. Yeah, these pics bring back a lot of memories. I remember our first color TV also. We fought over which show to watch every night! Of course there were only three stations from which to choose, so it wasn't too bad. I also had the 8-track player in my car - installed it myself. I was really mad when it ate my Deep Purple tape.

  2. 1st color TV was a 19" Sears in 1969. Didn't have an Instamatic movie camera but had a standard-8 movie camera from the 50s that was crank-operated. In 1977 my family bought a compact stereo with turntable, AM/FM radio, and an 8-track recorder. My old recorded 8-track tapes still exist and are at my parents' house. The trouble with those was the crosstalk between programs.

    1. Do those old 8 track tapes still work? if so they are probably collectors items. Like I said, most of my 8 track tapes ended up destroyed when they got eaten up. Finally, got tired of that and took the player out of my car - can't remember what became of it.

    2. The older 8 track tapes get the greater the chance is that they will get eaten. I took to operating my home player with the cover removed so I could try to salvage the tape. Still have a few but not willing to risk playing them!

    3. We had one of those crank-operated movie cameras in the late Sixties. As I recall, you would wind the crank then pull the trigger and the film would run as the spring unwound. But we quickly moved on to "super 8" film and a battery-operated camera like the one shown here.

    4. Yeah, I rememebr the crank operated movie cameras. They were a hoot - even back then. That was a long, long way from YouTube!