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Archive for the tag “1970s”

Scholastic book orders: win

The fun kids over at the Once Upon A Win web site have brought back a very happy childhood memory for me: ordering Scholastic books in school! Did you? Remember the little catalogs? They were thin and bright and they looked like this, except without Rachael Ray, who I reckon is now so ubiquitous, she can infiltrate our very memories:

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I went through books like crazy as a kid, but my parents could afford to purchase Scholastic books only, like, once. I remember getting my shipment, but I don’t remember what the books were.

Last fall, when I returned after nearly 30 years to Palmer, the small town in Western Massachusetts where I started school, I was excited to visit the public library where I spent endless hours reading Amelia Bedelia, George and Martha (remember them? They were hippos!) and, later, Encyclopedia Brown books, wherein you got to choose your own adventure! (UPDATE: Actually, as faithful reader Mindy points out, you didn’t get to choose your own adventure in Encyclopedia Brown books, you just got to select from several different endings).

The Palmer library also housed a nifty collection of Dynomite! magazine. (I feel sorry for any kid who grew up without it).

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Alas, I was told by an old neighbor I happened across — yes, all the same people live in my little town — that the old colonial-era library had been torn down and a new modern one was built on a nearby street. I was devastated. Such memories. What new ones would have flooded my brain had I the chance to walk into that old library?

What are your book memories? Did you read a lot as a kid? What were your favorite books?

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Gina stimulates the economy

I am doing my part to strengthen the American dollar by spending ridiculous amounts of money replacing my damaged early 1970s Franciscan Sundance dinnerware. Isn’t it cute?

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I bought a huge set of it (dinner for eight!) for $30 years ago from a kindly senior citizen in Florida. I don’t get attached to much, but I love these dishes like they were my children. I also have such lovely memories of my interaction with their previous owner. So the dishes have come with me to every new place I’ve lived.

Alas, seven months ago I began washing the plates in my D.C. dishwasher and, well, their aesthetic values has been compromised. So now I’m replacing the bowls that have been hit hardest. But, wow, look at the cost of replacement Sundance items. Yikes. Baby steps. And no more dishwasher.

Do you have some strange item that means this much to you? Something that would compel you to illogically shell out a huge amount of money to repair or replace it?

Now more than ever!

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Electric Woman and Dyna-Girl were awesome. And had a theme song to rival Wonder Woman‘s. Who knew that Electric Woman was future soap opera star Deidre Hall?

Don’t even think about dressing up as these two for Halloween. My friend Tracy and I already called it.

Did you watch the show? The 1970s ruled.

“Rhoda” on DVD, at long last

Thank Christ! I have griped very publicly about the fact that television’s Rhoda is not availbale on DVD. So imagine my joy when I just checked Amazon again (I’m obsessed) and learned the season one discs will be released April 21.

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Hallelujah!

The series showed us Rhoda’s life after she left Minneapolis (and The Mary Tyler Moore Show) to follow her dream of being a high profile window dresser in the Big Apple. It starred, of course, Valerie Harper as Rhoda, but also future Simpsons voice star Julie Kavner as Rhoda’s little sis Brenda and the incomparable Nancy Walker as their lovably overbearing mother Ida.

The show featured guest spots from many of Rhoda’s friends back in Minneapolis including Mary Tyler Moore, Cloris Leachman, Ed Asner and Gavin Macleod and also showcased future stars like Judd Hirsch, and the late John Ritter and Ron Silver.

Do you love Rhoda? I can only vaguely remember watching this show in the 1970s. I was but a wee child so I’m super excited to experience it again!

I’m reading Steve Martin’s “Born Standing Up”

Last night I started perusing Born Standing Up, Steve Martin‘s memoir of life as one of the most successful comedians of the 1970s.

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I’ve been wanting this book since it was published in late 2007 so I was excited to find a paperback copy for sale at my local library for just 50 cents. So far, it’s a great read with Steve writing in a decidedly sober tone about his childhood and his strained relationship with his father and how it affected his relationships later in life.

Are you a fan? He’s done so much: stand-up comedy, films, music, books. What’s your favorite Steve Martin moment?

Let’s vote: Wacky Packages or Garbage Pail Kids?

I thought the Wacky Packages sticker series was so droll when I was a child growing up in the 1970s. Remember these?

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But then, even at a young age I was a fan of satire. In the third grade I wrote a very clever play about my classmates that my teacher had me read aloud. I switched my fellow pupils’ names to be jokey. Eric St. Alman became Eric St. Pecan and so on. (The wit! Surely I would be a future “Shouts and Murmurs” contributor!)

Later, in the mid- 1980s, came the Garbage Pail Kids, which I did not find as amusing. They seemed to lack the comedic sophistication, if you will, of Wacky Packages.

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But let’s not be snobbish. We’ll leave it to a vote: Wacky Packages or Garbage Pail Kids?

Interestingly, both card lines were created by some very big names in comic books including Bill Griffith (Zippy The Pinhead) and Art Spiegelman (Maus).

UPDATE: Freaking Bill Griffith left a comment! See for yourself!

More dolls from my youth

Farrah (look how gigantic the doll’s head is):

Her real-life ex-husband, the Six Million Dollar Man, Steve Austin (Lee Majors):

(Why would you leave Lee Majors for Ryan O’ Neal? Ryan didn’t even have a doll!)

Also: Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers, the Bionic Woman:

Remember the Kristy McNichol doll?

How about Diana Ross?

A few years later, we got the Mr. T doll:

And if you had a Sly Stallone Rocky doll, you could make the two of them fight. Grrr:

Hurricane Fay and weird relationships of the 1970s.

The strengthening of tropical storm Fay down in the southeast makes me think of two things: (1) I’m glad I don’t have to go through the hurricane brouhaha this summer, the stocking up of H20 and toilet paper, the checking of the windows and all other pertinent batting down of hatches. (What are hatches? Why not latches? It makes perfect sense).

And (2) that no matter how many times I remember this bit of trivia, I will not be able to digest it: Volatile actress Faye Dunaway was once married to the lead singer of the J. Geils Band.
Peter Wolf and Faye Dunaway in the 1970s

Yes, Peter Wolf, the gentleman who pranced about in videos for songs such as “Freeze Frame” and “Centerfold.” Lest we forget his solo smash “Lights Out.” He and Mommie Dearest were husband and wife from 1974-1979.

But, then, so many strange bedfellows came from the 1970s: Gene Simmons and Diana Ross.

Liza Minnelli and Peter Allen.

Bob Marley and Vogue editor Anna Wintour (I must have missed the season when dreadlocks were a must-have fashion).

Linda Rondstadt and Governor Jerry Brown of California.

Governor Ronald Reagan and the State of California. Yes, the Dems voted for Cowboy Ronny. I think California only goes Republican for movie stars. See: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

They always say the drugs were more potent back then and sometimes I don’t doubt it.

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