Tag Archives: nostalgia

Memory Lane: Bounty from Sears

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During my boyhood, at just about this time every year, we received our Sears-Roebuck Christmas catalogue. Oh, boy! My brother, my sister, and I spent hours and hours marveling at the treasures depicted therein.

My favorites were the various play sets, featuring a whole bunch of little plastic figurines with a nice big setting for them. My brother would have loved the one pictured above! You not only get lots of little cars, but also this wonderful service station plus parking deck.

We had play sets for the Age of Dinosaurs, a farm, Cape Canaveral–you could put your eye out with those spring-launched rockets–an army base, and a three-ring circus.

And look at the price–$4.98 for the whole shootin’ match, or you can get the super-colossal version for $7.98. These items now sell on eBay for hundreds of bucks apiece. I remember when I wanted the dinosaur set and my father said we couldn’t afford it, five dollars was just too much. I wound up getting it for Christmas, and I still have some of the dinosaurs today. (Wish I’d kept those rockets, though!)

Oh, so many play sets! King Arthur and his knights, Ben-Hur and his chariot race, Wagon Train, Fort Apache, the jungle trading post–I used to get off on just reveling in the pictures in the catalogue.

Now, I do realize that such things have nothing whatever to do with Christmas, the real Christmas, but are really just add-ons to express the joy we experience at the birth of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Without Him it’s only a festival of Mammon. We do have to take care, especially with our children, that this is clearly understood. We mustn’t celebrate the gifts; the gifts are a celebration of Christ.

But I will stack up the 1959 Sears Christmas catalogue against any cultural artifact of this present time, and come out way ahead.


Memory Lane: Odd Ogg

“Odd Ogg, Odd Ogg, half-turtle and half-frog…”

Sorry, but that’s all I can remember of the 1962 Ideal Toy commercial jingle that introduced this unusual toy, Odd Ogg. I was 13 then; if I’d been eight, nothing would’ve stopped me from getting this toy for Christmas.

Battery-powered, Ogg would sort of play catch with you. If you rolled a plastic ball right down the middle to him, he would come toward you. If you missed, he would back up and razz you.

Totally harmless! Hours of innocent fun! What could be more out of place in this evil age that we’re marooned in?

I’d love to try it–and I wonder what my cats would think of it.

But Odd Ogg sells on eBay now for $100 to $500… The cats will have to be content with cardboard boxes.


Memory Lane: ‘Mary Worth’

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I used to read the comics section in several newspapers, when I was a boy; but I could never quite g0t into Mary Worth, which wasn’t funny, contained no exotic locations or adventures, and didn’t seem–to me, at 12 years old–to be about anything.

I was surprised to discover the Mary Worth comic strip is still going strong. It made its debut in 1938 and it’s still here.

But wait a minute–has Mary gotten younger since the 1960s? Where have all her wrinkles gone (you could turn that into a song, I think)? I’d hardly recognize her. I thought only Merlin got younger as the years went by. Well, Obst, too–but he’s in denial about it.

Mary was always a yenta. Now she speaks as a pop psychiatrist. Did she take a correspondence course? Good grief: “needing a lifestyle change…” Comic strip characters shouldn’t talk like that. It’s not decent. Please don’t tell me Prince Valiant talks like that.

Well, there’s not much point being nostalgic about anything that insists on changing with the times, even if it becomes unrecognizable. Mary Worth has changed more than I have.

I’m sure I don’t want to know any more about it.


Memory Lane: ‘Little Orby’

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How about something totally harmless? “Little Orby,” vintage 1961.

I wish I could show some video of this toy, but I couldn’t find any. Too bad–because Little Orby was way cool. See that little ring? You pull that, and Orby walks straight up the wall–maybe even on the ceiling.

That’s because there’s a spring inside, and suction cups, and the spring makes the suction cups rotate, propelling Orby forward. Show it to a college student today, and he or she will think it’s magic.

“Harmless” is a quality that’s harder and harder to come by, these days. If you can find it, treasure it.


Memory Lane: ‘Gadabout Gaddis’

Image result for images of gadabout gaddis tv show

Remember this guy–Gadabout Gaddis, “the Flying Fisherman”? Well, I guess you’d have to be pretty old to remember him: late-night television, in the 1960s.

This was back when my brother and I got a black-and-white TV set for our room. Kowabunga! Wow! We could lie in bed and watch TV! A major step toward adulthood!

The wonderful thing about Gadabout Gaddis was that he was better than a bedtime story. It’s not that his show was boring. “Calming” would be a better word for it. Heck, we loved to go fishing. So here was a show all about fishing. What’s not to like? And if you were still awake after Gadabout’s half an hour of baiting hooks and reeling in trout, you might be lucky enough to catch I Search for Adventure with Col. John D. Craig, which was every bit as soothing. Somehow the “adventures” he showed–I think they might’ve been various tourists’ amateur films–were not exactly hair-raising. None of that stuff about being chased up the side of the Great Pyramid by murderous tomb-robbers. By then I was lucky if I was was still awake enough to turn the TV off. My brother, Mark, three years younger, had already gadded off to Dreamland.

There’s something to be said for TV that sands away the troubles of the day and packs you off to peaceful sleep.

P.S.–A friend of hours insisted Gadabout had divers underwater to put the fish on the hook for him; he never wound up with an empty creel. But then a fishing show hosted by a guy who didn’t catch anything–I don’t know if that would work. It might, though. Certainly a lot of people could identify with that.

 


Memory Lane: Your Own Toy Organ

A line from an ancient commercial floated through my mind: Whee, whee, whee, whee, whee! It’s Emenee! Holy cow, what made me remember that? Emenee toy organs, vintage 1960s.

Suddenly everybody had one. We had one in our house, my aunts had one in theirs, and Uncle Bernie in his. Emenee made all kinds of musical instruments for kids, but was best known for the organs. The one in the video, the guy bought from Goodwill for a mere $12. Old as the hills, and still works.

When Patty and I were first married, we used to go to Walden Books in the Menlo Park Mall in search of scary novels. Right outside the bookstore was a display of organs suitable for the home. Whenever you went, you could count on somebody sitting at the biggest organ, playing “Blue Spanish Eyes.”

Were more people making more music, back then? I think they were. And nothing was digital yet, the personal computer was decades away. But you could have your own organ.


Memory Lane: Red Salamanders

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Isn’t this just beautiful? The red salander, Pseudotriton ruber ruber–when I was a boy, you could find them in my neighborhood. That was before the political party that claims to be “for” the environment paved everything over.

My friends and I collected salamanders. The most common were the little redbacks. They were just about everywhere. But every now and then you’d find a red salamander–bright red, speckled with black, with a salmon-pink underbelly. Like living jewels.

I still look for salamanders, occasionally, but the only ones left are redbacks. There are no more gorgeous red salamanders around here. They had to go, to make way for nail salons and trendy restaurants. And now, high rise tenements. Makes our town more urban, dontcha know.

In the restitution of all things we shall see Creation as the Lord Our God created it. And I’m sure He won’t forget to include these salamanders.


Invitation to Readers: C’mon Over!

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Look, I don’t want to cover any nooze today, I refuse to post it. Besides, it’s a beautiful late-summer day, a gorgeous Sabbath morning, the enervating heat is gone–

So I’m inviting you to a backyard summer cookout, regular readers and newbies alike. Since I don’t actually have a back yard, or a grill, and the whole thing must take place in the realm of our imaginations… come one, come all! Room for everybody!

We’ll have a great time. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chops of your choice. Root beer, regular beer, iced tea. Horseshoes on the playground, just next door. Badminton on the lawn. A limitless supply of good conversation. Yea, forsooth, cigars for everyone who wants one! Our cats and dogs will play together. We could even play croquet. Let fellowship abound.

I’m going to imagine this and take delight in it. You’re all invited to do the same.


‘TV Heroes: Robin Hood’ (2017)

Image result for images of richard greene as robin hood

“Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen…”

How many of you used to sing that? How many of you are old enough to remember The Adventures of Robin Hood on TV? I’m here to tell you it was very big in the Bronze Age.

https://leeduigon.com/2017/01/28/tv-heroes-robin-hood/

I don’t watch TV anymore, I don’t know if there are any shows like this. It’s mostly superheroes and animation, right? Have kids today even heard of Robin Hood?

Great theme song, though…


Memory Lane: Build Your Own Birds

Don’t be fooled by these unprepossessing little pieces of plastic. Sure, it looks like the easiest model in the world to assemble. But wait, there’s more!

This is the parakeet from Bachmann Birds of the World, vintage 1959. And if you can do a good job of following the instructions for hand-painting it… voila! See the source image

I kept my finished model parakeet at Grammy’s house–mine was painted blue and white instead of green and yellow–and it never failed to turn heads, sitting on its perch in the living room. It was very realistic!

I kept my scarlet tanager at home. There were many birds in this series, but I didn’t get into collecting them. I sorta wish I had, though.

Toys for kids, featuring the development of manual skills, learning to follow directions, and patience in working toward a goal–yeah, tell me you can get that with “Zombie Apocalypse.”

 


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