Vectrex: The High Performance Machine

I lusted after the Vectrex for several years in the eighties. It was probably on every birthday and Christmas list I made for 2 or 3 years. This amazing system wasn’t on my lists because I got to play it often, but because of ads like this that kept reminding me about its awesome capabilities (and promised ones). From this ad, I would have been excited about the 3D and the built-in monitor, but what really pulled me in was that light pen. Ever since I saw WarGames it was something I wanted.


How much did a blank Video Tape cost in 1984?

The answer would vary widely depending on the quality, but they were pretty pricey, especially if you were a kid. Above is a coupon from Pay ‘n Save from 1984 that will save you a dollar on Ampex tapes. Which brings the price down to $5.99.

Ampex, as a company, has a pretty storied history riddled with technology leading moments, but I never had much luck with their video tapes. Still for $5.99, if I had the money, I would have picked one up.


An Early Informational Commercial about Anti-Lock Braking

Having lived in an era before ABS I can tell you that it could be pretty terrifying not having it. My family had more than a few close calls where a better braking system might have spared us some dents and minor injuries.

After such experiences and reading about ABS, my mother made it a priority that we would have it in the next car we would get, which was still about a half decade away. I remember the sudden feel of the system when it kicked in and the look of relief on my sister’s face the first time it saved us from an accident.

It is remarkable how we can quickly take for granted amazing leaps in safety technology. In the eighties, this commercial helped to shine a light on the advantages of ABS. I wonder how many lives were saved because of it?


This Early Eighties Treadmill Ad brings back Memories

I had visions of treadmills in my head when I was growing up, mostly from ones I spotted in TV and movies. They were the modern version of the treadmill. One that moved on its own power, like the conveyor belt at the supermarket check-out. Of course, I wanted to play with one and I would get my opportunity when I went to visit an Aunt of mine who lived a in a housing community with a public gym.

While the adults were doing whatever adults do, I walked over to the gym, hoping they might have a pool or maybe a game room or something when I spotted the treadmill. Jumping on it, I sought out the power button, but was depressed to discover that his treadmill had no power. It was a belt on wheels that you powered yourself.

My disappointment was short-lived because I discovered they also had a steam room and spent the next hour running in and out and trying to stay in a long as I could. When I finally went back to my Aunt’s place, I was soaked from head to toe and had to wear one of her bathrobes while my cloths were in the dryer.

It would be another decade before I would actually see a powered treadmill and when I first ran on one I slipped and fell and hit my head on the safety bar.


Columbus the Mini-series. Presented by IBM?

Mini-series TV was a big deal in my family’s house when I was growing up. So when they announced Columbus in the mid-eighties I was very excited. I knew we would be watching it and this subject matter really interested me (unlike some other more “romantic” series). After all this was the exciting age of discovery. Wooden ships setting out towards the edge of the known world with little to guide them. This is not at all what this turned out to be of course.

Instead, if I remember right, they really liked dealing with Columbus’ relationships (and romances) and to a kid who wanted to just see big boats and cannons it really dragged on.

I thought I would throw it on in the background after finding it online and maybe it is the yearning for spectacle (or just for the past), but it is actually better than I remember. Still not great, but pretty enjoyable to watch considering this was on network TV.

The entire mini-series has been posted online for your enjoyment and I dug up that ad you see above which game me a nice surprise. It was sponsored by IBM!


Electric Mayhem vs. The Max Rebo Band

Now that Disney owns both Star Wars and the Muppets, I keep hoping for some sort of audio-animatronic dining experience in the vein of Showbiz Pizza that would feature characters from these franchises. What I did not consider was actually merging them together for a battle of the bands. While I think it would be an interesting and certainly entertaining match, in the end, Electric Mayhem is going to win. Once they unleash the raw drumming talent of Animal, it is pretty much no contest.

[via] Sean McFarland