The Bicentennial Stereo is the last Stereo you will ever need…

Browsing old magazines and newspapers, it is amazing to see just how many people were using the United State’s 200th birthday as a flimsy excuse to sell something. I am sure they seemed like a good idea at the time, but now they really do seem like a cash grab and I love it.

Radio Shack, on the cover of their 1976 catalog offered something called The Bicentennial “Everything System”. Which they claim is the best way to kick off America’s 3rd century (with a boon, not a boom).

For $499 you get a tuner/amplifier, speakers, cassette deck with Dolby, turntable, headphones and two cassettes.

Then they end with something I do not really understand, but I really like…

“The cases and the bases. You’d better give in soon. Because you can’t beat the System!”

I assume they are referring to the stereo system, but it is so cryptic. Are they referring to the political system? Is Radio Shack trying to start a political revolution? So many questions….

The Great American Birthday Party on July 4, 1976


On July 4, 1976, ABC News and Harry Reasoner, ran day long coverage of America’s Bicentennial events. Lucky for us, someone in 1976 owned a Betamax and decided to record it so that nearly 40 years later we could watch it. Here is a part 1 of the coverage, all parts include original commercials and bumpers. You can click-through at the end to get to part 2 if you are enjoying it (which you will).

Highlights from Part 1 include remote coverage from San Francisco, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Washington DC and New York City (with Ted Koppel) — Not bad for a 10 minute clip.