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Posts tagged: 1960s

Insensitive Funny Face drink flavors

Can you name the two problem flavors from about 50 years ago (made worse by the cartoon images on the packets)?

Remember SRA reading programs?

They were part of life at some grade schools in the 1960s.

Instead of potentially stigmatizing labels for different reading levels, children were assigned different colors — according to their perceived proficiency.  

Chip Martin, college reporter

According to the fine website credited above, these were AT&T ads appearing in Boys Life magazine in the 1960s.

The whole thing is ludicrous on many levels. The idea of someone at Bell Labs talking about missile guidance technology to a reporter is almost breathtaking in its absurdity. That this was the height of the Cold War and the fact that young Mr. Martin represents the Franklin Tech News just adds layers to the delightful absurdity.

Did this chain exist where you grew up?

If I were to tell you how many Burger Chef cheeseburgers my brother could eat, you would have little choice but to assume that I am exaggerating.

“Hey kid, whattaya think you’re doing?”

In the mid-1960s, Coca-Cola bottlers around the country ran a promotion featuring the images of pro athletes inside bottle caps.

The idea was, you collected complete sets of NFL players or whatever. Then you could redeem them for various modest prizes.

I'm sure the marketing concept was to get little kids like me to badger their mothers into buying more Coke products. But there's only so much sugar water one family can drink. So, I devised a plan.

If I taped a magnet to the end of a long section of wire clothes hanger, I could reach into vending machines and withdraw the caps from the cap-catching chamber directly below the built-in bottle-opener.

That's what I did. And my haul was impressive, if gooey.

Oh, there were a few run-ins with store employees who initially suspected that I was helping myself to coins. But mostly I was unmolested as I went around town making my rounds.

I ended up exchanging my many completed bottle-cap sheets for footballs, NFL pennants, NFL book covers and what have you.

I can't remember if other kids caught on and copied my magnet gambit. Maybe every town had one of us.

If the Internet had been around back then, we could have formed some sort of association and traded tips.

“Hi, Bob in Evansville. I understand what you are saying about the merits of asking permission to harvest caps when you first go into a store. But I've found that just gives someone the opportunity to say No.”

What shows did you watch…

…when you weren't in school because you supposedly were sick. 

Most STA drivers are probably too young

To have heard Bob Newhart's take on bus driver training on this classic album. And that's too bad.

Warning: Baby boomer nostalgia below

Some of the mysteries of the ages remained unsolved throughout the 1960s.

For instance, in dodgeball, why didn't certain boys (the prey species) learn to do a better job of protecting their privates from the deadly aim of the more athletic lads (predators)?

And why was there always one kid in class who ate Elmer's glue like it was Milk Duds?

This date in “Jetsons” history

On October 7, 1962, an episode called “Jetson's Nite Out” aired for the first time.

According to various online guides, the story features George telling Jane he has to work late and can't attend a PTA meeting with her. His real plans involve going to a robot football game with Mr. Spacely.

This date in “Dick Van Dyke” history

On Sept. 30, 1964, an episode called “The Ghost of A. Chantz” aired for the first time.

An online episode guide summarized it this way: “After a mix-up by Mel for reservations at a lodge, Rob, Laura, Sally and Buddy are forced to spend a frightening night in a cabin that has not been used in years and is rumored to be haunted.”

Antics ensue.

This date in “Bewitched” history


Sept. 30, 1965 saw the first airing of an episode called “We're In for a Bad Spell.”

Sam and Aunt Clara try to help lift a bad-luck spell from Darrin's old Army buddy. Antics ensue.  

“Playmates of the Clouds”

There's a nice recollection of Hi-Flier kites at

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About this blog

Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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