9/12/08

Electronics and Exercise

Before I show you some neato 1977 electronics, I just want to share these two living room sets with you:





So if you'd like to turn your living room into the waiting room of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman or some sort of moon-bounce/opium den, JC Penney has you covered.

Ground-breaking Electronics

Let's take a quick look at their Finest Stereo System:



Ah, 8-track tape. Who doesn't love hearing their favorite songs interrupted by a fade-out, a loud KA-CHUNK, and a fade in? And after paying almost 300 bucks for this 'quality' audio equipment, you'd still end up needing to jam something on one side of the tape after a while so it didn't sound like the music was being played in slow motion underwater. In 1977 I was building a kick-ass Beatles collection on 8-track that I was going to have forever. I'm sure you can figure out how that went.

By '77, the video game PONG had been out for a few years. There were a half-dozen clones of it for sale, and JC Pennney wanted a piece of the hot video game action. They called it 'tv fun' and claimed it never lost its challenge. Also, it was 4 games in one:



The games were Pong, Doubles Pong, Only-Child Pong, and Handball. I imagine it lost its challenge pretty quickly.

At our house, we actually had the real PONG game. My father would only let us play it on the old, crappy TV because after about the first month or so, your TV looked like this:



For some reason he wasn't crazy about a score box and black line permanently burned into his screen.

I guess the late 70's CB radio craze was responsible for this monstrosity:



With that clamped to your handlebars, you probably couldn't see the road. Not to mention the fact that the first time you crashed your bike you were almost guaranteed to be pulling a whip antenna out of your ruined eye socket.

I still remember when I got my first one of these:



Due to the wonders of modern science, you now needed both hands to tell the time at night instead of just one. Nobody gave a shit that they were massively inconvenient. Seriously. It was like magic on your wrist. Remember the first time you saw an iPhone? Yeah. Like that.

Keeping in Shape in 1977

How did people melt away fat 31 years ago? The same way they do now. By purchasing home gym equipment that they hang their laundry on, and drinking Slim Fast.

No, I kid. They did it with these fantastical implements of torture:



Yes, it's the old vibrating belt machine. The big improvement here over the model they had in the 50's? TWO belts. That's some serious fucking innovation right there.

This interesting looking thing is called a roller massager:



I really have no idea what this would do for you besides leave welts on your fat. She looks pretty intrigued sitting on it though. It's probably better than the washing machine on spin cycle.

For only 300 bucks you could have your own personal sauna:



Remember, one beep means yes and two means no. And don't be surprised when the pulsing ass-heads from Talos IV show up.









Right now, a bunch of you reading this are thinking, "Huh?" but that's OK. If only one person out there gets the joke, it's totally worth it.

This next contraption?



I have no idea what it is, but I'm getting one for the bedroom.

Lastly, don't forget your fancy sports footwear, like these 'JuiceMobiles':



What a difference 17 years makes:

75 comments:

  1. OMG! my mother still has one of those saunas, it just sits out in the garage now, but when I was growing up the only place we had room for it was in the living room, too funny.
    Thanks for the laugh
    and and she had one of the single belt vibrate the fat away things (i think that thing finally gave up the ghost though, I've not seen it in years, and I think the last time I did it had clothes hanging off it LOL

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMG!!! I Still have one of those stereo decks! I bought it for like $1. About 18 years back from our neighbors!!! I use it out in the shop. It picks up 2 FM stations. Send me $200 and I'll mail it to you. Speakers included...(hate to say it....but the 1968 Pioneer that dad shipped home from Nam, still works also....

    ReplyDelete
  3. kcmom9:58 PM

    Thanks so much for continuing the JCPenney posts! FYI, I was a high school senior/college freshman working at Penney's in 1977 and bought my stereo there in 1978 or 1979 (I used my tax refund $) and I still have the turntable that came with it.

    And is it just me or does this stuff seem REALLY expensive? I dimly recall what I was earning in 1977 ($3.50-$4.00/hour comes to mind) and it would have taken a LOT of hours (or a tax refund, which I'm sure I should have probably put in the bank)to buy a $289.00 stereo...way more than it would today; just think of what a new ipod costs now and how long it takes you to make enough money to buy one of those. Just sayin...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Pong freaking ruled!

    So, like....

    are those sesame seeds I see on your buns up there JV?

    Flame broiled, not fried.

    Nice.

    I like.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wonder what Sylvia would think of these modern wonders?

    ReplyDelete
  6. WTF indeed, Johnny. I have no idea what happened. But whatever it is, I'm having trouble sleeping and have a general feeling of malaise. I'm pretty sure it's all interconnected.

    PLEASE get back on top!!! You must. I may even hold my breath....

    ReplyDelete
  7. nice to know my dad's not the only one still using the stereo equipment he shipped back from vietnam... and those sectional sofas... they just scream porno.

    ReplyDelete
  8. i remember 1977...and a bit before...you did make me have flashbacks...and they weren't pretty...lol...the one that really got me was the pong game...i used to play for hours...we thought we were so cool...lmao...good post!

    ReplyDelete
  9. After all that money spent on the personal sauna, they can use it as a coffin when they finally kick the bucket. Thats pretty much what it looks like to me.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My grandfather gave me watch (F) as a gift for my birthday. I found out the hard way it was not waterproof. I was gutted and he was pissed off.

    We weren't subjected to Pong. A couple years later we got a Colecovision and it was cool. I still think it was cool for it's time.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Viper8:46 AM

    Dude, you are absolutely killing me with these. Remember, I stole one of your fashion posts unintentionally but started subscribing to your blog so something good DID come from it.

    And you don't disappoint.

    Laugh out loud funny and that says something seeing that I'm overseas in the Middle East. I thank you my friend and BEG you to keep this going.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The 1980 Buick LeSabre my cruel parents forced me to drive in 1991 had an 8-track. Your description of the sound it made is spot on.

    ReplyDelete
  13. No worries - those numbnuts are just higher than you because they have like 7x as many posts to rank.

    And how do you know about the spin cycle thing? That's supposed to be a big girly secret!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Excellent post! It had me chuckling from beginning to end...especially the bit about extracting the bent antenna from your eye socket!!
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think Captain Pike would be proud of you;-) Anytime you can sneak a Star Trek reference in, you're doing good.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Well, at least two of us are old and/or geeky enough to get that joke. (Sorry conniec...). And proud (?) to say would have gotten it even without the Talos IV creatures! Nice call on that - looks just like it.

    I suppose if you fell asleep inside that thing you'd come out with a tiny little body and squeaky high voice?

    ReplyDelete
  17. I live in S Korea. I joined a gym. Some of the equipment includes the belt thing and the roller massager. Seriously. And. People use those things. Yikes!

    ReplyDelete
  18. debbie5:53 PM

    *beep*

    make that 3 that get the joke lol..live long & prosper young Virgil...and most definitely keep blogging :D

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous7:23 PM

    Oh no.... something else to hide under the bed when company comes over.

    ReplyDelete
  20. like what Tobi said...
    can't wait for crossover post!!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hey JV I've been trying to vote for you for ages now, but I keep getting the comment "we get that you like 15 min blah blah blah" And none of my votes count. Diesel needs a good thrashing. Please make him fix it!

    Reiven

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous8:16 AM

    OMG there is nithing better than a captain pike reference.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous11:15 AM

    http://www.buyfitnessonline.com/catalog/images/AB_Lounge.jpg

    late night infomercial

    ReplyDelete
  24. At one point we had the second couch, except ours was a shade of rust that I think they called "Harvest Orange" or something back then. The couch was a huge source of pride for my mother who bragged about it and referred to it as her "pit." As in: "We've just put a harvest orange pit in the sunken living room that we ordered from the JCPenney catalog." Ahh, the sunken living room. Back in the 70s you had really made it when you had sunken living room with a pit in it. I miss those days.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Our wii has pong, and it's about the only game on the damn system I can win.

    Oh, and I totally got the joke. Loved the old Trek pilot.

    ReplyDelete
  26. was that an awesome Captain Pike reference BEEP

    ReplyDelete
  27. those talos creatures were preternaturally scary to my impressionable young mind and haunted me for years... as will the lounge furniture I've no doubt

    ReplyDelete
  28. OJ really could have used those shoes that day.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I totally got that joke. And I have a collection of 8 tracks...

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anonymous11:28 PM

    OMG! lol my aunt is 70 years old and has that roller thing with the wooden slats. It's been in the same place of honor in the den since the mid 1970s.

    Buick LeSabre ... sigh. I was forced to drive the family car but they repainted it "lemon yellow" just for me. 8 track in all it's glory.

    I love your blog. Any book that you'd publish would be amazing.

    L.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Michelle9:06 AM

    I'll have to second "r". Everytime I try to vote for you, I get some error message that says my vote didn't count. Sorry Johnny. You'll always be number one to me. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I just LOVED the OJ stuff..

    You can't get any more classy than that..

    Maybe that's why he's in court for shoplifting!

    Trying to get some of those for nostalgia..

    ReplyDelete
  33. When I first opened your blog, all I saw were chocolate truffles. mmmmm....truffles

    ReplyDelete
  34. Jormengrund,

    Yes, OJ must be trying to get those Spotbuilt brand shoes back. I wonder if OJ was wearing Spotbuilts when he was jumping over suitcases to get to his Hertz Rent-a-car.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I got the Pike joke, but only because South Park made a joke about it a few years back. It seemed like they were referring to something, and Google filled me in.

    Now if I could only figure out what Moses (from the episode "Jewbilee") is supposed to be...

    ReplyDelete
  36. Anonymous4:27 PM

    Looking back on the 70s like this is both wonderful and horrifying.

    Please sir, may I have some more?

    ReplyDelete
  37. I had that bike radio. It fell off and smashed to pieces all over the road when I popped a wheelie. I was so pissed.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Anonymous11:49 PM

    LOL! Love your blog! I have tired and tried to vote for the past few blogs but it won't let me. It says this. "Ok, we get it. You like 15 Minute Lunch. Why don't you try rating something else now?"

    Huh????? Shouldn't I be able to rate each new blog as you write them? I am trying to!

    Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  39. that steam bath sauna thing looks far too much like a coffin

    ReplyDelete
  40. I too got the "Menagerie" reference from Star Trek. And holy shit, what a great trip down memory lane.

    From a guy who was 9 years old in 1977...

    ReplyDelete
  41. Becky2:16 PM

    So, I must've voted for you too many times, because the evil forces at Humor Blogs say (and this is a direct quote),
    "Ok, we get it. You like 15 Minute Lunch. Why don't you try rating something else now?"
    Grrrrr...

    ReplyDelete
  42. Amazingly, so many of the exercise equipment in those days looked like something slapped together in the garage using old cots/lounge chairs and elastic bands.

    And the Juicemobiles “for team sports.” Did people need to be told then what cleats and/or running shoes were used for? Ha.

    ReplyDelete
  43. *
    "don't be surprised when the pulsing ass-heads from Talos IV show up."

    whaddaya mean... "get it"?

    i think i just pissed myself.

    *

    ReplyDelete
  44. God. My aunt and uncle had the sunken living room and we were so jealous. That was the epitome of class when I was 10.

    I remember Pong. It was very boring.

    And I also have tried voting for you and was told I couldn't. I am sorry. You are my favorite!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I have to be funnier than at least a few of the 23 blogs that are currently ahead of me.

    Yep, Rickey knows that you are. Welcome to the RwR blogroll sir. Enjoy the traffic bounce from our 14 transient viking readers.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Anonymous3:49 PM

    Does the roller massager come with some Turkish towels?

    ReplyDelete
  47. Johnny, Johnny, Johnny - that first living room set is where you sit when you are going to play backgammon!!! Duh!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Melissa6:12 PM

    I totally agree! Sylvia would totally dig those fat massagers!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Anonymous12:58 AM

    Can't stop laughing at the white bronco pic!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I'll have you know that Earth, Wind and Fire still only sounds good to me on 8-track.

    By the way, I'm sorry all of your self-esteem seems to rest on a stupid Humor-blogs rating. Don't despair. It's probably so low only because all of your die-hard fans have worn out their voting privileges over there. WTF is right.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Ha! No, I'm fine. My self-esteem rests on many, many other things -- humorblogs.com isn't one of them. That was more of a joke about some of the blogs that were ahead of me. (and a sneaky way to get you to go look to see what the 23 other blogs were.)

    I think I might be done pimping them, so you're welcome. In the beginning, I think I gave them more traffic than they gave me, but now I'm pretty sure it's the other way around.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Ha to you too. I guess my sarcasm wasn't apparent... I'm sure your self esteem is doing just fine, what with all of the 50 million glowing comments you receive every post.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Ok, I'm laughing so hard, Pepsi is threatening to come out my nose, especially because I AM looking for a needle for the JCPenny record player/AM/FM/8-track I have. The old guy from whom I bought third-hand furniture threw it in when I looked at it twice. It was my one opportunity to listen to the Nashville Skyline 8-track I completely irrationally couldn't resist at Pike Place. I actually emailed them to find out if they still had the needles. So if you see a needle (or, if you are old enough to recognize a record needle)...

    ReplyDelete
  54. I made sure to go to the bathroom before I read this so as not to pee myself.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I had the white Juicemobiles! Thought they were awesome. And i so get the Talos IV reference.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hallmonsters9:28 PM

    The bike CB is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen. I am not real surprised that I have never heard of such an invention, as I am sure most attempts at using it resulted in serious injury or death.

    ReplyDelete
  57. We had that stereo, that would be the stereo I used when my sister was out of the house to listen to her Pink Floyd albums I was also not allowed to touch.

    I went nto a restaurant in Bradford PA and they had the couch that went with those barrel chairs you put out in the first post.

    As for the fitness equipment, I have my doubts about the exercise value (but not the VALUE value) of any exercise item that has the word 'vibrate' in the description. At least these days you can get a vibrator you don't have to build a wing (or wear a helmet) for.

    ReplyDelete
  58. My big aunt had both the belts thingie and the weird wooden roller thingie. My cousins and I were terrified to even go in the room.

    Also--I thought the fade-out/kaCHUNK/fade-in was really a part of that Cars song.

    ReplyDelete
  59. OMG,you are too funny. Love the 1977 JCPenny all 3 I laughed my head off......by the way I am also from the 70's like 7,8,9,10 years old at he time but I still remember. The massage belts, I tried those onece when I was small....made me almost puke. Keep being funny. Also will never drink Dole drinks again.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Sadly, I got the Capt. Pike joke instantly... in fact, before you even made it, I was thinking, hey, that looks like the thing Captain Pike was in. Sigh...

    ReplyDelete
  61. First... The sauna and assheads on Talos IV. I am ashamed and proud to note that I totally got the Christopher Pike reference. In fact, I had that same thought back in the '70s when I saw that sauna in a catalog while Penney's still sold it!

    And, I had those exact juicemobiles! Of course, I used them for Soccer, like an idiot. But, hey, when you're nine, you want what you want!

    ReplyDelete
  62. PLEASE don't post any more of the JCPenny stuff... If I launch one more sip of soda out of my nose from hysteria my wife will kill me.

    Going to clean up... again... and yes got the Capt Pikd reference.

    ReplyDelete
  63. My grandmother's basement was a mind-bending museum of hideous junk ranging from the 1920's up to the 1970's. She had a manual crank laundry machine, no kidding. She would never tolerate an electric one. You want to encourage your kids to torture each other? Keep one of those in the house. Strangely, she had no objection to an electric-powered butt-jiggling belt exerciser.

    It goes without saying that my basement is free of heavy, space-consuming dust collection systems.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Spend too long in that sauna and you'll end up like Capt. Pike.

    ReplyDelete
  65. I had a stereo system, also from J.C. Penney, very similar to the one in this catalog. All three of your J.C. Penney catalog blogs are very funny! Thank you for the laughs!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Anonymous7:04 PM

    Your 1977 catalog comments are SO f-ing hilarious. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  67. I'm #17 that got the Capt. Pike reference. Here from You Suck at Craigslist in case you're wondering why all the new traffic on old posts. The comment with the links is here: http://www.yousuckatcraigslist.com/?p=4288#comment-34645

    I was crying from laughing after reading those 3 catalog posts in a row. Off to explore more!

    Also started following you on Twitter (I'm KYouell there too).

    ReplyDelete
  68. Got the Pike reference ... all three of these JC Penny chapters had me laughing so hard my abs hurt (does that replace the exercise/torture machines?), and you've messed up my eye makeup!
    I live in Italy; my only problem is that it would be SO HARD to to share this. You had to LIVE the 1970's JC Penny catalogs to understand ... ! (My Uncle kept Montgomery Wards catalogs in the bathroom ... I'm sure they helped immensely!)
    Keep 'em coming!

    ReplyDelete
  69. terri5:58 AM

    The Juicemobile made me scream in laughter. It's late at night and I have just discovered you. It started with the dangerous metal heat toys...baked insects, but, the film we dipped wire in and it dried in place? was that the 'film' stuff? I haven't found anything online about that old craft toy. Holy shit, your stuff is so funny. And the admonition of your mom, so 70's!
    They were drinking cocktails at 5 and could care less what we were up to..as long as it didn't ruin the avocado green or gold appliances or carpet...

    ReplyDelete
  70. I just had to revisit this post 'cuz I needed a laugh, and of course it provided. I had a lovely "harvest gold" velour sectional couch, ca. late seventies, that I acquired second-hand in 1988 to furnish my first apartment. It was three pieces and I usually had the middle one across the room so there was somewhere else to sit. This left a 2-piece, ahem, "love seat." The problem was, if you did try to get a little love going on it, the pieces would start scootching apart across the hardwood floor and you'd wind up falling into the crack. Very annoying! I had a BF who accused me of setting this up on purpose, and dubbed it the "safety couch." AWESOME! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had the safety couch too!

      Delete
  71. I not only got the Talus 4 reference, I thought of it before I scrolled down and saw the Talusians. Just discovered your blog and have been trying to catch up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome, and welcome. Got any ten rd AR mags you want to unload before April 15th? Our governor is a crook...

      Delete
  72. I had this really dumb uncle who owned an 8-track deck. He must have learned all his songs on that thing. At parties, he would sit there belting out tunes on his guitar, and hollering at the top of his lungs "Oh...It's...crying time again, you're gonna leave me....I can hear that far away loo.....(and then he would pause and say KaChunk...) and then go on with the song...the nut thought it was part of the song!

    ReplyDelete