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THE 1978 SEARS CATALOG

Sears catalogs seem to be selling rather well on eBay as of late, so I thought it'd be fun to buy one to dig some of the crazy retro pictures within.  1978 seemed like a great year to start with as you had the rise of Disco, Star Wars, and the heyday of Atari and other videogames.  Unfortunately, I found out that the toys are only in the winter edition of their catalog, but I found a lot of great stuff, nonetheless. 

Beanbags were a great cheap alternative to couches or other furniture that actually provided back support and didn't crush your spine into a twisted slinky.  Most of these were made with cheap vinyl, and would inevitably get a hole from which hundreds of tiny styrofoam beads would leak out every time you sat on it.  Just like my crazy aunt Shirley!

I had a shirt just like the blue one pictured above that my mom used for my ill-fated Ace Frehley from KISS costume that Halloween.  I looked just like Ace, except I had a red-headed wig, a Dracula cape with "Ace" written on the back with glue and glitter, and a cardboard cutout of a guitar to carry around.  Yes, I was beat up several times that day.

Toughskins were the famous pants made out of some alien combination of sandpaper and titanium steel that would never get holes in them.  You could rub them with a rock all day and the rock would crumble apart before the pants would rip.  My parents always got me the cheap knockoff brand, BUMSKINS which were made from the tanned hides of hobos.

Of course, cool t-shirts like these are still in style.  Though am I just a big geek for noticing that they spelled "Darth Vader" incorrectly?

These shoes from '78 don't look all that different than ones you can buy today!  Only they weren't called retro-shoes back then, just "shoes".

"Rich" and "masculine" aren't two words that usually come to mind when I think of corduroy.  The two words I usually think of are "necrophilia" and "shazbot".

CORDUROY IN THE HOUSE, BOYEEEEEEEE!

What better way to impress the ladies than to throw Andy Gibb's latest hits into your in-dash 8 Track Tape player?  I remember the 8 tracks were pretty unreliable and would often skip to different songs in the middle of a tune.

Of course, if you were on the go, a portable 8 track player may have been more your style.  I used to have a red Panasonic portable cassette recorder that I'd use to record the audio from episodes of Benson and listen to them in my backyard.  My parents rarely talked to me, so the soothing voice of Robert Guillame was all I had growing up.

Check out this early VCR, a $985 BETAVISION!  And the blank cassettes were only $12.95.  It's amazing how much cheaper things got, once we started letting 8 year old kids in Taiwan make everything for us.

Speaking of expensive electronics of the time, check out the price of this shitty phone that boasts 10 different numbers you can store in its memory.  We had a phone like this when I was growing up, and for safety, I had all 10 numbers pre-programmed to call Child Protective Services when times got tough.

Next time you bitch about the high price of a Plasma TV, just remember in 1978 a 13 inch color TV was $419!

But if your family was really classy, you'd get a console TV.  I heartily recommend The Van Buren.  Once we melted the side of one of these TVs with a space heater while playing Atari at my friends house.  The simulated wood was usually just cheap plastic.

Nowadays, only 35 year olds in Southern California that have their driver's licenses taken from them ride bikes like these, but in 1978 they were awesome street machines!  I have a banana seat installed on my office chair, cause it helps with the 'roid pain.

Paris Hilton's parents had to make films the old fashioned way, with super hot Super 8 cameras!  The cameras and film were pretty pricey, and as I recall, getting the reels developed was close to $35.  Thank to the cheap camcorder for releasing amateur pornography from these financial shackles!

And now to save the best for last.  Of course the best thing about Sears catalogs to a growing boy like myself was the hot hot hot bra and panties section.  As you can see in these pictures, the photography was pretty alluring, with many of models posing in soft lighting with their hair aglow.  And get a load of those cool butt-shaping panties and form fitting girdles that look like something out of a Clive Barker movie.

Stay tuned for the next feature, where I actually get the damn toy catalog!

Robert Berry
rberry@retroCRUSH.com

 

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