When I was a kid, my Christmas list was culled partly from Saturday morning cartoon commercials. You see, kids, back in the dark ages, you couldn’t just willy nilly watch cartoons whenever you wanted. (Though, being the 1970’s, many other variations of willy-nilliness were allowed. To wit: disco. And corduroy.) You got three channels and watched whatever they gave you – whether it was the Superfriends with Gleek or without.
Cartoons were basically confined to an early Saturday morning block on the three networks that existed back then. Time for the kids! Thanks, network executives!
But…they had money to make. So, interspersed with The Superfriends and Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo were cereal adds and toy commercials. Many a year my Christmas dreams – perhaps a Hot Wheels track or Six Million Dollar Man play set – were fed to me along with bowl after bowl of Cocoa Puffs.
Mostly, though, my Christmas list came from the toy section of the Sears Christmas Wishbook. This was back in the day when Sears was THE department store and the Wishbook was the pinnacle of catalogs – and not just because you could see Cheryl Tiegs (SPELLING) in her underwear.
There were pages and pages and pages of kid stuff. Action figures. Race tracks. Licensed character apparel and bedding. I even got a Moe (as in the Three Stooges) ventriloquist dummy one year. Another year, it was a talking Grover. I never got the Fonzie action figure though. Always kind of regretted that.
So, back then, if you wanted a toy that wasn’t available in the toy department of the local department store (probably Sears. There was no Wal-Mart then.), you ordered it out of the Wishbook and waited for the mailman (or Santa) to deliver it in four-to-six agonizing weeks, punctuated only by daily whinings to Mom and Dad “Is my toy here yet….?”.
And now, my kids are the ones reading the Wishbook. Well, the Sunday toy ads anyway. Do they even make the Wishbook anymore?
And it won’t be long before we can order something and thirty minutes later
a flying death machine an Amazon drone will plunk your new Nerf Prostate Exam Fun Kit on your front lawn. Sorry about Fido, though. Hell of a way to go. But, hey, free shipping!
And we can’t even enjoy a bowl of Cocoa Puffs while we wait. Because, you know, sugar and obesity and diabetes and stuff. Being more of aware of things is no fun at all.