What Worked Then

Jason Torchinsky is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Jason has a book out now, Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is a tinkerer and artist and writes for the Onion News Network. He lives with a common-law wife, five animals, too many old cars, and a shed full of crap.

Usually when we look back with smug amusement at technology from the past, the size-related thing that makes us chuckle is how large everything was. The old cellphones that were like holding a lunchbox to your face, the Walkmen that were like carry-on bags– but we shouldn't forget the joy that comes from laughing at things that now seem too small.


This came from a 1977 ad for wood panelling, so perhaps they didn't want to obscure any of that glorious, golden wood. But still, I certainly remember having TVs that now would be barely considered adequate for car-headrest use as the main TV in a house. We get spoiled pretty quickly, and there's no going back. Just for comparison's sake, here's how an average-sized HDTV (42") would fit in the scene:


This ad also doesn't do anything to dispel the idea that the only colors we had in abundance in the 70s were browns and the occasional orange. And would it kill them to give Fisty on the right there a chair? And doesn't the left-hand head-smacker look kind of like Steve Martin?