Monday, June 9, 2014

"Go You Chicken Fat, Go!"



The year is 1961. My dad, an ad man at the time for Young & Rubicam, a large agency in New York City arrives home, his usual jubilant, animated—“just had a great day”self —opens up his brief case.
There were definite advantages to having a dad who worked in advertising. He often worked at home in the evenings, seated at his typewriter; brainstorming for a campaign just about to hit the media. We were often included in the process, listening to his ideas as he hammered them out on paper faster than anyone I had ever seen, the smoke from his Pall Mall cigarettes swirling to the ceiling above. The smoke of course was not an advantage but we were still ignorant of the real dangers—remember, my dad was in advertising.

We were living in Upper Montclair, NJ at the time, a thirty minute bus ride from NY City. Dad walked to the bus each morning and my younger brothers often rode their bikes to meet him after work and ride home alongside him.

He pulls a record out of his briefcase— but then changes his mind.
“No, I think we’ll just wait until tomorrow morning.”
Before bed that night he announces, “I want everyone down here—in the living room—at 6am—set your alarms!”

“Everyone”—dad and mom, my six brothers and I, as planned, filed down to the living room at 6am the following morning and had our very first exposure to the Chicken Fat song! The song was written by Meredith Willson and sung by Robert Preston of "Music Man" fame with full orchestral accompaniment. It was commissioned by John Kennedy for his new Youth Fitness Program. A copy of this record was sent to every school in the U.S. with the idea that it would be played over the P.A. every morning while students did calisthenics.

Since my dad had something to do with the presentation of this program (thanks dad!) we were just about to experience a preview—right in our living room.
It was brutal—not just listening to the song but the exercises; one after another—6am—this is way to early for this sort of thing!
And surprise! When we arrived at school that morning the record was played again in our classrooms and gym classes. We got to do the entire routine again! (..and every day after that for weeks)

Our family exercise program lasted about three days and to tell you the truth, I think my dad was sick of hearing the song too.
On the fourth day there were no alarms set in our house for 6am.
If you would like to hear the song and read the never ending lyrics you can listen to it here.

(WARNING..You will not be able to get the song out of your head for days!)
Let's agree to take this little 45 and store it in the archives—for a long, LONG, time!




Update...June 2014

OH NO......it's back!!  Apple I-Phone 5's new ad!

Go You Chicken Fat Go!




Friday, January 24, 2014

1960's...remember your first image search— on a "laptop"?

(original artwork-all rights reserved)


....It's the spring of 1964 and my dad (Mr.Sawdust) decides it's time we looked for another dog. We hadn't had a dog in the family since the tragic loss of our German Shepherd, Flash. Our family had a set of Comptons encyclopedias and that is where our search began.
Webster's dictionary, 2001 defines the word laptop as follows:

lap-top (lap'top'), n. a portable,usu. battery powered microcomputer, small enough to rest on the lap.

In 1964 we defined it this way...


Laptop-encyclopedia opened on lap
Of course we had never heard of a Google search and the only image from that time that comes to mind when I hear the term Yahoo search is Roy Rogers letting out a hearty "yahoo" after successfully roping a wandering steer—but we were not strangers to the idea of an image search...that was something we did on a regular basis.

Image search —search encyclopedia— "D"-dog


There were several glossy pages filled with photos of every breed of dog you could imagine.
How we settled on a Basset Hound...well that's still a mystery.

The thought of a computer that could sit on your lap was...science fiction. Even the computers in Sci-fi movies were as big as elephants and filled entire rooms! Just so you don't think I'm exaggerating, take a look at this hard drive produced in 1956.


World's first hard drive-1956
Another interesting picture —"Visions of a home computer in the 50's"


The caption reads:
Scientists from the RAND Corporation have created this model to illustrate how a home computer could look like in the year 2000. However the needed technology will not be economically feasible for the average home. Also the scientists readily admit that the computer will require not yet invented technology to actually work, but 50 years from now scientific progress is expected to solve these problems. With teletype interface and the Fortran language, the computer will be easy to use and only...


So the encyclopedia was where we gravitated after school for homework and school projects. With six brothers in the house I could only hope we weren't researching the same subject!

I remember another
image search that year— not long after the arrival of the Beatles in America. Enough time has passed that I will not be too embarrassed to write about it.

...but that's another story!