A back-page time capsule

Recently discovered a 1981 comic book and found this on the back:

If you’re of a certain age, this was a ubiquitous sight. Advertisements to sell Grit, seeds, subscriptions and, in this case, stationary from the Olympic Sales Club, of Enfield, Connecticut.

Looking at the treasure trove of prizes on the back is like looking inside a time capsule. To put it into perspective, this comic book was released a year before the first compact disc was commercially available. (Ouch!)

Considering that a person earned $1 per item sold, you can also get an idea of the prices of things back then. Most expensive item? Magnovox Solid State Portable TV (75 items). Cheapest? Zipper Carry-All Bag or Deluxe Uno Card Game (both for 7 items). Here’s some other notables:

  • Electric football game (13 items)
  • Star Wars Talking Alarm Clock (22 items)
  • G.E. Cassette recorder (24 items)
  • Kodak “Fairy Time” Instant Color Camera (17 items)
  • AM/FM Pocket Radio (11 items) … or, if you’re a more private person, the Head Hugger radio (also 11 items).

On the one hand, it seems that this company tried to take advantage of a young, untapped work force, something that would never fly in this day and age.

On the other hand, it seems like a short trip from the back of this comic book to the current climate of entrepreneurs, self-starters, and people starting Internet businesses on the side for residual income.

Does anyone else remember these ads? Anyone ever respond to them? Do programs like this still exist?

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One thought on “A back-page time capsule

  1. I remember them, but never responded to one. Why you ask, because I scratched and saved enough cash for some Amazing Sea-Monkeys, from the back page once. You know they also had those cool X-ray Specs, and so forth. Well I ordered them, and they never came. I have never felt to jipped in my life. I never trusted those ads after that. A few years ago, I was at a Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, and finally got those X-ray specs. Gimmicky sure, but at least I have a pair. Hey you never know when they might come in handy. Needless to say, I am still waiting on my sea-monkeys. As for taking advantage of a young, untapped work force, being something that would never fly in this day and age, just you wait til your kids get into elementary school.

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