The Popcorn Stand: From Pong to Pokemon

P.T. Barnum said there’s a sucker born every minute. And I’m a sucker. I’m a Baby Buster (the generation between Baby Boomers and Generation X, remember Generation X?, no they’re not Millennials) who grew up in the 1970s and early 1980s.

I firmly believe the way I grew up — in a lower middle class background in the United States of America during that time — was the greatest way to grow up in the history of the world.

As a kid we had just enough technology to make life easy — but not too easy. As an old fuddy duddy I really feel sorry for today’s kids with all their gizmos. But I remember watching an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” from the early 1960s in which Barney Fife said the exact same thing when he saw Opie listening to a transistor radio.

I did just enough manual labor to teach me work ethic but also to teach me I didn’t want to do it for the rest of my life.

And as a child of the media (kids from the 1960s and 1970s), I’m a sucker for anything that reminds me of that era.

From time to time I watch entire college football games from the 1970s on YouTube. A while back, I watched the 1973 USC-UCLA football game commercials in all. What struck me was during the entire telecast of a game played the Saturday after Thanksgiving there was one commercial that even mentioned anything about Christmas shopping.

Whenever one of those Progressive commercials with Flo instructing Jamie like an Afterschool Special (remember those?) come on complete with the 70s style music, graphics — and even filming with the blips and everything, I stop whatever I’m doing to watch the commercial. Not that it drives me to buy Progressive Insurance. I’m not that much of a sucker.

Every generation believes their generation was the best as I found out when I watched Archie and Edith Bunker sing the opening song to “All in the Family,” as a kid during a time I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Yes, 2016 has been a tough year, but hopefully I’m still alive 30 years from now when I can hear Millennials talk about “these kids today with all their fancy gizmos don’t know what the pure joy of playing Pokemon Go is like.”

Just like what I tell Millennial about Pong. Remember Pong?

— Charles Whisnand


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