Search Results for 'living room'

Living Room, Circa 1977

Living Room 1977

Looks like a post-Christmas shot to me. Organ, LPs, a giant Roman statue replica (!), a “self buttering popcorn popper,” a Golden Book on the glorious red carpet, newspaper basket, round rug hanging on the wall, and what appear to be giant keys attached to the kitchen wall. It was fun while it lasted.

More living rooms here.

(Photo via eBay)

Real Living Rooms, 1971 – 1981

Living Room 1971-2

Living Room 1971-3

Living Room 1973-2

Living Room 1973-3

Living Room 1976

living room 1970s

Living Room 1976

Living Room 1978-2

Living Room 1978-3

Living Room 1981

Some of these photos I’ve posted before in various categories. The others are from Kurt Clark and Michael Daddino. See here for more. Have a Pabst or two while you’re at it.

Living Room Design, 1970 – 1978

Living Room 70s

Living Room 70s-4

Living Room 70s-3

Living Room 1973

Living Room 70s-2

Living Room 70s-5

Living Room 1970

Living Room 1978

Living Room 1978

Next up is a series of real life living rooms.

(Images via Glen.H, 1970s Residential Design Pool, and Remarkably Retro)

Living Room, 1978

living room 1978

Rule number 7 in the 1970s handbook: You must own and wear at least one pair of cut-off jean shorts.

Rule number 26 in the 1970s handbook: You must own and wear at least one shirt with `California’ written on it.

I dig the minimalist Del Taco logo, seen better below via mojavegirl/Flickr.

del taco logo

(First photo via Dad’s Vintage Store/eBay)

Kids Playing Atari in Living Room, Circa 1981

Fascinating. The year is my best guess. Defender came out for the 2600 in 1981, and the 2600 here looks like the four-switch “woody” model, first produced in 1980. We had ON TV for a short time, a subscription service that would unscramble participating UHF channels. In September of 1982, ON TV aired Star Wars for the first time ever on national TV on a pay-per-views basis, despite very few households being wired for the service.

ON TV Subscription Box, Circa 1980


ONTV Box-2

One switch. Two choices. As I said way back here, where you can see the box in the wild, ON TV (1977-1983) was a subscription service that would unscramble UHF channels in participating markets. Los Angeles was one of those markets, and it was the first pay-for-TV service my parents got, probably around 1982. That same year, ON TV secured the rights to Star Wars and aired the film on a pay-per-view basis in September. My parents and a number of other neighborhood parents chipped in, and a whole mess of ecstatic kids joined me in our tiny living room for the occasion. Our TV was 19″ at most.

Here’s the intro to ON TV’s “opening night” in 1980, featuring 10, Norma Rae, and Slap Shot. Not exactly a kid’s dream line-up. I dig how the logo mimics the straightening out of the scrambled UHF signal.

Panic in the Streets of Loudun: Escaping Satan’s Web (Circa 1989)

The so-called “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s and early ’90s is generally dismissed today as a bizarre bout of Reagan-era excess, but it’s important to remember that (1) it was a morally reprehensible witch hunt that injured thousands and saved none, and (2) it was orchestrated by grievously irresponsible religious and civic leaders, incompetent mental health providers and law enforcement officials, sensation-chumming media, deadbeat parents, charlatans and con artists, and remorseless criminals to divert attention from the real degenerates—themselves. Sadly, despite all of our vaunted “progress,” witch hunts have a way of repeating themselves.

The panic began to surface with the 1980 publication of  Michelle Remembers, a now-refuted chronicle of the alleged abuse of 5-year-old Michelle Smith by a satanic cult starting in 1954. The McMartin preschool trial, largely the result of allegations made by a paranoid schizophrenic, and tragically prolonged by “therapists” forcing false claims out of preschoolers, was pasted across TV screens and newspapers from 1984 to 1990, when the last two defendants were acquitted. Michelle Smith and Lawrence Pazder, the psychiatrist who “recovered” her “repressed” memories of abuse and then married her, acted as consultants for the prosecution and met with the alleged victims and their families. (The concept of repressed memory is extremely controversial and is not accepted by mainstream psychology)

Meanwhile, “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez was terrorizing greater Los Angeles (including 12-year-old me), murdering 13 and assaulting and mutilating many more. At his 1988 sentencing he famously held up his hand, inscribed with a pentagram, and proclaimed, “Hail Satan.” By 1986, the media was calling Satanism an “unmeasurable force,” with the police investigating “as many as 800 crimes… linked to the devil.”

In 1988, as the McMartin trial was in full swing and Ramirez was being tried, Geraldo Rivera hosted a prime-time special called “Devil Worship: Exposing Satan’s Underground.” The special was very controversial and, predictably, hauled in huge ratings for NBC. In the special Rivera briefly interviews Sean Sellers, a then 19-year-old death row inmate who had murdered both of his parents and a convenience store clerk before he turned 17. Sellers claimed during his trial and afterwards that his actions were the result of demonic possession and converted to Christianity soon after he went to prison.*

I started to watch Escaping Satan’s Web on a whim and found myself unable to look away. It’s an extended (60-minute) interview with Sellers conducted by “Dr.” Fletcher Brothers, a pastor and founder of Freedom Village, a home for troubled teens “completely structured around the word of God.” The interview is intercut with warnings about the lures and dangers of Satanism and the occult. In his introduction, Brothers tells us that “Satanism is rampant in America and Canada” and that “young people by the millions now [are] captivated by something that can make killers out of them.” (Escaping Satan’s Web is dated 1987 by the YouTube poster, but Brothers mentions the Geraldo special [October 1988] and some footage from the show is used in the video, so the year has to be at least 1989.)

Among the animate and inanimate objects Sellers blames for his brutal crimes include his parents, comic books, the library (where he says his journey to Satan began), his babysitter, a “wild imagination,” Freddy Krueger, Zen Buddhism, a Catholic priest, heavy metal (“the lunatic fringe of music,” says Sellers), Dungeons & Dragons, and, of course, Satan himself. Not once does he accept any responsibility, and it was clear to me within the first few minutes of the interview that he was a manipulative sociopath without the slightest remorse for his actions. He understood that his only chance of getting out of prison was to claim the devil made him do it and publicly embrace the version of Christianity that had produced the societal anxiety about ritual abuse in the first place. I’m not sure what’s worse, listening to Sellers coldly describe and disown his calculated, violent actions, or watching Brothers suck up to him as the “saved” poster boy of a demonic affliction that never existed.**

Sellers starts out by describing the rise of Satanism in America—previously, it had been known to exist only “in Africa, or in some other country where there was no civilization”—and tells us that “at every school you’ve got kids who are interested in the occult,” whether they’re only “dabbling” (listening to metal and watching horror movies) or “really interested” (buying copies of The Satanic Bible, reading the Necronomicon—the latter of which is not a real book).

In the first cut scene, the narrator gives us a list of “signs that your child may be a target of Satanic recruitment”:

They come from middle to upper class homes

They have with low self-esteem

They are highly intelligent

They are loners

They come from broken homes

They are latch-key kids

They have a deep need for belonging

They are impressionable

They may be victims of sexual abuse

They are alienated from the church

They are very creative and curious

They are rebellious and looking for power

They are overachievers or underachievers

Aside from sexual abuse, these criteria describe just about every kid I ever spent time with growing up.

Dungeons & Dragons plays an important role in both Sellers’ fabricated conversion to Satanism and the Satanic Panic narrative. D&D had its first spell of national coverage when it was blamed—wrongly, always wrongly—for the disappearance of the unfortunate James Dallas Egbert III in 1979. Fundamentalist Christian groups, sensing a powerful alternative to their authoritarian prescriptions, immediately attacked the game as an occult practice, but the real crusade against D&D and its makers didn’t get going until Patricia Pulling started Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons (B.A.D.D.) in 1983. Pulling blamed D&D for her son Irving’s 1982 suicide, and for the next decade she was often consulted by police departments, school boards, and the media on teen involvement in Satanism. She also served as an expert witness for the prosecution on the alleged involvement of D&D in several murder cases. (You can see Pulling in the 1985 60 Minutes segment on D&D, in which Gary Gygax destroys her and host Ed Bradley’s desperate attempts to connect the role-playing game to violent and anti-social behavior.) ***

Brothers repeatedly presses Sellers to condemn Dungeons & Dragons in the interview, and Sellers cooperates, describing the dangers of imaginative freedom:

That character that’s in front of him is absolute. It doesn’t change. It’s a friend to him. And when he becomes that character, he knows exactly who he is, he knows exactly what he can do and what he can’t do… and the fantasy world that he lives in has no morals, no limits, you know, no values except for his own…

You let a teenager loose in that world, and sometimes they don’t want to come back.

In other words, the player is role-playing in a not-specifically-Christian universe in which he or she decides what is right and wrong and what choices to make, and to a fundamentalist Christian, that universe is always going to be evil. The cut scene that follows calls D&D “the most effective introduction to the occult in the history of man.” It teaches

demonology, witchcraft, voodoo, murder, rape, blasphemy, suicide, assassination, insanity, sex, perversion, homosexuality, prostitution, satan worship, gambling, barbarism, cannibalism, sadism, desecration, demon summoning, necromantics, divination, and other occultic themes.

That’s a direct quote.

The next cut scene warns of “Signs of Satanism in Your Community,” some of which include “occult graffiti, mysterious murders, demand for occult-related jewelry, shoplifting in candle shops (my favorite), grave robbings, animal mutilations, and unusual tattoos.” The on-screen text is accompanied by video footage of supposedly “at-risk” teenagers committing sins such as smoking, hugging, kissing, dancing, wearing sunglasses and leather jackets, laughing heartily, and so on.

At the end of the video Brothers blesses Sellers, shakes his hand, and says, “One of these days we’re going to shake hands outside of this place without these [handcuffs] on.” The viewer is encouraged to purchase a copy of Satanism in America: What They Don’t Want You to Know, a “new publication” that will “give you the facts on occult and satanic activities that threaten you and your family… to give you the knowledge to protect your loved ones from those that would harm them.” Please send your $10.00 check to Freedom Village.


*In his satanism special, Rivera interviews a spokesman for several McMartin preschool parents who are gathered in someone’s living room. The woman to the right of the spokesman appears to be Michelle Smith (47:51), although I can’t confirm this.

**Sellers was executed by lethal injection in 1999. He did not acknowledge or apologize for his crimes.

***See the AP article “Dungeons, Dragons: Fundamentalists Attack Game as Road to Occult” from February 27, 1982. The writer of a letter to the editor in the December 12, 1980 edition of the Eugene Register-Guard calls D&D a “new fantasy game… based on the ability to promote demons to wipe out the opponent through information and formulas that could only be written by someone well versed with the occult.” She also calls the game an “introduction to the occult.” A December 1981 Milwaukee Sentinel article talks about the school board of Mukwonago High School approving Dungeons & Dragons as an official after school activity. 465 area residents submitted a petition to reverse the decision, calling the game “an active instrument in the practice of witchcraft.”

Christmas Morning, 1982: G.I. Joe and Tron

Christmas 1982-1

Christmas 1982-2

Compulsive Collector (see lots more Christmas toy cheer at the link) patrols the living room on his G.I. Joe Laser Defense Patrol Power Cycle. Coleco released a number of Joe trikes and ride-on vehicles starting in 1982, some of which you can see here.

There’s an empty Tron Light Cycle box on the ground to his right. The Light Cycle (orange) is on his left. In the second photo, he’s holding the Tron action figure and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Read-Along record. You can also see The Pac-Man Album (1980), a two-sided picture disc, playing on a Smurfs record player.

As toy and game vintages go, 1982 was extraordinary.

Christmas Morning, 1978: Assembling the Millennium Falcon

Christmas Star Wars 1978

One of the best living room decor shots I’ve seen. There’s more Star Wars on the far left, just in front of the coffee table. I think one of the boxes is the 12″ C-3PO figure. (It’s actually the MPC C-3PO model kit. Thanks, Retro Art Blog!)

The kid in the photo is Scott Tipton, comics writer and co-creator of Blastoff Comics. He says:

I can’t remember a Christmas growing up when there wasn’t exactly what I wanted either under the Christmas tree or arriving as a surprise on Christmas morning. And half the time, I hadn’t even asked for it — my parents just knew. This was the thing I would want. The Mego Batman Wayne Foundation? The Star Wars Millennium Falcon? ROM the Spaceknight? There they were.

And looking back now as a grown man with bills and responsibilities of my own, I can even more than ever appreciate what that meant. We were a working-class family, no question about it. My father drove a truck for a living, and my mother worked at the school cafeteria. Some of these gifts must have meant skipped lunches for my father and careful tightening of the purse-strings by my mother. And yet every year, Christmas was an absolute joy, and not just for the presents under the tree. My parents always treated Christmas as something special — to go back to the Dickens, we “were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, and contented with the time.”

That hits me in the feelers. Scott goes on to ask everyone who can to donate to Toys for Tots, “Because every kid should have a Batmobile under the tree if they want one.” Hard to argue with that.

I didn’t forget about the giant Bat Away box. Here’s the commercial. (Stick around for the hilarious Zips shoes commercial that comes next.)

Toys in the Wild: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1982)

G.I. Joe 1982

Hasbro’s 1982 G.I. Joe relaunch marked the beginning of probably the greatest action toy line ever produced. Series one consisted of 16 figures (including four vehicle drivers and the mail-in Cobra Commander), seven vehicles, the (flimsy as hell) Sears exclusive Missile Command Headquarters, and a Collector Display Case.

Here we see the Mobile Missile System (MMS) and Heavy Artillery Laser (HAL) in their natural habitat, a cluttered, wood-paneled living room (or den) centered by a TV whose four channels came in relatively clearly only when the cranky rabbit ear antenna was coaxed into the perfect position. (Can anyone make out who’s/what’s on the screen? My first thought was Barney Miller.)

G.I. Joe MMS 1982

G.I. Joe HAL 1982

In the bookcase behind the happy kid, more evidence of the flora and fauna of early ’80s America: 8 tracks and board games, Mastermind among them.



(Original photo via Brotherwolfe (Kary Nieuwenhuis)/Flickr; G.I. Joe images via Yo Joe!)

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