Blast from the Past

A lighthearted look at our industry’s storied history.

Spirit Of ’76… And Then Some


In July of 1976, the country was in full freak-out mode. It was the Bicentennial and if it didn’t move, it was printed with red, white and blue and patriotic imagery, even streets. (Inset: This is a street in my neighborhood, the summer of 1976.)

Because of this mega opportunity, the industry was loaded for bear. Everything from leisure suits (no lie!) to emblems, to mugs were created to commemorate 200 years of us telling the British, “yeah, we got this. Bye now.”

It seemed like 199 years ramping up to this event, and suppliers would not be shut out. Most had exclusives and bought a license to use “official” Bicentennial logos. But beyond the “legal” stuff, there were plenty of other patriotic themes that were being used.

And when it comes to ginormous events, not much has changed. Remember Y2K and all the hype and promotion surrounding it? Or the Super Bowl … every year? Or political conventions?

Surely, when the hysteria ensues, the immediate thought is often: “Let’s commemorate this with stuff!” (Trust me, I have a box full of products from the most recent royal wedding.) And that’s where you come in. You need to stay current and pounce if and when the opportunity presents itself.

But before you go full bore on the latest fad, enjoy this offering from Counselor magazines from July.


WOW! I bet they had to hose him down. From 1980


What a great commemorative plate to give to clients. From bottom middle clockwise, happy little pig, farmer feeding happy pigs, happy pigs frolicking in the slop and then a scene inside the slaughter house. Happy holidays? From 1979


Quite possibly the forerunner of the light-up product. The Drink-Lite signaled the local bar patron that his next cocktail was ready for imbibing. Sounds like the perfect product for taxicab companies. From 1967


Why is there a clay pipe in this desk caddy? Who was smoking what? From 1977


The illustration for the Touch-O-Matic, a combination key/coin/pill holder, is fantastic. Who wouldn’t want to go to a liquor store called The Jug? Just look at their awesome mascot … a happy running jug. From 1963