Tag: nostalgia

For roadside fanatics who'll be in the Los Angeles area anytime in the next six months, the Petersen Automotive Museum is having a special exhibit on the early history of road trips.

Titled "From Autocamps to Airstreams: The Early Road to Vacationland," the display recounts the birth of American auto travel, complete with a selection of vintage vehicles and campers that helped give rise to the earliest of roadside attractions.

Starting with the "Tin Can Tourists" of the early 1900s, who braved rough roads in luggage-laden Model T's, the exhibit follows the evolution of autocampers through the boxy days of customized "house cars" and into the more streamlined era of diminutive teardrops and majestic camping trailers.

Among the museum's prize acquisitions is a custom-built 1934 Thompson House Car and the oldest known Airstream trailer in existence (pictured).

The exhibit is scheduled through Feb. 8, 2009.

At the Dwell on Design convention held last weekend in Los Angeles, Apartment Therapy Unplggd (or Unpluggd or Unplugged ... even they can't seem to decide) discovered Wilkerson Furniture's brilliant answer to the bland design of today's flat-panel TVs.

The M21 Flat TV Console beautifully captures the midcentury style of a classic black-and-white set with its slick hardwood cabinet (black walnut or cherry), but will house a brand-new 42" high-definition screen. Plus, the cloth-covered lower section is designed to house a center speaker. It's the perfect answer for anyone wondering how they'll fit their new TV in with their retro-style living room.

Unfortunately, reports indicate that Wilkerson is so far only testing public interest in the design. They aren't quite ready for production. However, Finkbuilt, who originally turned me on to the M21, reminds us that one could always build his own. ... Continued

As I was zipping over to Fry's yesterday to pick up a little something for my latest project, I spotted a couple on the highway proudly driving a Smart Fortwo, a somewhat defiant choice of automobile in a state obsessed with transparently large and underutilized pickup trucks. The practical little transport was especially conspicuous here in north Dallas where the soccer queens reign from the seats of their Excursions and H3's.

For me, it was a refreshing sight and something I'd love to see more of. I couldn't help but shout "Good for you!" vainly through my windshield and across two lanes of traffic.

Microcars are not only the ideal transport for the intra-city drives and lone commutes that make up most people's wheel time, but, as I suddenly realized in that moment, they're absolutely perfect for the interstate road trips loved by faithful guests of the Roadside Resort, when all a person needs is a motor, a CD player and a space for their overnight bag. And just imagine how easy all those U-turns would be, looking for the right back road that leads to the world's largest whatever. ... Continued

Microcar photos courtesy of the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum.

Just a few weeks ago I was talking about that strange, torturous device from the '70s known as the Willy Water Bug. At least half a dozen Fun Fountains have come and gone at eBay, but for the life of me, I couldn't find evidence that Willy was anything but a manufactured memory.

Well, look what I found! It looks like he does exist, after all. I didn't want to say anything until the auction ended, of course. No reason to give myself more competition.

Unfortunately, it still went for $49.00 + shipping, which was at the moment a little too steep for something I'd probably just display on a shelf. I guess I need to start having kids so I'll have a better excuse to buy these things.

When I started running a saved search over at eBay for a Fun Fountain, I never expected to see one pop up every 2 weeks or so. I'm surprised so many of these guys survived the '80s. If you don't remember what a Fun Fountain is, that's no surprise given the sadly generic name. Remember the sprinkler toy shaped like a clown's head that would shoot a stream of water into the air, levitating the clown's hat until you ran through it, thereby giving yourself an enema and often knocking the hat off-balance so it would fall eight feet and konk you in the head? There you go ... the Fun Fountain!

Unfortunately, people with more money than I can spend on nostalgia are running the bids up a little too high for these things. So I keep having to let them go. ... Continued

I actually stuck with my new rule this weekend and checked off one of my long-procrastinated locations. The old Twin Drive-In Theater in Fort Worth has been glaring at me for years now, and considering the likelihood that one more good spring storm could carry it off like the sides of the Bank One Tower 6 years ago, I figured this was a good place to start.

Of course, I got a little distracted on the way. But who among us can ignore the bright-yellow swoop of an abandoned Googie sign? Who, I ask!

This one marked the former location of the Boardwalk, an establishment apparently specializing in the "cocktail," though I doubt either of those syllables were ever used in this neighborhood to refer to alcohol. And yet, although the only thing left of this bar is its foundation, that hasn't stopped anyone from drinking on this corner.

I suppose that's why I've avoided shooting the Twin for so long — the condition of the neighborhood. I mean, it didn't take 3 minutes of standing on the roadside before my assistant was propositioned by a man in a windowless minivan. Really, whose pimp carries a 20D? And what sort of girl hooks next to a Corolla? ... Continued

Reminiscing about childhood toys, I thought I'd check to see how the classic Lincoln Log was faring these days.

Personally, I can't remember an age when I wasn't able to figure these things out, or at least have some sort of fun with them. But now — get this — we have "Beginner" sets.

Behold My First Lincoln Logs.

See video

For those who weren't aware, the world-renown Monty Python was first introduced to the United States in 1975 by my local PBS affiliate, KERA in Dallas. I had nothing to do with it, as I was only 1 year old at the time, but I'm proud nonetheless.

When I was about 13, my best friend introduced me to "The Holy Grail." Again, this ran on KERA. They used to show it fairly often, in fact. As I remember, they also used to run "Flying Circus" every weekend. My friend and I would stay up many late nights keeping my parents awake with our badly stifled laughter. Unfortunately, I haven't seen them run it for several years now.

Anyway, shortly after KERA starting airing "Flying Circus," they invited four members of Monty Python into the studio for an interview. A portion of that interview, saved by an engineer, was recently uncovered. It hadn't been seen in more than 30 years.