Okay, Alumni: How is your memory about things from many decades ago? Below is a story including numbered parentheses that can be filled in with things or names from several decades ago. Each correct answer is something that has disappeared completely or is rare.
On a piece of paper, number each line up to 34 lines, then write your answer to each number. Make sure your answers are things from the 40s, 50s, or 60s. Then check your answers by clicking on the link at the end of the story. Answers are in another section of the Log.
One day when I was 12 years old, I broke one of my mother’s rules, which I considered a minor infraction but she didn’t. To be sure I learned a lesson, she consigned me to a day of chores. However, she was at heart a softie and promised rewards when I completed the work.
I began my chores with a can of abrasive cleaner named (1) to scrub the bathtub. To make the work more tolerable, I stuffed my pockets with (2) candy dispensers, which had push buttons on top, and some bags of potato chips, which did not live up to their brand name of (3) because they were very greasy. Too much sugar and grease gave me a stomach ache, so I took some bubbly white (4). It left a bad taste in my mouth, so I then used my favorite toothpaste, which had a name of only five letters: (5).
The toothpaste didn’t do much for the greasy taste, so I tried some (6) chewing gum from a white and gray wrapper. It was too bland to help much, so I switched to licorice gum named (7). Next, Mom wanted me to weed her flower bed, which was brilliant with red flowers called (8) that made me think the flowers must drool.
Lawn mowing came next, so I got one of the first riding mowers ever made, the (9), out of the barn. I loved that mower because it seemed as if its name sounded just like the noises it made. I wanted a picture of the manicured yard so went to the house to get my (10) camera.
True to her word, Mom allowed me to watch TV, a new invention at that time, for several hours. Programs were limited, and evening hours showcased wrestling matches, so I settled in to watch a wrestler named (11) George, who had long blond curls. I loved Westerns best so next tuned in the Lone Ranger with his horse (12) followed by Roy Rogers and his horse (13).
By a year or so after my work day, TV shows became more varied, and dogs were often featured, one of which starred Lassie and boy companion (14). Rudd (15) trained several different dogs for the Lassie role over the years. A German shepherd also dominated afternoon TV and introduced a “working” dog named (16).
A favorite children’s show featured Howdy Doody and his ventriloquist (17) Bob. Science fiction entered the TV scene with a show about space travel and its star Captain (18) with his crew called the (19).
Hugely popular with adults was the variety show with its host’s first name (20), most famous for introducing Elvis to the general public. This host also set teenage girls in the audience swooning when he later featured the (21) from England. An orchestra leader with the first name (22) also became famous for introducing big band sounds with, “And a one, and a two, and a…”
Advertising on TV introduced many new products to the general public; but without regulations about what could be advertised, some candy items were eventually banned from TV, such as candy that looked like (23). Most adults at that time chose the real things with the most popular brands being (24) in a red and white package and the less colorful (25).
The 1940s and ‘50s had other forms of home entertainment than just television. Music played on the (26) became common. Everyone recognized its trademark dog, but few noticed the dog was sitting on his master’s (27). Most young girls of those early decades could be entertained simply by talking on what seemed a special telephone to them, the (28) design.
Board games were very popular too. My dad and I spent hours on the floor playing a game named (29), which had dice and wooden tokens. Another board game was (30) and Ladders. One could buy a colorful floor or table game sold in a cylindrical can and called Pick- up (31).
One could even learn some geography through Game of the (32). For the child who might still be awake after an exciting evening of board games, he or she could tune in to late night television and watch the horror show featuring a weird guy named (33).
An indulgent mother in the early days of TV often stocked the refrigerator with snacks for the family’s late-night viewing, but she almost always called the fridge by its older common name, the (34).