For the average kid, 1970s television sets were like cars — your family had one, but you knew there were much better models out there.
If only dad would loosen up the purse strings!
Television sets may have been even worse than your jalopy for engendering envy, too.
Because, while your old beater could take you around the neighborhood to see how the other half lived, that TV with the broken knobs and butter knife for an antenna could show you its own competition right from the comfort of your broken-down couch.
It was all very meta.
Here are just a few of the commercials for 1970s television sets that made it possible.
These first several commercials, gathered up and published lovingly on YouTube by egrand1508, capture much of the flavor of the 1970s TV scene …
You’re in your dark, broken-down hovel trying to scrape by, when a brand new color TV arrives to save the day. And it does.
Console TVs presented a big problem when we were kids, namely that only older folks could afford them. And, well, those folks had some physical limitations.
So … you ended up at Grandma’s on Saturday night trying to figure out why the Incredible Hulk was pink and everyone else was green, while also jamming toilet paper in your ears to avoid rock-concert-level hearing damage.
The Magnavox Total Automatic Color sought to heal the first wound. My guess? No technology could keep Granny from screen-burning her color blindness onto a set.
Want to sell TVs? Show the men just how crisp and clear and colorful the big game could look if only they’d pony up for a Sony.
It’s a sales tactic as old as foam fingers.
This Montgomery Ward spot combined the two TV franchises above to good effect — want a honking piece of furniture that can also show you a crystal clear view of your team?
Come on down to the showroom … Ward has you covered!
You know who bought into that Magnavox Total Automatic Color spiel? Lloyd Bridges, that’s who. And he wanted you to buy into it, too.
Who wouldn’t trust Lloyd Bridges??
General Electric was big business, I’ll tell you. They had important men in suits running the show, and dramatic shadows. And when they sold you a TV, it was based on an actual closed circuit picture.
Uh … how do you get All in the Family in closed circuit format again?
You love your family and friends, right? Want to support them, make sure you don’t miss their big moment in the parade? Then get off your ass, get down to the store, and buy a Quasar TV.
Hitachi didn’t want to reel you in with false promises and unattainable actual closed circuit pictures, so they wowed you instead with simulated pictures. Like as not the real thing would have blown your mind too hard to recover.
And, if you were looking for a 10-year transistor, Hitachi was your bag.
Admiral TVs apparently came with a unique living-dude remote control, and nifty digital channel numbers. You gotta assume that the Super Solarcolor model came with a welding mask, too — can’t look directly at the sun, after all.