Friday, May 8, 2009

Wooden Nickels and Groucho

My "2020" Guy, Gary Arlen, followed up my latest post with this email:


Thanks for the plug for the 2020 pins. I'll get you a complete set of the old ones.. there was NOTHING for 2000 .. it seemed toooooo millenial and I was looking for a 20-year span when I made the 2010 pins for the 1990 New Year's Eve party.

Funny you should remember the terminal shaped erasers (I always thought they looked a bit like Minitels.
[Reader Note: The Minitel was a joint effort by British and French companies to distribute millions of free videotext terminals. It launched in 1982.] It's interesting what people remember from those smarmy days. Some people favored the Videotex wooden nickels ("Videotex: As valuable as ever."). Others liked the anonymity kit ("Groucho" glasses and nose/moustache mounted on a card that said "Proud to be a Videotex Pioneer."). And there was more.

And to round out our reminisces: I've been in NYC the last 2 days. As I headed home tonight, at NY Penn Station, the young man on the escalator behind me was carrying a well-worn VIEWTRON gym bag. I said, "That's a real collector's item." He said, "It's old school. My dad worked there." And before I could followup, he and his companion headed toward the Long Island RR trains, and I wonder if I knew his old school dad back in the VIEWTRON days.