NOTE: Click on the appropriate links for letters archives from 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998 and 1997 Also, various Avocado Memories reviews are here.
Thanks for keeping the memories alive with a ton of updates these past few months. I really enjoy everything you do for your fans and even if it sometimes seems as if no one is reading...We are !!!
Merry Christmas to The Clark family.
Hey, I can't make the email link on AM work, but (probably along with millions of others) wanted to comment on your note re: Christmas 1956 pictures.
The 'odd looking' baby toy you have behind you is also over at the left side in another pic, and it is a kind of wheel thing with a clown inside....like those fitness wheels, or circus wheels that people get inside of and hold onto like they are the hub. I remember a cousin having this toy, it made jingly sounds as it rolled along and the clown had joints made of elastic so he would be stretchy....I don't think I had one, but, maybe! (I was born in November 56).
PS I LOVE AM and hope you keep the site fresh forever!
Been a fan of your collection of memories for a long time. What a wonderful surprise to find such a great website.The first time I stumbled upon it I spent hours reading the text and looking at your pictures. What a fantastic treasure to have and what a pleasure to jog memories of my own youth. Like many of the letters you've received over the years, I had many of the same toys, experiences, and avocado memories as you did even if it was many miles away growing up in the 60's in South Bend, Indiana. Thanks for taking the time to arrange and post as well as continually update the site. I check it often to see if you've added another tidbit from back in the day.
Your recent update showing your father lounging in front of the Christmas tree was great. His mismatched pajama outfit was exactly as my own dad would have been. Too funny. Another gem. I think our parents were made from the same mold.
You have the fuzzy photo of an ornament on the tree that you described. A quick look on Ebay came up with a listing showing something like you described. I had to send a link. Your picture isn't real clear but from what I can make out I think it's close. Unfortunately if by chance this is indeed the decorations you described, the auction will probably have ended by the time you get this message.
Again thanks for keeping the website up and running. As much work as it obviously has taken you to compile everything...we do appreciate it. It's as if we know you and your mom and dad personally. Take care and Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Yes! That’s it… the very one! How wonderful! Okay, now I know what keywords to look for – “accordion” or “Chinese lantern.” Thanks for finding this for me… I shall set out to find one!
And thank you for your kind words… I’ve been going through more old photos lately; another update today.
Once again, thank you and Merry Christmas to you and yours!
I just wanted to say that I happened across your website and enjoyed it very much. I got a kick out of the sections on Patio culture and toys from the 60's.
I was a child of the era (born in 61), so you helped bring back a BUNCH of memories! I plan to bookmark the site so I can come back again.
Thanks again for a very enjoyable online experience.
PS I still have one of those Coors moving waterfall beer lights, and it works great. Any idea how much they're worth these days?
Thanks, Steve! Looking on e-Bay completed listings, one like mine recently sold for $88, another, $41. Less than I would have thought. - Wes
Just a quick note...I found your web site years ago, and spent many hours on it. We are about the same age. I grew up 45 miles west of Boston. We had many of the same likes. I could go on...
I really enjoy your site...brings back many of my memories!
I just finished watching Apollo 13 and saw the Bellows coffee table. My grandmother owned one and now my sister has it. I went online to search for info about it and found your website. You claim only 2 were made. I now know of three. I'd love any info you have on the table and its origins. I live in San Jose, California. My grandmother lived in Hilsborough and San Mateo for most of the 60s-80s.
Since I “outed” it on the pages of Avocado Memories I have learned of other tables; it is nowhere as rare as my mother was told it was! - Wes
I recently opened a box of long forgotten treasures from the sixties when much to my surprise were all the Aurora monster models. And I mean all of them including the ones that were banned by 'Mothers Against Cool Boy Stuff'!
The hobby store close to my childhood home had a model monster contest and I won first place with my Frankenstein which I had mounted strapped to a tilting lab table wearing the furry looking like the one seen in "Son of Frankenstein". I used some old TV vacuum tubes and such and made a pretty darn good diorama including parts from the Dr. Jeckyl kit.
Remember the accessories kit that had a bunch of skulls and bats and rats and other accessories?
The other thing I remember was how a lot of kids used a product called Funny Fur from AMT which was just short, colored glass fiber. I remember how it got on me and how badly it itched.
My personal favorite was the Phantom of the Opera with the bloody prisoner behind bars. Gruesome!
Oh and by the way the lizard thing with The Creature is actually a Tuatara which is a Rhyncocephalian that lives in New Zealand. The story took place in the Amazon. Oh well.
Thanks for great memories.
PS. I'm in the process of repainting a lot of these using non-glossy model railroading paints. Total realism man!
Wes, I came across your Avocado Memories website by accident today. I am still laughing and smiling, because I too have very similar memories, although I grew up in Van Nuys during the same time period. You've done with your website what I have dreamed for years of doing with my memories, even though I don't have any photos I've taken myself. (Mom took lots though.) When I mentioned it to my 26-year-old daughter, she looked horrified and said, oh please DON'T, MOTHER!!! My high school days were--shall we say--very spirited, and she doesn't want the world to know the things I did! LOL.
One of your pages mentioned the Battle of Providencia... I jumped to a conclusion before reading onward... I thought you might have been referring to accessing the grounds of Providence High School in Burbank (CA) where I attended in the 1970s! It was an all-girls Catholic high school at that time (now co-ed), and if you knew anything about Catholic high schools back then, you'd know it would have been almost impossible for a teenage boy to get on that campus without a pass. So that was another type of "Battle" altogether!
I will continue reading your website, not only to get ideas of how to set up my own website, but to immerse myself in memories of the Hollywood landmarks and architecture that I fondly remember. I even worked for a graphics artist in Hollywood for a summer; what an experience THAT was. I was approached by more looneys than I care to remember! But walking along the star-studded street during my lunch hours is a cherished memory. Thank you for bringing it (and others) to the forefront.
PHS Class of 1973
(now living in Washington state)
I LOVE your site! I have spent days looking at all of it. It brought back so many memories. I am slightly older than you so remember most of your "stuff." Thanks so much for all the work (and expense) you have gone to to preserve these memories. I grew up near Rte.66 in southwest Missouri and have fond memories of the 50's and 60' and even 70's.
On occasion there would be bands of "gypsies" passing through who would stop for a few days or weeks. That was the only times we locked our doors and our mother warned us to stay near the house.
Isn't it sad that today many mothers do not feel they can leave their children out in their own yards to play. Gosh, when we were kids, we (like you) would take off on foot or on our bikes and may not have been seen for the rest of the day - and our mothers never gave it a second thought.
Thanks again for the memories. Now on to Jonah World (my husband and I are Civil War buffs too)!
I just spent a lot of time on your toys website. Your site is amazing! I was born in 1956 also, and had quite a few of the toys featured. The 1960's were hands-down the best time for boys toys!
Many thanks for sharing your site with others! It was a great experience walking through the 60's again!!!!
Really enjoyed poking around your life (I mean site). I was born in Feb. 1957 in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and had a lot of the same toys (Gorilla Blaster, Camera pistol, multi-pistol, all the Man from Uncle stuff, dashboard, super helmet, coke machine and many of the games). I also had several other favorites, a Johnny Seven One Man Army Gun, Monkey Division gear (helmet, bazooka, vest, radios, grenades), box after box of plastic army men and vehicles, and a Texaco ship tanker toy that was about two feet long, and Erector sets. Having a brother 2 1/2 years younger helped as we got two of everything or opposing sides. We were spoiled rotten (damn industrialist father — just kidding). I had a wonderful childhood and between all of us in the neighborhood we had most of the toys and games you listed.
About seven years ago my sister was cleaning out her attic and found my original Corgi Batmobile which evidently had been passed on to my nephew at some point. Upon seeing it my mother looked in her jewelry box and promptly produced the tiny Batman figure that goes in the car. Well that got me started and now I have over 50 die cast versions of the Batmobile, Batboat, Batplane, and Batcopter).
Do you still have any of your old toys? I notice most of the pix are reprints. Wish I still had mine as they were so much more engaging (and had greater physical harm potential) than today’s toys. We got a lot of exercise picking up the plastic bullets after a good battle (loved those guns with projectiles) and no one ever got it in the eye.
Anyway, thanks for the memories. Check out feeling retro for more toys. The toy tanker, which was great in the country club pool, is well shown here.
Best wishes and thanks for the memories.
I am sorry to say that I no longer have any of my old toy... Wes
I am sitting here pondering my 40th birthday coming up in a few days. A friend sent me a link to your site. WOW. It was like I was growing up in Redondo Beach in the 1970's-80's again. I regret not taking more pictures while I was kid. There are only a few. But the colors and furniture are so similar in your house it is almost like going back home. The house sold long ago, and I will never be able to afford to move back to that neighborhood near the beach.
Thank you for the great site.
I'm a faithful reader of AM. It has been one of my favorite websites for almost ten years and I love to read the updates.
A really good friend of mine that has lived in MS for about fifteen years is originally from Burbank. He grew up there and lived there most of his life -he's 72. His name is Angelo Brovelli. If you Google him, you will see that he was a part-time actor in the 1950s and had small roles on Ozzie & Harriet and well as in a movie directed by Ozzie Nelson. He has a few other claims to fame such as being a professional football player (for the LA Rams I think) as well as Mr. America sometime in the 50s. His dad was Walt Disney's personal chauffeur for umpteen years and was an extra in several Disney films. Mr. Angelo's best friend growing up was Maurice Elias, who you may have heard of as James Stacy. He was a semi-famous actor who lost an arm and a leg when he was hit by a drunk driver. He was also married to Connie Stevens in the late 60s. Being from Burbank yourself, I just thought you might find this stuff interesting.
By the way, I really like your Film Noir pages, as those type of films are a special interest of mine. I even made a one-minute tribute to Detour which is on my favorite films and gets my vote for the best film noir (and possibly B movie) of all time. I also like I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang, Dust Be My Destiny, They Drive by Night and tons of others. If you are interested in watching my Detour tribute video, just to to youtube.com and type in elliottrainbow - that's my userid.
I hope I haven't taken up too much of your time. Just wanted to mention the pictures and let you know how much I enjoy your site. It's interesting, entertaining and has a sense of humor. Keep up the good work.
Avocado Memories would be a great film. Movies were playing in my head while browsing your site. It would be so funny to recreate all those images -- school, the scouts, home, toys, etc.
Not to mention the culture of the early 60s, especially mom and dad speak. What a soundtrack.
Talk to your friend at UCLA. I would love it.
Ha! Thanks. Yes, I think it would be a pretty good film, too. One that I'd certainly want to see. But then, I would, wouldn't I? - Wes
Loved it! Totally "boss".
Grew up in Anaheim 1960 to 79. I'm 54 .Same photos, same green shag carpet.
Loved the toy section, especially the Jimmy Jet! What lunchbox's did you have? I was a proud owner of the Rifleman box (now worth $400). Also had a U.N.C.L.E spy gun that was stored in a black briefcase that would fire from a side button. Sting rays, wood-burning kits, lawn darts and BB guns -- it's a wonder we survived.
Learned to drive my dad's 66 Galaxie 500 XL powerhouse with the super power steering.
Arnold's Farm House was our "going out" place.
Great job Wes, will pass this site on to my sibs.
Glad you liked it!
I'm pretty sure I had that farm barn lunchbox - everyone did - and a Supercar one. I can't remember any others. I'd have to see 'em and recognize the designs.
I have been enjoying your site, laughing, crying, reflecting, as it reminds me so much of my childhood. I still have a lot of ground to cover.
Funny, I just got the final Dark Shadows paperback novel I needed to complete that set only about 10 years ago LOL! I think it was Barnabas, Q and the Mad Magician. The later ones were tough to find. I recall almost knocking someone down when i spotted a box of them in a used bookstore 25 years ago, it was like I found "gold"!
You mention that you wished the base of the Hunchback model was made to rotate...well IT WAS!
I just obtained an original kit and decided to build it( 6th or 7th time in my life) and noticed the glaring mistake in the instructions as I was test fitting parts without cement( something kids NEVER did). Those instructions forced us kids to screw it up...plus my theory on the box artwork change.
Here`s my revised post from Hobbytalk:
I agree with the posts indicating how the monsters were rushed into production after the indication that Frankenstein was going to be a hit. One classic example of misinformation is the legendary statement found in many articles and books about Aurora,stating that Anthony Quinn objected to his likeness being used on the kit box art. I doubt he cared,BUT Allied Artists definitely cared because it is THEIR version of the Hunchback that the art was based on and NOT the Universal Pictures version. Aurora had the rights to the Universal monsters and the box top clearly states" Universal Pictures Presents...". The Quinn picture was Allied Artists, end of mystery. The other "rush" mishap in the instruction sheet became only apparent to me after decades and only after building the kit a half dozen times. I recently came across an original kit in a beat box so I decided to build it...again. Something always bugged me about this kit.The rotating platform that the Hunchback kneels on never made sense...until I realized a not-so obvious miscommunication between the kit designer and the person who formulated the instruction sheet."They" had us cement the little round bushing to the inside of the pedestal-WRONG- because then the platform, although free to rotate, will come off if you mishandled the kit. BUT, if you apply cement to the very top lip of the bushing and TRAP the pedestal between the bushing and platform...viola! You have a rotating platform that does not come off! That is how I believe Bill Lemon( the kits sculptor) wanted the kit to work, but the mistake was never changed in the instructions and as kids we just took the plans as Gospel. Now , this can be my LAST Hunchback kit....maybe.
Well, that`s it! Secrets of the Aurora hunchback revealed!
I just want you to know that, over the past week, I've spent hours reading through your web site. I referred it to my mother who also said she read it "until her eyes gave out."
I was born in 1960 and grew up in Bonham, Texas... about 80 miles northeast of Dallas. Based on geography, our childhoods could not have been more different. Nevertheless, our generation was tied together as probably none before it because of the widespread adoption of television during the time and the resulting advertising that went along with it.
I came upon your site from Greg Knight's "Patio Culture" site. I don't know Greg personally, but we have corresponded via e-mail many times over the years. He and I grew up about 30 miles apart so I am intimately familiar with many of the things he describes on his site. Also, we have cross-linked our web sites. I make and market a game popular in the southwest in the fifties and sixties called WAHOO and I particularly enjoyed looking over your Sixties Toys page. I have many of the toys I had when I was a kid and now keep them on a shelf near the ceiling that surrounds my office. I have never lost my interest in toys.
Your site is proof of my contention that everyone has a story and every story is interesting in its own way. Your self-deprecating humor is priceless. Thank you for taking time to document your life. I feel like you're an old friend now.
I was looking for a word to describe 1970s decor (I still can't remember what it is--pastiche?? no...) and ended up on your site. An hour passed as I looked at pic after pic. I also grew up in the 70s on the west coast and this was SUCH a fun look back. Despite the tackiness of avocado and gold-veined mirror tiles and do-it-yourselfers, there's such a coziness to the memories. What a fun story of your family and awkward teen memories and garage sale decorating. Why does it seem like such a warm, wonderful, simpler time??
Have you read "A Girl Named Zippy" or seen the film "The Castle?" They're very germane to your site. You'd get a kick out of them, I think.
Thanks for sharing.
Today I "googled" Ithaca grandfather clocks & up came "your living room".....a very enjoyable read & I plan to read more of your pages.......in the early 70's when I lived in Preble, NY and was collecting antiques, I bought an Ithaca grandfather clock at an antique shop in Earlville, NY....at the time I wanted an Ithaca calendar clock, but that was a bit out of my price range....I got the grandfather for $200 (thought it was neat to have something made so close to where I lived); moved it to Washington state with me in the late 70's and still have it in my living room; wind it weekly & love to hear it ring each hour......it looks identical to the one in your "living room"!! I notice that ebay is selling one in Groton, NY (not far from Ithaca) for $800.....a nice buy for someone....just wanted to let you know your site is an enjoyable read.....Cheryl
Man, I just love this site. I have more fun looking through its pages than a grown man should be allowed.
I was born in 1960 and vividly remember most everything you have here - with the exceptions of anything in
California, as I was raised in Illinois. I recall seeing any given postcard or panoramic shot (on TV) of California
and thinking how wonderful and exciting it must be there. Looking at your photos takes me right back to
that frame of mind. Life was good when we were kids - I miss it sometimes, and when I do, I go to your site.
I was looking for Batman Boots for my grandson when I came across your site. Haven't found the boots yet but I thoroughly enjoyed the trip down memory lane! We were a Harvest Gold family so of course the Avocado looked better to us! I guess the Avocado is always greener........Thanks for the side trip now I am off to find the boots!
I ran across your site last night while searching for vintage toys and it's great, bringing back many priceless memories of my childhood.
I was born in 1954 and live in La Fayette, Ga. We had many of the same toys. I had the Sears service station and I still have the Man From U.N.C.L.E. gun set, James Bond Attache case, Super Ball, Crazy Clock and Mouse Trap games. I also had many of the wooden planes and several of the Aurora models on your site. Those were the days!
We also liked many of the same TV shows. Just recently, I purchased the box set of "The Wild Wild West" and "The Prisoner," though the latter hasn't arrived yet. Did you enjoy "Then Came Bronson?" I'm hoping for a DVD release of that one.
Let me tell you a bit about my boyhood fascination with James Bond. My best friend and I were big fans, though we never even saw one Bond film back then. The first one I saw was in '72 or '73 when "Goldfinger" was on "ABC Sunday Night At The Movies." In the sixties, so far as I know, a Bond film never played my small town. I'm not sure how my buddy and I became aware of the phenomenon, though I do recall a Bond special on NBC in 1965. Of course, the newspapers and magazines were full of Bond, too.
In addtion to the attache case, my friend and I also had a very nice set of Bond figurines. I sitll have mine. They depict scenes from the movies, such as the pool table in "Goldfinger," etc. We each had a James Bond board game and he had all the Ian Fleming novels. But the nicest Bond toy was the James Bond Road Race. He had it and it was fabulous.
I'm going to back and explore the rest of your site.
Thanks for writing! I recall "Then Came Bronson" but never saw it. And I had a few of the James Bond figurines as well; I recall having Goldfinger. - Wes
Let me be the first to wish you a Happy New Year on Avocado Memories. I have been a fan of your site for a few years and have recommended a slew of people around our age to A.M. and they have given rave reviews. So, congratulations on a success that is wesclark.com and a wonderful and happy new year to you and the Clark family.
A loyal fan,
Happy New Year; you are the first! And thanks! - Wes
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