Based on some initial research (which I did since you responded), I think you've got two years' costumes mixed up. There was a company called Ben Cooper, and a company called Collegeville, but they are not the same. I have been unable to find if either one was actually in Collegeville, PA. However, I do seem to remember a costume store on a weird road down the street which may be the last remnants of the (definitely now defunct) Collegeville costume company. Here are excerpts from the information that I was able to find:
Most of the costumes come from two companies, the royal masters of Halloween wear: Ben Cooper and Collegeville. Ben Cooper was the McDonalds's of Halloween costumes, their name branding all the most popular outfits: "Star Wars", Hanna-Barbera, Disney. Collegeville certainly came in a close second (call them the Burger King of collectible costumes), with such great characters as the Visible Man and the "Electric Company's" Easy Reader, the latter being the only Halloween costume modeled after a character portrayed by Morgan Freeman. Halco, Bland Charnas, Super Star and Kusan also ventured into the Halloween business and their costumes were certainly more audacious, more bizarre than the ones created by Ben Cooper or Collegeville. For proof, check out the frightening transparent masks of Halco's "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." outfits, the stone-faced U.S. Astronauts by Bland Charnas, the Village People's Leatherman by Super Star and Kusan's gender-bending David Cassidy costume.
My initial research taught me that there were three major halloween costume makers: Ben Cooper, Halco and Collegeville. I also learned that they have been making costumes since at least the late '50s and that Ben Cooper was still making costumes as late as the early '90s. Most of the costumes are based on TV and movie stars but some are generic like a pirate, witch or a devil.
Doing a search on e-Bay, it appears you are right and I was wrong. In the Seventies, the Ben Cooper Co. was in Brooklyn, N.Y. I thought that in the sixties I recall seeing, "Ben Cooper, Collegeville, PA," but I think you're right - I'm probably confusing two different companies. (It seems unlikely that Ben Cooper would move facilities from the Sixties to the Seventies.)
That link you gave for the Halloween costumes is great! I'm putting it on my links page. Thanks!
I thoroughly enjoyed browsing your site, spent a few lost hours on it,
when I really should have been doing something else, but I don't regret
we're the same age, and have a lot in common, though I'm a northeast
yankee. One thing that did strike a strong chord: the Man from Uncle,
and your disdain for Mission:Impossible. Here's my question: I remember
being offended when Mission:impossible came out because I felt convinced
that they had ripped off the Man from UNCLE theme music. Does this ring
any bells with you?
you have obviously made your website a labor of love - have you backed
it up onto cd's for your kids? somehow i can't see the internet as a
reliable long term archive...
please keep up the wonderful, and hard, work
Thanks for the kind words!
Yes, I have backed up AM onto a CD. No, I don't trust the Internet as a storage medium, either...
As to the famous Mission Impossible music: no, I don't recall thinking it was a rip-off of the Man From UNCLE theme. Both were written in the cool jazz idiom of the era that had the connotations of intrigue and sex, which I recognized as being part of the genre. I've never seen "In Like Flint" or any of the Matt Helm films, but my guess is that they have theme songs somewhat like the two we're talking about. Or, they have the more bombastic style of music used for the titles of "Get Smart" or "I Spy."
I recall the ad campaign that preceded the first episode of Mission Impossible airing. It was very well done: quick edits of images of the cast performing spy activities with the music playing. No announcement, no text, just that. It was very provocative and sold the show well.
By the way, when I was a kid I came up with lyrics for the Man From UNCLE theme. It went:
U-N-C-L-E da da da duh/U-N-C-L-E da da da duh (then the flute came in - I didn't bother coming up with lyrics for that).
I really enjoy reading the info on your pages about the 70's. I logged
on looking for the amswer to a specific question, and haven't found it.
I'm sure you know. What year was the worst part of the gas shortage
when we had loooooong lines and then a limit on the gas?
Please write to me; just a number will do so it isn't too onerous a request.
Thanks in advance,
Lance Hoopes in Sonoita, Arizona.
I recall two big years for gas lines: 1974 and 1979. While the long lines were newsworthy in '74, for some reason I didn't have to sit in any. I think the gas crunch then must have been of shorter duration. At any rate I was driving in that year, so I would have experienced it - but didn't.
I recall being in a line for a gas station in Burbank with my friend Mike that stretched all the way down into a residential area. On that occasion I recall filling up gas cans to put in the trunk as well. I think we were waiting for about an hour.
So my vote goes to 1979.
Oh, yes, gas was more expensive in that year, too. I had a 1968 Lincoln Continental that only got about 7 miles to the gallon around town. My gasoline bill was about $40 a week. Not much, it seems, now, but at the time it was a lot of money!
Anyway, as a child for years I recall that gas in Southern California was about 29 9/10 cents a gallon. (And a new VW Beetle was about $1,900.) In 1978, when I drove a black Porsche 914, it went up to about 79 cents a gallon. In 1974, when I bought my new Super Beetle, it cost me about $3,800. In 1979 my wife - then fiancee - was looking at a convertible Beetle: $9,800 - much more than we wanted to pay!
I just visited your homepage & saw your review of the book "Class" by Paul Fussell. I've been reading this book recently myself, and I pretty much agree w/your assessment. This book is quite depressing as I hoped to aspire to a higher class level. The section on higher ed. was particularly depressing as I've been attending a state univ. I would hafta say I'm in Category X too - I came from a prole background but have academic aspirations. Well, thanks for giving me an opportunity to email you. Hope you're doing well. Take care.
I'm glad Fussell gives us an out. If we aspire to status that we cannot legitimately claim (my grammar and table manners are still suspect, even after twenty years of careful tutoring by my long-suffering wife, who comes from a higher social class), we can always opt out of the system by claiming we're too eccentric, creative and individual to take part, as I have done.
Good luck at the state university, and don't lament too much that it's not Harvard or Yale. My opinion is that after you use the college to get a job it really doesn't matter much, for the rest of your life, where you went to college. - Wes
Just cruising around and came across your site. I'm a few years younger than
you and was born and raised in La Mirada. So many of the things and items
you mentioned reminded me of what my childhood. Even some of your TV shows
jogged the memory. We had a green Amana side by side frig. I think we got
it about 1966. It even had an ice maker inside! When mom wanted new
linolium floors she got something that had a greenish tint to it to match
the frig which promptly died. Your pictures reminded me of my neighborhood
as a young boy.
Thanks for making me smile
Note: The Geocities guestbook system is hard to manage and cuts off user entries. Nevertheless, here are the comments I got in 2001. I think I'll look for better guestbook software to link to this site! - Wes
Name : Denise White
URL : firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment : I adored your page! Some of my fondest memories center around my friend Lisa's house,which was remarkably similar to yours! White shag carpeting, velvet flock wallpaper, lavalamps, fiberglass furniture...yum! Great site. thanks
Name : Ronny Davis
Comment : Wes, I just spent 4 days in the Valley...San Fernando Valley that is. I was there on a training session due to my change of jobs. I jumped at the chance at going because, as you know, my roots are there. I thought I would pass some interesting informat
Name : Andrew
URL : Too many to list
Comment : This is a GREAT site... and inpiring too. I grew up in Vista / near Fallbrook, the Avocado capitol of the world about the same time - thanks for the memories! (How did I get here anyway?) Loved the Utah baby names collection too.
Name : david jury
Comment : wish u would add more every week, i keep checking to see if u have, great site, thanks for the memories.
Name : Yvonne Janssen
URL : http://weezenhof.nl.eu.org/yvonne
Comment : Hello Wess, I enjoy your homesite very much. I've been exploring it intently since 3 days and still am. I grew up in the fifties and sixties and in Holland (a small country in Europe), but I recognize the athmosphere. And now I finally understand why
Name : Judy Stuart
Comment : Hey Wes-- Your website is a "favorite." I checked out your new "sex" page: that is the best yet! Thank you!
Name : Sudhir Kekre
URL : email@example.com
Comment : hi wes, at the end of the day, with nothing much on hand, i was aimlessly surfing on the net when i chanced upon this gem.i was touched. touched by your sentiment. i am sure your children are lucky to have such a sensitive father. and u r a wonderful nar
Name : firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment : Life becomes Art and Art becomes Life.
Name : Matt McDougal
Comment : I lived in California St. Just off Clark very near the rail rd tracks - I graduated from John Burroughs High in 1964 where I met my wife and had 2 Kids - We moved to Oregon in 1985. Just wanted to Thank You! Bringing back wonderful for me and my family.
Name : sherri
Comment : I found you from "cruel site of the day" your site reminds me of another cruel site of the day page by a kid at JMU http://www.schuminweb.com/main-page.htm
Name : Dave baker
URL : email@example.com
Comment : What a fantastic site! Huge memories and a worthy project to hand down. Your humour is on a par with my own! well done and keep up the good work! Dave
Name : ~faith
URL : http://www.geocities.com/celtic_friends/home.html
Comment : I stumbled on your site and have spent the last couple hours roaming your pages. I just wanted to tell you what a great site you have. I laughed until I cried at some of your parents "decorating" techniques -- but the truth is, my parents weren't a whole lot different from yours.
Name : AHNASTACIA
URL : firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment : HEY! THIS IS A GREAT SITE! IT REMINDS ME OF MY OLD HOUSE MY GRANDFATHER BUILT FOR MY GRANDMOTHER. LIKE THE IMPROVEMENTS OVER THE YEARS. THE ONLY THING I DIDN'T LIKE ABOUT THE WAY THEY REMODELED IT WOULD BE THAT IT USE TO BE A BEAUTIFUL DARK BLUE AND JUST
Name : Anat
URL : http://anatandfriends.tripod.com/
Comment : Hi, I was just doing some random site surfing, and when I came across your site I thought it was too good to pass by without leaving a note for you. So - I just wanna say : "Shalom!" You've got a super site here, come pay me a visit.... Greeting from Israel.
Name : MOE
URL : http://wtv-zone.com/moe/moesboomerabilia/index.html
Comment : Cool site, Wes. Although I'm Canadian, I, too, grew up in the 60s and my site is called MOE'S BOOMERABILIA, with 50 pages of pop culture from 1950s to 70s, with drive-ins, soda fountains, Woodstock, counterculture, Tim Leary, the Beat writers, Harley history...
Name : N3N Virgil
URL : http://n3n.tripod.com
Comment : Aha--Yes--- Bright bellbottoms, mirroed walls, high handlebars and avacado refigerators. Great place thanks for your time and effort. ---Virgil
Name : Joxxy
Comment : What, this is one friggin' stupid site. You coulda' wrote about anything in the whole world but you had to pick avacodo styles of the 70's! Way to go! Jesus Rocks
Name : alysia
URL : http://www.alysia.net
Comment : I don't know how I stumbled across your website but I once I started reading I nearly clapped my hands in delight and was sucked into the world that was yours as a child. I love your site, it's so refreshing and different.
Name : tim k
Comment : i'm sure it's been suggested more than once but, when are you going to just turn this site into a book?! i love the content, but hate reading online.
Name : Hoo-hoo Dilley
Comment : What honestly made you think anyone would care?!!
Name : Walt
Comment : Got here by following a link for "Major Matt Mason". What an unexpected bonanza of a memory flood the toys page released--I had a lot of the same toys when I was a kid, but what really took me back was the guns. I too had a toy arsenal.
Name : sherri
Comment : hey wes, you know you can view old toy commercial online @ http://tesla.liketelevision.com you might find that toy you're looking for.
Name : kathy
Comment : I Loved this site - bookmarked it for my husband - he had some of the same toys you did. My Parents decorated a lot like your parents did - We had those stupid plastic runners all through the house. My dad used an old garage door for our patio awning.
Name : 1967 Baby
Comment : I have been coming to your site for a year and a half now, and I never tire of it. I always get such a kick out of the pictures of your childhood home. But unlike you, I have avocado night mirrors! My parents painted our living room walls avocado green.
Name : Diane
URL : www.chrisknight-now.com
Comment : Hi!! Enjoyed looking at your web site. Love all the memories from the 70's!! Grew up watching all the old shows like Partridges and Bradys and now have a web site dedicated to Christopher Knight. Like to look at all the 70's web sites!!
Name : Dave W
Comment : I grew up on the east coast Allentown Pa. I graduated high school in 1978 and can really relate to your upbringing (The Adults Club) was a riot. I also love the 60s, toys and was a total Superman freak. Thoroughly enjoy your site.
Name : Dave W
Comment : Another cool site you might want to check out is Stuck in the 70s by Julie Fidler. It is the true account of her life in the late 70's as told through her personal diary.
Name : Bonnie
URL : www.geocities.com/truthseeker54
Comment : I happened upon this site because it was linked from another site. This is a hoot and a half! I am really enjoying this journey into your past... with some alterations, mine as well!!!!
Name : DEBBI
Comment : ENJOYED YOUR SITE! HEY EVERYBODY...VISIT MY NEW 60S/70S SITE AT: www.angelfire.com/dc/70sbook BE SURE TO SIGN OUR GUESTBOOK AND LET US KNOW YOU STOPPED BY! HAVE A GROOVY DAY! PEACE,
Name : Noel
URL : http://www.angelfire.com/music2/BednazStudios
Comment : This website is awesome. It's very well put together and the photos are interesting to look at. Great website design too.
Name : Mark Asadoorian
URL : nvmtgman
Comment : Wes, I remember that neighborhood! We moved from hollywood in 1978 to 325 s catalina st and i attended stevenson elementary, we then moved to parish st below alameda and then when i graduated from burroughs 1990 i moved to las vegas. Great site thanks
Name : "R.J."
Comment : Cute site! I'm a bit older than you, maybe by about 10 yrs but could see it from a parents perspective. My wife and I did a lot of the things your parents did form a "decor" standpoint. The mailaise must have been one of the "times", and even of a continent.
Name : Karen
Comment : Wes, here is a site I thought you might like... http://toonhead.tripod.com/sears.htm By the way, I am almost certain my grandparents had a bathtub in one of their bathrooms in avocado..Next time I go out there if it's true, I will have to take pictures.
Name : Karen
Comment : Hi, tried to email because this guestbook cut off the end of my message but the mail bounced back...is your email still valid? I was wondering how the antiquing process is done to antique avocado-painted stuff.
Name : Dawn
URL : http://www.geocities.com/lyecoathaeos/index.html
Comment : I was looking up other geocities homepages and this looked interesting, and it really is. Born in 76' I am interested in the 60's and 70's and your insight into the past is wonderful. I do hope your kids appreciate it as much as I do:)
Name : Thom Vandenbeld
Comment : hah! An absolute blast! I loved it!
Name : Chris R
Comment : Right on man!
Name : Adam Campbell
URL : email@example.com
Comment : I love your site...please include me on all your lists. Thank you, Adam
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