A Video Celebration of the Commodore 64

My first computer and game console was the Commodore 64. I still remember those halcyon days with the hulking keyboard/computer assembly connected to the back of the beautiful wooden console television we got as a hand-me-down when my grandparents upgraded theirs to a new Curtis Mathes from the company store in Austell. I can close my eyes and instantly be transported back to the late-1980s, sitting crosslegged in the living room floor, turning the television dial to channel 3 with a satisfying “kaCHUNK” giving way to the unbearable roar of analog snow. With a flip of the switch from “TV” to “GAME” on the small black box dangling from the antenna connection, the snow gave way to the low hum that an old CRT emits when forced to display a static image–the one that changes pitch slightly depending on the color displayed. I had Frogger on cassette tape and it took what seemed–to a child, anyway–to be hours to load, but it was all worth it when I finally managed to beat the preset high score!

The Commodore 64 taught me more about electronics than any single device and begat a lifelong affinity for computers, games, programming, production, and tinkering that persists to this day. Without the Commodore 64, I may never have desired a world beyond Cobb County, Georgia. The gentleman in the video–microcomputing heavyweight Jim Butterfield who, let’s face it, is nearly comical in his blasé approach to the presentation (“It’s a pretty good computer”)–walks us through the entire setup and use of the C64 in a 2-hour-long celebration of the classic machine.

Commodore 64 User's Guide. It's a very important book. You'll need it. Don't throw it away.“In here we have the Commodore 64 User’s Guide; that’s a very useful book. You’ll need that. Don’t throw it away.”

Jim Butterfield

Yes, sir, Mr. Butterfield. Yes, sir.

As The World Turns closing credit sequence (circa 1988)

1988 closing credits from “As The World Turns” including the advertisement that put the “soap” in “soap opera”, Dan Region’s invitation for the next episode, and the Procter & Gamble Productions ident. I don’t know about you, but that theme song really sticks out in my memory. My mom watched ATWT religiously (hence the VHS recording), so this sequence conjures a weird nostalgia for me. A nostalgia for simpler times, console televisions, and syndicated cartoons.

AT&T: “We clearly have competitive prices” (circa 1988)

Remember when you had to pay for long-distance telephone service?

One of AT&T’s “The Right Choice” series of advertisements from the mid-late 1980s. This one features then-director of market management Nina Aversano explaining why AT&T is the best market choice for long-distance telephone service in the deregulation era.

Rocket Slides and Monkey Bars: Chasing the Vanishing Playgrounds of Our Youth

I remember, when I was a kid, playing on the playground at the McDonald’s on Whitlock Avenue in Marietta–before they replaced it with the “McNASA Shuttle”–when it was a haven of steel effigies molded after the principle characters in the Ronald McDonald universe. It was fantastic, and–in the summertime–hot enough to burn your skin.

I remember the “big slide” at Still Elementary School that took a solid 3 minutes to climb. The one that you could plainly see the entire roof of the school building from the top of. The one that launched you twelve feet off the end if you had a good tailwind (we used to compete for the best distance). I remember the parallel bars, the wooden climbing wall, and the old “spaceship” jungle gym that sat up on the hill.

I remember the playscape at McEachern church with its humongous cedar beams shaded beneath the oaks behind the fellowship hall. I remember the nooks and crannies beneath its towers that we would vehemently defend and the rickety cable bridge we would bounce on in efforts to knock each other down.

I remember the crow’s nest at Glover Park on the Marietta Square, and the oversized fireman’s pole that we used to burn our arms with from the friction of sliding down. I remember the model steam locomotive that we used to pretend to drive, chasing renegade locomotive thieves on and off the tracks–depending on the narrative of the day.

I remember the feeling of shock, betrayal, and horror when I had found that they were suddenly and unceremoniously removed in favor of “safer” equipment. Plastic equipment that generated enough static electricity to power a city block when you touched it. Brightly colored monstrosities that looked entirely alien and invited smaller children to clog their dirty, cramped tunnels and get in the way of real, rambunctious, childhood fun. Some of these playscapes were lost altogether, replaced with new buildings–a sign of “progress”, I suppose. The locomotive in Marietta was replaced thanks to public outcry, but the rest are lost to the annals of history.

In the spirit of honesty, though, the zip line on the newer Still Elementary playscapes was pretty cool, but I suppose even that is probably welded in place now.

Source: Rocket Slides and Monkey Bars: Chasing the Vanishing Playgrounds of Our Youth | Collectors Weekly