Sons of the Mad Men

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that it mainly consists of retro items. Whether it’s my memories of living Behind the Iron Curtain or numerous collections of the Old Photos, there is no shortage of nostalgia on these pages. Strangely, American retro is equally interesting to me, even though, for the obvious reasons, I can’t be nostalgic about the American past.

When I was researching my post about Bert Berkley I was frequently distracted by the ads in Kansas City magazines from the 1970’s. Ads about new real estate, long-gone stores and restaurants, services that became obsolete years ago, banks that are now forgotten, new cars that are now rotting in the junk yards. Some of you may remember these things, old restaurants, banks, hotels and car dealerships; others may recall being excited about the new modern services such as ATM machines and pagers. For many who weren’t alive at that time, the ads may seem naive, prices shockingly low, services overly personal and generous. For me it’s a trip to the past, not my past, but nevertheless exciting, and an ability to see it from the vantage point of 2010 – what survived and what didn’t, what made it to the future and what is now erased from the memory and the city map. I went back to the Library, checked out some magazines from 1974-77 and copied a few ads that I liked. The quality of the images is not that great but old magazines are not easy to photograph in the dim light.

In 1970’s the technology was still making baby steps, and the new ATM machines had to be introduced in a friendly non-threatening way:

New phones just hatched out of the eggs:

For $31.95 you could spend 3 days in Vegas, enjoying shows, breakfasts and cocktails:

H&R Block did your smoking and coffee-drinking for you:

$1.75 bought you a hamburger, fries and a slice of sweet Bermuda onion at the Hereford House:

Doctors treated patients while their money was tended by honest financial counselors:

An exposed hairy chest meant relaxation:

Jasper’s was still at the old location:

Cadillacs were affordable:

Union Station had a seafood buffet:

Dining was still civilized:

The name Waldo Astoria sounded clever:

A day in the Worlds of Fun had the same amount of fun but only cost $7.50 (before the coupon).

Brewer and Shipley?

Blue Springs had a plan:

Banking in a trailer? Surely the cutest gals on the Plaza couldn’t hurt.

Food at the Municipal Airport?

Real dinner on a plane? And hospitality?

People enjoyed work:

And even in Kansas you could sleep better, knowing that your bank is in Missouri.

I could look at the old magazines for hours. Something about the old advertisements makes me smile. I don’t know if 30 years later someone would be enjoying the ads of our age but they are a part of history and they tell the story that’s not in the history books – the story of us.

  • I like old ads too. They take me back to where I was at the time.

  • During a month’s leave back here in the early 70s I went to a dance at my old high school: Brewer and Shipley were playing. One toke over the line indeed….

  • Yep. And you could dial “844” on the phone followed by any four numbers and an automated voice of a nice man at United Missouri Bank would give you the correct time and downtown temperature. Thanks for sharing these!

    • you can still call 913-831-4141 for time and temperature, but they make you listen to a commercial

  • Rob MacDonald

    Hi Meesha,

    Have read some of your writing, especially about food. I just posted my 12 Recommended Russian Cooking Blogs, and of course you are included! Please stop by American Russia Observations and let me know what you think.

    That apple machine looks impressive. Will you introduce me to that girl with the well-placed tatoo? She must be one of the crazy little women we sang about in the ’50s.

    I too am a fan of old ads and magazines.

    All good wishes,


  • midtown miscreant

    I remember those ads and places like it was yesterday. Makes me feel a little old-ish.

  • Except for The Hanger… I ate at all those restaurants.

  • SKC Observer

    I smiled at the ATM ad. I was living in the Philadelphia suburbs when ATMs were introduced. I banked at a bank called Girard Bank and they called their ATMs “George.” Still think of that occasionally, even now 30 years later!

  • I Travel for JOOLS

    Ohhh the Lobster Pot. Good eats !

  • Bob

    Somebody please tell me more about Putsch’s. I remember Putsch’s 210, and ate there around 1970. Was the name and theme changed in the mid-70’s? When did it close?

  • Bob

    Very old joke, but when did the coup d’etat occur?