March 19, 2014

Brands of 1964: Where Are the Foods of Yesteryear? They’re Still Here!

“The past isn’t dead.  It isn’t even past.” – William Faulkner


A stock image of a shopping basket and check out counter from 50 years ago reveals the staying power of brands from that long ago time. It’s interesting to gaze into the “purchases” in the pre-scanner grocery store and note that even after 50 years most of the brands still survive.

Survivors: Sanka, Jello, Birds Eye, Maxwell House, Bakers, Good Seasons Italian, Tang, Kool Aid, Duncan Hines Cake Mixes, Maxwell House Instant, Log Cabin Syrup, Yuban, SOS Pads, Minute Rice, Dream Whip, Post Toasties Corn Flakes, Alpha-Bits, Prime.

Swallowed up by time: Awake, Lemonade Mix, Gaines-burgers.

The persistence of real food: Milk, Bread, Cheese, Apples, Celery, Cabbage

Listen to the sound of a Maxwell House coffee maker at work and other vintage commercials from 1964:

Shoot a duck and win a jar of Tang....

Sanka, still remarkably 97% caffeine free:

How do you top a strawberry? Easily!

Toasting makes things better!

If it weren’t for Gainesburgers I wouldn’t be here!

How far back was 1964? This far:

January 8 – In his first State of the Union Address, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson declares a "War on Poverty".

January 18 – Plans to build the New York City World Trade Center are announced.

Some Films of 1964: Goldfinger, Hard Day’s Night, Zorba the Greek, Dr. Strangelove

Some Books: Dick Gregory - Nigger: An Autobiography, Ernest Hemingway - A Moveable Feast, Herbert Marcuse - One-Dimensional Man, Marshall McLuhan - Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man

Music of 1964: February 7 – The Beatles arrive in the United States and are greeted by thousands of screaming fans at New York's Kennedy Airport.

March 14 – Billboard Magazine reports that sales of Beatles records make up 60% of the entire singles market.

Bob Dylan, The Times They Are a-Changin'

US Political Events of 1964: October 1 – Three thousand student activists at University of California, Berkeley surround and block a police car from taking aCORE volunteer arrested for not showing his ID, when he violated a ban on outdoor activist card tables. This protest eventually explodes into the Berkeley Free Speech Movement.

November 3 – U.S. presidential election, 1964: Incumbent U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson defeatsRepublican challenger Barry Goldwater with over 60 percent of the popular vote.

Born: January 17 – Michelle Obama, lawyer, first African-American First Lady of the United States and wife of the 44th and incumbent President of the United States, Barack Obama

Died: September 28 – Harpo Marx, comedian (born 1888)

Posted by gerardvanderleun at March 19, 2014 12:13 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I was born in 1964. But all of this smacks of baby boomer nostalgia.

Posted by: Eric Blair at March 19, 2014 2:43 PM

So? What? (An effective if underutilized phrase in today's America.)

I think it has a lot more legs than mere nostaligia and many are visible and palpable to some brief reflection. But at the same time I don't want to just draw my own conclusions with my writing on the wall.

The historic notes were not off hand or random. Just as the Faulkner quote was not happenstance.

I'm trying to be a bit more allusive than discursive.

And I assure you there is NOTHING NOSTALGIC about Sanka, Tang, and other sawdust forms of packaged foods.

On the other hand, the Baby Boomers got many, many things wrong in their trek through the nation. One of the things we got very very right was changing the food scene for the better.

Posted by: vanderleun at March 19, 2014 2:57 PM

This almost made me cry, remembering how ConAgra porked my favorite, glass jarred, Derby Tamales. AND, somehow, Tang survives. Go figure!?!

Probably because Tang cleans and revitamizes your dishwasher.

It really, really works!

Posted by: MOTUS at March 19, 2014 3:58 PM

Graduated: Me

Posted by: ed at March 19, 2014 4:54 PM

Gerard, Thanks for the nifty post on yesteryear. People have to be at a certain level of maturity to appreciate articles like this one.

Don't be bothered by punk kids with cheap shots. I find consolation in thinking that, indeed, their time will come. Well, those that make it that far along the road of life. It ain't for weaklings.

The first fifty years is the hardest. The second fifty don't last so long.

Posted by: chasmatic at March 19, 2014 5:55 PM

Spacey Screwdriver: Tang & Vodka

Went to 3 different grocery store chains and STILL didn't find full size Shredded Wheats.

But this morning was chilly so I had me a stout bowl of Cream of Wheat with Karo all over the top of it. Mmmmmmmmmmmm...............

Us Gettysburgers put ketchup on our egg sandwiches.

Posted by: ghostsniper at March 19, 2014 7:09 PM

Oh I'm not really that bothered by the remarks. In fact I guess I just have to be more, as I said, discursive. After all isn't the controlling quote here: "IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SPEAK IN SUCH A WAY THAT YOU CANNOT BE MISUNDERSTOOD." -- KARL POPPER

It's my fault for being too off hand.

Posted by: vanderleun at March 19, 2014 7:19 PM

This is your house, no fault whatsoever. Guests ought to show respect and be courteous.

Where I come from people lose teeth talking rude.

Posted by: chasmatic at March 19, 2014 7:51 PM

'64 was a very good year. Oogled Carol Doda's "doodabs" at some dive in North Beach in San Francisco. Got to visit the Philippines and Vietnam courtesy of Uncle Sam. Learned some Tagalog in the bars of Olongapo. Learned to appreciate the Beatles, Elvis, and more while listening to the Perry de Guzman orchestra at Subic Bay, P.I. Learned that Vietnam was not a place where I wanted to live......or even visit.

All that but little memory of the food I ate. Well, I don't live to eat. Just the opposite.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at March 19, 2014 8:28 PM

Lose teeth? Ah, heck, I ain't that tough.

"Oh no I've said too much
I haven't said enough"

Posted by: vanderleun at March 19, 2014 10:59 PM

Quaker Oats and Aunt Jemimah survive. Racist?

Posted by: A.Men at March 20, 2014 7:34 AM

OK, I give up. I recognize everything except the box with PRIME on it. What the heck is that? Can't even effectively google it.

Posted by: drdave at March 20, 2014 7:43 AM

Prime is dog food. Moist chunks in clear packets.

See here:

Though the site is a parody.

Posted by: tomw at March 26, 2014 10:16 AM