Advertising in the Seventies

In 1970 TV advertisements were more like cinema ads with the posh voiceovers and orchestral music. Take a look at this precious collection of eight ads. Want to emigrate to Australia or join the men in mining?! The sinister voiceover for Tufty is worrying as his friend gets hit by a car because he didn’t take his mummy with him to the ice cream van. We don’t get these types of scary voices now unless it’s in the advert about not paying your car tax. I wonder what that says about society/government 40 years on?

For mash get smashBy 1976 ads had changed quite a bit and they were more like short films. ‘The family’ was sacrosanct at this time when most were falling apart and the adverts that we saw on TV were either fictionalised sets of idealised family life or images from the past. This montage of seven ads clearly demonstrates the shift. The burger ad here is a classic example of the short film style of ad. The bird in the BT ad is reminiscent of Roobarb & Custard, a very British cartoon. However, the American influence is obvious with the Yorkie and Corona ads, both British companies. The Smash advert is classic ironic sci-fi in which we all believed that robots would replace us in the future.

The 3p Curly Wurly ad with school kids and Terry Scott playing the school boy role is funny. Very ‘Just William’ and possibly true to some school experiences but not mine! More like 1940’s or 50’s. Tufty was replaced by Charley Says, a difference in animation style and also the funny cat made to make you laugh rather than a fluffy toy style squirrel. But still as sexist with the asking mummy business (plus, can you imagine a kid being called Vera now?).

And just in case anyone hasn’t got lost down memory lane already, what about this Thames TV linkage. Classic!

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


A Seventies Halloween

Yes, the time has come again for my customary gripe about how children nowadays have a much better deal of it than I did but how ironically this means that their lives are actually impoverished. I could give it a miss and you could take it as read, but no I’m not going to. Cue the violins.

apple bobbingWe didn’t have sweets at Halloween. We didn’t have plastic skeletons and light-up witches and spend our evening going door to door begging in our supermarket dress-up costumes. Oh no. We had apple bobbing, homemade costumes which then got recycled for the guy a few days later, and baked potatoes on the bonfire.

We didn’t do pumpkins, we hollowed out swedes. These took hours as the flesh is so hard, but they were more substantial. We would put a candle inside and they smelled fabulous as they slowly cooked.

supermarket at halloweenI first heard of trick or treating when I was about nine, and it was introduced by the TV news as a form of neighbourhood annoyance. Apparently this awful behaviour had been introduced from America (the shock) and involved youths demanding money with menaces. If you didn’t pay them then they’d smash your windows or set fire to your bins. Needless to say I was horrified years later when I met people who encouraged their children to indulge in this criminality.

Watching ET when I was twelve was quite confusing, as I had no idea why there were children and adults dressing up and wandering around the town carrying sweets. I thought it must be some sort of street party.

It absolutely amazes me that in the age we live, some people still encourage their children to go knocking on strangers’ doors asking for treats. It also disgusts me that there is no space for childhood imagination and inventiveness in the racks of bought costumes and pumpkin buckets.

I suppose the main reason I get so hacked off by all of this is a similar reason that Christians are fed up with the commercialisation of Christmas. Samhain is my main religious festival and as such it is sacred to me. I can give a bit of leeway and I have a sense of humour but there’s only so far that I can be pushed.

Okay, rant over. Normal service will be resumed next week.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

A box of chocolates in a bag

Kim P Moody shares his memories of sweet endeavours

Revels packaging hasn't changed much!Picture an old fashioned corner shop, you know, the one where you were served by the shopkeeper – it’s called service! A small boy goes up to the counter and asks if he could get a box of chocolates, I think it was for his mum, for 6d (that’s 2.5 new pence). The old shopkeeper, with grey moustache and horn rimmed glasses leans forward and says, in a soft Yorkshire accent, “Y’can’t buy a box of chocolates for sixpence, lad.” then after a suitable pause for the boy’s disappointment, “… but y’can buy a bag o’ Revels!”

The shopkeeper was played by the late Derek Guyler (1914-1999), famous for his performance as Norman Potter, the caretaker, in the kids school sitcom, Please Sir! (1968-1972). I suppose the boy must a famous actor by now but I never knew who he was.

Y’can still buy a bag o’ Revels, but not for 6d. They are a variety of chocolate covered sweets, but instead of the identifiable shapes found in the posh boxes, they are all ‘balls’ of roughly the same size – so it’s pot luck as to which flavour you get – bummer if you get the chewy toffee ones, my favourite were the coffee!


Spangles! At www.escape-to-the-seventies.comThe sweets formally known as Spangles don’t exist any more, sadly. They were phased out in the early eighties. They are such an icon of the era that they have their own Wikipedia page which makes reference to the mystery flavours. This is where JKR got her idea for the ‘every flavour beans’ from, I reckon. The flavours were always a bit odd, and I’m sure I got a mustard flavoured one once.

The shape of Spangles were as unusual as the flavours. They were a square tablet but with a circular dent in the middle of both sides. When you sucked them for long enough, the dent became a hole so you’d be eating a square peg with a round hole! They came in wrapped packs and individually wrapped within that.

Even the word ‘spangle’ makes me think of the Seventies, because of the connotations of sparkliness and it rhymes with bangle.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room (this post inspired by Laura McWhinney’s post last week).

Vesta Curry and Two LPs

Laura McWhinney sent me her post after reading the article in Mensa Magazine.

Vesta Beef Curry - aah takes me right back!I was born in 1966 and remember the 70’s as my formative years- maybe that explains a lot.

As far as food went anything goes was the attitude. A Vesta dehydrated curry on a Saturday night, reconstituted in a frying pan for 20 mins followed by peach melba with almost flourescent raspberry sauce was the height of sophistication in my home.

For a treat it was hot ‘coloured custard’ over sponge cake, this was pink blancmange made up with milk and served hot.

Spangles! At www.escape-to-the-seventies.comWe all had enough pocket money for numerous packets of spangles in many different flavours including ‘Old English’??? and Chipmunk crisps at two and a half pence a bag in abundance. I think Chipmunk was a brand rather than a flavour. Giant sticks of Bazooka bubble gum were only 3 pence, so you still had enough money for a Bunty comic or later Blue Jeans – heaven.

Seat belts were not compulsory and once when driving out of a big town car park with me in the front seat of our big Corsair automatic car I was flung sprawling across the car park as I’d been leaning on the door and it swung open – we did laugh!

Summers were great as you could go out after breakfast to play with friends and wander home when you felt hungry, parents didn’t need to worry as life was somehow safer.

The day the stereo system arrived and TWO L.P’s was very exciting, unfortunately it was a very long time until we could afford any more L.P’s so Mama Cass and Glen Campbell were played until I really grew to hate them.

Some of my friends that were maybe a bit older had their rooms papered with Red Tartan wallpaper as they were Bay City Rollers fans – I had to make do with huge purple flowers on my walls, they almost went with the swirly floral carpet and nearly matched the printed floral bedspread!

Beds used to take 20 minutes to make, as there were several layers of prickly blankets, under the bedspread no easy duvet to shake and drop.

Sweet Memories

Guest Blog from Judith Gray

Tin of Cremola FoamI think you need to be under 10 and living in the 1970’s to fully enjoy brightly coloured food.  Every decade since the 70’s has been imbued with an acute awareness of the detrimental effects of additives and colorants in food.

The 1970’s, for me, were summer holidays spent cross-legged on my gran’s brown and orange swirled carpet watching Why Don’t You?, drinking Creamola Foam and wishing I was called George like my favourite Famous Five character.

Creamola Foam was a bizarre concoction from Nestle; it consisted of crystals that you added cold water to and got a fizzy, ‘fruity’ drink.  I loved every cup full of it when I was a kid, but now I can’t think about it without wondering what on earth it was made of.  What conspiracy of chemicals combined to create the foam?

I suspect that the 70’s were the last decade I ate without giving a thought to the nutritional or calorific value of the food.  I am not sure if this was because I was child and didn’t have a concept of nutrition or if it was because it was the 1970’s and we were generally less obsessed about what was in our food.  My parents certainly fed me food that I wouldn’t give to my kids, no matter how nostalgic it made me feel.  And thanks to TV programmes like Lazy Town, most four year olds nowadays have a good sense of what food is bad for them and what is good (i.e. ‘sports candy’).

In the 70’s, we seemed to positively revel in the plasticity of our snacks.  Remember flying saucers?  They tasted like fizzy paper and, once wet, stuck relentlessly to anything they touched, coating teeth and tongues alike.  And yet we still bought them because of their shape and the suggestion of outer space.  The novelty value of food was celebrated.

Sweets at regularly indulge in nostalgic reminiscing about the sweeties of my childhood.  The Texan bars, Caramac, Black Jacks, Spangles, Flumps and raspberry flavoured crisps (OK, maybe not the latter … even at the age of 10 I knew they tasted foul but something still tempted me to part with the princely sum of 5 pence to try them!).  But I could never really enjoy these things now in the care-free way of my youth.  I know too much now!

Judith Gray

Sweets That Are Now Banned

I loved eating tobacco. Not the real tobacco you understand, but the stuff made from coconut, dyed brown and sugar-coated, and sold in a proper red pouch with a picture of a sailor or a ship on the front. Do you remember it? Can’t even remember what it was called but it was banned during the Seventies and I never saw it since. Do you know how much I love Google? I’ve just found it – Spanish Gold.

Spanish Gold sold at

It didn’t make me want to smoke, I just loved the taste. My granddad smoked a pipe and so did my Dad occasionally. So I knew all about tobacco and I knew that it tasted pretty horrible. But coconut tobacco was sweet and chewy and lovely. And the stringiness of it was cool. But the pouch made it special because you could pretend to be grown up. That’s probably the reason they took it off us.

 Sweet Cigarettes

Sweet cigarettes took a while longer to be banned and I think you can still get them in Spain. They were cool as well. You could get either the powdery chocolate ones with paper wrapping or the white candy sticks with red tips. I didn’t like the chocolate ones and the wrappers were fiddly but I loved the little white sticks. I used to pretend to smoke them, holding one between my fingers like my gran did and biting off a bit at the end each time I took a puff. This didn’t make me want to smoke either, but it was good practice in looking cool for when I started.

There were other sweets that weren’t banned in the shops but we were banned from eating them. Bubble gum and chewing gum, for instance. We were told that if you swallowed it then it would wrap itself around your internal organs and choke you. I didn’t understand why chewing gum could do this but the skins on black pudding couldn’t. I think it was one of those lies that children get told so they don’t ask for something their parents don’t want them to have.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room