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Wednesday
May202009

Videophone "Progress" Newspaper Ad (1976)

The June 30, 1976 Blue Earth Post (Blue Earth, MN) ran this ad for the Blue Earth Valley Telephone Company, in which the videophone is presented as the inevitable next step in telephone technology.


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Reader Comments (9)

That woman i going to have quite a bit of trouble putting the receiver back on the hook.

May 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob

I think I remember that ad... Why would a phone company have advertised in 1976? It's not like there was competition. I suppose it could have been a tie to the bicentennial, but the ad makes no mention of that event.

May 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWutzke

Hmm, must be a cultural thing. In the 70's in the UK a lot of homes had a phone, but far from all. There was only the post office offering phones at the time, but they were trying to get phone customers still. I don't remember them plugging future technology, just how much better it was to have a phone in the house, and not having to use a pay phone 1/4 mile away.

May 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

@wutzke The bicentennial edition of this small town newspaper had a "progress" theme. Most companies took out ads to mention how far they had come as a company. This one was looking to the future more than most.

May 22, 2009 | Registered CommenterMatt Novak

1976 was not only the US Bicentennial, but the 100th anniversary of the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell, the chap who is apparently listening in on the conversation between the two women in the ad.

In 1976 there were still some remnants of future technology as a sign of progress, awash in a sea of Luddite attitudes that sadly turned so many of the things we see in this Web site into a nostalgic joke.

Thanks a lot, hippies. Hope you are enjoying the world you created.

May 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Jetson

I just realized--so many Videophones of The Future are portrayed as still using handsets. I guess an illustration of someone using a videophone equipped with a microphone and speaker would just look like someone talking to a television, eh? (Plus, the handset certainly cuts down on feedback...)

May 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Great blog idea. This reminds me of an entry in the Merriam-Webster Open Dictionary at:

http://www3.merriam-webster.com/opendictionary/newword_display_recent.php?id=9198

"Postalgia (noun) : 1. a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for a projected future that never was; i.e. as promised by Disneyland and science fiction of the 1950's. 2. a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for a future era by a time-traveller in the past. pos·tal·gic /-jik/ adjective or noun pos·tal·gi·cal&...
"Roxanne sat glumly at the back of the bus, consumed by postalgia for a time where the colour of her skin didn't define her station in life." OR "Mike flipped through the yellowed pages of Startling Stories, grimly postalgic for the gleaming era of art-deco skyscrapers and rocket-cars that never arrived." —Mark Shainblum, "Angloman" comic strip in the Montreal Gazette, Circa 1998"

May 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Wutzke, there were indie telcos throughout the history of the industry. They served areas Ma Bell and (later) the RBOCs didn't serve. Google USITA/USTA to learn more.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRandom guy

haha yeah i read something about this in 4rx, is almost nostalgic how people imagined the year 2000 in those times, flying cars and stuff like that you know, like the tv cartoons tv show the jellowstones, very funny, thanks

October 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdakuro

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