Norman Lear’s work was an integral part of American life in the second half of the 20th Century. Television programs like Maude, Sanford and Son, and The Jeffersons dragged television out of the 1950s and into the real world. As Variety states: “Lear’s shows were the first to address the serious political, cultural and social flashpoints of the day – racism, abortion, feminism, homosexuality, the Vietnam war – by working pointed new wrinkles into the standard domestic comedy formula. No subject was taboo: Two 1977 episodes of All in the Family revolved around the attempted rape of lead character Archie Bunker’s wife Edith.”
All in the Family, which ran on CBS from 1971 to 1979, typified the clash of generations. Middle-aged bigot Archie Bunker – played by Carrol O’Connor – was a right-wing King Lear in Queens, raging at the radical changes in society. Archie didn’t let ignorance get in the way of his opinions; once he argued that people who lived in communes were communists. The thing is, the old dog was actually capable of learning new tricks. Archie never evolved into any kind of saint. But over the nine seasons "Family" aired, experience taught Archie the benefits of listening to (and respecting) viewpoints far different from his own.
All in the Family was the jewel in Lear’s crown, but don’t forget the highly popular shows One Day at a Time (which featured Bonnie Franklin as a divorcee raising two daughters in the Midwest) and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (with Louise Lasser as the titular figure in a parody of soap opera conventions). Good or bad, Lear’s work was never indifferent.
More recently, you may have heard about Lear’s lively activism. His TV shows were themselves arguments for free and unfettered speech, and Lear supported a slate of liberal causes. In 1981 he founded People for the American Way. The organization’s website describes the ways that PFAW has “engaged cultural and community leaders and individual activists in campaigns promoting freedom of expression, civic engagement, fair courts, and legal and lived equality for LGBTQ people.”
Lear’s life was a long and fulfilling one. In 1978 he was given the first of two Peabody Awards, the most prestigious award in television. “To Norman Lear,” it reads, “...for giving us comedy with a social conscience. He uses humor to give us a better understanding of social issues. He lets us laugh at our own shortcomings and prejudices, and while doing this, maintains the highest entertainment standards.”
A pioneer, a gadfly of the state, a mensch. To paraphrase a lyric from All in the Family’s theme song, “Mister, we could use a guy like Norman Lear again.”
Processed Foods That Are Now "Extinct"
Let's take a trip down memory lane – minus the bloating and bellyaches
Oh, processed foods of yesteryear, we hardly knew ye. As kids, many of us took for granted that one day, some of our favorite goodies would be long gone. As we sipped and snacked on stuff that was no good for us in the first place, we never even considered the notion that those delights wouldn't be around forever. We could have truly savored that final taste of artificial flavoring as we licked the tips of our fingers covered in colors not found in nature. Sigh.
Let's take a trip down memory lane – minus the bloating and bellyaches – and reminisce about some of those palate-pleasing processed foods that are now "extinct." Sure, new ones have taken their place, but these "oldies but goodies" deserve an encore. They may never return to store shelves, but they certainly deserve a more formal final goodbye.
Jell-O Pudding Pops
Jell-O Pudding Popsi.pinimg.com
It's hard to separate the thought of Jell-O Pudding Pops from the brand's former ambassador, Bill Cosby, but take the salacious current events out of the picture and try to remember those smooth and creamy frozen treats that made pudding really pop. Cosby helped make them famous, but kids and adults alike would probably would have gobbled them up without a celeb's convincing.
Through the 1990s, the pops were selling in stores across America… 'till they weren't. What happened? As per Culinary Lore, "The Jell-O name was licensed to Popsicle, the same people who make the inferior Fudgesicles, and they began marketing Popsicle brand Jell-O Pudding Pops." The shape and recipe were tweaked, and sales plummeted. Circa 2011, the pops popped off the radar. Alas, we'd have to consume pudding the old-fashioned way once again. Pass a spoon please.
Heinz EZ Squirt Ketchup
Ketchup that is easy to squirt is something we can jump on board with, but Heinz EZ Squirt Ketchup turned "easy" into "queasy." We all love dipping our French fries into the bright red condiment, but when Heinz went full-prism spectrum on us, the short-lived marketing concept went bust faster than we regretted buying a bottle of the questionable stuff in the first place.
Yes, kids loved the idea of purple or orange ketchup, and when the brand released 'Blastin' Green' to coincide with Shrek, they thought they found liquid gold. But fads are fun for a while until consumers long for food that doesn't resemble unicorn barf. By early 2006, red was the new black, once again.
We see pro athletes as well as teens who hang out at 7-11 slug back Gatorade like it's going out of style, but what did, in fact, go out of style back in 1989 was the brand's gum… Gatorgum. What sounds like a reptilian dental condition was actually a super-sour chewing "gum for active people" which claimed to quench thirst. If you ever had some yourself, you remember how it made your salivary glands ache as you eagerly unwrapped that first piece from a brand-new pack. The good old days.
Gatorade stopped making the gum, but their beverages are still being sold by the boatloads. We wised up and realized that gum really can't quench thirst very effectively after all.
Pepsi is as American as apple pie, but thankfully, apple pie has never been dyed blue, as far as anyone knows anyhow. So, why Pepsi… why did you have to take a good thing and make it a not-so-good thing? Pepsi Blue, a bright blue carbonated berry-flavored beverage was created in 2002 and only lasted in America for two years.
Cloyingly-sweet and extra-sticky, this drink may have made kids bounce off the walls as they marveled at their alien tongues, but parents weren't too pleased to learn that the freaky blue color was made usingBlue 1, an "agent banned in numerous countries." Pepsi is unhealthful enough, were they trying to kill us?
Surely some dopey kid choked on a delicious Butterfinger BB and caused Nestle to shelve their tasty morsels of the traditional Butterfinger candy bar, ruining the fun for everyone. We all remember how much Bart Simpson loved his Butterfinger bars, so imagine his disappointment when the BBs were discontinuedaround 2006.
When eating a normal-sized candy bar seemed too daunting, chocolate and peanut butter fans could get a quick fix by popping those crispy BBs into their pie-holes one at a time. And lovers of the canned candy are pissed. There is even a Change.org page set up to petition to bring the candy back. Hey, everyone has a cause that tugs at their heartstrings.
Star Wars and cereal fans' worlds collided when Kellogg's introducedC-3PO's cerealin the mid-80s. Crunchy and honey-sweetened, the three-grain cereal shaped like little figure-eights was a kid-favorite breakfast treat.
Naturally,each box came with a prize inside, like trading cards and masks, making the eating experience more like a morning at the movies. The cereal had a nice 16-year "shelf life" but was canned in 2000. Maybe the lack of marshmallow bits was its downfall.
Carnation Breakfast Bar
Carnation Breakfast Bargbnfgroceries.blogspot.com
The on-the-go Carnation Breakfast Barwas a fan favorite, bringing great taste, nutrition, and a sweet treat to the breakfast table or lunchbox. Chewy and crunchy, the granola bar/candy bar/energy bar goodie was covered in chocolate and made breakfast fun.
There were various flavors to choose from including chocolate chip, chocolate crumb, granola with peanut butter, and caramel nut crunch. And according to the box, "One bar with a glass of milk (made) a complete meal!" Who needed eggs and sausage when breakfast came from a cardboard box?
From 1975-1993 Carnation Breakfast Bars were in the hands of hungry kids and adults alike, making us wonder what they've been eating since.