Tag Archives: retro

Mid-Century Modern Graphic Enhancements

Stan and I are probably the only cable-subscribers on earth who do not watch MadMen. But I found this amazing avatar generator online based on that show. If you like mid-century modern illustration and iconography, you will LOVE it. Below are two versions of myself I did. The one w/sunglasses reminds me of pics of my mom from that era. Be warned, it’s REALLY hard to find clothes and hairstyles that are similar to the styles you normally wear. No long hair and jeans for you. Continue reading Mid-Century Modern Graphic Enhancements

Just Like Candy

You don’t know how good it is to open this dashboard window and see all text normal. But of course if it ever happens again, I’ll know to blame some font weirdness with Safari, rather than assume my site was hacked (which was a logical assumption considering).

Sometimes I think of things I remember eating/using/having from long ago that don’t exist anymore. I don’t know why I remember such silly things, but last night I was thinking about LifeSavers. Why? Who knows. But I miss them. Not that I’m big on hard candy. I seldom eat candy now except for an occasional dark dark chocolate or a free mini Mounds candy bar from the local pet supply store of the same name. In fact, Stan and I are so not into candy lately that last year for Halloween we skipped out on the trick-or-treaters, went to eat sushi, and then snuck back home, kept the lights off, and hunkered down in the bedroom and played cards, hoping no one would detect any light from between the blinds. We really didn’t want to spend money on candy, stock up so that we have enough just in case it’s a big year, and then have to eat it all ourselves for the next few months. Usually we get about 4 kids. But sometimes we get a lot more…you just never know how to prepare.

So anyway, I was thinking about LifeSavers, and how I really miss the “Fancy Fruits.” They were Black Raspberry, Apple, Pear and Pink Grapefruit. They were delightful and quaint. Black Raspberry was a dark maroon, Apple was red like the skin, Pear was golden and Pink Grapefruit was pink. And they didn’t seem to have any order in the little roll, so you never knew which one would pop up next. But that flavor selection is long gone. I guess it was just too…I don’t know…old fashioned? So not now. When you think about it, what would they do with it now? The Black Raspberry would be Blue Raspberry and colored bright blue. The Apple would be Sour Apple and be lime green. Pear would not even exist…how uncool, right? What a grandmother fruit. Replace it with something like Sour Cherry, bright red, and Pink Grapefruit would be “Wild Citrus” and colored some bright yellow or orange. Or maybe there’d be Sour Strawberree. Ugh. Because no one knows what real strawberries taste like since you can buy them in January from Mexico and they’re as big as apples, woody, and yes, unripe, hence, sour.

Super Wild Gummee Sourz
Super Wild Gummee Sourz ©Ann Stretton 2010
What I appreciated about the original flavors was that it was true to real fruit, and not “invented”. I remember Jolly Rancher from the 70s and they sort of started the whole “sour” invented surreal fruit flavors, at least in my memory. But LifeSavers should have stuck what they were good at…real fruit–not that any real fruits were used in the making of the product–I don’t know, maybe they did use some natural flavors, I can’t remember. But the original was a good facsimile. Even the illustrations were of real fruit, not some fluorescent colored bubbly, simplified, yet overly highlighted-by-airbrushing abstraction of a generic round, colorful fruit. Oh, and now they’d also be gummy instead of hard. In fact, I suspect the company already has bastardized some of their products that way. The horror.

Another LifeSavers that was my favorite was the Tropical Fruits. They still have it, but it’s been adulterated. The flavors stated are: Fruit Punch, Pina Colada, Tangerine, Banana, Mango-Melon. That’s not how I remember them. I remember no fruit punch. And there were no combined flavors, only pure ones. I remember Pineapple, Coconut (no coladas), Banana, Tangerine, Mango, AND Melon (which reminded me of Cantaloupe in its pale orange coloring, which isn’t exactly a tropical, but that’s ok).

What kid would dream of eating a cantaloupe-flavored candy nowadays? Eeeww…how grammaw. You know what? I wish someone would come out with something so old fashioned it would actually be cutting-edge. Like quince. Mincemeat-flavored candy. Rasin candy. Prune candy. Market it in dark, gothic tones with just a hint of tattoo graphics, but mostly those swirly spiral florals that’s so big in graphics now (or at least it was last year). Gooseberry candy. Huckleberry. Mulberry. And Blue. The berry series. Then there could be the orchard series which would include plums (and prunes), apricots, pears, apples (none of that sour junk). And what about the grape series? No, no, no sour grapes. And none of the overly-sweet fake purple Nehi Fanta Shasta soda stuff either, although that flavor does have its mid-century modern charm as well. I’m talking Pinot Noir. Merlot. Zinfandel.

It reminds me also of Crayola crayons. I always loved getting one of those big 64 packs when I was a kid. And it was a good introduction to simple color-theory for the future artist. Now they’ve replaced those “Grandma” colors with the Super Fruitee Wild Sour equivalents. Here is a page with Crayola Chronology. I can see why they changed the name of “Flesh” to “Peach” (I remember having a “Flesh” crayon…and I was only a year old when they made the change…must have been an old batch), but the other reasons for changes are rather specious, IMHO. Some of the new colors are rather quaint in their old tradition of naming after nature, like asparagus and tumbleweed. But seriously…a color called “Beaver”? Really? I think “Otter” or “Groundhog” might have been a safer choice.