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Sounds from the Past

Updated on January 17, 2012

Everything becomes extinct over time. It happens to some things quicker than others. For instance, despite the recent revival of legwarmers, thankfully other 80s trends forever reside in the virtual graveyard of bad fashion choices. Sadly, not even sounds are immune to the fate of extinction. Here are a few that current and future generations may never hear firsthand.

This concludes our broadcast day....

Before infomercials and repeats of retired sitcoms took over late night television, stations concluded their broadcast day somewhere between midnight and 2am. It would pick back up the next morning with vital programming like the news, with important traffic and weather updates. And what was in between? Snow! That's right, just black and white static fuzz. The same stuff that let Carol Ann communicate with the spirits in Poltergeist. While growing up, our curfew was whenever the National Anthem played at the end of the night. After seeing Poltergeist you can be sure that we never watched the bit with the snow!

Before there were 8-tracks....

Really, you don't remember 8-tracks? Personally, I have my 8-track of the original Grease soundtrack in my cedar chest. Oh, the memories! But that's a whole other Hub entirely.

A few summers ago my boys discovered the awesomeness that is 80s music. All the big hair bands of my youth have since revisited me in a kind of haunting reunion, their saccharine lyrics bringing up surreal memories of teenage angst gone by. Unable to find a decent, working cassette player and CDs being too expensive an investment on their paltry allowance, my sons bought a record player from eBay and started collecting vinyls from thrift stores and flea markets. Something about hearing the scritch-scritch of the record player needle on the vinyl takes me back to the days of my youth, and it lends a quality to the music that can't be duplicated by modern technology.

The original hunt and peck machine....

Unless you took a typing class in school, you were probably at the mercy of hunting and pecking out keys with your index fingers while typing on an old-fashioned typewriter. It's not unlike the way many people use a computer keyboard today! One thing the computer lacks is the sound of the carriage return being reset to its initial position. Essentially, it's a typewriter's ENTER key, and begins a new line on the page. I had my grandmother's typewriter until just a few years ago. Unable to find things like carbon paper and correction tape locally, I donated it to a thrift shop that has since used it in their store window display. A few weeks ago I was in the shop perusing their selection of used books and record albums only to hear a young boy exclaim to his mother, "Oh wow! What kind of computer is that!"

If you or your children have never heard some of these sounds, check out YouTube videos to hear them. Better yet, choose a movie from the 80s or earlier and watch with your family and friends. During the film, have a contest to see who can write down the most things from the movie that are now extinct. Good luck, thanks for reading, and I'd love to hear your comments on this topic!


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