It’s like having Godzilla stuffed into a briefcase. The subject is so enormous that it feels like he’s trying to claw and stomp his way off every page! This is the author’s most commercial work yet. He has effectively taken the data from a full set of encyclopedias and condensed it into one small volume of the best material that has defined America since its inception. The material ranges from Paul Revere to The Brady Bunch, featuring subjects from Pampers to Arnold the Pig. Did you know that Elvis sang “Old McDonald” or that Ernest T. Bass directed many of your favorite TV shows? Now you do. Did you know that a shuttlecock has flown over 200 mph or that a model airplane has flown over 1800 miles? Now you do.
These are excerpts from each of the ten timelines in the book. The actual timelines begin as early as 1492 and conclude as late as 2006. Text from assorted stories and articles in the book has not been excerpted here. Most of the later years of each timeline include far more facts than the brief years listed in these excerpts.
1608 – (Events) Bowling is banned in Jamestown.
1628 – (Events) The first orgy with Indian women is held in Quincy, MA. Thomas Morton is the first person deported from the U.S.
1775 – (Comforts) Flush toilet invented
1776 – (Comforts) First American ice cream parlor opens in New York
1792 – (Comforts) The first cologne, 4711 Eau de Cologne, sold at a shop at 4711 Glockengasse in Cologne, West Germany
1885 – (Cars) First gasoline pump
1888 – (Cars) First electric automobile
1893 – (Cars) First U.S.-built, gas-propelled car
1897 – (Toys) The Shakespeare company is founded to build level-winding fishing reels.
1899 – (Toys) First vibrator ad in McClure’s Magazine
1902 – (Movies) The first theater designed especially for film opens in L.A.
1903 – (Movies) Kit Carson is the first cowboy film and The Great Train Robbery is the first Western.
1910 – (Movies) The first movie stunt is included in a film.
1941 – (Television) Commercial television broadcasting authorized by the FCC – Bulova Watch first television ad
1948 – (Television) First network nightly news on CBS – Howdy Doody begins Monday-Friday timeslot – The Perry Como Show – Candid Camera – Toast of the Town is the progenitor of The Ed Sullivan Show.
1955 - (Music) Johnny Cash – Fats Domino – Little Richard – Chuck Berry –
Elvis 1956 – (Nerds) Richard Matheson’s The Incredible Shrinking Man – Grace Metalious’ Peyton Place – Bruce Catton’s This Hallowed Ground – Computers: Mouse invented – IBM computer disc drive
1965 – (Sports) Los Angeles Dodgers 4 Minnesota Twins 3 – Joe Namath leaves the land of Bear Bryant for the New York Jets. Cassius Clay morphs into Muhammad Ali. The Houston Astrodome premieres when Mickey Mantle hits the first indoor home run. The Astrodome gets a $20,000 paint job on its ceiling to block glaring sunlight, causing the grass to die. Willie Mays breaks the home run record with 512. Lotus wins the Indianapolis 500 with a Ford engine.
1981 – (Gossip) Natalie Wood falls off a boat at night near the California coast and drowns before Brainstorm is completed. Prince Charles gets engaged to Lady Diana Spencer. Carol Burnett wins a libel suit against The National Enquirer.
The more alike a product is to its competitors, the more effort is put into its advertising to prove how different it is from all the others. It is these particular advertising slogans, characters, and campaigns that we remember. Garry Moore spends many of his TV moments telling us how Winston tastes good like a cigarette should. Speedy Alka-Seltzer leads us into a duet of plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Ford has a better idea even when Chevy is like a rock. If all the Ford trucks I see are built Texas tough, does that mean that somebody up in Yankeeland has a Ford pickup that’s built Connecticut tough? Roaches may check in without checking out of your Roach Motel, but hadn’t you rather just kill bugs dead with Raid? A mind may be a terrible thing to waste, but the NHTSA tells me that I can learn a lot from a dummy. Can the few, the proud, the Marines put a tiger in your tank? No, but Hertz can put you in the driver’s seat. You asked for it, so you got it. Pontiac builds excitement, Volkswagen thinks small, and BMW’s sheer driving pleasure won’t be found in your father’s Oldsmobile. You’ve come a long way, baby, since you thought Lucky Strike meant fine tobacco. Is it live or is it Memorex? Only the Energizer Bunny knows, because he keeps going and going. It’s difficult to say “Look, ma, no cavities” when you’ve been spending all your time with Sugar Bear, the Trix rabbit, Poppin’ Fresh and Mr. Peanut. Maybe Morris will let you have some of his 9 Lives.