Quirky Ghosts and Marquee Gifts: Memories of Christmas Past

The memories of the love I had for these… things as a kid has largely faded. The memories that matter today all have to do with people: the family that gave me love and supported my interests and hobbies, the friends with whom I played these toys and games, and the shared memories with all of you who’ve commented and written to us in response to our articles…

“Don’t Get All Historical!”: The Seaside Gothic of ‘Magical Mystery Tour’

By J.E. Anckorn and Amy Mugglestone

At 8:35 pm on Boxing Day of 1967, the people of Britain gathered around their television sets to witness the Beatles’ new film project, Magical Mystery Tour. Their first filmed project since the daffy caper Help! (1965) accidentally created the sound of the late ’60s, the project was meant to act as a replacement for the live shows they were no longer performing…

Christmas Greeting Cards, 1950 – 1980

Christmas cards became ubiquitous in the post-war era, when millions of Americans retreated to a more secluded existence in the rapidly developing suburbs. As small towns—idealized by Frank Capra and Norman Rockwell, among others—started to be displaced by tract housing complexes and chain stores, embellished scenes of the vanishing idyllic communities became a standard trope on greeting cards…

‘Top of the Pops’ Christmas Special, 1979

For the pop-minded inhabitant of the British Isles in the late ’70s, the dull edifice of the passing weeks rested upon the two mighty, glowing columns that made it all bearable: the British Top 40 countdown, broadcast from 5:00 on BBC Radio 1 every Sunday evening (cancelled only once as a result of what would prove to be an inexplicably traumatic event for the nation: the 1997 death of Lady Diana) and Top of the Pops

Avalon Hill’s Occult Ritual Kits, 1974

Avalon Hill, known for historical wargames like Blitzkrieg (1965) and PanzerBlitz (1970) at this point, released the Witchcraft Ritual Kit and Black Magic Ritual Kit on the heels of The Exorcist, the occult blockbuster that saw demon “Captain Howdy” enter the material world (and eventually a 12-year-old girl) via a Parker Brothers Oija Board…