“Make Everything Skateable”: Natas Kaupas in ‘Wheels of Fire’, 1987

In 1985, right around the time one Marty McFly made a “board with wheels” out of a 1955 scooter to escape Biff and his goons, the skateboarding industry exploded. Up to then, the unruly and ruleless sport had been dominated by vert skating (pools, half-pipes) and, to a lesser extent, freestyle, where skaters did lots of technical, stationary tricks across a relatively small surface area…

Devil in the Details: ‘The Occult Coloring Book’, 1971

San Francisco’s Troubador Press, under the direction of founder and owner Malcolm Whyte, published a long line of innovative (and beloved, to many) coloring books from 1967 through the early ’80s. Often contracting illustrators with ties to the counterculture and underground comix, Whyte chose subjects that were sometimes anodyne—horses, ballet, wildlife, the Bible, dinosaurs—but often daring for the time…

‘Mad Police’ Model Kits, 1982 – 1983

Mad Max 2 (released as The Road Warrior in the US) was a surprise international hit in 1982. Unlike 1979’s Mad Max, which was dubbed and poorly marketed to American audiences, the sequel became an instant action classic, and its post-apocalyptic punk aesthetic forged a sci-fi subgenre that has been mined (and crassly exploited) ever since…

Grand Delusion: Cunard Caribbean Cruise Brochure, 1979

The number of cruise passengers worldwide increased from half a million in 1970 to 3.8 million in 1990, the hike almost exclusively thanks to Aaron Spelling’s The Love Boat (1977-1986), a one-hour dramatic fantasy that portrayed a relatively diverse, generally middle-class group of passengers and the close-knit crew that tended to them (and often cavorted with them) during the voyage…