Cabel Sasser runs a studio called Panic, which makes excellent software for the Mac, has dabbled in video game production, and recently designed and shipped their own handheld video game console. Yesterday on his weblog he posted a number of scans of a series of catalogs produced in the 1980’s which featured gadgets of all kinds. The DAK catalogs had everything from breadmakers to radar detectors to audio equipment, and they used to come to our house addressed to the previous owners. As a young impressionable middle-school student I read the description for one of their products, a graphic equalizer, and obsessed over it for months. I recall asking for it for Christmas, my Dad turning me down, and me being a dick about it, which still haunts me.
Eventually I earned enough money to buy it, and I hooked it up to the huge Fisher audio system I’d bought the previous summer with money from painting the house. As I recall it didn’t amplify anything (the ad copy claimed my stereo would “literally explode with life”) but made the mix a lot muddier, no matter how much I fooled with the channels. I messed with it for months but eventually disconnected it, having learned an expensive lesson about believing ad copy without reading any reviews.
Thanks Cabel, that totally took me back. Read his post—it’s a fun look into the wild and crazy days of direct mail in the 80’s.