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Things That Are Slowly Vanishing

What caught my attention was the rate at which people are abandoning landline phones. At least half the people I’ve asked about this don’t have one anymore. (We haven’t had one since we left Colorado.) In thinking a little, I discovered a few other things that seem to be going away so slowly people aren’t noticing. Here’s a list of what I think belongs in that category, in no particular order:

  1. Landlines. And phones that ring because they contain an electromechanical ringer with a metal bell.
  2. Bowling. I used to see bowling alleys regularly here and there. Heck, our parish church in Chicago where I grew up had one, and may still. Bowling was never a big thing in my family, so maybe I just don’t notice it anymore. I think I last bowled about 12 or 15 years ago, and even then I found myself thinking, “Will I ever do this again?”
  3. Roller rinks. There was one just outside Chicago called The Hub Roller Rink, where I went a few times as a kid until I realized that roller skating was not my thing. The Hub is long gone. The last time I roller skated was in Scotts Valley at a Borland Halloween party in the fall of 1987. I don’t remember the last time I saw a roller rink, anywhere, since then.
  4. Ice cream men in trucks. When I was a kid 55 or 60 years ago, Good Humor sent their trucks around my neighborhood on a regular basis in the summer, with their unmistakable bells. The last time I saw an ice cream truck was about 2008, when Carol and I had a condo in Des Plaines IL, outside Chicago. The truck we saw every week or so would play music electronically, and the music I remember clearly, because it’s a hymn that I have on a Lorie Line CD, but it’s not identified in the liner notes. (It’s in a medley with “Lord of the Dance.”)
  5. Dime-store kites. Although I see cheap kites (plastic now, not paper) in stores every spring, I almost never see kids flying them. I’m not talking about expensive fabric stunt kites you see on Amazon. I mean the plain diamond or delta kites that were ubiquitous 50-60 years ago, and probably peaked in 1964 or so. The only places I’ve seen them recently are at campgrounds, like where we camped in Nebraska for the 2017 solar eclipse.
  6. Metal construction sets. My dad bought me a British Meccano set when I was 7, and shortly after that I inherited my cousin Ron’s big Erector set. It was my favorite toy into my early teens.  I learned how a car’s differential works because I built one, out of brass gears and small steel girders. Lego took over that category (plastic is easier and cheaper to make than metal) but at least some kids are still building things.
  7. CB radio. CB was a craze in the 1970s. I bought a radio in 1971, and by 1972 most of my friends had them. I have a good antenna and a good radio that will receive (but not transmit on) the CB frequencies. I hear some distant heterodynes and an occasional trucker on the bands, but CB’s frequencies are now mostly vacant. “How ‘bout that Sundog!” was how we began a contact in 1972.
  8. Manual eggbeaters. Ok, we have cheap-ish cordless electric mixers these days, but when I was a kid I used a hand-cranked item with a red wooden handle, and used it mostly to mix chocolate pudding. It was still in the drawer when I left home in 1976. I’ve often wondered if anybody still uses them.
  9. Videotape. I still have a mini-8 camcorder. (I think.) The last time I used it was to make movies when we were fostering a mama bichon and her three puppies when their owner was in the hospital, back in 2009. One of the puppies we bought and named Dash. I still have a VHS tape deck. Ok, that stuff is already gone. but I took some terrific video with it.
  10. Sunken living rooms. These were stylish in the 70s and 80s, and the first new house Carol and I ever bought (in 1990) had one. They’re a trip-and-fall hazard, especially for the older set, and simply aren’t done anymore.
  11. Control-line model airplanes. These were big in the ‘50s and early 60’s. You stood in the middle of a circle with a handle and two wires connecting you to a gas-powered model airplane. You had a friend hook the glow-plug to a battery and spin the .049 engine until it caught, then you pivoted in a circle as the plane flew in a circle around you, going high and low in response to how you held the handle. Never did it myself, but I watched the older kids who did.
  12. Usenet. I got a Usenet login in 1981, because I worked for Xerox. It was fun, but I really didn’t know how to use it well. After I left Xerox in 1985, I didn’t see Usenet again until the mid-1990s, when most of the ISPs carried it. I had a lot of fun in newsgroups in the midlate 1990s on groups like and the one or two that catered to assembly language. I had a paid Usenet account for a few years in the late oughts and early teens. I gave it up when what was posted was mostly porn, pirated content, and malware.
  13. Waffle irons. My parents had an electric one, and I think I remember them using it…twice. I never much liked pancakes or their nonskid brethren, waffles. But they really did used to be a thing. Maybe it’s just easier now to go to Waffle House and not make a mess in the kitchen.
  14. Drive-in movies. We went to plenty of them in the late 50s and early 60s, and I took Carol to a couple early in our history. I’m pretty sure that the land they required eventually got way too valuable to waste on a low-margin business like movies. There was one in Grayslake, near my family’s summer home, and I remember watching “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” on its screen through my 8” telescope, which dates it to 1966. It looked like two obnoxious people screaming at each other. Funny how many movies are pretty much that, even today.

That’s what comes to mind now, sitting here in my chair and pondering what was once a commonplace that just faded away. Got anything to add to the list? If I get enough I’ll run an addendum.


    1. Heh. Well, there may be people somewhere who still use them. (I’m sure the Amish do.) Carol and I never owned one. If we need to beat a lot of eggs we have a motorized mixer. I remember spotting them in the kitchen drawers of aunts and uncles when I was a kid, and they looked like they’d seen some hard use.

      1. Orvan Taurus says:

        I still have one, just in case, though it’s been a while since I’ve used it. And then.. I am something of a throwback I suppose.

  1. There are still waffle irons, but most of them are Belgian, with big, deep squares and not the kind I grew up with that were thinner and had smaller squares. Frankly, I prefer the older kind, and I prefer to cook them a little longer so that they’re crisper.

  2. Rich Rostrom says:

    “Neighborhood” taverns.

    Harness racing – there are almost no tracks left.

    Thoroughbred racing. It’s still a thing in Britain, and with rich Arabs. But in the US today hardly anyone “follows” racing or gambles on it, and many tracks have closed.

    “Yellow Pages”.

    “Fraternal” organizations. I know of several old Masonic halls that are being converted to housing. Many of the lesser groups have all but vanished.

    1. Those are actually valid additions to the list. I don’t pay attention to taverns and never have, but my father used to frequent one in Edison Park, across from the Metra (then Northwestern) station. Maybe it’s still there–I don’t even remember its name. And I may have been wrong about bowling, as this Salena Zito piece points out:

      As with neighborhood taverns, I’ve never paid much attention to horse racing, so this didn’t occur to me. Ditto Elks/VFW/Shriners/etc. And phone books, yikes! I don’t know how I missed that one. We still get skinny little Yellow Pages every year, but I haven’t seen a white pages since we moved back to AZ. Thanks for jogging my memory.

  3. Rick Kaumeier says:

    Paper routes as a youngster’s first job.

    Phone booths and pay phones.

    Card parties.

    Cigarette vending machines.

    Matchbooks, ruler, and yardstick business promo giveaways.

    Neighborhood mom & pop stores that sell milk, bread, beer, luncheon meat and sliced cheese, a few non-perishable grocery staples, and penny candy. Oh, and paper kites, balsa gliders, and baseball cards. There were a couple within easy walking distance of the house where a grew up in the 60s and 70s. Both are long gone and the buildings renovated into residences.

    Penny horse rides at supermarkets. I had forgotten about them until seeing one in a Meijer store while visiting family in Michigan during Christmas.

    1. Yes on all counts. My dad used to have poker nights with his friends from work in the early 1960s. They all smoked, and the air in the house became mostly unbreathable.

      I don’t remember the last time I saw a payphone.

      Cigarette vending machines may still be out there. I may just not notice them, as smoking killed my father and that may be my single long-held grudge. I think vending machines in general have gotten scarce, and are now mostly claw games full of cheap stuffed animals. There are so many convenience stores open 24/7 that vending machines aren’t as necessary as they once were.

      The grocery store where we shopped in CoS had one of those coinop horsey rides. I don’t think I’ve seen one anywhere here since we moved back to AZ in 2015.

      Those neighborhood mom & pop stores were around in my youth. I’m pretty sure 7-11 and its descendants put them out of business. There was Lilac Farm at Milwaukee & Devon (a primordial convenience store, gone by the time I was in college) and another on Newark just north of Devon that I went to a time or two once I was 9 or 10 and could bike around that far from home.

      Most of the promos we get now are refrigerator magnets. I wonder if they will go extinct once everybody has stainless steel non-magnetic refrigerators.

  4. Jason Bucata says:

    The last drive-in theater I can think of is the Admiral Twin in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was old, it was vintage, it was beloved by the town. I went there once to watch “Ocean’s 12” I think but for whatever reason the sound situation wasn’t good and I couldn’t hear anything, so gave up, and the multi-car group I went with was a bit rowdy and not amenable for paying attention to a movie anyway.

    But the Admiral Twin burned down. Because it was old and historic, it was made entirely of wood. And because it was entirely made of wood, no insurance company would touch the thing. The eventual happened eventually and so it was gone, with no money to rebuild. Last I heard some fundraisers were trying to get up the cash to rebuild it on a charitable and historical interest basis.

    (Breaking-to-me news, I guess they did rebuild it–both per Wikipedia and their own web site which currently says they’re closed for the season.)

    1. Every one that I remember going to is now gone, granting that I doubt we went to one after Carol and I left Chicago in 1979. The one in Grayslake (which I could see through my telescope) is this one:

      The one closest to us was the one at Harlem & Irving:

      On the weekends they had a flea market on the grounds, and the refreshment stand sold hot dogs, Cokes, etc. I remember buying a shirt there once but mostly we just went to the movies.

      You could see the screen from Harlem Avenue and some of the side streets just to the north of it. One very weird moment found me driving south on Harlem after dark, and seeing something on the screen that I couldn’t quite figure. It looked like a woman being attacked by some kind of monster. I couldn’t watch it long enough to make it out, so I looked it up in the Chicago American and found that it was a softcore skin flick called Deadly Weapons, starring Chesty Morgan, the woman who had a 73″ natural bustline. What I had seen was a topless Chesty shaking her…weapons. One has to wonder whether the local teens gathered on front porches across the street from the theater to take it in. They wouldn’t have sound, but sound wasn’t what they were there for.

      There were a couple of others that I don’t recall the names or locations of. Carol and I saw The Four Musketeers at one in 1974. It may have been the 53 Drive in in Palatine, Illinois.

  5. Jim Tubman says:

    Ash trays would be another addition to your list. And cigarette lighters in automobiles.

    I am glad to report that the Twilight Drive-In Theatre is still going strong (except in winter, naturally) in my home town of Wolseley Saskatchewan. A few years ago they upgraded to a digital projector system. People come from all over to see movies their, including from as far as the nearest city 100 km away.

    1. TRX says:

      Some luxury cars had cigarette lighters and ashtrays in every armrest as well as the dashboard and the back of the front seat. Now you’re lucky to get one poorly-located “charging port” somewhere. You’d think automakers would give you a whole row of the things for you to plug stuff into.

      Radar detectors. I haven’t seen one of those in quite a while.

      Whitewall and raised-white-letter tires. Tires are all black now. Which is fine with me, really.

      Sunroofs. I’m not even six feet tall, and I hated the things; they cut a couple of inches out of the already-scant headroom in many cars. For a while they were ubiquitous; if the car didn’t come with one from the factory, the dealer would send it out and have one installed. Now they’re not *quite* gone, but they’re clearly on their way out.

      My truck has a glass sunroof. I have a big piece of cardboard tucked under it, to keep my brains from cooking in the summer. And like most sunroofs, it leaks if it rains harder than a drizzle.

      Paperback spinner racks at stores. They used to be everywhere. I haven’t seen one in years.

      Book stores. I’ve read they’re still a thing in some places, but we’re down to zero within a thirty-mile radius.

    2. Jim Tubman says:

      “movies there” I should have written. (Really, I do know the difference between “there,” “their,” and “they’re”!

  6. Keith says:

    Here in suburban San Francisco Bay Area, Sunnyvale and Cupertino to be more precise, ice cream trucks were still going strong during the warm weather in the before-Covid years, and I believe I heard some going by on my street just last summer, though not as frequently as before 2020. I have a feeling their frequency will get back to that of pre-Covid times in another year or two.

    So maybe they have faded away in some areas, but not in others?

    1. They were a commonplace during the Boomers’ childhood years. I think the ones that remain research to find neighborhoods where there are still kids.

  7. Vince says:

    My son asked me the other day if I had 5 dollars. I had none, and realised I have not used dollar bills for possibly years, always using credit / debit cards. And since credit / debit cards may soon be incorporated into smartphones, wallets may also vanish by the next generation (or be accessory items, like wristwatches).

    “But they really did used to be a thing.”

    I sense you are someone careful about your English. Is it “did used to be” or “did use to be”? (I’m not a native English speaker).

    1. I still use paper money for things costing $20 or less, assuming I have the bills in my pocket and the vendor will accept cash. (Some no longer do.)

      I am careful about my English, but sometimes I use dialect or colloquialisms to keep the tone light. It would have been more correct to say “They really once were a thing” but I was being a little silly. If the topic were more serious, my tone would be more serious, unless I were deliberately being ironic.

  8. Rich Rostrom says:

    Rick Kaumeier – January 24, 2023 at 8:38 PM:
    Matchbooks, ruler, and yardstick business promo giveaways.
    I’m not sure about rulers and yardsticks, but matchbooks definitely – especially at restaurants.

    In fact matchbooks generally. With the decline in smoking, there are very few uses for matches – lighting candles, mainly. Lighting fires (camps, grills, fireplaces) is most commonly done with those little gas projectors. Or with the long wooden matches.

    Another thing that’s gone away – newspaper vending machines. They operated on more or less an honor system: one had to put a coin in to open the machine, but one was trusted to take only one paper off the stack. Nowadays the machines would have to be elaborate and secure, because a daily paper sells for $4.00. (The Chicago Tribune.

    1. Where we see newspaper racks now is next to the customer service counter in grocery stores like Fry’s (the local Kroger affiliate) and Safeway. You buy them like you’d buy anything else, but at the customer service counter where they also sell tobacco products. If I want a Wall Street Journal for something, that’s where I buy it.

      Remember when girlie magazines were all behind a counter to keep kids from getting at them? I wonder if there are still girlie magazines, given the megatons of online porn people complain about. Paper magazines in general are dying like flies. QST and Nuts & Volts are the only ones I still read.

      1. Rick Kaumeier says:

        A decade ago I subscribed to a half dozen paper magazines. I receive two today, QST and the American Rifleman, both perks of my life memberships in their parent organizations. The iOS apps for both are good enough that I usually read them using my 12” iPad Pro rather than leafing through the paper versions. As a bonus the electronic version is available days before its paper counterpart and never arrives mangled by the USPS.

        Since discovering the Libby app and the wide variety of digital magazines loaned by the Pikes Peak Library District I have almost entirely bypassed the few retail magazine racks left. I’m reading the BBC’s Sky at Night magazine on the iPad right now, with the latest issues of Astronomy and CQ queued up when I’ve finished with that one. I do subscribe to one additional pub, the Spectrum Monitor. That one is the reincarnation of the late lamented Popular Communications but available only as a PDF. It’s professionally done and worth the $24 cost of an annual subscription.

    My Bride and I have made waffles for Sunday brunch for the past 50 years. It has become a tradition for us. We use a hotel-quality professional electric waffle iron that now retails for over $400. We tried to replace our 20-plus year-old device from Amazon. We received two of them (sequentially returned after failure). Amazon was great. Full refund and try again. These expensive waffle irons were sourced from China (although originally designed by a venerable USA company). Two-in-a-row failures indicates a serious assembly line quality problem. The failures were (1) No heating at all, (2) No indication of completion of the waffle (It’s supposed to beep when done).

    We love our waffles. Hopefully the waffle baking devices can be again made in the USA.

  10. This just came to me: grocery stores used to ALWAYS give you complimentary bags for your purchases. In this area at least, that’s no longer the case. The government FORCED them to charge customers for the bags. I can understand that for plastic bags, to some extent, but they even have to charge for PAPER bags now, which are inherently reusable and recyclable. Idiocy!

    (As a result, I never buy more groceries at one time any more than I can carry to the car in my own hands.)

    1. We don’t have nonsense like that in Arizona, except maybe for hipster places like Natural Grocer and Sprouts. There are things we buy at Natural Grocer that you don’t see at Fry’s (cream without thickeners being the main ones) and when we go there we bring out own bags.

      At Costco they put your stuff in smallish boxes, no charge. Scottsdale recycles cardboard boxes. It works, and plastic is not involved

  11. greatUnknown says:

    I would add some intangibles, but perhaps more significant: ethics, honor, respect …

  12. Records. A lot less common than they used to be. My turntable isn’t even plugged in.
    Floppy disks. Try to find any! My 8″ and 5.25″ drives are long gone. I have a few 3.5″ floppys around, and a USB floppy drive to read them. Haven’t read a floppy in five years.
    DOS – almost entirely gone. My DOS Paradox business data base quit working after 17 years, as a regular Windows DOS shell will no longer run the code. I had a slew of little DOS utilities like LIST and MYWRITE. Won’t work anymore except in a “compatibility” window.

    1. TRX says:

      I still use Vern Buerg’s LIST.COM, as I have since the 1980s. Nowadays it runs under FreeDOS in a DOSEMU emulator under KDE on Linux, but there’s nothing else quite like it. And its hexadecimal display mode is a tool that I don’t use often, but has often been extremely useful.

      I am slowly weaning myself from PC-Write, which I’ve also used since the 1980s. Oddly, of all the available choices, xemacs is still high on the list. vi used to be the default on all *nix systems, but I never warmed to it past learning the half-dozen basic commands needed to get around.

  13. Rich Rostrom says:

    Donald R Doerres – January 26, 2023 at 2:03 PM:
    Records. A lot less common than they used to be. My turntable isn’t even plugged in.

    Actually, “vinyl” has had a sort of comeback in the last generation. DJs use vinyl records on turntables for “scratching” and “sampling”; there is a a small industry catering to that niche. Also, some audiophiles prefer vinyl records. In fact, AIUI, vinyl records now outsell CDs, which have declined severely.

    Floppy disks. And yet, in many applications, “Save” is represented by an icon of a floppy disk. (Or more accurately, a diskette; the 3.5″ diskette was in a hard case, so not “floppy”.)

    OTOH, disk cartridge drives have vanished, leaving no trace.

    1. TRX says:

      And it looks like vinyl is on its way back out, as the copyright holders often seem uninterested in re-releasing their back catalog. There are a number of articles about it on the web.

      It sounds like the same problem as traditional paper publishing; “we’ve always done it this way, and we’re unwilling to acknowledge we no longer have a monopoly.”

  14. Spencer Arnold says:

    Balsa Wood Models (aircraft ones) – my brothers and I used pin these out on a board following a pattern then try and wind up the rubber band to go the longest distance. Can’t even find a decent balsa glider pattern online.

    Engineering Model Clubs – my dad used to make RC boats and was a member of the local modelling club (airplanes, boats, small steam trains that ran, those wire-controlled planes mentioned earlier). Great fun to watch as a kid. Place is a ghost-town now.

    Manners – enough said.

    1. Yes. I loved these when I was 8-11 or so, and bought them at the local hardware store, which was a locally owned one-off that sold a fair number of hobby items, including chemistry set stuff and model kits.

      My dad was an ace at building balsa/tissue model planes. He had an old drafting board to which he taped the patterns, overlaid them with wax paper, and then glued pieces of wood held in place by pins. When I was 7 or maybe 8 he built a beautiful big rubber-band plane called the Gull, and we flew it at big parks until it hit something and imploded under tension from the rubber bands. I had a couple of “slingshot gliders” as we called them, which were balsa gliders with a notch under the nose so you could stretch a rubber band with a handle and shoot them straight up and watch them circle back down.

    2. TRX says:

      I built a lot of balsa airplanes until my early teens.

      Somewhere in the mid-1970s it became a “retirement hobby”, and their new market demographic was willing to pay far more than my youthful finances could handle.

  15. Lee Hart says:

    Through-hole electronic components.

    Serious kits (not blinkies or toys). Things like cars, boats, planes, and even houses used to offered in kit form. Now Ikea furniture is about all that’s left.

    1. Electronics as a hobby has been moving toward microcontrollers for a long time. Now that Fry’s Electronics and Radio Shack are gone, I’m not sure where you can find resistors at a store. I was sending away for them as far back as the early 90s, and still have a lot of the old catalogs in a file cabinet, most of them from companies now-extinct.

  16. Oh–the hymn that was played by the ice-cream truck in Des Plaines in the oughts and early teens was Holy Manna, sped up and made bouncy. Here’s a recording on solo piano, that comes the closest among those I found on YouTube.

  17. Rich Rostrom says:


    That is, the ones on the street to drop letters in. There are hardly any left: only two with a mile of my present residence. (Though oddly, there are three in a six-block stretch of a street about 1.5 miles away.)

    1. The lighters have long gone away. The sockets they sat in are perfect for high-current use, and my guess is they’ll be around forever. I’m guessing a lot of under-30s simply don’t remember what they were originally for.

      When I was in college (1970-1974) there were ash trays in most of the classrooms and smoking was permitted. The good news on that front is that by then at least some of the risks were understood, and very few of the students smoked in class.

      1. Cripes, this reply was intended for one of the posters upstream. No idea why it’s here, but they’re not easy to move.

    2. Yes! When I lived at home there was a mailbox at the corner of Clarence and Oriole. I made very good use of it, once I met Carol and we kept up a correspondence even though we saw each other in person at least once a week.

      Down here in Phoenix, the only places you see mailboxes these days are at strip malls or as I call them, “retail hubs,” which tend to be at the intersection of two arterial streets. The ones we use are at 64th St. & Greenway and another at Shea and Scottsdale Road.

      Nobody writes letters anymore, I guess.

      1. TRX says:

        I live in one of the larger towns in my state. Other than the mail drop in front of the Post Office, I only know of *one* mailbox. There used to be two or three others, but they vanished long ago.

  18. Tom says:

    The Chicago Sun-Times! Mike Royko, Ann Landers.

    The department stores, Sears, Montgomery-Wards, Marshall-Fields, Wieboldts and Goldblatts. And the smaller stores, Kresge and Woolworths.

    Watching the White-Sox on channel 44 and listening to the play by play on WMAQ-AM. Larry Lujack (and “Lil’ Tommy) on WLS. Remember the rivalry between WLS and WCFL? Bob and Betty Sanders on WBBM. The rock stations on FM – remember WFYR? High brows listened to NPR on WBEZ or classical on WFMT.

    1. I remember all that stuff. What I don’t remember is the Sun Times going out of business. Ahh, well. Print is not having much fun these days, in any category.

      I listened to both WLS and WCFL depending on the DJs, and once rock got a little harder than I cared for, I slid over to WIND, which by the time I was in college got most of my attention on the radio side. WIND launched the career of Connie Szerszen, the first woman DJ in a major market. She DJ’d our 25th wedding anniversary bash in 2001, and is now an author, artist, and good friend.

      There’s a lot of Chicago radio nostalgia on a site called Forgotten Hits:

      I didn’t have a reasonable FM radio until I was almost done with college, and once I had one, I mostly listened to WFMT.

      1. The Sun-Times is still publishing. The Chicago Daily News and the Chicago American were a commonplace when I lived in Chicago. Both are gone now for decades.

        1. Tom Byers says:

          Chicago AM radio was unique – lively and always fun.

          Remember – Larry Lujack and Lil Tommy / Animal Stories – WLS 890

          WGN 720 had Wally Phillips.

          WBBM – News Radio 78! Bob and Betty Sanders. Traffic on the “Eights” (WBBM is still around, still stream it from time to time)

          WLS (once owned by Sears) “World’s Largest Store”

          WGN (Chicago Tribune) “World’s Greatest Newspaper” (opinions may vary)

          WBBM “We Broadcast Better Music” (somewhat ironic)

          1. Also:

            WAIT – The World’s Most Beautiful Music.
            Beautiful–if you spent a lot of time listening in elevators.

            My dad always had WGN on the radio when we were in the car. They played the occasional light-pop song, and novelty things like “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport (1963.) Sure, and Frank Sinatra/Sammy Davis Jr/Andy Williams etc. Better that than WAIT, granting that that bar is pretty much sitting on the floor.

            If I had to choose an all-time favorite AM radio station, it would probably be WIND, which resisted the pull toward harder rock that cooled my opinion of WLS & WCFL.

          2. Tom Byers says:

            Ah memories…

            Who remembers the FCC First Class Radiotelephone license? It took three visits to the FCC office but I finally passed the test. I was convinced that an exciting job in broadcasting was just around the corner.

            Sadly, the worn out and temperamental equipment as well as the low pay at my first job at a Florida AM (daylight only) station quickly made me reconsider my career choices.

            BTW, that station (different call sign) is still on the air. Talk radio format.

            It was supposed to be the magic ticket to an exciting job in electronics.

  19. Bill Beggs says:

    I would add:
    – Talk Radio. For two reasons: demographic is 60+ years old and the dramatic drop in AM radio listening (add AM radio to the list)
    – Shortwave Radio listening: tight government budgets (always an easy target for cuts) and the internet killed this one off.
    – Not only drive-in theaters, but sit-in theaters as well. Almost everyone I know has at 60+ inch TV with a quality sound system. Why pay $8-$12 to be bombarded with ads (before the movie starts) and ridiculous costs at the snack bar.
    – Cable/Satellite TV. This one deserves to die. The so-called ‘pay-tiers’ were a rip-off. Steaming is king these days.
    – Ham Radio? To my chagrin. The majority of folks still involved in the hobby are 60+ years old. High equipment costs and HOAs are also factors.
    – Hugo Awards. Wokeness on full display. Totally irreverent.

    1. AM radio, yeah. The only music you find on AM these days is Mexican. Talk radio isn’t as big as it used to be, but there are stations that are like podcasts: Not 2-way, but entirely spoken, usually about money management or politics.

      Carol and I are still using the 57″ TV we bought in 2011, and we’re now looking for something on the upside of 65″. I think we can go to 70″ without having to move a bookcase. I agree; the Hollywood big screen is less compelling with modern TV screen sizes and resolution. I don’t remember the last time we went to a movie; I’m pretty sure it was when we were still in Colorado.

      And yes, ham radio. Deed restrictions are the leading villain there; most of them forbid even invisible antennas. The demographic is getting older, but I know a surprising number of under-50s who work the repeaters from their cars, and a few who have unobtrusive antennas. The 40′ tower and beam are slowly becoming extinct. I never had such a tower, but now, at 70, I don’t think I’d climb one even if I had one.

      Hugos. Uggh. They’re being steamrolled by things like the Dragon Awards. And the traditional publishers of SF are suffering from pressure by Amazon KDP. I learned SF from spinracks once I exhausted the (slim) collection at our closest public library. Spinracks are gone too.

  20. […] in January I published a list of things that had once been common and are now fading into the mists of history. It got a lot of attention, so here comes another one. A few of these came from readers and posted […]

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