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The 1970s was a great decade. Ipswich won the F.A. Cup, Star Wars hit the screens, Han shot first back then, England still had a half penny coin, Prince Charles was a care free bachelor and people thought deely boppers were a great idea.
Being a young lad at the time I was concerned with the major things in life. Eating sweets, getting sweets and working out how to get more sweets. For my American readers that last sentence reads like this. Eating candy, getting candy and working out how to get more candy.
Of course life is not all about candy. Sometimes you need something that is going to last a little longer than a penny chew. That would be a comic or a magazine, my comic of choice was the Beano. My magazine though was Look-In. Look-in was often called the Junior TV Times (TV guide in the UK) because it featured all the best kids shows and popular TV shows of the day. It contained comic strip versions of the shows, so each week I could enjoy reading the adventures of the Six Million Dollar Man, Logan’s Run or the Benny Hill Show. It also had a Football section and the latest pop music stars. In the center was always a colour picture pin-up and when my favorites Starsky and Hutch or ABBA were featured I would put them up on the wall and hear my parents moan because the sellotape was wreaking the wallpaper. Peeling the wallpaper off was a hobby of mine, but that’s a different story.
But as you know, I’m not here to talk about this great magazine and the many happy hours of reading it. Oh no, that is not my style. I’m going to talk about disappointment and life lessons.
There is nothing more that excites a young kid as candy. O.K. I only said that because I’m currently craving something chocolate flavoured. No what excites a kid is a free gift. The ones on cereal packets I loved, but hated the having to wait 28 days for delivery. The ones in the magazines though were great, you only had to wait seven days for the freebie. Oh yes they would taunt you for those seven days with TV adverts telling you how great the freebie is going to be. Look-in had some great gifts, stickers, rub on transfers even a tom and jerry nougart candy bar. But the one free gift that really had me excited was the X-Ray Glasses.
O.M.G. X-Ray glasses!!!! The T.V. Commercial says you can see right through your hand! O.M.G. I want them now! Imagine what you can do with glasses that powerful? Those were the longest seven days of my life. Pacing the house, being teased by T.V. The anticipation was un-bearable.
Look-In came out on a Thursday and this particular Thursday morning I was up early and took my pocket-money off to the local newsagent. Interesting aside, at that young age my parents had no problem letting me wander off to the newsagent on my own, nowadays kids can’t move two feet without a parent nearby.
And there it was in my hands, this weeks edition with the free X-ray specs. I rushed home with my prize. Found a quiet place in the house. And opened the magazine.
And turned a page.
What the heck?
Where are my X-Ray Glasses? They weren’t there? Just my luck to pick up the only copy with them missing. I went back to the newsagent and asked for my X-Ray Glasses and was told by the lady at the counter “tough luck, you’ll have to buy another copy.” But, But, But!
Sigh, I returned home, no X-ray glasses in hand. I told my mother what had happened and her reply was something along the lines of “Well, that woman was always a witch,” or something similar.
Now I never did get my X-ray glasses and I’m sure my life would have been totally different if I had. Right now I could be off solving crimes, or at least having fun in a bar.
In hindsight they may not have worked. Well not for me, I have real problems seeing those 3D movies. So a pair of X-ray specs? Who can tell. A life lesson learned, or two. One check your magazine before you buy it. Two, women who work in newsagents are witches, or something like that.
Below is a video of old Look-In T.V. commercials. Enjoy!