Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.
Sears Catalog, Fall/Winter 1975
Discovered at: Handed down by my grandmother, who treasured it. Seriously.
The Cover Promises: You should have bought these clothes, hoarded them for 35 years, and then opened a vintage shop.
Back before America had grown comfortable with Harvey Keitel and HBO dramas, a man’s junk displayed in public was a rare and special event, something like a fleshy unicorn – but, thanks to the national squeamishness, usually less rigid.
And so it was with great joy that Americans beheld page 602 of their 1975 Christmas wishbooks, where, on the eve of the bicentennial, a man and his manhood reminded us all of just what this country had been built upon.
See that lil’ guy dangling out of the hem of his boxers?
Maybe it’s just an erotic smudge. Let’s look closer:
Could it be a growth? A smuggled hotdog? A Fisher-Price person? Like Amway or that that cave in The Empire Strikes Back, what you get out of page 602 depends on what you put into it.
Whatever it was, people took notice. A fellow calling himself Zoot Fenster recorded a novelty tribute titled “The Man on Page 602.” Sample lyric: “Are they advertising boxer shorts, or are they trying to sell the man?” My grandma bought two copies of the 45.
Paging through the rest of the catalog, you can see why people got so worked up. Back then, fellows hid their talents any way they could. Some resorted to sleepy-time man-dresses.
In the 70s, every man was a cop.
Or an assassin.
Oh my God, he’s got a gun! I mean, another gun!
Although ERA never passed, by 1975 women had made serious strides in society. One victory: the right to pleasure themelves upon parade floats.
As you might expect, almost every page of this catalog offers unfathomable delights. Did you know carpet could puke?
Inset: a stylish protozoa.
The catalog is a relentless assault of yellow and puce outfits that would turn into puddles if you dried them in the microwave. Of course, a couple items have aged well. This one is still awesome.
And if I ever met Young Joe Lieberman, I would be first in line to beat him up and steal his overalls.
Meet the host of the world’s greatest underpants party.
“Great to see you! Glad you could make it! The men are outside, and the ladies are in the kitchen!”
Thanks, Grandma Scherstuhl!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 7, 2010