Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Discuss: the Bicentennial

Karen:  Probably most of us were around for July 4, 1976. What do you remember? There was so much hoopla. Parades, fireworks shows, TV specials, the bicentennial Quarter, and let's not forget Captain America's Bicentennial Battles! Let's hear it (with apologies to our friends overseas, who probably couldn't care less!).


Edo Bosnar said...

I'm one of those "overseas" guys now, but I was front and center for this back in 1976. The main thing I remember was how it was constantly referenced everywhere: on TV, esp. in variety shows or whatnot, with patriotically intoned sketches or musical numbers, on the radio, etc.
Also, I remember that bicentennial logo you posted was ubiquitous: I know I had at least one t-shirt with it, as did my sister and brother, and you could see it on bumper-stickers, badges, lapel-pins, caps, etc., and even on the packaging of things like Wonder Bread or laundry detergent.

And yes, I had Cap's Bicentennial Battles. That was probably my favorite Treasury-sized book.

david_b said...

I've heard SO much about that Cap Treasury Edition, I'll have to pick it up soon..

Ah, it was a fun year. I remember delivering papers both morning and afternoon editions (the Milwaukee Sentinel AND Journal, respectively..) for extra $$ during the summer months, reading any/all Viking I stories about it's approach to the first Mars landing..

Was looking forward to the Carter/Mondale administration (we all saw how THAT went..), 'Battle of the Network Stars', and still enjoying my 1999 on television.

My mom and I scooped up some nice Norman Rockwell magazine covers, one of my fav artists. It was a pleasant time.

Anonymous said...

I remember winning a bicentennial candle, with that logo of course, in a classroom raffle and being so happy with it because I never won anything before in my life. And, as Edo pointed out, I remember that it was everywhere. I also remember the phrase "bicentennial rip-off".

I also have that treasury edition but don't remember much about it except that it was by Kirby and I probably thought it was pretty hokey at the time. I may have to go find it and give it another looksee.


Karen said...

I didn't get that Treasury edition because I was so disappointed with Kirby taking over Cap at the time. But I might have to get it now, just for old times sake.

My memories of that time are just saturated with the commercialization of the event. Everything was red, white, and blue. Almost every product seemed to have a tie-in. One thing I recall were these red, white and blue popsicles we kept getting from the mom and pop store a few blocks from home that summer.

And the clothing! Everyone had some sort of quasi-patriotic outfit -and it being the 70s, they were the most garish things imaginable! I know I had some red, white and blue pants that I hope were burned!

Anonymous said...

I remember very little as I turned 5 that summer.

The things I do remember were the Bicentennial Minute (on CBS) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUoto1lsX50

and my family going up on the roof to see fireworks with a relative visiting from Puerto Rico, which to this day live in my memory as the most intense fireworks I have ever seen.

Oh, and that summer they painted all the fire hydrants red, white and blue with stars - and to this day all around Brooklyn you can still find hydrants that are repainted in those colors every few years to keep them fresh.

Edo Bosnar said...

Osvaldo, I also remember a very intense and elaborate fireworks show on the 4th in 1976.

Karen and others, back in '76 I was 7/8 years old, and still early in my comics-reading career. I still didn't even have a handle on the names of the various artists, but at that point I pretty actively disliked Kirby's art - I basically avoided Cap's regular title because of it. However, for some reason I just loved the Bicentennial Battles book. Can't really say why, but I was absolutely captivated by it, and remember reading it several times over that summer.

Anonymous said...

You know, it's funny how your beliefs and perceptions are molded by people you meet. Like Karen and Edo, I remember very much disliking Cap's regular title when Kirby took over. But '75-76 was my first year of high school. I met a new friend who was into comics far more than I was. I was merely a reader. He was a collector. He "explained" to me who the King was. So, according to my friend, it was not possible to not like Kirby. Nay, that would be blasphemy. So I came to appreciate him as the most brilliant comic artist and creator of the Silver Age.

Still just tolerated his Bronze stuff though.


MattComix said...

Tabloid sized comic-book specials pretty much make up the bulk of what I remember about the Bicentennial.

J.A. Morris said...

I remember it the way Karen does, red, white and blue EVERYTHING. Clothes, food flags everywhere.

I don't care much for Kirby's Cap in the Bronze Age, but that Treasury comic is lots of fun, highly recommended, especially if you're a fan of history and time travel stories.

But there's a less "famous" Bicentennial comic that features Cap. Spidey Super Stories #17 had a story where Kang went back in time and tried to stop the United States from winning independence from England! But Cap & Spidey followed him back to 1776, here's the great cover by John Romita:

Fred W. Hill said...

The summer of 1976 was rather memorable for me as my family traveled half-way across the country from San Francisco to a small town in central Texas, Mineola, for my cousin David's wedding, which turned out to be the last time I saw him so far (he's now 56 and has 5 adult kids and numerous grandkids), as well as the last time I saw my maternal grandmother and my Uncle Billy (who left my Aunt Connie, my mom's sister, immediately after the wedding to hitch up with another woman!). Along the way, I recall we stopped at a restaurant with a general store with a comics selection, where I recall my dad bought me the first issues of Nova and Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man; I also think I got a Spider-Man annual that reprinted that wild yarn wherein the Avengers hazed Spidey by siccing him on the Hulk ("hey, Spidey, despite the fact that none of the rest of us ever had to undergo any sort of initiation rite and not even our mightiest member, Thor, has ever managed to capture the big, green galoot, we want you to get him for us and if you succeed we might just consider allowing you to join us!" Yeah, that struck me as exceedingly silly even back then.)
Later that summer, we moved from S.F. to Lemoore, a small town roughly midway between Fresno & Bakersfield where I began high school, the New Kid in Town, as the Eagles' tune that would become a big hit later that year put it. I also recall hearing McCartney & Wings' big hits of the year, Silly Love Songs and Let 'Em In over and over on the car radio during our travels, and later Hotel California and the Steve Miller Band's Fly Like an Eagle and Take the Money & Run.
Alas, 1976 was also the year I took increasingly to retreating from the world into my bedroom, with my Siamese cat, my comics and my favorite songs. The poster boy for skinny, introverted geeks. And so it goes.

Edo Bosnar said...

J.A., thanks for posting that link! I had that issue as well, and it really brought back memories...

Unknown said...

I remember a Mad magazine from '76 that had a bicentennial
Theme. It advertised a Patrick Henry doll that rants and raves and wets it's pants. The bicentennial itself was touted as an event where "...you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss three bucks goodbye." I was howling in laughter in the back seat if my friend's Mom-mobile when I read through it.

For some reason, the story for Cap's Bicentennial Battles worked at the time, while the stories in Cap's regular book didn't work in the slightest. It seemed odd to me then and now.

Howard the Duck and his presidential bid were a big deal at the time too. Get Down, America!

DC put out a bicentennial treasury edition with Superman on the cover. Inside, he just introduced old Tomahawk reprints. I would hate to be the poor schmuck who bought it without looking inside first.

We're celebrating the 4th by.......flying to London. We actually touch down on the 4th. Color me a redcoat if you must, but we are excited! So if you Londoner's see an American with his young son dodging his wife in Forbidden Planet, that'll be...

James Chatterton

Related Posts with Thumbnails