|As a kid in the early 60s, I picked up pop bottles
spied on my daily bike rides to cash in for 2 cents apiece. My preferred
outlet was the Lucky Seven convenience store on King Street across from McKinley
Elementary School. I immediately reinvested the currency into comic books,
Topps baseball cards with the brittle slab o' gum, plus other tooth
Some of the bottles on this
page I associate with stopping at gas stations for snacks on the way to Ft.
Gibson or Tenkiller or Grand Lake. The brands were not seen in Tulsa (at
least not by me), and therefore seemed exotic. Typical choices would be Grapette
and Tom's Peanuts for me, and Nesbitt's Orange or (ugh) Chocolate Soldier
and a Payday candy bar for my brother.
In those environmentally unconscious days, I remember spotting some of these
bottles languishing near the shore full of muddy water, and fishing them
out. My ambition was to become a professional diver, like my hero, Mike Nelson
of "Sea Hunt"
(played by Lloyd Bridges). Selling these particular bottles made me
feel closer to my goal.
Here is a 1961 Tulsa TV schedule with "Sea
Hunt" on at 8:30 pm.
Drinking RC at 11th & Garnett DX. Courtesy of Beryl Ford
Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical
Close-up photo of the Royal Crown Cola bottle the kid is
Frequent destination: Topper at Ft. Gibson. Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary
Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library & Tulsa Historical Society
||The 1960-61 series, "The Aquanauts" / "Malibu Run"
(cast and locale changed mid-season) also got me pretty fired up.
I drew the "Malibu Run" logo in crayon onto a cloth bag and had my mom iron
it in. The initials belong to me, my brother and David Walsh, the other intrepid
member of my diving club.
I see now that the logo was a stylized landscape
Cove) with sun and fish.
Here is an
A scuba-related personal story before showing
you some pop bottles of that era:
|Central Skindivers of Jamaica, NY featured a pulse-quickening
item in their 1960 catalog: a real, working miniature scuba tank. Every time
I looked at the photo, I visualized myself slowly swimming underwater without
holding my breath, like Mike Nelson. But $38.95? How could I get that kind
of money? Not by picking up pop bottles, that was for sure.
The answer appeared to me in Boys' Life magazine: selling "Grit" newspaper.
I'm not sure what kind of market there would have been for Grit in my
neighborhood in the early 60s, but it proved to be a moot question; my parents
absolutely wouldn't go for it, no matter how many copies of Grit I might
In retrospect, I see that I conveniently ignored the "12 or older" requirement
in the Grit ad.
|The next best thing from Central's catalog was the Surf-Lung. It looked
cool and was much less expensive. I put it on my Christmas list.
It was a long wait for weather warm enough to try it out. I was already
well-equipped with a Healthways "Ostrica Jr." mask and Mares "Caribbean"
fins from a previous Christmas.
The Surf-Lung proved to be less thrilling in practice than in concept.
As a snorkel, it was inferior to the regular kind. It was also nearly impossible
to dive below the surface with the Surf-Lung strapped on. Loading up the
unscrewable compartment at the bottom with sand did little to offset its
cork-like buoyancy. It was frustrating.
the years went by, my interest shifted to less athletic pursuits, like
the Digi-Comp I mechanical computer.
(See a color photograph of the Surf-Lung in
The Vintage Scuba
|Later in life, I returned to diving. I've taken scuba trips to Cozumel,
Grand Cayman, and the Florida Panhandle. I also became a computer programmer.
I was reminded of this story when I watched reader Kirk Demarais' Flash cartoon
"Uncle Laff's Legacy" from his web site,
Secret Fun Spot.
The webmaster in Vortex Spring near Ponce De Leon, Florida, 1986
As Mike Nelson said at the end of each "Sea Hunt" episode: "Plan to be with
us again, uh?"
And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.
Perhaps the bottles displayed below will resonate with you, too. ;-)
My brother's choices as noted above: Nesbitt's Orange or (ugh) Chocolate
"Mama" Size Dad's & a "King Size" Junior Dad's? Head-scratching
concepts at the time.
7Up's slogan prior to the 1970s was "You like it, it likes
The Uncola, 7Up, was one of Mazeppa's early sponsors.
Watch Geoffrey Holder's classic Uncola
Grapette felt great in the hand.
I think of Sun Crest and Crush as strictly "lake" pops.
A&W root beer was best appreciated at the
A&W drive-in across from the Admiral Twin Drive-In..
|(from Guestbook 131) Deric Davis said:
CharlieO ad from 1/1983 "Tulsa
Time", courtesy of Roy Payton
This site is the most fascinating and addicting I have come across. I am
28, so my earliest memories start around '78 and '79.
Does anyone remember an odd company called Charlie-O or Charley-O's that
would install a carbonated water tap in your kitchen and give you a variety
of syrups that you could mix for soda? It was a home fountain drink service
in the early 80's. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
I do remember it, and
CharlieO is apparently still
a going concern in OKC. You can see and read about Charles O. Gordon at
Interestingly, he had a hand in the
Mountain Dew story
on the same site.
Gordon is also noted for creating "Dr. Enuf"...maybe the knock-off
version would be "Mr. Adequate"?
It'll tickle yore innards with a wallop of caffeine and sugar.
|(from Guestbook 75) David Bagsby said:
...does anyone remember how Mountain Dew used to change the graphics on its
bottle? I know the basic theme was a hillbilly scene with the changing element
being the pig: sometimes laughing, sometimes horrified, sometimes running
in fear. I used to try to collect them all, but alas, pop bottles being the
currency of childhood, undoubtedly ended up being cashed in for comics, monster
magazines, or Wacky Packages.
Cragmont Sparkling Punch is a little out of place here...maybe
(from Guestbook 128) Steve Bagsby said:
Speaking of drive-Ins, our clan spent a lot of time at the
11th Street Drive-In. Dad told me it was
originally called the "66" and was one the first big landmarks you saw before
getting into town. I can remember Mom loading up a metal ice chest with Cragmont
Soda Pop (Sparkling Punch for David and me). Seems like it was a big deal
in the 1970's when they added a second screen on the West Side. I do remember
seeing a long line of tail lights stacked up on 11th whenever they had a
It made you appreciate the strength of a Ford Galaxie to have seen me and
Dave climbing all over that car waiting for the show to start. Too much Sparkling
Punch and Oreos I guess.
(from Guestbook 198) Frank Morrow said:
The soft drink
El Wino had many commercials on KAKC (1950s). They had a bit of a
tongue twister each time you read it, "Get your favorite flavor of your flavor
favorite." In half of the commercials they'd reverse it, "From your flavor
favorite, get your favorite flavor." I hated reading those commercials.
During the early Monday evening shows before the wrestling matches upstairs
in the Coliseum, Sam Avey (owner of KAKC) would come down and interview the
wrestlers who were on the card that night. Jack Moore was the announcer in
the studio. He'd introduce the program and read the commercials for El Wino.
It bugged him that Avey would look over his shoulder and follow the script
while Jack read the commercial. Jack loved to say the "flavor favorite" words
the opposite of what was on the script, just to bug the big boss.