These photos were taken in 1971. Only two years removed from the sixties, that era in some ways seemed eons ago. If the early 70’s appeared slightly less turbulent on the surface, they really weren’t, what with the Kent State shootings, a ramp-up in the Vietnam War, and the first manifestations of the inflation problem afoot. America continued to undergo sweeping social changes as well, including some that filtered down to my isolated, suburban, grade school life. For one thing, our TV selection changed virtually overnight.
In 1971, CBS cancelled all of its beloved rural sitcoms and a number of its more “family-oriented” shows in one fell swoop – gone were The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Mayberry R.F.D. (successor to The Andy Griffith Show), Family Affair, The Ed Sullivan Show and Hogan’s Heroes, among others. Granted, most of these shows were a long way from their peak, but they still drew respectable audiences. In their place would come new, more “ relevant” shows, pushing the new social hot buttons of the country – the initially controversial All in the Family (bigotry and the generation gap), its even more controversial spinoff Maude (women’s’ liberation), The Bob Newhart Show (sophisticated humor in an urban setting), The Mary Tyler Moore Show (a single, professional woman and her neurotic friends) and MASH (arguably a Vietnam War comedy/drama under the guise of a Korean War setting) among others. I liked ‘em all, and could still watch the cancelled stuff in reruns.
A favorite show of mine, when I could talk my folks into letting me stay up for it, was Love, American Style which ran on ABC from Fall 1969 to Spring 1974. It was an “anthology show” that usually featured three (fairly goofy) comedy/love stories in the space of an hour. Love, American Style never came close to the stature of the shows mentioned above, but it did offer a chance to see all your favorite former 1960’s stars back in action, albeit by now they had traded in the buttoned-down sixties look for flowered shirts, super-wide lapels and ties, mutton-chop sideburns and mini-skirts. The show captured the 70’s style like no other, in my opinion – it was almost like watching “That 70’s Show” in real-time.
Speaking of 70’s style, (I’m in desperate need of a segue at this point) these Zayre photos offer a healthy helping of just that. Zayre, celebrating its 15th year in 1971, was by that time 180 stores strong and still growing at a nice clip. The first five photos show one of the fifty Zayre stores that were equipped with gas stations at the time, including a nice close-up of a gas pump (with no dollar position, of course – that wouldn’t be needed for years) and some intriguing photos of a group of “Zayre-ettes”, for lack of a better word, descending on the gas station, apparently there to assist the customers with self-service fillups(?!). They’re dressed in impeccable style for the era, in clothes I can only assume didn’t come from Zayre. And those boots were definitely made for walkin’ (ok, that’s a 60’s expression). Not to be outdone, the ladies in the cashier booth are snazzed out in plaid mini-skirt outfits. Everyone’s in trademark Zayre black and red.
Below are some interior shots showing a bit more of Zayre’s “American Style”, with wonderful pseudo-Early American décor (dig that pediment signage) throughout. I particularly like the “Sportswear” department photo, as it shows a nice view of the sloped ceiling section at the front of the store, a standard feature of the early Zayre prototype. The last photo shows a phalanx of Zayre shopping carts at the front of the store, reverse-painted plastic handles gleaming. As Archie and Edith sang, “those were the days”!