The year was 1975. Pinball machines, microwaves and Pong topped Christmas wish lists. And Sears, then a retail giant, was the place in Dallas where you could buy all three.
That peek into the past was discovered (once again) this week by the SMU Jones Film Collection, a YouTube treasure trove of retro Dallas, with clips from the WFAA archives.
One of the Jones collection's latest offerings featured a WFAA report from a Dallas Sears store, just days from Christmas in 1975.
The all-everything department store filed for bankruptcy this year, after years in decline. But long before Amazon and Cyber Monday, the Sears shown in the WFAA story was packed with holiday shoppers.
In the roughly minute-long clip, you can spot racks of Silly Putty; the familiar packaging of Duracell; sewing cards; a Slinky; a "Sleepy Times Rhymes" book; an ironing set; the new Sears-branded "Tele-Games" (featuring Pong); microwave ovens; Kenmore dishwashers; a juicer; and a pinball machine, on sale for $199.99, with others priced as high as $700.
"Would people pay that much for a game?" reporter Betty Hoover asked. "You bet. The salesmen say this stack of Pong games will be gone in four hours."
Sears was expecting 5-6 million shoppers (presumably nationwide) in the days leading up to Christmas that year.
"But there's little rest for weary," Hoover said. "The after-Christmas sale starts Monday."