There are certain skateboarding magazines, and I don’t want to name any names here, but there are certain skateboarding magazines with the word “Transworld” in the title, in particular, that don’t seem to think there’s any distinction between content and advertising. Now, I understand that the print industry is withering up as we speak, and ads basically pay for the entire operation to continue lumbering along. But is it possible that the American culture, especially youth culture, being so constantly besieged by marketing tactics and flashing lights, has also forgotten the distinction?
While watching Torey Pudwill’s much-hyped “Big Bang” web part, I couldn’t help thinking, “Wow, this is a really over-the-top Grizzly grip commercial.” Ironically enough, it’s supposed to be a really over-the-top Plan B commercial, and all those teasers leading up to it where Torey was wearing so much overt Thrasher product it looked like they had started a Nascar team were more or less a series of Thrasher ads, and meanwhile audiences are operating under the assumption this is all free “entertainment.” Never forget, dear readers, entertainment, even when it’s “free”, costs a hefty fuckin’ fee.
Nonetheless, skateboarding and capitalism have been well acquainted for many years, long before Torey Pudwill was even born, in fact. There’s no getting around the monetization of skateboarding. Not to mention, it’d be pretty inconvenient if you couldn’t just pop into your local shop and pick up the exact type of wheels you like because nobody actually made them, so it’s not all bad. With that in mind, here’s a collection of vintage skateboarding advertisements, via Visual News, from a time when it all seemed less like brainwashing and more like… well… entertainment, I guess.
Let’s go back to that time long ago, a time when Vans were Van’s…
Still, the more things change, the more they stay the same. You could still rock those today.
I wear nothing but Vans, they’re dependable for critical situations — Stacy Peralta
I wear nothing but Vans, either, Stace, but what the fuck is this about critical situations? Like when you’re straightening your hair and drop the flat iron on your foot?
I really like these two Cadillac wheels ads. Although the first might not be the kind of thing you’d really want hanging on your bedroom wall, the second has enough fire in it to make up for the fact that the background illustration basically looks like it was torn out of a children’s book.
Ride Gullwing Trucks, they’re practically indestructible! Mostly because your wheels are so fucking huge you can’t actually grind anything, anyway.
Aren’t knee pads kind of the exact opposite of gnarly?
Think I’ve seen some girls around Brooklyn wearing Bob Mohr’s shorts here this summer. I agree, they look better on him, but I think the way his mustache gleams in the sun and that receding hairline are helping.
This is our heritage… rich, adventurous… embarrassing. It’s getting kind of hard to believe skateboarding ever managed to be perceived as cool, huh?