Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Miniskirt Knee Tickler

So revolutionary and popular were miniskirts in the 1960′s that a plethora of accessories were made for them. This “Original Mini- Skirt Accessory” is easily one of the more insane ones. I guess the object was to remind you you were wearing a miniskirt when, clipped to the hem line, the little ball swinging from the 1-1/2″ long chain bounced or tick-tocked against your knee with each step.

The manufacturer, listed nowhere on the product or card it’s attached to, was trying to combine two late 60′s trends into one – miniskirts and peace symbols, often worn by two different groups of teenagers and young adults.


I think the nameless company needed to be a little more generous with the 1-1/2″ length of the tickler if, in fact, it was to hit the knee. The only way this would’ve reached there was with a full-length above-the-knee skirt, totally taking ‘mini’ out of the equation. I’ve enhanced the Knee Tickler to about three times its actual size to demonstrate:

It would actually take ten Knee Ticklers to reach the knee were it attached to an actual miniskirt. I mean no copyright infringement to McCalls but I’ve doctored the image to demonstrate. The Knee tickers are almost double their real size because they’d be too small to see.

I always love a product that merely capitalizes on a craze as opposed to serving any real function. And regardless of whether the little gold ball bangs against your thigh or knee, I would think it was less of a tickling effect than a bruising one after it slapped against your skin all day. It would make a better lapel pin anyway.

But then it never could’ve had such a spectacular name.

 

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Categories: Accessories, Fashion, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – “Styled In Hollywood” Tootsie Palette

This Tootsie Palette is one of the first things I found in a thrift shop after moving to Hollywood in 1976. I was so excited I could finally have feet like the stars!

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Categories: Gadgets, Health & Beauty, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Japanese Banana Slicer

I was so excited to use my new Japanese-by way-of-China Banana Slicer I ran to rip the package open as soon as I got it home.

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Categories: Accessories, Bad translations, Food, Gadgets, Kitchen, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Mr. T A-Team Transistor Radio

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I was never into The A-Team when it came out in the 1980′s. But lately, as I flip through channels in the wee hours of the morning trying to find something to fall asleep to, I’ve gotten completely obsessed with the reruns on Centric. I love all the low camera angles as truck tires screech by and slam dirt into the camera and explosions blow up right in your face. The direction has a clear POV and things that hover near the ground get as many close-ups as the actors do. And, of course, there’s always Mr. T, whose memorabilia I’ve slowly but surely collected over the years – banks, gold chain bubblegum, coloring books, puffy stickers, lunchboxes, air fresheners, and this Mr. T radio I recently received as a gift.

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Categories: Afro, Celebrity, Forgot to Categorize, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Technology, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950′s Tiger Paw Vibrating Back Scratcher

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I used to love back scratchers as a kid, the long skinny brittle plastic kind that the hand snapped off of if you jerked them along your back too fast. I always loved the little lifelike looking clawed hands, fingers curled for maximum scratching action. I remember the first time I saw one of the battery-operated ones. I had already been made aware of similar looking battery-operated things though those didn’t have aluminum arms and teeny little hands attached to them. And none of them were near as elegant as this tiger skinned vibrating gadget.

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Categories: Animals, Furniture and Housewares, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Pomplamoose, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Coleco “Quiz Wiz” Computer Answer Game and 42,000 Terabytes Later…

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Most people have a laptop or desktop computer and, if they’re lucky, a few terabytes of storage. I have 42,000 terabytes, the ever-growing result of owning one of the first networked houses in LA and being terminally digital dependent. I put the network in in 1991 when I connected all of my then three Macs and got online. This was still in the day when 97% of  the world’s population and 99.9% of the entertainment industry either never heard of the Internet or thought it was the dorkiest medium possible and would “never catch on”.  But I was clear that for me it was the road to ultimate self-expression, a way out of  being under the thumb of media conglomerates who controlled when and how I could express myself via my career. I was always a vociferous documenter and archivist so once that network went in my house it grew by leaps and bounds to this very day when my “laptop” looks like this:

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Categories: Gadgets, Games, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Technology

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Holiday Cleanup with the Ronco Miracle Broom

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In 1973 when the Ronco Miracle Broom sprung on the market half of the households in America started vacuuming their shag with this revolutionary cordless electric vacuum cleaner.  That’s reason enough to collect it now but with products like this, especially those made in the 70′s and especially in the genre of products sold on TV – the Miracle Broom was among the first of hard-sell filmed TV commercials hawking new and unique products birthing what would later be known as the infomercial – oftentimes the box was as good as the product that came in it. Not to say that this Streamlined Moderne-meets-70′s-modern looking gadget isn’t great in and of itself but the graphics showing suggested uses of the product are even better. Blown out color, cheesy furniture and excellence in hand modeling being some of the pillars of that greatness. Here’s one of my favorite shots:

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Categories: Accessories, Advertising/ Promotion, Brands, Furniture and Housewares, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Music Muffs Radio Headphones

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Without question, these are by far my favorites of the 50 or 60 pairs of headphones that I own. Although of no use whatsoever in my recording studio as their sole purpose is to wear them to listen to the radio they still are the best looking set of phones I’ve ever seen.headphones-music-muffs_6724

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Categories: Accessories, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Pomplamoose, Technology, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950′s Magic Stitcher

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I can’t tell you how many of these little sewing gadgets I bought throughout my teenage and young adult years. The ads in the back of magazines for these always made it look like you’d be sewing like a fiend in no time. In actuality, all I did was constantly poke holes in my fingers and make incredibly messy seams and hemlines in all the clothes that I ended up ruining trying to use one of these things.

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Categories: Accessories, Crafts, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Velveeta Camera and “Food For Thought” Party Photos!

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This is one of the few food related items that John Lloyd Young didn’t jewel at my place last Sunday when The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch & APLA hosted “Food for Thought”, the first ever exhibition of his brilliant Pop Kitsch art interpretations of iconically kitschy komfort foods. Had I remembered where I put it I may have used my Velveeta camera to take some fabulous photos that day.  Lucky for us I didn’t as you can actually see the work and the beautiful Pop Kitsch guests like RuPaul who came to view it much clearer then my little Shells & Cheese Dinner baby is capable of popping out.

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Categories: Furniture and Housewares, Gadgets, Kitchen, Kitsch, Music, Party, People, Press, The Color Purple

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