Forty-years is a long time. Four decades, full of their own fads, their own entertainment and their own technology have come and gone. Some of these things are remembered as a novelty, others are long forgotten.
But Foster and Adoptive Family Services, which was founded in 1974, continued to grow and provide support, training and advocacy to meet the special needs of foster, adoptive and kinship families in New Jersey before and after these popular ‘80s fads bit the dust.
What’s more ‘80s than ALF? The NBC sitcom about a friendly extraterrestrial named Gordon Shumway who crash landed in the garage of a suburban middle class family was a hit from 1986 to 1990, even winning a People’s Choice Award in 1987. The show went off air in 1990 after four seasons and 102 episodes.
The Sony Walkman TPS-L2 was introduced to America in June of 1980, and it wasn’t long after that you couldn’t walk across the street without seeing one. Yes, before iPhones, iPods and even CD players there was the Sony Walkman, a big bulky cassette player that was the epitome of cool for a cool decade. However, with the advent of CDs in the late ‘90s, cassette tapes and the Sony Walkmen that played them were viewed obsolete and gradually phased out. The manufacturing of the cassette-based Walkman ceased in Japan in 2010.
He wasn’t the first talking bear, but in 1985 and 1986 Teddy Ruxpin was the best-selling children’s toy around, and if you knew anyone with a child, you knew Teddy. The “talking” bear would move his mouth and eyes while “reading” stories that were playing from a cassette in his back. Teddy hit the shelves in 1985 and though he was brought back three times with three different manufacturers, Teddy is no more.
Polaroid instant cameras
During its time, there were few things as impressive as Polaroid’s instant camera. You snapped a picture and in a few minutes, you were holding it in your hand. You didn’t have to go to the drug store and wait a week. Sure, now that everything –from music and television to banking and photography – is instant the Polaroid doesn’t seem too impressive. But throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, the ability to have a picture instantly was a marvel. Polaroid discontinued its instant photo-creating film and camera in 2008.
Without it, Doc Brown and Marty McFly would never have been able to go Back to the Future. The DeLorean DMC-12, known to most simply as the DeLorean, is instantly recognizable with its stainless steel color and gull-wing doors. Manufactured in 1981 by the DeLorean Motor Company, approximately 9,000 cars were made before the company closed its doors in 1982.
While new technology, entertainment and fads were rising and falling, FAFS continued to grow stronger and more supportive throughout the 1980s. While foster children were clutching their Teddy Ruxpins and watching ALF as foster parents snapped pictures of them with their Polaroids, FAFS was partnering with DYFS as advocates and creating support groups for foster parents in every county in NJ. And after Teddy Ruxpin was put in the attic and ALF has been nearly forgotten about, FAFS is still here fighting for foster children in NJ.