Friday, October 18, 2013

Fun Friday: The Freebie Newspaper

Years ago, as an eight-year-old on vacation to Florida, I flipped through the "newspaper" that my grandparents received in their little retirement community by the beach. I found it interesting that it was free to put a short advertisement. Most people put in things like "fish tank for sale" or "seeking helper for yard work," but it was the entertainment-related inquiries that I found most fascinating. "Can someone tell me what happened on the 5/17 episode of Highlander?" and "did anyone tape last week's Cosby Show and want to share?" were the type of blurbs that I remember to this day. I've said before that I became obsessed with chronologically watching television as soon as I realized that episode order can make a difference, and posting public requests for assistance in keeping up with the latest was great. People helping people, what could be better? Of course, I knew how to program our household VCR to record shows when I was ten or so, and I actually used a VCR in college to keep up with ER and 7th Heaven, even though they were quickly fading out. 

Nowadays, there's a large internet piracy circle that helps people keep up with latest television episodes, plus wikipedia and dozens of other television-recapping websites (including this one). And, between Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes, you can pay to catch-up on old episodes as well. Some networks even make them available for free on their websites. Not to mention the constant option of utilizing social media to ask anyone in the world about events that transpired or predict whether lovers will part ways! Yahoo Answers might be the closest thing to the entertainment requests posted in the paper 20+ years ago, actually...

Does anyone miss the old-school method of crowd-sourcing strangers via a newspaper, hoping someone would respond and fill you in? Probably not, but they're worth remembering. Do you recall these ads in the freebie paper?
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