[ Retro Scan ] TRS-80 on Christmas Morning

December 5th, 2016 by Benj Edwards

Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1 Computer Christmas Family Christmas Morning Christmas Tree advertisement scan - 1978“Santa left us Trash for Christmas, and we like it!”

Radio Shack always knew how to market at Christmas (see links below). In the 1970s and ’80s, the firm produced more Christmas-themed computer ads than any other company in the US.

Here’s one of the earliest ones from 1978. It features the company’s first personal computer, the TRS-80, which first launched in 1977. After other models of TRS-80 computer came out, Radio Shack began referring to it as the “Model I.”

But that wasn’t the only name this pioneering computer earned. The original TRS-80 was the first personal computer my dad ever bought, not long after it launched. He found it frustrating, sold it, and later bought an Atari 800 for my brother — then hand-built an Apple II clone for himself.

Thereafter, my dad always referred to that first TRS-80 as his “Trash-80,” which was a common nickname for the computer. It could double as a derogatory play on words or a beloved pet name, depending on whom you asked. For my dad, I suspect it was more of the former than the latter.

[ From Popular Electronics, November 1978 ]

Discussion Topic: What’s the worst present you’ve ever received for Christmas?

See Also:

A Very TRS-80 Christmas (RSOTW, 2006)
Hot CoCo (2) for Christmas (RSOTW, 2007)
Give The Gift of TRS (RSOTW, 2009)
Santa’s TRS-80 CoCo (RSOTW, 2014)

4 Responses to “[ Retro Scan ] TRS-80 on Christmas Morning”

  1. TheSaintOfPain Says:

    I was probably 8 or 9 when I received a Nike branded sweatsuit for Christmas. That in of itself really wasn’t bad, except that the suit was already about a size too small, especially since I was
    (and still am, really) as “festively plump” as Eric Cartman; and the word “Nike” was placed upon the front of the shirt, and down the left leg of the pants, with small, randomly-sized pieces of black foam that were glued on to the red material of the suit. It looked hideous, and I absolutely hated wearing it at all.

    I found out about 10 years later that my mother, being single at the time and struggling to have enough money to pay the regular bills, much less try to buy Christmas presents for 2 young boys and a preteen girl, ended up getting some hand-me-downs and other gifts from a local church’s charity drive. Since this happened about a week before Christmas Day, and she was having to take care of a household while also attempting to run errands, go to work, and have at least a semblance of a life outside of it all, she really didn’t pay much attention to whose name was going on to which present, and I was the “lottery winner” on the Nike sweatsuit. I’ll forever be grateful for how she handled her life and the lives of us kids as a temporarily single mother after my parents’ separation and eventual divorce, and I will always understand why things were the way they were that Christmas, but that still doesn’t change the fact of how horribly ugly that suit was, and how I absolutely abhorred it as a child that wanted TMNT and Disney Afternoon-related stuff more than anything that year.

  2. Gene Says:

    I love the picture. The mom and dad cannot see the computer screen at all and appear to be on some sort of drugs.

    Brother can’t see the screen either. Sister is at such an odd angle but at least she can see the monitor!

    Didn’t really get a bad computer for Christmas. I didn’t get the Texas Instruments SR-51A calculator that I wanted one year. I got an SR-16-II instead. I ended up buying the SR-51A 9 months later with my summer money earned.

  3. Benj Edwards Says:

    Great story, Saint. I am sure I complained about some Christmas presents as a little kid, but I am grateful to have been fortunate enough to receive them. So yeah, I guess it’s hard to complain about bad presents without sounding spoiled.

    Still, if there is something really ridiculous and horrible (live ants, severed ear, whole-body sock), I want to hear about it!

  4. Bob Says:

    I’m too old to remember bad Christmas presents, but I do remember when the TRS-80 came out. What was so exciting is that it LOOKED like a computer: it had a keyboard AND monitor. I think the other computers of the day (Apple II) didn’t have monitors; you had to hook them up to a TV. Even into the early 80s, our school computers were just dial up DECwriters (complete with phone handset placed into those rubber boot things) that didn’t have displays. Everything was printed on that wide perforated zigzag paper.

    The TRS-80 wasn’t that capable, but it had huge buzz at the time. Ah, the good old days.

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