‘Best of the 80s’ is a celebration our favorite decade’s pop culture. As always, your suggestions and comments are welcome below.
When you think about it, it made about as much sense as a seat belt becoming a fad. Or shin guards. But there they were-- those five-inch-square, bright yellow, diamond-shaped signs in the back of so many car windows in the mid 80s.
Sure, they were designed with a serious purpose, but it wasn't long at all before someone (who had seen one-sign-too-many, apparently) had an even brighter idea-- make fun of them.
The original signs were the brainchild of Michael Lerner, who created the Safety 1st company with the idea of marketing the signs to parents who were concerned at the high level of car crashes in the US. And, no, the idea wasn't inspired by an actual crash, as the ol' urban legend tells us. No, Lerner just happened to see similar signs on a trip through Europe. (So, ok... maybe 'brainchild' wasn't the right word-- perhaps 'stolen intellectual property'?)
Maybe it was just karma then that Lerner's 'invention' became such an object of so much ridicule that the original effect was lost pretty quickly. Instead of drivers giving space behind a car with a 'Baby on Board' sign, suddenly they were speeding up to see if it was actually a joke sign, and if so, see what it said.
The original signs, which had been all the rage in the fall and winter of 1984 were suddenly 'signa-non-grata' less than two years later, replaced with gems like 'Mother-in-Law in Trunk', 'Alien on Board', and the awesome 'Nobody on Board'.
We certainly applaud the original idea, but when something's that popular that quickly... well, you're just asking for trouble.
Then again, maybe people were just bored.
We ♥ Baby on Board signs.
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