It was the 1950s: Cars were made with winglike fins and fake rocket taillights, "Googie" architecture made cut-rate hotels look like apartments from The Jetsons and Sputnik was still hurtling its little four-pronged self through orbit.
It was the Space Age, and even the tried-and-true had to be cast aside for something far more futuristic. During the late '50s, production of $25 Christmas trees with foil branches and aluminum needles soared as homeowners loved the efficiency of a tree with no needles to sweep and baby boomers with visions of a far-out rocket-powered future in their heads could stare at the gleaming metallic wonder in their living rooms.
Trees were pink, blue, silver or whatever color the color-wheel projector below shone on them. The best part was that the tree, the ornaments, the stand and all the other accessories could be placed in one box and packed away tidily until the next holiday season.Unfortunately, pop art's holiday answer to the pink flamingo was imperiled by a tiny bald cartoon character and his blanket-toting, Bible-quoting friend. When Charles Schultz's A Charlie Brown Christmas mocked gaudy pink aluminum trees as hollow, soulless totems to commercialism and made a tattered natural tree branch into a national folk hero and the embodiment of Christmas Spirit, it signaled disaster for aluminum tree sales. The war and civil strife that ended the decade would do little to help the aluminum tree's ostentatious, artificial image. The final silvery straw came in the 1974, when price controls on aluminum were lifted and its cost per ounce nearly doubled, according to U.S. Geological Survey numbers. Aluminum adherents will argue that the trees are undergoing a renaissance and that aluminum models are fetching thousands of dollars on eBay (EBAY). We'll remember that when we're stuck in traffic this weekend behind 30 cars with blue spruce strapped to their roofs.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV