|Carpeteria Genie - North Hollywood, CA|
Most of the time I am really glad to have been born when I was; to have been born at all is kind of a great thing (no matter what my parents say). In elementary school we still watched film reels. We still had square dancing instruction in music class. We still used the library for books. I might be dating myself, but when watching TV, we too wondered, "Where's the beef?" I feel like I was born at the tail end of a golden era when buildings still had personality, a phone in the car meant you were rich, and The Noid was a viable mascot for marketing pizza (I might have picked out a Noid sweatshirt from Penney's, although photographic evidence will be difficult to uncover). Moreover, I count myself as fortunate to be raised during a time of wacky tacky history wherein giant genies were used to sell wall-to-wall carpet. It might not make sense at first, but all it takes is a quick reference to Ali Baba, Aladdin, and the Arabian Nights to remember that a magic carpet was an integral player in some of those 1,001 tales. Growing up in Southern California, seeing these genies from the back of the original wacky wagon, I couldn't help but get this Steppenwolf song out of my brain.
"Magic Carpet Ride" - Steppenwolf
Nowadays, it would go without saying that a marketer's first instinct would be to use well-known songs to advertise a product; "Magic Carpet Ride" would almost seem too "on the nose" for a discount carpet retailer that uses a genie for their branding. In Carpeteria's heyday, it was more likely that a jingle writer would be penning a memorable little ditty that could be absorbed into the consumer's subconscious where it would stay, only to present itself at the most inopportune times, and never ever leave. The old-fashioned way almost makes more sense for product recognition; even as a child I was singing "Carpeteriaaaaaa" along with the commercials in between Saturday morning cartoons.
Carpeteria televison ad circa 1979
Carpeteria ad circa 1981
It is worth noting that Carpeteria is still in business but apparently at some point they ditched not only their North Hollywood location, but also their iconic genie. I'm just glad that L&S had the good sense to recycle!
L&S Carpet featuring the original Carpeteria Genie
7007 N Laurel Canyon Blvd
North Hollywood, CA