The most significant item in the April 22, 1965 issue of LIFE was not the feature article on the politcal unrest in South Vietnam or the editorial on normalizing relations with Red China or Loudon Wainright’s musings on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on obscenity.
It was this two-page spread by General Electric…
…heralding a chromatic novelty which would, in a decade’s time, become a ubiquitous aspect of American domestic life and the lynchpin of the Me Decade’s gloriously gaudy color palette.
The retreat to a muted monochrome model was odd in light of the previous season’s push toward baroquely op-art appliances that resembled Chinese pagodas or the fixtures of a Batman baddie’s lair, but it made perfect sense. Avocado was neutral without possessing the blandness traditionally associated with such hues. It went well with the prevailing trend toward earthier tones even as it ably masked workaday grit and grime.
(Too ably, perhaps, which became evident when you dragged one of these babies out to the curb on trash day and noticed the film of greasy filth with has settled into every crack and crevasse.)
Even the name evoked an exoticism associated with SoCal’s ascendancy as the nation’s cultural locus which the more accurate “pea green” or “gooseshit green” lacked. It was a potent fantasy, but could not overcome the tacky reality of the post-industrial malaise to come, lingering well past their fashionable welcome in an age of diminished wages and expectations.