Things I miss: The Federated Group and Fred Rated


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Now why isn’t he running for President?


When I was a little, my dad contracted for Federated stores setting up car stereo demo displays. I remember he brought me home my first walkman - a purple Sanyo - from one of those jobs.



Cocaine is a hell of a drug.


Whoa! I was just thinking about Fred and Freida this morning.


This is the one you want to see!

Laugh Now Think Later

This is an amusing 94 minute semi-documentary special about the life of Shadoe Stevens and the history of “Fred Rated.” It has only been shown once, a standing room only, sold out screening at the Cinefamily in Hollywood. This is the first time it’s become available for the general public.

It begins with a short documentary about the history of mind control and “public relations,” as created by Edgar Bernays. Then, the Fred Rated history is about an hour long, followed by an intermission, and finally, the complete “Shadoevision” as originally shown on HBO/Cinemax.


When you see those ads and videos that parody the work of the 80’s and then you see this…this is the real deal, man.


Is that company still in business? If not, was there a large dip in cocaine consumption in the US after it closed?


Looking at this from a totally different direction…I’m really surprised how expensive shit used to be back then. I was just a kid in the 80s, and didn’t have any real concepts of their value at the time.

TVs, blank media, media players, etc. are seemingly way cheaper now, and that’s not even considering inflation. $5.99 for a single blank VHS tape, in 80’s bucks? $200 bucks for a boombox? $500 for a 20" TV? Holy shit.


They actually used those prices to their advantage for those who could not afford a video camera and were afraid of their kids getting abducted. They used to run a special once a year where they would videotape your kid along a nutral background (a gray drape), along side a board with night marks. They provided decent lighting and a script for the kid to read. The mic was on the camera so the audio was lousy. They gave away a certain number of tapes, and then sold one per child at a discount. The idea was if your kid was abducted this is what you gave a local tv station to run instead of an old still photo.

It worked as a draw. Every year my mother took us it was packed and we had to wait in line. My sister and I still can sing the Federated song from one of the commercials.


I remember when Federated when out of business. The local store had a “going out of business” sale that lasted 3 or 4 months. It was actually a scam. Once they emptied the store, they started shipping in no-name crap electronics, that Federated had never actually sold. Great deals on a “Pionear” stereo or a “Soni” VCR.



This! I accidentally turned on Shadoevision when it was originally on Cinemax, and it blew my mind. I still want to cover “3-D 2-Way TV.”


Only $500 per megabyte. If that was too dear, you could buy single-sided floppies for only $5 each, or $40 per 10 pack - assuming you had paid extra for a computer with floppy drives.

I used to leaf through those catalogs thinking, “One day… one day”.


I think the Model I hard drive may have been the most expensive piece of computer equipment I have ever bought (adjusted for inflation.) And I waited many weeks for it. And it was totally worth it.


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