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Here's to Gay Mullins, Who Gave His All for the Real Thing—but Hey, Gay, Why Stop with Coke?

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Gay Mullins had a dream—a wild, wacky, flagrantly unthinkable notion that one man could force a giant corporation to mend its errant ways. Specifically, he dreamed of making Coca-Cola swallow a big loss on its sweeter, supposedly improved “new” Coke and give us back the original. The Real Thing. The true It that Coke is. In that cause Mullins, 57, spent $100,000, almost all of his retirement nest egg.

Imagine his delight then on that glorious Thursday afternoon when Coke President Donald Keough announced the old Coke’s return. Said Mullins, broke but vindicated: “The experience has been worth the cost. We had power way beyond our expectations.”

We can learn from this man. Now that Coke’s been rescued, let’s make them give back the other good, true things left behind by the march of time. On the following pages are some of the things we want back. Now.

1 DOUBLE FEATURES

Not to mention drive-ins, and fresh popcorn from real poppers.

2 FULL-SERVICE STATIONS

Fill ‘er up. Get the windows. Check the oil and tires.

3 THE OLD SODA FOUNTAIN

Crazy sundaes, malts and the pleasures of innocence.

4 THE VOLKSWAGEN BUG

It still floats, and the Japanese Beetle is no substitute.

5 MA BELL

Now you can reach out and touch someone you didn’t even dial.

6 UNCLE WALTER

Sorry, Dan, but that’s the way it is.

7 TRAINS

Pullmans and real dining cars, whistles in the night.

8 BIG TOPS

The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd.

9 MILKMEN And their funny trucks, and milk bottles and cream at the top.

10 FRONT PORCHES

Rocking chairs, lemonade, street life without muggings.

AND FURTHERMORE…

•Free road maps

•Doctors’ house calls

•Name prefixes for phone numbers

•The old Book of Common Prayer

•The 70-mph speed limit

•The Democratic Party

•The Automat

•The Latin Mass

•A world without ZIP codes and designated hitters

•Youth