Sony will stop manufacturing of the Walkman in Japan, the company announced after 30 years of building the portable cassette players. This move will render the product mostly unavailable in US markets, though it will continue to be available in select global markets including China and the Middle East.
In thirty years, a blip in the grand scheme of things but an eternity where technology is concerned, it should come as no surprise the Walkman did manage to work its way into literature:
"It was late afternoon, the time of day when sunshine streamed through the green celluloid shades at the Twin Peaks ... The man next to him was wearing a Walkman. When he saw Michael watching him, he took off the tiny earphones and held them out to him. 'Wanna listen?'..." Armistead Maupin wrote in "Further Tales of the City" (in the chapter "Man and Walkman").
Frank E. Peretti mentions the Walkman in both "The Visitation" ("Amid screams, running, and ruckus, Don Anderson came swinging and shattering his way out the front door of his store, yelling like a warrior, swinging and battling unseen enemies on every side. A teenager wearing a Walkman happened to be nearby and Don went after the walkman ...") and in his "Nightmare Academy" ("...'Sure it's good to share, and we shouldn't be selfish, but calling stealing sharing doesn't make it sharing, it's still stealing and stealing is wrong, and if Melinda stole that Walkman, she was ripping somebody off'...").
In Stephen King's "The Girl Who Loves Tom Gordon" Trisha defends herself against a bear with hers: "The Walkman no longer felt like a Walkman; it felt like a baseball. There were no Fenway Faithful here, rising to their feet in the Boston Church of Baseball; no rhythmic clapping; no umpires and no batboy. There was only her and the green stillness and the hot morning sunshine and a thing that looked like a bear..." In King's "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" collection, in the story "Sorry, Right Number" the Walkman makes another appearance in a screenplay within the story: "The camera pans down to: the Walkman. We can hear the faint strains of Huey Lewis and the News. The camera pans down a bit further to a Princess telephone on the table by the chair. It's off the cradle. Not much; just enough to break the connection and scare people to death."
Though most of us haven't given the Walkman much thought in years, as time passes we're sure to see it appear in fiction, along with other items of the era when the portable music player was new and novel, as artifacts used for nostalgic effect.
Especially when it plays Huey Lewis and the News.
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