Remember Thomas Guides?

Thomas Guide

In the '80s until I moved away in 2003, a Thomas Guide was indispensable. I always had one in my car.

It’s been over a decade since I lived in L.A. In that time online maps have gotten better. (Toward the end, it was often more convenient to print off MapQuest directions.) My car has a built-in GPS display. I have no need for a Thomas Guide anymore.

But I do remember them fondly.

I remember them. Despite driving for a courier service, I never used 'em. I had AAA and got free maps, easily $200-300 worth a year.
Over the course of a full day of driving, it was easier to map out routes on one sheet rather than flipping multiple pages.

Loved 'em!

Wow. Used to be a religious artifact - one in each car, new ones for our field staff each year, must-haves.

Hadn’t even thought of the name in… eight years? Ten? Holy buggy whips, Batman!

ETA - Oh, and I lived almost on top of one of their copyright traps, too. A little loop street named… um… Redfern Circle? that most certainly did not exist. I stood in that vacant lot (SP property) and checked.

When I first moved to the PacNW I could not have lived without them. Still have one around here someplace…

Thank you Johnny L.A. for reminding me of yet another of the artifacts of my SoCal life :slight_smile:

Funny thing is, neither I nor anyone in my family ever had one, yet one of my favorite sarcastic comebacks whenever I was with other people and someone asked about location, i.e. “where’s the bathroom?” I’d always say “excuse me while I consult my Thomas Guide”.

Here’s another.


If you never listened, you might have to look them up.

Wouldn’t that be your John Thomas Guide?

Double pun! Double pun! Scoooorrrrre!

Whattttya kiddin’ me!? Mark and Brian were the vortex of comedy! Not sure if I can get them here at work; right now I’m streaming KROQ.

It took me a moment to get this. You’re funny, you:p

Who are Mark and Brian? :confused:


(I’m a Kevin & Bean guy. :wink: )

Wow, I’ve never heard anyone call an anal fissure a “vortex.”

I hate morning shows more than just about any other nominal “entertainment” offering, and Mark and Brian were one thing I was glad to leave behind even slight, accidentally heard snippets of.

I’m pretty sure every major metro area had something similar. Houston had Key Maps and Dallas had Mapsco maps (just called a “Mapsco”). Both of them were the page/letter square style where you could look up an address in the index, and it would tell you page and alphabetic grid square.

Were the Thomas Guides like that?

It was a rite of passage in L.A. that when you got your first car you got your first Thomas Guide. It really helped to get around Sigalerts.

Yes, and Realtors loved them as Thomas coordinates were incorporated into many MLS listings. IIRC, it was something like “123 Fake Street, San Jose 163:C8” where the number at the end meant Page 163, grid C8 to help find an address.

They could be better than GPS as it was easy to look at a listing, quickly spot its location and realize it was close to the sewage plant, or see that it was a block away from a nice park, etc.

I remember when Mark & Brian stole Kevin & Bean’s ‘Bathroom Interviews’ schtick. They didn’t do it as well.

When I moved to Washington I bought a Thomas Guide for up here. The book for the whole state was smaller than the one for L.A. and Orange Counties. Barely used it.

Well, once you figure out the theekwet twick to that NE/SE/SW/NW crap and learn to memorize five-digit street addresses, you don’t need much more help.

Well, I haven’t. I can find my way to the office (Harbor Island), Belltown, Trader Joe’s in West Seattle, and home again. Anywhere else, I use the GPS. I’ve been driving to Seattle and back for eight years, and I still don’t know where the traffic reporters are talking about.

I remember them with nothing but fondness. As a kid, I used to love following random roads off into nothingness (also known as the local mountains).

When my now-wife was moving out here in 2011, I bought her one as a gift. Sure, they were already obsolete at that point, but I couldn’t help myself.

Speaking of maps and obsolescence, Asimovian, and since you have an interest in aviation, expired sectionals make nifty gift wrap.