Records come in three sizes, right? Nope.
Sure, the 7-inch single, the 10-inch EP and 78, and the 12-inch long player are the evolutionary experiments that survived, but along the way an occasional oddball peeked its nose above the tall grass before natural selection sent it the way of the trilobite.
So it was for Hip-Pocket Records, a series of 4-inch flexi-discs released by Philco back in the late 1960s. The 41 singles (and 12 children’s records) would play on any 45 RPM turntable, but they were marketed as accessories for Philco’s miniature portable record player, which in itself is a sort of missing link between portable radios and MP3 players.
The marketing was cool, the portability was cool, so why didn’t Hip-Pockets catch on? Well, as one would expect from a flexible record, the little discs turned out not to be very durable. After about a dozen plays, a Hip-Pocket was worn out.
Today, Hip-Pockets range widely in price. Because they were packaged in envelopes similar to seed packets or Kool-Aid, collectors want them sealed, but even then prices are all over the place. Recent auction site sales range from a buck for a Tommy James to nearly a hundred for a Country Joe and the Fish.
Want a copy of my Wilson Pickett flexi-disc? Expect to pay 5-10 bucks, and if you want the matching portable turntable get ready to throw in another 200 or so. Happy hunting.