Hi everyone. Spent the last several hours reading thru the newspaper history of the Coleco Adam. It's not 100% thorough, but is what came up when searching "ADAM COMPUTER" via the St. Louis Post Dispatch archives. Some bits have a local flavor, some are from syndicated columns. Instead of just wasting all that time, I took notes and thought I'd post to have a record of this stuff readily accessible for when Jim writes that book finally. Hope you enjoy reading through this. -Murph
(Notes from combing through the St. Louis Post Dispatch archives)
June 6, 1983 - Adam announced. Coleco stock soars to 65 a share within 48 hours, up 14 points
August 9, 1983 - Reports suggest this is the date Coleco filed for FCC approval of the Adam.
August 14, 1983 - Investors worry about Coleco's ambitious goal of selling 500,000 Adam
computers (wholesale $525, retail $600 = $250 million in sales) by year end. Any FCC delay
could derail that, according to article from Dan Dorfman. He says Coleco *could* be the 4th
tech casualty of the year behind Warner, Mattel and Texas Instruments-- all three reporting
$100 million+ losses. At this time, the stock is down to 35 1/4 from it's high of 65, but
still over it's 1982 low of 3 7/16. Arnold Greenberg says they expect to file for FCC
approval within days and get pushed thru within 30 days. This article claims an FCC official
told him it would take 2-3 months, hence starting the rumors of missing Christmas retail
sales. The article also breaks the news that K-Mart will NOT carry the Adam due to it's price
tag and limited 14% markup. Further, Dorfman reports Greenberg and VP Morton Handle both sold
large quanities of stock when it was in the 50's, and suggests an Adam failure could bring the
stock into the teens- implying they may know something.
August 17, 1983 - Reports published that Adam delivery will be dealyed until September instead
of late August as awaits FCC approval. Stock drops to 29 7/8.
August 30, 1983. The TI 994a drops to under $100 after rebate. Additional software and
peripherals are also deeply discounted. Apple discounts it's package pricing to under $1800
for a IIe system including disc drive, joystick and a $100 rebate certificate. Atari
announces bundles as well, including the 600XL, 1027 Printer and word processing software for
under $600. Mattel pushes the Aquarius package by giving a free color tv (value appx $300) to
anyone buying their package that includes a PC, data recorder, printer and program expander
for about $300. All this is said to be in direct response to Coleco's All-In_one approach
with Adam, per syndicated writer David Hajdu.
September 1, 1983 - As the Dow climbs, so does Coleco. The stock recovers to 42 5/8 as the
Adam computer is due soon.
September 6, 1983 - David Hajdu writes column on the Adam, noting the man Adam didn't get this
much publicity when God created him. Also notes at least one reason the name Adam was chosen
was to 'take a bite out of Apple'. The article talks about awaiting FCC approval and the slow
release of technical info to 3rd party software makers, slowing down that entire process.
September 7, 1983 - Article published about COleco hosting reporters to show off the completed
Adam. Wholesale costs will stay at $525 while retailers will set their own price. A $25
million ad blitz will soon hit TV and some print, while 400,000 Adam units are already
committed to from retailers. The noise of the printer is called into question, as the article
claims the units should hit store shelved by month end.
September 9, 1983 - Paine Webber lowers earnings estimates suggesting Coleco would not be able
to ship enough units by year end now to generate earlier estimates. Stock closes at 40 3/8.
September 11, 1983 - Dorfman again writes of fears over Coleco. Not just the likely further
delay of Coleco, but inability to meet year-over-year earning from Q1 1983 in Q1 1984. He
also cites analyst observations of excessive sitting inventories and fewer raw materials
acquisitions in all products. Noted in the article, Becker Securities has now withdrawn it's
BUY recommendation. Stock is at 39 3/8 in heavy trading.
September 13, 1983 - Stock hits 37 5/8 amid speculation the Adam won't appear in 1983. FCC
announces it has begun testing the Adam.
September 14, 1983 - Stock moves to 38 3/4 as it's revealed Coleco belatedly provide the
needed software to the FCC for testing the Adam's printer.
September 19. 1983 - Stock is at 37 3/4 as Coleco says software issues have been ironed out
and they are awaiting FCC approval.
September 20, 1983 - David Hajdu reports Coleco is developing a $150 perhipheral to tie a
Laserdic player to the Colecovison or the Coelco Adam. While it will be "months off"
according to the article, he notes Coleco paid some $2 million for the home rights to Dragon's
Lair, a laser ddisced based arcade game.
September 21, 1983 - Coleco delays Adam shipments again, now to Mid-October, as FCC testing
continues. It's expected to be completed next week.
September 23, 1983 - Coleco was notified that the FCC has passed the Adam Printer the previous
afternoon, and coleco is free to begin marketing the system. It's revealed that the other
components of the system had been given FCC clearance more than a week earlier. Analysts now
suggest COleco will struggle to get 350,000 units out by year's end. Coleco is still
expecting to ship "significant quanitites" of Adam by Mid-October.
September 30, 1983 - Stock drops to 30 3/8 after reports surface of quality issues with the
Adam's word processing software.
October 5, 1983 - A group of shareholders is suing on charges of stock manipulation for
allegedly concealing the problems with the Adam home computer.
October 11, 1983 - Coleco trims Adam's ad budget by $4 million. Execs say it's just been
'rearragned' to Q1 1984. Coleco closes at 28.
October 12, 1983 - Three large retailers expect an Adam shipment Monday 10/17/83. The stock
is up a bit to 30 3/4.
Ocotber 19, 1983 - It's announced the first Adam's have shipped on Tuesday 10/18/1983, but how
many and to who isn't revealed.
November 1, 1983 - IBM announces the PC Jr ($600 base model), scheduled to hit stores in Q1
1984. Analysts are seeing a new segement in the PC market for higher priced PC's like IMB's
and the Adam. Coleco closes at 24 3/8.
November 2, 1983 - Coleco's close was at 21 7/8. In related news, TI shuttered it's home
computer operations earlier in the week. Atari annoucned it will only be able to fill 60% of
600XL and 800XL orders for Christmas due to 'production snags' in Hong Kong.
November 4, 1983 - Top retailers deny Wall Street rumors that 'large numbers of Adams' are
defective. Coleco stock is at 20 7/8.
November 6, 1983 - Colecovision is now advertised at $118.86 at major retailer Service
Merchandise. Exp Madule 1 is now $69.97, and games are $24.97. A promotion for "up to $150
in vacation savings' with system purchase before 2/28/84 is also listed.
Novmeber 15, 1983 - JC Penny has decided, like K-Mart, to not carry the Adam for Christmas.
November 30, 1983 - Coleco stock tries to recover on strength of Cabbage Patch Kids, but Adam
hold it down to 22 a share. Reports continue that many Adams are being returned, Coleco
concedes "the instruction manuals were deficient".
December 1, 1983 - Dorfman published another Coleco column. This time burying the credibilty
of the Greenberg brothers, citing worthless info 60% of the time dating back to 1973. Cited
also is a 1977 issue with the Telstar product, the Adam is called a 'replay' of that. A
separate article appears about Coleco's production of Adam falling short and the company now
expects to ship 125,000 to 140,000 units by year's end. These are all Stand alone Adam's.
The expansion module #3 version will not be produced until sometime in Q1 1984. Coleco
expects to up production to 150,000 units per month in January. Greenberg says 'less than
10%' of Adams have been returned for defects, but still leans on the manuals being the
problem. He also says no orders have been cancelled to date. Stock sits at 21.
December 6, 1983 - It's reported by Dan Gutman that Atari is RAISING the price of it's XL
computers by $40 startign in January. 5 Hours later, COleco announces a $50 hike in Adam to
$650 MSRP. He suggests getting your Atari now, "or your Adam-- if you can find one".
December 21, 1983 - Standard and Poor's downgraded Coleco' debentures. Stock is now at 22
1/4. CPK still leads the way for Coleco.
December 22, 1983 - With the stock now at 19, Coleco says defects cited in a critical Consumer
Reports article have been fixed.
December 28, 1983 - Coleco announces agreement with Honeywell to service the Adam computer.
Stock at 21 1/4
January 10, 1984 - Coleco announces it will post a Q4 '83 loss citing Adam production
problems, but a profit for Y/E 1983. Coleco expects a quick return to profitability. Stock
at 19 3/4
February 2, 1984 - Dorfman is back with a "Moment of truth for Coleco" column. The article
cites a 'gloomy' 1984 ahead for coleco and claims a 50% return rate on the Adam. In the
column, Coleco admits some orders for Adams have now been cancelled, Production did not meet
100,000 units in January (citing inventory taking 10 days), and Dorfman claims the $650 price
is now wholesale, not MSRP, which would mean it was a $125 price hike on 12/6/83 if Dorfman is
correct. He says about 95,000 Adams were made in 1983. Coleco is trading at 17.
February 15, 1984 - Stock drops to 13 3/8 amid reports of layoffs at the Hartford, CT
March 11, 1984 - First Adam Comuputer ad surfacces in the Post Dispatch, from Children's
Palace. The headline tells of the new 180 day warranty and $699.97 pricetag.
March 14, 1984 - Coleco stock drops to 10 7/8 as 100 workers are laid off at the Amsterdam, NY
plant where the Adam is made.
March 18, 1984 - Target's Sunday ad lists the first STL P-D mention of the Adam Exp Module 3
for $549.99 and the ColecoVision console for $99.99.
March 31, 1984 - Coleco stock is at 12 1/8 as it's announced 1,300 workers are being laid off
at the Adam production plant.
June 27, 1984 - Dan Gutman's column covers his Chicago CES trip. He mentions Coleco showed
their Disk Drive and several household software packages.
August 8, 1984 - Gutman reports news of Coleco's $500 scholarship promotion for purchasing an
Adam, and says it will be spread over 4 years.
August 26, 1984 - Target features the Adam computer in their sunday ad. This time it's the
Stand Alone model at $649.99, and lists the Scholarship offer.
September 19, 1984 - Dan Gutman devotes nearly 1/2 his column to pitching the $500 scholarship
offer when buying and Adam using the hook of "want a free computer?", leaning heavily on the
Expansion module 3 price. He says Coleco has sold more than 1.5 million ColecoVision systems,
but virtually no Adam expansion modules.
October 3, 1984 - Gutman's column mentions the release of Expertype for the Adam.
October 14, 1984 - Midwest chain Dolgin's lists the Adam at $649.71 and the Exp Mod 3 at
$498.97. DDP's also make the ad at $6.97/each.
October 25, 1984 - Coleco offsets the wholesale price of the Adam by offering $175 worth of
software to dealers. The company calls it a deliberate move to get more software into the
marketplace, and claims sales are already increasing as a result.
October 28, 1984 - Children's Palace has a full page in their sunday ad devoted to coleco.
The Adam is at 699.97, the EM#3 is at $579.97. EM#1 is $59.97, SA Controllers are 68.88, CV
console at 99.97, Smartlogo at $69.97. Burgertime, Bump n Jump, War Games, Antarctic
Adventure and SA Football are all listed at $22.97. Plus more!
November 13, 1984 - Local St. Louis store Video Visions lists the CV console at $79.99 with
free CPK doll, Adam @ $499 and EM#3 at $399. Coelco trades at 17 1/2
November 20, 1984 - Video Visions now advertises the Disk Drive at $229.99 and the Adamlink
modem at $89.99.
November 22, 1984 - Service Merchandise runs correction saying their insert that day
incorrectly lists the Adam (2410ECJ) at $697.82, and says it should read $497.82.
November 29, 1984 - Service Merchandise runs a partial page ad for the Adam and Atari
computers. The price is 497.82 for the Adam, but it pictures a EM#3. Of note as well, in the
middle of a healthy list of CV games is Berenstain Bears (Item 2658ECJ) for $9.70.
December 2, 1984 - Dorfman is back again. "Game May Be Almost Over For Coleco" is the
headline. The article is about a Chicago group that sold short 500,000 shares of Coleco,
expecting bankruptcy in 1985. It's the first mention of a prorjected discontinuation of Adam.
The article suggests a $100 Million dollar inventory is sitting with little demand as the
holidays approach, adn expects a $124 Million write off which would put Coleco at a negative
net worth. A big part of the logic hinges on CPK demand diminishing. With an estimated 12.5
million females betwen 3 and 9 years oldm and 15 million dolls sold, that's more that 1 per
child, and market saturation. Also noted is that Coleco does NOT own CPK, but has a licensing
arrangement that expires in 1988. In the same paper, Children's Palace is now at $499.97 for
the Adam and $399.97 for the EM#3. Stock is at 15 1/4.
December 4, 1984 - Video Visions advertises the Adam at $479.
December 5, 1984 - Dan Gutman's column focuses on 3 computers that might be right for you.
The Macintosh, the PC Jr and the Adam. He's pretty favorable to the Adam here, especially for
those without computer experience.
December 11, 1984 - Video Visions runs the same Adam pricing, adding Atari 2600 @ 39.99, 5200
@ $69.99 800XL @ $119.99, Intellivision II @ $49.99 and Intellivoice @ $9.99
December 18, 1984 - Video Visions is now at $79.99 for the CV console, $449.99 for the Adam,
and $349.99 for the EM#3. The pricing would hol din multiple ads thru the end of the year.
(The same ad lists 15 2600 games at 5/$10)
January 3, 1985 - Coleco's announcement of getting out of the computer business is reported.
All inventory was being sold to an unnamed retailer. Coelco intends to stay in Video Games,
though. Stock rose to 14 3/8 on the news.
January 8, 1985 - Video Visions now drops Adam prices to $349.99 for the stand alone and
$249.99 for the EM#3. Intellivision II drops to $39.99. Other consoles still at 12/11/84
pricing. Some 2600 games now 99¢.
January 15, 1985 - Video Visions raises price on Adamlink modem to $99.99.
July 10, 1985 - Kay Bee Toys advertises the Adam at $299.99 for the standalone model.
October 6, 1985 - Kay Bee Toys lists the Adam at $299.99 again, and multiple Atari and
Intellivison games at 99¢ in an ad.
November 17, 1985 - Famous Barr (St. Louis department store similar to Macy's) lists the Adam
at $299.99 and the Colecovision at $49.99. Adam software is $12.99, CV games are $9.99.
(NOTE: I believe there was an agreement between Famous Barr and Kay Bee for Kay Bee to run
their toy departments at this time) Coleco is at 19.
January 11, 1987 - Radio Shack runs ad listing the black Colecovision controller for $1.99.
This would be the last search result for "Adam Computer" out side of classified ads in the
Post Dispatch Archives. Coleco was trading at $9 a share.