Five Things – 10.5.12 – Air Supply’s, Like, Going On

  1.  CBS 1983 Saturday Morning Preview – I love these things.  I know I’m stating the obvious if you’ve read more than a few of the posts here, but it’s true.  There’s something special about them – these shows that were hastily created to talk about other shows, using some of the star power leverage of whatever network is involved.  The setups are usually pretty flimsy and laughable, and because of that they’re pretty charming.  CBS’s 1983 preview special featured arguably their biggest star at the time, Scott Baio, and has probably one of the flimsiest, most laughable setups of them all.  Let’s go to Scott’s Place.

Scotts Place

Scott’s set up a hot nightclub in Hazzard County.  Not just any hot nightclub, a hot nightclub.  In Hazzard County.

Dance Club

This 1980’s New York City nightclub in the middle of Hazzard County is filled with young hip kids who look like city kids dancing in the background the entire time.  Naturally, this catches the attention of Boss Hogg and Rosco P. Coltrane.

Boss and Rosco

And Boss Hogg immediately begins working on a way to profit.


While Boss Hogg gladhands Scott Baio to get a cut of his profits, Rosco interviews a young lady about just what’s going on.  The young lady, using her young lady slang, explains that Asia, Air Supply, the B-52s, ELO, and U2 are what’s “going on”, causing Rosco to somehow deduce that the US is under attack. He alerts Boss Hogg to this, which prompts Hogg to place the entire club under arrest.

Shut Down

This misunderstanding exists for, seriously, about ten seconds before it’s cleared up. Boss Hogg and Rosco join Baio for the remainder of the special, looking at the upcoming shows.  It’s revealed at the end that the entire reason for the club’s existence in Hazzard County is because there’s a Dukes of Hazzard cartoon debuting on CBS that week!

Pretty flimsy premise to introduce a bunch of cartoons, but I’ll take it.  In addition to the Dukes, the shows featured in this special are the programs that made up the Supercade – Donkey Kong, Pitfall, Frogger, Donkey Kong Jr., and Q-bert.  There’s also a bit for Charlie Brown and SnoopyBenji, Zax and the Alien Prince, and The Biskitts, which is basically The Smurfs but with puppies.


For some reason there’s a Krofft puppet narrating the entire thing, and also Scott Baio performs a song.

Baio Music

Krofft Puppet

The one note I had at the end of this whole thing was, they couldn’t get the Duke boys to appear on the show centered around their cartoon debut? I’m guessing they thought including the bad guys was enough.  Here’s the special – the Levi’s ad toward the end is actually animated pretty impressively.


2.  Atari Jaguar Promotion – Atari tried to regain its foothold in the video game console market in the mid-1990s with the supercharged Jaguar system.  It didn’t go so well – the system was expensive and, by most accounts, underperformed the other consoles of its generation even though it was technologically superior.  It’s commonly looked at as an ugly spot of video game history, and when you take a look at the console’s promotion you can kind of see it coming.

Chewing Up

It seems like the marketing department at Atari was given the direction to fill their promotion with “attitude”, and I guess they succeeded at that.  The tone is abrasive, rude, and very ‘bro-ish’, which I recall turning me off of the system back then and only repulses me further today.

Do the Math

They really played up the 64-bit nature of the system. Really played it up.  Like, it was the main message.

Ironic that the commercial features a class for Video Game Marketing 101, a class these guys could have used. To put the icing on the cake, here’s a 30 minute infomercial that ran on cable TV that just drips with sterotypical bro-ness.  It’s really hard to watch, like a sixth grader trying to act like those people he sees on TV.  It’s deliciously hard to watch.



3.  Railroad Pamphlet Covers – Here are a couple of railroad timetable covers from the 1930s and 1940s that I found visually inspiring.  You can catch more of at Classic Trains Magazine.

Like a Kitten



4.  Do the Arches – I’m not sure what’s more offensive, that Jaguar infomercial or this cheesy, cheesy song.


5.  Goofus and Gallant– And a beautiful Goofus and Gallant comic from Highlights in 1988

Goofus and Gallant




Five Things – 09.28.15 – When I’m Not Recognized It Just Kills Me

1. Space Academy – A little bit Star Trek, a little bit Lost in Space, and a whole bunch of camp, Space Academy appeared on CBS’s Saturday Mornings in September 1977 and disappeared shortly thereafter.

Space Academy

I went into this expecting to see something like Ender’s Battle School, with cadets and combat and conflict and I was kind of disappointed in that regard.  Space Academy is a school of friendly kids that get along really well with each other and are guided by Commander Isaac Gampu, played by Lost in Space’s Jonathan Harris.


The crew is what I would assume some network execs back in the 1970s considered “diverse enough”. Also there’s obviously a cute wisecracking robot.


The concept’s still kind of neat – it’s a floating school that explores the universe led by this 300 year old commander.  The design of the show is a bit uneven;  the interiors of the ships and the school are interestingly detailed by someone who obviously cared how they looked…

Ship Interior

…while the exteriors on the planets seem to be ripped straight out of first season Star Trek.  Dullsville.

Force Field

The writing and acting leave quite a bit to be desired, but the idea itself is pretty interesting.  Here’s the first episode – check it out, it’s worth a look.


2. MTV Top 20 Video Countdown – Is this the most representative program for MTV in the 1980s to mid 1990s?

Top 20 Video Countdown

I’d say so. There are definitely better shows, more memorable shows, like Beavis and Butthead, Liquid Television, 120 Minutes, Headbanger’s Ball, and Remote Control, but I think the Top 20 Countdown takes what was then MTV’s meat and potatoes – music videos – and gives you what they thought to be the best of the best at the time.  This was MTV’s reason for being.

Adam Curry

The Top 20 Countdown had several hosts over the years but Adam Curry’s the one I always associate with the show.  Like the show itself there were better, more interesting VJs on the air but Curry was the vanilla core. Here’s an episode of the Countdown from 1990.  Jeffrey Tambor’s cameo in the “I Wish It Would Rain Down” video is a highlight, as are all of the commercials.


3. Kangaroo – This was one of my favorite arcade games of the 1980s; you play a Kangaroo who climbs through levels punching baddies and jumping to get bonuses.  What’s not to love? Even as a kid I loved the artwork and cabinet design around this game.  It’s remarkably consistent throughout its promotion as well.  Here are a few examples.

Cabinet Art

Flyer 2



4.  Stephen King American Express Ad – King’s been quoted as saying this is the one thing he’d change if he were allowed to do it all over again.  It’s not that bad, is it?


5.   Archie Comics – Here’s a full-page ad for all of Archie Comics offerings from Suzie comics #56. Thanks, Scans-Daily!

Archie Comics



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Five Things – 09.21.15 – Content To Let Television Do Its Thing

1. Magnavox Odyssey Videos – I’ve touched on the beautiful Magnavox Odyssey Five Things – 4.15.13, but here’s a look at some of the promotion that surrounded the video game system’s release in 1972 and shortly thereafter.


The Odyssey’s light-based gameplay took a little explaining to the average Joe, and for good reason – you kind of had to really want to play video games on your TV to muster up the effort required to play this thing. Here’s a 1972 film that played in retail locations that explained the system.

While the bright colors and Super 8 quality are fantastic, their claim that without something like this you’re at regular television’s mercy for how to be entertained is pretty laughable.The Odyssey is impressive, but the game offerings were just as limited in their variety as TV was at the time.

A few things stand out from this film for me – first off, the adapter used to connect it to your TV.

AdapterAnybody who was into gaming pre-Nintendo 64 and Playstation remembers this idea – you had to trick your TV into recognizing your console as a channel.  God forbid somebody bump into this adapter while you were playing.

The system itself only generated light blocks; for the appropriate context you had to place an overlay onto the screen so that the blocks would make sense.

OverlayFar and away the most impressive thing about the Odyssey is it’s design.  The thing is gorgeous.  The cartridges themselves look like something out of the HAL shutdown scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Odyssey.  Odyssey.  Whoah.

CartridgesThe game offerings were pretty slim, but compared to the other systems that simply offered variations on Pong it must have felt like quite a library indeed.

ArrayThis time period is such a unique snapshot in the history of home video games – the point just before the wave breaks and the whole industry starts to really form.  It’s easy to laugh at the crudeness of some of the Odyssey’s offering but it’s pretty ambitious and, like I said earlier, shows that somebody really wanted this thing to work.  It’s clearly a labor of love.

Here’s a few commercials and TV showcases of the Odyssey from 1972 and 1973.  This thing is beautiful. The music on the first commercial is perfect.

Unrelated, this is supposed to be this family’s living room? What’s up with this wallpaper?

Living Room


2. Sgro Bros – How often do you see four guys killing it on the harmonica? Here are the Sgro Brothers, a trio of harmonica players, joining Herb Shriner on his show for a little jam in 1955.  After Herb gives each of them a carton of cigarettes as a welcome gift, the four of them proceed to tear it up.  Check it out:


3. Hoyt’s German Cologne – Found over at thinkdesignblog, this trade card for Hoyt’s German Cologne is gorgeous.



4. Apollo 1 At The Pool – This image of the Apollo 1 astronauts training in lounge rafts at the pool is a bit bittersweet given their fates, but it makes me smile nonetheless.

Apollo 1


5. Bryan Cranston 1996 JC Penney Commercial – I’d like to believe they just followed Cranston around with a camera while he riffed on every item in the store.




Five Things – 09.14.15 – The Faint Pressure Of Starlight

1. Mars and Beyond – This episode of Disneyland, the ABC show that would eventually become The Wonderful World of Disney, Walt Disney Presents, and about a dozen other variations on that title, presents the history and future of speculation on the rest of the Solar System and man’s eventual place in it.

Mars and BeyondThis episode is similar in structure to “Man in Space”, but really ups the ante in just about every way with its ambition.  It opens with Walt and his robot pal named Garco:

Walt and GarcoNo real reason is given for Garco’s presence, and he’s not featured in the rest of the special, but just look at him!.  In typical Disney fashion we’re then taken through the history of man’s speculation of just what was out there in the cosmos, back when all we could do with space was to just look at it with the naked eye.

ShepherdThere’s a ton of gorgeous original animation in this special -it fills the majority of the first half hour and a good chunk of the second. We’re guided through our evolving view of the cosmos; the uncannily accurate, the charmingly inaccurate, and the downright embarrassing branches our views took. My favorites are the interpretations of Bernard De Fontenelle’s visions of what life was like on other planets.  Here’s Venus:


SaturnAnd Mars:

MarsAbout halfway through the special, it shifts gears to what we think might really be out there given our current knowledge of the world around us.  It starts this section off with a slightly cruder animation of how the Solar System was formed, how Earth was formed, and eventually, how we were formed – beings capable of living within a wide range of temperatures given the right equipment.

160 DegreesWe’re then told about the specific ways each planet would kill us. Saturn’s my favorite, because it looks like a beautiful way to go.

Man on SaturnThe special then turns to Mars specifically, emphasizing that Man could actually make a go of things there in contrast to the other planets.  E.C. Slipher is brought in to give a little more color to the idea, which includes the suggestion that life may already exist on Mars…

EC Slipher…and we’re brought back into more animated speculation on how life might have evolved there.

What Might Be On MarsWhat MIght Be On Mars 2DiggerThe last third or so of the special drills down on our efforts to get to Mars.  This thing aired in 1957, and seeing this sorted of plan formulated at that point in time both inspires and depresses me.  Here’s the spacecraft suggested, an atomic powered saucer 500 feet in diameter and supporting a crew of 20 people.

Proposed Mars CraftThe reactor is on the bottom of the stem, and the landing vessel is attached to it.  On the opposite end of the stem from the vessel is the thruster.  The special concludes with a view of the proposed mission, with several of these craft taking the trip to the red planet together.

Mars MissionPersonal CraftThis special is really well done and captures just about everything I love about Disney the futurist.  Like most of his futurism, there’s not a lot of time spent on what wouldn’t work about these ideas or the incredible costs they’d rack up or the dozen other things that would prevent this and I’d make the argument that there doesn’t really need to be.  Not here, at least – these specials were meant to inspire first and inform second. And they certainly do that.

Here it is. Enjoy!


2.  St. Nicholas Magazine CoversSt. Nicholas was a children’s magazine from the late 19th and early 20th century, published by Scribners.  Their covers are beautiful; here are some that caught my eye. Tree Tiger Halloween Fall

And here’s a promotional poster for the magazine that I also love.

St Nicholas Poster


3.  Starriors – Here’s a commercial for Starriors, a robot toy from the ’80s that featured an old-school wind-up mechanic in a then-modern way.  That’s a lot of dashes in one sentence!


4.  Columbia House Games – Did you know Columbia House had a branch that extended their rip-off service to include computer games? Now you do! Here’s an ad from the early ’80s with the available titles and platforms.

Columbia House GamesFull disclosure: I could not get enough of that Cabbage Patch Kids game as a kid.  As far as ColecoVision goes, that one was a system-seller.


5.  Chee-tos Ad – And finally, an odd ad for Chee-tos.  I wonder if they really got the Duke of Cheddar to say that. I do miss that old logo and those old bag designs.  Why did we stop letting the customer see the chips inside of the bag?

Cheeto Wealth

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Five Things – 09.07.15 – Of Course You Want To Memorize Some Commands

1. The Martinettis Bring A Computer Home – It’s strange to see Apple playing this sort of game, but the ’90s were a different era for the company.  This 1995 infomercial presents the Martinetti family and their experience with their first family computer, the Macintosh Performa.

MartenettisThis half-hour “program” plays like a sitcom without jokes, like a Seventh Heaven episode.  The family gets to talking about the merits of a computer at the dinner table one night, and the next day head to the computer store to talk to Fletcher. Fletcher’s a computer salesman whom the family apparently already knows.

FletcherFletcher goes into what is revealed to be a scripted song and dance about the clunky, expensive, peripheral-laden nature of Windows machines…

Windows…just to make the point that the Macintosh Performa is the right choice for anybody with a brain.

PerformaThe family is appropriately wowed by the Performa, and the program takes the opportunity to throw a few more jabs at Windows’ clunkiness.  The family’s ready to buy, but Pops has some hangups.  The rest of the family basically demonizes this poor guy throughout the rest of the show because of his unwillingness to plunk down over a grand for something they just started talking about yesterday.  Grandpa gets involved, and starts to argue with Pops AT THE STORE.

Gramps and PopGrandpa then buys the computer himself, with the agreement that if the family can prove that it’s a benefit to their lives in one month that Pops will pay him back.  It’s not really made clear what will happen if they can’t prove it, though – will Grandpa soak up the cost or will they return the computer? The stakes are not clearly laid out.

The family flourishes, though.  Mom’s birthday card company that she runs from home (seriously) does great:

Groovin BirthdayZoe the five-year-old’s reading skills are coming along nicely.  She even apparently goes to the computer store and purchases more software, by herself.

ShoppingAnd Grandpa gets into the internet, trolling opera forums and even makes himself an internet girlfriend.  This really happens. A month passes, and (spoilers) Pops is finally on board.  The family does an awkward dance in the living room to celebrate and the doorbell rings.  Grandpa’s girlfriend walks in and is introduced to the rest of the family. This is the happy ending!

RoseThe narrator (the middle kid) summarizes that the family didn’t just choose the Performa, the Performa chose them.  He creates a family picture that has the Performa included.  As well as Rose! As well as Rose!

It Got UsIn a contest between this infomercial and the Windows ’95 infomercial with Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston, this one loses by a hair; that one is just too bizarre.  It’s a thin hair, though, and if you enjoy this flavor of cheese you’re in for a treat.  Enjoy.



2.  Gilligan’s Island vs. Batman – In which the cast of Gilligan’s Island competes with the cast of the prime time Batman series on Family Feud well after both shows have completed their runs.


3.  Allstate Scooter – A gorgeous page from a 1950s Sears catalog advertising their scooter.  This thing is beautiful.



4.  Spock Sings Reggae – What? Amazing edit, internet.


5.  Post Sugar Crisp Ad – Another gorgeous ad for Post Sugar Crisp cereal.

Post Sugar Crisp


Space Dust

Five Things – 08.31.15 – Faster Than You Can Say Modern Art

1. Pioneer Laserdisc Demo – In 1980 Pioneer enlisted the help of Patrick O’Neal and Mr. Wizard to host a demo video for their Laserdisc player.  It’s quite a bit stuffier than Leonard Nimoy’s effort for the Magnavision, but it still has a certain charm to it.

Laserdisc PageThe first half of the demo is O’Neal explaining the history of, well, media.  Not entirely sure what purpose this is supposed to serve – I’m pretty sure that Laserdisc owners, the target and only market for this video, are already on board with the notion that their product is of better quality than radio broadcasts.  O’Neal then takes us through the unit itself, a top-loading machine that does not seem to have a remote.

O'Neal LaserdiscHe goes into a little bit of detail about the mechanics of it, showing an animated video that pre-summarizes Mr. Wizard’s portion of the demo to come later.

Laser DiagramHe shows off some of the more specific features of the Laserdisc player, including the ability to fast forward, slow down, and freeze-frame scenes. They always use football footage for these sorts of things – did anyone actually buy a Laserdisc of a football game from the past? Who would want that? Regardless of that, O’Neal shows us just how to cue up a specific scene. While standing at the Laserdisc player. Without a remote.

ConsoleThis really sums up a lot about 1980s technology without having to say anything. A gorgeous, complicated mess.

Don Herbert takes over the second portion of the demo, on the other side of the disc. He basically Mr. Wizards the Laserdisc technology, showing the ins and outs of how it works.

Mr. WizardLaserChalkboardIn an awkwardly bold move he then produces a cone of chocolate ice cream out of nowhere, takes a lick, and smears it on a disc to show how rugged it is compared to vinyl.  Again, was anyone questioning this?

Ice CreamIt’s a little more clinical than it probably needs to be, and one questions the value of these things at all – they’re a pack-in to the Laserdisc purchase, so they exist solely to further sell you on the thing you’ve already bought.  That said, they’re about 10% actual instruction and 90% fluff of the technology.  Still, there’s a charm there in a way and I can imagine a super-excited, rich, techno-nerd guy coming home with his new Laserdisc player, hooking it up, and really digging into this.

Here’s the video.


2. Archie Pilot – Here’s an unaired 1964 pilot for an Archie sitcom.  Why didn’t this take off?! It’s pretty good!


3.  Space Dust – Before there was Pop Rocks, there was Space Dust – a terrifyingly creepy, “sizzling” candy.

Here’s the horrifying package. Would you buy something that looked like this if you saw it in the store?

Space Dust


4. Explore the Universe – On the other hand, this old NASA poster is over-the-top cute. I mean, come on!



5.  Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens – This song is a staple in my house right now; my two-year old son can’t go more than an hour without it, it seems.  I’m not complaining! Here’s a live 1974 version of Louis Jordan performing “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens”.

Great solos!




Meat for Babies

Five Things – 08.24.15 – Now Man Will Bet His Life Against The Unknown Dangers Of Space Travel

1. Man in Space – Futurist Disney is, without a doubt, my favorite kind of Disney.  Here’s a documentary from the early side of the futurist Disney era, featured on the Wonderful World of Disney.

Man in SpaceMan in Space is a pretty earnest effort to educate (presumably) children about the mechanics involved in getting a man into space and keeping him alive there for an extended period of time.  It combines live action clips and scenes animated just for this film, and both aspects are remarkable.

Walt Rocket Walt sets us up for what we’re about to see, explaining that in just the next few years the impossible will become possible.  He then turns it over to Ward Kimball, one of the Nine Old Men, to take us through it. Ward also holds a rocket.

Ward KimballThe first segment of Man in Space gives us the history of rocket technology, complete with beautiful-yet-occasionally-offensive-these-days animation.  Newton makes an appearance, too, and the idea of action and reaction is introduced which will play significantly through the film.

Action Reaction

Action ReactionThe next section focuses on then-current efforts to get a rocket into space and keep it there.  Willy Ley takes over, giving a rundown of what they expect to achieve over the next few years with rocket-stage technology.

Three Stage RocketHeinz Haber takes the reins for the third segment of the film, discussing the complexities of keeping a man alive and mentally stable in “the incomprehensible nothingness of space”. There are some pretty great animations in this segment featuring the average Joe in space, dealing with things like weightlessness, cosmic rays, and meteorites. Spoiler: the meteorite kills him and then his body boils on one side and freezes on the other. Seriously. This happens in the film.

Cosmic RaysWeightlessBoiled and FrozenWerner Von Braun brings it home in the final segment to discuss the future of the American space program, detailing a ‘what-if’ scenario for the next few years that hits surprisingly close to the mark. That’s the thing about this film – for something produced and released in 1955 there’s a lot of dreaming and stuff that never materialized, but also a lot of practical thinking and stuff that did.  I think you can say that about a lot of Disney’s futurist thinking, and whenever I read about guys like Elon Musk and their enthusiasm and ideas for the future I get a whiff of the same scent.  It’s encouraging, and I wish there were more of it.

Here’s the film.


2.  Grill Skill – We’ve recently learned that Chili Can Be Served With Cheese, but here’s a training video from Wendy’s in 1989 that goes into just how that huge grill should be managed.  As expected, it’s song-based.

Grill SkillThe video follows Bill, a young up-and-comer at Wendy’s, who’s getting promoted to grill duty that day. His manager sits him in front of a television mounted in what I assume to be a corner of the restaurant and gives him a VHS to place into the television. He does so and the TV goes haywire….revealing a rapper!

Rapper in the MachineBill gets sucked into the TV and ends up in some sort of strange nether region with the rapper and a grill and a supply of fresh ground beef and NOTHING ELSE.

RapThe rapper takes Bill through a five minute song that goes into great detail on how to properly cook a Wendy’s burger.  There’s a neat segment where the ground beef itself has cartoon faces and sings about its various cycles of life on the grill.

Singing MeatDid I say neat? I meant horrifying.

Once the rap is done, Bill recites the rap back to the rapper without the benefit of the music.  The rapper gently corrects him on a few missteps.

Choke UpThen (and this was a reveal for me on the level of the ending of Soylent Green or Se7en), the rapper casually mentions that botched/over/undercooked burgers end up IN THE CHILI.  Seriously?! Why does that gross me out so much?

Upon proving his mastery of Grill Skills to the unnamed rapper, Bill is sent back out into the real world where he has to prove his mastery to his unnamed manager.  There’s a weird sequence of them forming what appears to be a love connection over the grill.

SmilingSmilingThe video then becomes a music video of a bunch of Wendy’s employees singing about Grill Skills.  There’s no real value or message or instruction to take away from this video; it seems to be there just to pad the length. Also, a guy plays air guitar on a spatula.

Air SpatulaWhere “Chili Can Be Served With Cheese” exhausted viewers at 4 minutes, “Grill Skill” runs fifteen!  Yet it must be viewed. Do so now.

Don’t miss Dave Thomas there at the end, sitting down to a table with a bowl full of REJECTED MEAT CHILI.



3.  Fairfield – Gorgeous ad here from Curtis Mathes for the Fairfield, an elegant combination television, AM/FM Radio, and Stereo.

Curtis Mathes FairfieldThat Curtis Mathes logo is no slouch, either!


4.  Major Matt Mason – Speaking of Man in Space, here’s Mattel’s Major Matt Mason.  That’s a pretty nifty spider crawler he’s sporting there on the moon.


5.  Meat for Babies – This one makes me shudder.  It can’t be real, right? An appalling yet beautifully laid out ad.

Meat for BabiesDon’t miss those “New! Ready to serve egg yolks!” either!







Five Things – 08.17.15 – Taskbars and Email and Shortcuts, Oh My

1.  Microsoft Windows 95 Video Guide – Microsoft really went overboard with this goofy tutorial video on the then-new features of Windows 95.  There were a lot of changes from Windows 3.1, and what better way to display those changes than through an overacted, borderline offensive corporate training video? I’m sorry, I mean a cyber-sitcom. That’s what they call it.  The world’s first.

Windows GuideWho better to bring us into the brave new world of cyber sitcoms than the do-no-wrong stars of Friends, Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry? Nobody, that’s who.  And do-no-wrong? They did wrong.

Matthew Perry and Jennifer AnistonThe premise of the sitcom is that these two show up to audition for a Windows 95 training video. How Seinfeld-esque! The writers of this bit seem to be keenly aware of that fact, as there’s a funky bassline that provides the ‘rimshot’ to just about every joke in this video.

Anyway, Matt and Jen show up to Bill Gates’ office and Bill’s not there, but his personal assistant tells them to just go right into Bill’s office and use his computer. Because that’s what would happen.  This is Bill’s office.

Bill's OfficeI have a hard time believing his screen is that small.  The assistant seats the two down at Bill’s desk, and they get down to business.  “Business” being explaining the basic functions of Windows 95 as Matthew Perry coughs out one-liners on any term or phrase he can get a hold of.

TrioEventually the cast expands, and this is where it gets a little offensive.  There’s an Eastern European window washer (Microsoft’s “windows expert”. Get it?) who shows how to use plug and play, a Chinese food delivery guy named Jeff Li who demonstrates right clicking (?) by use of an overly halting tone of voice, a kid named Joystick Joey who can’t be beat at 3D Pinball and the Chipster, Microsoft’s email expert.


There’s also a grunge band and a music video and some other stuff.  It’s pretty ridiculous.  Early on in the video they introduce a big red button, which Jennifer Aniston is warned not to touch under any circumstances.  They forget about it for about twenty minutes and then out of nowhere Aniston decides to push it.  This Tron’s the secondary cast into the computer and Matt and Jen leave.  The secondary cast is pretty excited about this development, which begs the question of why the button shouldn’t be pressed in the first place?

InsideThen there’s about 30 minutes of legitimate tutorial explaining the things discussed in the “cyber-sitcom” and 20 or so Frequently Asked Questions.  A real snoozefest after the gold of the first half-hour. Here it is.


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Five Things – 08.10.15 – And The Appearance Of Everything Begins To Change

1.  Just Say Julie – Late-1980s MTV had two Julie Browns.  There was Downtown Julie Brown, the cool Club MTV host and then there was Miss Julie Brown, the goofy comedienne. The latter Brown’s show was Just Say Julie, a mostly one-woman show that drew heavily on her celebrity-mocking stand-up act.

Just Say JulieBrown played a valley girl with a bit of an agenda against pop stars like Tiffany and Debbie Gibson, and a bit more of an agenda against Madonna.


The show was an unintentionally beautifully sort of clunky stream of consciousness, with Brown’s monologues taking up the bulk of the time.  There were also music videos but these were mocked in a proto-Beavis-and-Butthead style.  Sometimes she’d even show up in them!

Walk the Dinosaur

She played up a rivalry between herself and Downtown Julie Brown, the “Evil” Julie Brown.  Her unrequited love for Jon Bon Jove was a recurringtheme as well.  Both running gags resulted in payoffs later in the series!

Here’s an episode. It’s almost hard to tell from the grainy, hiss quality here but this was a pretty popular show and managed to upset a lot of celebrities!

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Five Things – 08.03.15 – Chili Can Be Served With Cheese

1.  Disneyland Haunted Mansion Special – In typical Disney fashion, here’s a special produced to celebrate the 1970 debut of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland.  This one’s a little more sedate than some of the other specials I’ve featured in Five Things; it seems a little more natural than the overblown specials of the 1980s and 1990s.

OsmondsThis one features the Osmond Brothers, E.J. Peaker, and a very young Kurt Russell.  The Osmonds and Peaker arrive to perform at the park and Donny and Jay quickly run off to ride some rides and check out the new Haunted Mansion ride.  The bulk of the special consists of the rest of them scouring the park to find Donny and Jay.  The odd thing about this show is that it assumes that you already know all about Disneyland; the cast travels around to the different attractions but no effort is made to point them out and explain what they are.  Like I said, sedate – something they’d quickly remedy in later specials.

Kids of the KingdomThere are about five musical numbers in the special plus a really cool featurette at the end about the construction and design behind the Haunted Mansion ride.  Then the Osmonds and E.J. go through the ride.

All in all, pretty fun.  A beautiful look at the park in 1970, if nothing else.

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