The Secret’s Out- Storyphone (1990s)

I know that the 900-number industry isn’t exactly known for their respectability, but this one seems particularly shady. Who doesn’t like to have fun, am I right? And what better way than to spend three dollars for the first minute and thirty-five cents for each additional minute to call a phone number to hear someone…

Bea Alerte, Justin Case – Canadian Civil Defence Posters (1950s)

The Cold War was scary, even if – maybe particularly if – you weren’t one of the major players. It’s always interesting to see the post World War II balancing act between nuclear preparation and nuclear panic, in all of its different forms, and these civil defence posters are a good look at one way that…

The Adventures of Gilligan’s Island (NES) (1989)

The Nintendo Entertainment System’s massive popularity led to a licensing gold rush in the late ’80s and early ’90s. It seems like every property under the sun was shoehorned into a video game, regardless of whether that property lent itself to a game format or not. Sometimes we got games that seemed like no-brainers for…

CBS All Star Rock n’ Wrestling Saturday Spectacular (1985)

The Prime-Time Saturday Morning preview specials of the 1970s and ’80s have a bespoke magic to them, self-serving events created from scratch for the sole purpose of promoting other things elsewhere on that same network and using big star power to do it. It’s never a simple roundup, never a straight “hey, here are our…

Really Get You Going – Wendy’s Training Videos (1980s)

Now THIS is how you spice up a training video. It’s clear from this batch of training sessions from the ’80s that Wendy’s was looking to cut through the drone-ish humdrum of the usual employee on-boarding process, and in that effort they absolutely succeeded. Whether that translated to better retention or employee knowledge is probably…

A Strange Transmission – Tab Clear Ads (1993)

Recently I went into Crystal Pepsi’s story, with a footnote about Tab Clear. As the story goes, in order to stave off any loss of market share to the new clear Pepsi product, Coca-Cola introduced an intentionally doomed product – Tab Clear – to turn the public off of the idea of clear sodas altogether….

It’s For Everyone – Today’s Special (1981)

The department store of the 1970s and 1980s was a labyrinth of wonders, a never-ending series of corners opening up into new lands – most of which were pretty dull to a kid. Until you got to the children’s department, that is. Push past the shoes and the pants and the dress clothes and more…

Cut. It. Out. – Out of Control (1984)

Before Dave Coulier warmed America’s hearts as Uncle Joey Gladstone, he hosted a low budget talk show for kids that spent most of its time off of the rails. Have mercy! Out of Control was conceived as a parody news magazine show for kids or, more accurately, a show about putting on a news magazine show for…

Getting Your A.C.T. Together – Hardee’s Training Video (1980s)

Few things better demonstrate a fast-food restaurant’s efficiency than its effort to accommodate a customer base who is unwilling to leave their cars to get their food. Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s knew this as well as anyone, and this training video shows how much they wanted to be able to claim their tight drive-through game as a…