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…

And Deliver It Does – RCA Selectavision Lineup (1984)

Few companies bridged that gap between the radio days and the television era the way that RCA did. RCA didn’t just develop cutting-edge radios and television sets, they developed broadcast technology that defined how generations of consumers would receive their media and how old people still continue to receive it today. All parties must end,…

“Not A Flash In The Pan” – Crystal Pepsi Training Video (1992)

Sure, New Coke was a disaster for the Coca-Cola company and the reintroduction of the Classic formula was an expensive hail-mary pass that paid off and the whole debacle would probably serve as a good example to other leaders in the soda industry of the importance of maintaining the integrity of your flagship product, but…

Big Match at My House – 1986 Holiday Toys

1986! Hands Across America! Licensed to Ill! The Oprah Winfrey Show! A big year, with some big punches! (…also Cherynobl occured, arguably the biggest punch of all.) On the holiday toy front, the robot fad had died down a bit from previous years. What took its place seemed to be electronic toys and games, plushes, and…

Christmas Day in Rainbowland – 1985 Holiday Toys

1985! The world got some good stuff in 1985 like Cherry Coke, Classic Coke, “We Are The World”, and Back to the Future. 1985 also found society in the middle of a huge media shift to the home video market. ¬†VCR players were finally somewhat affordable to the average Joe and this would cause the…