Al Banner

Five Things – 11.30.15 – No One Should Be Chillin’ On The Curb At Christmas

1. Weird Al and the Winans – In 1992 WGN ran a Christmas Special featuring/starring megahit gospel group The Winans.  Seems like your typical Christmas song and dance, a few celebrities like R. Kelly and a so-young-but-so-old Edward James Olmos pop in, and a message of peace and love.  And then there’s this weird thread woven throughout the special featuring Weird Al and his journey to become a true gospel singer.  This whole thing is just one cringe after another.

First Al

Al shows up to the Winans’ party dressed in an awful turqoise tuxedo and ready to wow them with his gospel skills, but he comes off a little flat – according to the attendees.  I thought he did just fine.


He’s advised that he needs to get his soul right if he wants to sing true gospel music, and so he’s sent out into the neighborhood to bring some street toughs in to the warmth of the celebration. All of these things are accented by Al’s exaggerated slang and posturing.

Up High

Bringing in the street toughs is not enough, so Al delivers a Christmas tree to a less fortunate family, and then for some reason is tasked with digging a hole to plant it. As he does so, a gospel choir gathers around him…


…and Al is shown the light.


He returns to the Winans’ party triumphant – dressed down as himself – and joins the gang in that timeless Christmas classic, “Go Tell It On The Mountain”.

Real Me

Real Me 2

Here’s the Al-centric bits of the special.  Protip – click the settings icon and turn off annotations. Or leave them on if you don’t want to be able to see the video. Up to you.  And get ready to cringe, and then get ready to cringe again. There’s no way this could have been made today.



2.  Woolworth’s 1983 Christmas Ad – Presumably there was a time when circuses were looked upon favorably and this 1983 ad for Woolworth’s Christmas offerings relies heavily on that presumption.  There’s not a part of this that’s not bizarre, creepy, or both. How about this guy and his popcorn popper?


Here’s the spot.  It’s charming in its off-puttingness.  That’s not easy to pull off.


3.  Toygro Garage – Here’s an actually charming 1920s newspaper ad for the Toygro garage.

Toygro Garage


4.   Betsey Wetsey – Not sure what our society’s fascination is with dolls that feel sadness and also consume food and then excrete it, but it’s not a new thing; here’s a 1950s commercial for Betsy Wetsey, the original doll who cries “real tears” and goes to the bathroom.


5. Playskool Tape Recorder – This thing certainly looks like it could go five rounds with a toddler. My eye keeps getting drawn to that oh-so-90s band-aid, though.

Playskool Tape Recorder




Child Life Banner Large

Five Things – 11.23.15 – An Attractive Customer Is Courteously Assisted

1. Boosting is a Business – Here’s a 1950 informational film detailing various techniques used by “professional” shoplifters.  The tactics used range from pedestrian “grab-and-put-it-in-your-pocket” theft to coordinated operations involving multiple people  Beyond the actual shoplifting there’s a lot to love about this film: the locations, the fashions, and the little slice-of-life glimpes you get of 1950s America are all worth the watch.

Boosting Is A Business

The film’s pretty balanced about its thieves; there’s only the occasional teenager while the majority are middle aged men and women.


The shifty eyes give these people away every time.

Purse Snatch

This one’s got it figured out. Look straight ahead.

Breast Pocket

This scene is particularly noteworthy not only for the fancy clothes rack design but also that this lady just opens her skirt and tucks more skirts onto the front of her actual skirt! How would that work!

Clothes Rack

Like I said, worth a watch.  There’s no hokiness here other than the harsh overdramatic tone of typical 1950s short films.  For a department store shoplifting is pretty serious business, and this film certainly backs up that attitude. There’s also an odd little piece of drug fear interjected into the middle about crazed addicts who will steal anything to fuel their habits.


2.  Thanksgiving Magazine Covers – I shared a great Thanksgiving themed Boy’s Life cover last week, but here are a few more that I love.

Woman’s Day from 1956:

Woman's Day

Harper’s Bazar from 1894:




Harper's 1894

Child Life 1925:

Child Life


3.  Give Peace a Chance (1991) – Everyone knows John Lennon’s 1969 version of this classic song but fewer are aware of Yoko’s 1991 cover, made in protest of the Gulf War and including dozens of musicians from the ’90s.  It’s really…..something.

Sebastian Bach really belts it out, doesn’t he?


4.  You Cannot Beat Us – Not one of Nintendo’s finer moments, this ad was quickly pulled off the air due to the fact that it was scaring children.



5.  Little Birdie – One of my favorite Vince Guaraldi tunes, here’s “Little Birdie” From A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.



RCA Title Banner

Five Things – 11.16.15 – The Battleground Is The TV Set

1. 1986 Hardees Training Video – On the surface this is a pretty pedestrian video as far as 1980s training films go – there’s no music video, no stylized effects, no imaginary flights of fancy.  Upon deeper inspection there’s some good stuff here, though, and a pretty good snapshot of 1986 life.


While there’s not a lot of fanciness to this video, the company apparently goosed the graphics budget and got some “memorable” art out of it. I spy both a Timid Futures logo and a graphic from the first edition of distant friends here:

Crew Training

The artwork has its misses, as well.  Here’s their depiction of the “what not to do” restaurant, Dinkos:


The video’s basically a crash course in how to talk to the customer – there are no tips here about how to cook food or clean grills, just how to deal with customers.  All types of customers.  Including very young children who seem to be in the restaurant by themselves.


There’s a point in the video where they advise you on how to place beverages in a bag for to-go orders.  Really? People wanted cups full of liquid in a bag?

Cups in a Bag

On the whole the video is a barrage of one tip after another and it’s pretty tough to keep track, even for a guy who’s just watching this video on the internet and has no financial stake in retaining this information. Imagine how this guy felt.

Uh Oh

A few tips recapped on the Chyron…

Main Goals

This is probably pretty good advice:

Drive Thru

And we end the thirty-minute film with a happy, confident employee. Seriously, this guy’s the best part of the whole thing.

Got It

Here’s the full video. I’m not sure if I recommend watching it or not – this sort of thing scratches a really specific itch. If you do dive in, enjoy the great music and fashion.


2.  Horizons Unlimited – Here’s a recruitment pamphlet from the 1950s for the Air Force, aimed at women.  There’s a lot of great layout stuff happening here that’s pretty inspiring.

Horizons Unlimited

An expected appeal to fashion…


…and a pleasant focus on education.

Technical Training




3.  1983 RCA Video Monitors Showcase – This video was aimed at retailers, attempting to convince them to both stock up on RCA Video Monitors and feature them prominently in their showrooms.  Pretty interesting – they definitely did their homework, and then smeared on a layer of ’80s glitz.  The notion of multiple video inputs being a novel concept really shows how far we’ve come with this tech.  This graphic caught my eye, too. It looks like a Nitzer Ebb album cover.

RCA Graphic


4.  Super Scope Six – A commercial for Nintendo’s followup to the Zapper, the Super Scope for the Super NES.  A freakin’ rocket launcher.


5. Boys’ Life Thanksgiving Cover – Here’s a 1927 cover for Boys’ Life celebrating Thanksgiving.  I simultaneously love and hate it.

Boys Life Thanksgiving






Devo Banner

Five Things – 11.09.15 – Sophie’s Choice, Whenever You Choose

1. 1999 A.D. – The Philco-Ford company was very optimistic about 1967’s future.  It’s a beautiful one.


This short film takes a look at a family of the future, with all of the bells and whistles that 1999 has to offer.  Some of their predictions are pretty accurate, while some are a little far fetched.  And the future itself is very, very sixties.

Living RoomThe living room of tomorrow is pretty spot on, including the bored kid watching a gigantic television.


Electronic workstations didn’t exactly pan out just this way.  The whole film really seems to miss the mark on the notion that we’d be able to hold impressive computer technology in our hands.  As a result the house of the future is completely wired up, with terminals everywhere.


Meals are automatically prepared and sent through the microwave and the dishes are all disposable, as are some of the clothes. The house scans your body for a fitness assessment every day and uploads the information to the local hospital.  Musical instruments are weird, as is the music, and video is 3D-capable.  You can play video games online.  So yeah, some hits and some misses.  Most of all it’s bright and optimistic, and lighter on the parent company’s specific contributions to this bright future than most short films like this tend to be.  It’s still totally a commercial for Philco-Ford, but it doesn’t really feel like one.  Enjoy!



2.  1984 Pioneer Laserdisc Demo with Devo – In which Devo gives an oddly hard sell on the Pioneer Laserdisc player.

Devo Group

The band hosts this twelve minute demo showcasing Laserdisc technology and content.  There’s even a cameo by Ray Charles, where he actually says the line “Music video? I can’t see it.”


This comparison between Video and Laserdisc technology has to be clearer and more conclusive on the original source material, right?


A few weeks back we saw Mr. Wizard smearing ice cream on a Laserdisc to prove its versatility.  Apparently that’s a thing – it’s done here, as well.

Ice Cream

All in all, a fun twelve minutes.


3.  Paper Twin Peaks Intro“And The World Was Paper” recreates movie trailers and scenes using paper. The results are pretty great.  Here’s the Twin Peaks opening sequence.


4.  Radiation Survival Ad – Fallout 4 comes out this week, and I will soon descend into the bunker with it.  In honor of that, here’s an ad for Lafayette Radio’s Radiation Survival Set. Classy touch, putting the mushroom cloud on there.

Lafayette Radio


5.  Dining Together – Thanksgiving’s coming up, guys.  Here’s a few sedate observations from the 1950s on dining together accompanied with a lingering piano soundtrack to get you all warmed up.




Solarnauts 1

Five Things – 11.02.15 – I’m a Bear Called Jeremy

1.  The Solarnauts – Here’s the UK’s almost-answer to Star Trek, the 1967 pilot for The Solarnauts.  While Star Trek‘s a pretty good title, I think I actually prefer Solarnauts.

Solarnauts Title

While both shows are very of-the-era and there are a lot of similarities between the two, the jazzy and brassy soundtrack of Solarnauts really sets it apart and traps it in the sixties.  Star Trek didn’t really suffer the same fate; for all its camp and dance scenes and female alien fashions, it’s a pretty timeless show in comparison.  The set design is great.  There are a few neat “what-if”s, like this egg-cushioned pilot’s chair:

Pilot Chairs

For the most part, though, it’s a broadly inspired design that comes up a little bland on details. Still, beautiful stuff.

Solarnauts Set Solarnauts 1 Planet Set 2 Console Wall

It’s a flat tie with Star Trek on the planet sets, though. Solarnauts wins in the costume department, but comparing their outfits to Star Trek‘s uniforms seems like an unfair fight. These helmets!

Planet Set

Solarnauts Costumes

It’s easy to see why this show wasn’t picked up – there’s not much to like about the characters, the action’s kind of iffy, and the whole thing just kind of falls stylishly flat.   Still, it’s charming, and it would have been interesting to see what the series grew into if it had been picked up.  Alas, this is all we have.  This brassy intro song is serious business.


2.  Jeremy – Here’s an adorable stop-motion children’s show from TV Ontario featuring a bear called Jeremy.  This show aired in the 1970s and 1980s, and it’s beautiful and impressively light on dialogue.


3.  Baby Boomer – This unlicensed NES game has you manning the Zapper to shoot down threats to a baby that is crawling through heaven and hell to find….something? I guess he’s just exploring.  Anyway, awful.


4.  Weebles Treehouse – Enjoy this commercial for the Weebles Treehouse playset.


5.  Gobblin’ Food! – I know its a few days late but here’s a gorgeous Halloween themed print ad for Sugar Crisp.

Sugar Crisp



Challenge of Change Banner

Five Things – 10.26.15 – It’s a Man, Talking To a Machine

1. AT&T: Challenge of Change – This 1961 short film produced by AT&T does a pretty great job of capturing the suddenly-accelerating nature of technological development of the age and the frenzied attempts to harness that development into making life easier for everybody.  In this specific case, though, it’s focused mostly on making business easier for businessmen.  Slightly easier.

Challenge of ChangeMost of the film is based around how business people need to stay in better, faster communication with each other and how new phones and phone call routing and data calls between machines are on the horizon.  That’s all neat, and the film does a pretty good job of being very dramatic about it all, but the gems are in the phone design:

Data Phone


Routing Phone

These seem like safe predictions nowadays, but I have to allow that they were pretty forward-thinking at the time.  There are also a few misses – they accurately predict a pager but it’s the size of a remote control and emits a very loud and constant tone until it is answered.  Perfect for an elegant business dinner.  The other dinner guest is impressed, though, and steals the pager for himself.  Then there’s videophone shopping which, again, is the right idea but the wrong execution.

Phone Shopping

Surrounding the product showcase is a bunch of trippy, atmospheric visual stuff and a lot of flowery talk.  It actually works pretty well at what it’s trying to do, which is to convince you that the future is coming and it’s here already and that it’s all happening so fast.  There are a few dry spots in this film but overall it’s pretty good.  Plus it’s beautiful.  Take a look.


2.  Betamax “Show Time!” – Then there’s this 1983 video from Sony about their Betamax and other products, which is just cringe-worthy.  For some reason, Charlie Hunnam is all I see when I look at this guy . Seriously, Sony paid for this to be created and was happy with it?


3.  Flying Saucers For Everybody! – In 1954, Mechanix Illustrated predicted that everyone would be flying in their own saucers by 1965. The full scoop’s over at Modern Mechanix, but here’s the spoiler: Mechanix Illustrated was wrong. Here are some great illustrations.

Flying Saucers

I’m more jealous of this backyard than I am of the flying saucer.

Flying Saucers 2


4.  Comet Warriors – These guys came late in the game for Eternia: He-Man‘s series had been cancelled but the toy line was still going strong.  They showed up in She-Ra, briefly, and in a couple of comics, but were sort of unremarkable.  Called the Rock People in the series and the comic, they were a peaceful race that eventually were forced to fight Hordak.  I guess this made them Comet Warriors.  Here are a couple of commercial for the toys.


5.  Labatt Commercial – Who knew Labatt beer made you so fancy?



Carol Banner

Five Things – 10.19.15 – Jam Tomorrow

  1. Alice in Wonderland/Alice Through The Looking Glass – This 1985 TV Movie adaptation of Lewis Carrol’s classic novel is as notable for its star-studded lineup as it is for how weird it gets with its star-studded lineup.


Broadcast on CBS as a two-night event in December 1985, the story pretty closely follows the novel’s story beats.  There’s a way in which one could view the special as Alice travelling through Wonderland meeting al sorts of fantastic characters. There’s also a way one could view it as Alice travelling through Wonderland meeting one fading Hollywood legend after another.

Steve and Edie

Seriously, the roster is insane.  It includes Red Buttons, Sherman Hemsley, Shelley Winters, Scott Baio, Sammy Davis Jr., Imogene Coca, Telly Savalas, Anthony Newley, Roddy McDowall, Sid Caesar, Ringo Starr, Carol Channing, Sally Struthers, Harvey Korman, Merv Griffin, Patrick Duffey, Steve Allen, Eydie Gorme, Steve Lawrence, Jonathan Winters, Ernest Borgnine, John Stamos, Beau Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, and Red Buttons. Among others!

The big departure from the book is the obscene amount of musical numbers – the first hour of the special has nine (!) songs and the second hour has ten.  The songs are where the oddness of the whole thing really shines the brightest.  Here’s Sherman Hemsley singing about how he hates dogs and cats…

…Sammy Davis, Jr. transforming from the caterpillar to a human to perform a funky version of “You Are Old, Father William”…

…and on the top of the pile, Carol Channing singing “Jam Tomorrow”.  This performance has stuck with me for thirty years, and the ending is pretty great nightmare fodder.

It’s not a bad special, really; it’s just weird.  Really weird.  See for yourself.


2.  The Crystal Maze – The early 1990s saw this beautifully bizarre British game show, a sort of Legends of the Hidden Temple for grown-ups that embraced teamwork, sci-fi and fantasy, and mad scrambles to catch flying cash in a wind chamber.

The Crystal Maze

The Crystal Maze was made up of four zones, each representing a different slice of space and time: Aztec, Futuristic, Industrial, and Medieval.  Each zone had its own set of challenges appropriate to the setting, and each challenge had the chance to grant the players crystals that could later be exchanged for time in the wind chamber.

Crystal Maze Map

The neat thing about The Crystal Maze was that it was completely co-operative. There’s one team in each episode and the team either wins or loses as a whole.  There are circumstances under which one team member drops out of the game, but they’re few and far between.

The Crystal Dome is the final portion of the game, where the team trades their crystals for time spent catching gold and silver banknotes that are blowing around.  The amount of banknotes caught affects the prizes the team gets at the end.

Crystal Dome

Between the elaborate set design, the enthusiastic “Dungeon Master”, and the all around friendliness of the game itself, this might be the best game show that I’ve ever seen. Where was I between 1990 and 1995? Oh, that’s right. In America.

Here’s the first episode.  It’s a little weird that there’s no music in it, but otherwise solid stuff.


3.  Archie Gets All The Brakes – I love old comic book ads like this that masquerade as actual stories.  Archie had a ton of them.

Archie Ad


4.  Batman Forever VHS Commercial – This five-minute video was produced to appeal to retailers in the hopes they’d carry VHS copies of Batman Forever in their stores.  It’s beautifully cringe-worthy, especially when it gets down to about two straight minutes of marketing-speak in the middle.


5.  Awful Coffee Ad – Just terrible.  Harvey doesn’t deserve her!



Gumby Banner

Five Things – 10.12.15 – We’re No Dummies and They’re Startin’ The Yummies

1. The Yummy Awards – Last week we saw CBS’ 1983 Saturday Morning special, a half hour show with a bizarre premise that seemed incongruent with its goals and that didn’t really make a lot of sense if you applied any sort of thought against the plot.  Well, NBC did pretty much the same thing that year, except it was twice as long and much tougher to watch.

Yummy AwardsThis the First Annual (and Last) Yummy Awards Show, hosted by a young Ricky Schroder and Dwight Schultz, mega-stars of Silver Spoons and The A-Team respectively  The Yummy Awards is an event attended solely by children and intended to honor Saturday Morning programming with a trophy that contains real ice cream, sometimes a custom flavor depending on the recipient.

Ricky with Award

All of this is clearly meant to introduce NBC’s Saturday Morning lineup and maybe I’m not justified in being a little let down by this, but there aren’t even nominees to the categories.  For example, the first category is “The Best Comedy Show Starring Three Singing Animal Brothers”.  Who else is it going to be?


That’s another thing – the show is kind of inconsistent about how they’re interpreting the cartoon characters in the real world.  In the case of Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Flintstones (winners of the Best Comedy Show with Stone Age Stars Who Have Rocks In Their Heads), they’re life-size costumed characters. The Smurfs remain animated, as shown in their dance number with Fame‘s Lee Curreri:

Lee Curreri and Smurfette

Papa Smurf shows up later to accept the award for The Best Show Starring Little Blue Persons Three Apples Tall from The Facts of Life’s Tootie.  Mindy Cohn also appears to present an award with Lassie.

Mindy and Lassie

They’re really leveraging the NBC star power in this special.  Dwight Schultz is in full Murdock mode throughout, performing hyperactive bits that frequently fail to land.  It’s awkward to watch him basically perform to himself, but you can’t say he didn’t try.


An hour later, we’ve given awards to The Chipmunks, Mr. T, The Flintstones, Thundarr the Barbarian, The Smurfs, Spiderman, Shirt Tales, and Hulk.   We’ve watched musical performances by costumed Flintstones and Chipmunks (separately)…


…seen even less articulated costumes for other characters like Gumby…


…watched Bozo the Clown and Tina Yothers discuss the detriments of drug use…

Bozo and Tina

…and seen a live action version of the cast of Thundarr the Barbarian.

Thundarr cast

It’s crazy, the whole thing is clearly phoned in from a scripting and production standpoint but at the same time so much effort went into it.  I can’t figure it out.  Here’s the whole thing – I stand by my earlier statement that it’s tough to watch, but it’s the good kind of tough to watch.

Bonus: the second hour of the video is a full episode of CBS’ Saturday Supercade, for some reason.


2.  Atari 2700 – Here’s a 1981 article from Electronic Games for the unreleased successor to the Atari 2600, the “Remote Control VCS” or Atari 2700.  It featured wireless controls and a few other enhancements, but was basically intended to be a fancier 2600.

Atari 2700

I love the ‘scoop’ on the new console but I also love the layout of this page! It looks like the 2700 got canned because there was no way to pair the remote controllers to a specific console, so if you were in range of another 2700 your controllers would control each others systems. Whoops!


3.  Panasonic VHS Advertisement – In which a robot from the ’80s unintentionally makes us feel a little guilty about our attitude toward electronics.


4. Planet of the Apes VHS ad – And for something to put in that well-performing Panasonic VHS machine, how about all of the Planet of the Apes movies?

Apes Movies

$19.98’s a steal. I’m being completely serious.  Even back then, that’s an great value!


5.  Jell-O – And finally, here’s a gorgeous Jell-O print ad for raspberry Jell-O – arguably one of the worst flavors in existence, but a gorgeous ad nonetheless.
Raspberry Jell-O




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