1. Mr. T FlavorWave Infomercial – This is no Magic Bullet, but it’s close. One of my favorite infomercials features the FlavorWave, a plastic device that uses HALOGEN ENERGY to cook anything under the sun in a matter of minutes. Mr T pulls a George Foreman in this infomercial, but in a confusing sort of way. He’s clearly associated with the product; his image is on the packaging:
Yet, in the infomercial, he plays the guy who needs to be convinced that such a device is actually possible. The infomercial has a loose plot of Mr T being invited over for dinner…in front of an audience of about two dozen people. The audience literally flips out at his arrival; they must have had no idea that he was coming! Relying on his arsenal of catchphrases, he refuses to believe that the FlavorWave can actually cook full meals until he takes the first bite of steak. Once he does, however, the seal is broken and his enthusiasm and wonder is uncontainable. He quickly makes the conversion from skeptic to advocate, becoming the champion of all the possibilities the FlavorWave affords.
Here’s the infomercial edited to include just the key Mr T bits. Although it’s severely cut down from the 30 minute version, it includes all of the key plot points so that you can follow the complex story from beginning to end. The audience cutaways are fantastic.
2. Speak & Math – This was my favorite of the Texas Instruments “Speak &…” series, though you won’t see any cute aliens using it to return back home. The Speak & Math did much the same thing that its more popular brother, Speak & Spell did: essentially it taught you basic math through the form of games. Numbers don’t lend themselves as well to the Speak & Spell formula, so the games were really just more of a math workbook than the hangman-style games the Spell offered. Still, as a kid I was in love with the stark grey design of the Speak & Math; it felt like a futuristic teaching tool as opposed to the Speak & Spell or Speak & Read.
Here’s the commercial:
3. Hugga Bunch – I didn’t see this when I was a kid; I only came across it about ten years ago when some friends sat me down to watch it to remember their childhood. The Hugga Bunch was a series of dolls that were particularly engineered to hug well. The dolls are creepy enough:
But animate them a bit and turn it into an hour-long movie, and you’ve got nightmare fuel!
They love to hug! They’ll hug whatever!
4. EPCOT 1985 Map – Yeah, more EPCOT. Here’s a scan of the 1985 map of EPCOT that I was most familiar with as a child. The design, font, layout of everything screams “FUTURE”:
5. Disney Adventures 1990s covers – Rounding this out with more Disney, Imagineering Disney’s got some covers of a Disney Magazine from the ’90s. I don’t think I ever read this magazine, but I remember these covers from supermarket check-out lines. You should hit the link to see all of them, but here are some of my favorites.
Really, MJ? Really?
Luke Perry goes back to school – at thirty-five!
Urkel and Sebastian….makes sense. More so than the other two, somehow.