Popeye Sells Out – Popeye Commercials (1980s)

I get it, nothing in entertainment is sacred, cartoon characters least of all. If there’s a buck to be made by putting a character on a product, that buck will likely be made. That’s just the way it is. I’m not even a big Popeye guy. Are there big Popeye guys? If there are, I’m…

Push Witch – King’s Quest (Sega Master System) (1989)

While it was probably an easy decision to make – take Sierra’s insanely popular King’s Quest game and port it to your console to make $$$$ – it couldn’t have been easy to execute. Microsmiths and Parker Brothers were up to the task, and the end product is surprisingly better than I expected it to…

Gone Hollywood – 7-Eleven Movie Rentals (1986)

Not quite Blockbuster and not quite Redbox, 7-Eleven’s brief flirtation with a movie and VCR rental service in 1986 and 1987 was a weird sort of future vision that was a little too ahead of its time. MovieQuik (later RentaMovie) broke new ground by offering 24-hour rentals and no membership fees. The catch was that…

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….