Call Me Twice – Paula Abdul 900 Number (1980s)

One could argue that greed is just a fact of the 1-900 number life, that the entire business exists to give as little entertainment as possible for as much money as possible. There are no charitable 900 number services that I’ve found, no services that prioritize the customer’s experience over the prospect of a slow…….

Short Circuit, Boom – Dead at 21 (1994)

Dead at 21 sits right at the fulcrum of MTV’s rise as a unique music industry powerhouse and its slope into scripted and reality basic cable normalcy. When the show premiered in 1994 the network had a healthy roster of not-music-video-related shows, but most of them were some form of comedy, game show, or animation….

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….

I’m Not Exaggerating – The Sierra Newsletter (Spring 1988)

Sierra On-Line spent the ’80s and early ’90s building an impressive catalog of adventure games, titles that were pointed to as examples of the best the technology of the moment could offer.  They built franchises that stood the test of time: King’s Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, and Quest For Glory all…

Claymation Comedy of Horrors (1991)

Is there a Will Vinton seasonal TV special that’s not an absolute classic? If there is, I haven’t seen it yet. 1991’s “Claymation Comedy Of Horrors” continues the streak, with some of the best stop motion work I’ve ever seen. The story? Eh. But the animation? Classic. “Claymation Comedy of Horrors” opens with a flashback…

USA Cartoon Express – Monster Bash (1993)

The USA Cartoon Express broke a lot of ground in the 1980s and 90s with its approach to a kids block. Tucked away on the then-still-nascent cable giant lived a one to two hour block, depending on where it was scheduled, that was all for kids.  The block was a full takeover of the network,…

Put A Label On It! – Casio Devices (1980-90s)

When it came to ways to get technology  into your day-to-day life, Casio had some pretty big ideas.  Looking in hindsight from the vantage point of a world that has all-in-one smartphones in it, the number of big ideas they had really stands out. And that’s sort of the problem for Casio: they were all…