A Young Bug – The Write Channel (1978)

Mississippi was pretty late to the public television party,  taking until 1970 to actually establish its own station. Even then it wasn’t the best look for the state, as their refusal to air Sesame Street due to its racially integrated cast drew national criticism, but they eventually figured it out and actually ended up developing some…

Making It Great – Pizza Hut Training Video (1988)

This video’s been a bit of a sleeper hit around my house. On the surface it seems sort of unremarkable given the other fast-food training videos of the era like “Grill Skills” and “Clean It”, but something about it has infected us.  Maybe it’s Julie’s enthusiasm. Maybe it’s her brown-plaid-on-brown-on-brown uniform. Maybe it’s the painful…

Meltdown – Nightline Chernobyl Accident Report (1980s)

On April 26, 1986, a late night safety test at the Chernobyl nuclear plant went horribly wrong and led to the most disastrous nuclear power plant accident in history.  The world found out two days later, when Russian state news broadcasted a four-sentence report on the event.This episode of Nightline, ABC’s late night news program,…

Words Have Power – Read All About It (1979)!

There’s something really beautiful about kids’ public television in the 1970s and 1980s.  With government funding and then-still-high public enthusiasm about TV’s use as a teaching tool, the floodgates seemed to be open for production on all sorts of ideas at the national and local level.  These decades saw some really creative programming developed all…

Let’s Get Warty – Battletoads (1990s)

Despite being an awesome yet punishingly difficult NES game (and later SNES, Genesis, and more), Battletoads always had the stink of a late-to-the-party reaction to the runaway success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Teenagers turn into green animals who fight to save the day from weird-looking enemies.  There were a few points of differentiation that would probably…

Killjoy Was Here! – US Air Force Training Film (1950s)

It’s comforting to know that the higher-ups in the Air Force were concerned enough about troop etiquette during their off-duty shifts that they commissioned this animated short illustrating the proper way to behave.  That sounds sarcastic, but I’m serious! It seems there was no expense spared, either. This cartoon is gorgeous and flawlessly (albeit simply)…

I Got Gooped – The Real Ghostbusters Toy Commercials (1980s)

I was obsessed with Ghostbusters growing up, a fact that should surprise nobody.  The film lent itself to a child’s obsession with its special effects, its cool gadgets, its all-star cast, and the fact that it hit in the peak-VHS era where movies were all of a sudden watchable (and re-watchable) on demand. My personal…

All Those Ghosts Turn Blue – Pac Man Ads (1980s)

Readers of this blog are already aware of my distinct fondness for video game box art, particularly from the early 1980s. The disparity between the elaborate imagery on game boxes and in marketing materials and what players saw on the screen with the actual gameplay isn’t too surprising given the limited technology of the time,…

The Monster In Your Living Room – Anti-Pay-TV PSA (1970)

While not an apples-to-apples situation, there’s still a strong psychic tie between this 1970 PSA against the oncoming Pay TV juggernaut and our modern-day Net Neutrality fight.  The dawn of Pay TV was an undeniable game changer for just about everyone on Earth, and we’re still seeing the ripple effects of that shift in a…

Christmas, 1982 – The Wing Broke Off And I Ate It

1982 brought a lot of cool things into the world. E.T. was released, as was the Commodore 64.  Sony launched its first CD Player, Disney opened EPCOT Center, and Michael Jackson released Thriller.  Atari blessed the world with Pitfall!, and the 1982 World’s Fair introduced us to the Sunsphere (or Wigsphere, depending on which narrative you adopt).  Here’s…