Five Things – 3.13.17 – That’s Why I’m In This Box

Invasion of Nintendo – Super Nintendo Infomercial

It’s always weird when Nintendo tries to be cool. Cool just isn’t their thing. This 1995 infomercial for the Super Nintendo is a perfect example of my point; it sets out to showcase the system’s lineup in an edgy, gritty way and it comes off looking like when the chaperones try to dance with the students..

Bush video, or Korn video?

A man in a video screen sends his dark agents to gather intel on the latest Nintendo games.  There’s an air of malice to the effort, but each outing quickly turns comical; there’s little edginess to be found in Yoshi’s Island, and even less in Donkey Kong Country.  The agents seem committed to torture in order to get the info they need, but the ‘torture’ ends up to be mild aggression and, in one case, just plain money.

There would have been good value in watching this as a kid in the mid-90s. There weren’t many chances to get a look at footage of games that weren’t out yet, and Killer Instinct is a pretty extreme title for Nintendo. Even though Super Mario RPG wouldn’t come out until the N64, it’s pretty exciting to see it here.

And speaking of N64, the video ends with the ultimate intel: a first glimpse at the new console from a Japanese convention. There’s not a lot to it, but what’s there is cool.

So yeah, a mixed bag.  The tone isn’t really congruent with the Nintendo we knew then or know now, but it was the ’90s and everyone was trying this sort of thing on.  Here’s the video:


1940s Catholic Truth Society Covers

Vintage Irish Book Cover enthusiast Hitone’s got some book covers from the Catholic Truth Society that are nothing short of breathtaking. Here are a few of my favorites – hit their site for the rest.


Big Loo

This “Giant Moon Robut” is flat-out terrifying. Just $9.99 in 1960s money!

Those teeth!


Cycles Rad

I’d like to live in this 1910 poster for a French Race sponsor.


Finally, this 1970 commercial for an adhesive glue that almost certainly gave anyone who touched it some sort of disease.



Five Things – 03.14.15 – Square, Rectangle, Trapezoid, Tetrazoid!

System Technology

It’s a really dry title and if we’re being honest, a really dry delivery.  BUT! If you squint a little bit at this early 1960s informational film by the Systems Development Corporation you’ll find a lot to love beyond the subject matter.

System Technology

If you’re into the step by step development process for early warning systems for aircraft you’ll already be on board.  But let’s assume you aren’t. The film benefits from the inescapable fact that the camera was pointing at things happening in the ’60s.   More specifically, it’s pointed at men and women who are wearing clothes and using machines that existed in the 1960s.


Bank Americard Tape Suit Room Illumination Wheel Data Entry

The subject is interesting, but the structure of the film just isn’t.  Using a man-from-the-future perspective it’s noteworthy just how much of this process is probably truncated and made vastly more efficient today.  The hand tools and bulky machines used are fantastic in their ubiquity as well as their design.

The film oddly cuts into animated segments that look like lifts from a Roald Dahl book.


Data Processing

And there’s a strange bit toward the end about computers replacing teachers in a 1:1 classroom setting.

Computer Teacher

If you’re going to name a project  “The Leviathan Project”, your first step really needs to be to make sure it’s an interesting project.

Leviathan Project

All-in-all, worth the watch.  Not for what it’s about, but what it does while it’s being about what it’s about. Here it is.


Tenspeed and Brown Shoe

This 1980 one-season detective show featured stage veteran Ben Vereen (also Wil Smith’s father on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air!) playing a hustler-turned-detective and an up-and-coming nobody named Jeff Goldbum playing his partner, a straight-laced accountant-turned-detecive who was a Black Belt in Karate.  That kind of feels like putting too many spices in the soup.

Tenspeed Title

Regardless, it gave us intros like this…

…and newspaper/TV Guide ads like this…

tenspeed ad

…and for that, I’m thankful.


1910 Beijing

This is easily the most beautiful thing I’ve seen this week.  I could watch this over and over again.


Tetris Commercial

It’s easy to forget or overlook the stranglehold that Tetris had on the American public in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  This commercial ran in pretty much every break on kid’s TV back then.  It tries way too hard!


Practical Taxidermy

I love this beautiful 19th-century cover for a book called Practical Taxidermy.  I wonder if impractical taxidermy got a similarly ornate treatment.

Practical Taxidermy