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…

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…

It’s For Everyone – Today’s Special (1981)

The department store of the 1970s and 1980s was a labyrinth of wonders, a never-ending series of corners opening up into new lands – most of which were pretty dull to a kid. Until you got to the children’s department, that is. Push past the shoes and the pants and the dress clothes and more…

Cut. It. Out. – Out of Control (1984)

Before Dave Coulier warmed America’s hearts as Uncle Joey Gladstone, he hosted a low budget talk show for kids that spent most of its time off of the rails. Have mercy! Out of Control was conceived as a parody news magazine show for kids or, more accurately, a show about putting on a news magazine show for…

Getting Your A.C.T. Together – Hardee’s Training Video (1980s)

Few things better demonstrate a fast-food restaurant’s efficiency than its effort to accommodate a customer base who is unwilling to leave their cars to get their food. Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s knew this as well as anyone, and this training video shows how much they wanted to be able to claim their tight drive-through game as a…