Christmas 1981 – We’ll Be Back To Pick You Up Later

1981. By the time Santa came, the world had been through the ringer.  Bob Marley died, Reagan was shot, Walter Cronkite left our televisions, the first AIDS cases were officially recognized, Muhammed Ali lost his last ever fight, the Cold War raged on, and the Iran Contra scandal caught its spark. But! Also in 1981,…

Christmas in 1980 – They’re Afraid Of Your Snake, Yoda

Christmas, 1980. Carter’s on his way out, Reagan’s on his way in, Rubik’s Cubes are the must-have holiday toy, The Empire Strikes Back rules the theaters and Dallas rules the living room.  Here’s a look at the holiday ad surge you’d have seen if you were a television viewer or magazine reader in Christmas of 1980.  It’s…

For Digestion’s Sake – Thanksgiving Ads (1940s-1990s)

Holiday traditions in the United States grow and change over the years, but there’s one constant: everyone wants a piece of your holiday spending money.  These Thanksgiving ads ranging from 1942 to 1991 showcase the different angles these companies took to try and get at your wallet. In doing so they speak to the design…

Incrediburgable – Burger Chef (1950s-90s)

If I asked you to name a burger restaurant established in the 1950s with a patented cooking method, a signature burger with the word “Big” in the title, a packaged meal themed just for kids, and a roster of make-believe characters, what name would you guess? You’d say Burger Chef, right? (courtesy Burger Chef Memories)…

Better Than Pennies – ’70s Halloween Commercials

We’re pretty stale and orderly with our Halloween celebrations these days, so much so that it’s easy to forget the Wild West that was Halloween in the 1970s and 1980s.  Suffocation-threatening vinyl masks,  flammable vinyl shrouds to match said masks, and the ever-present threat of razor blades in your candy brought an edge of danger…

Mysteries of the Unknown – Time-Life Books (1980s)

The “Mysteries of the Unknown” series is the jewel in the Time-Life crown. You can’t talk for long about Time-Life books without this exploration into the paranormal coming up. It makes sense; UFO abductions, Stonehenge and Easter Island, telekinesis, ESP, and deja vu were at super-high popularity in the ’80s. Magazines and books like “Mysteries…

Don’t Drink It – MagiCans (1990)

Money in Coke cans?! Putrid smelling liquid in Coke cans?! People drinking putrid smelling liquid they found in Coke cans and getting sick? This 1990 Coca-Cola MagiCan promotion  really had it all. Coke kicked off the Summer of 1990 with an ambitious promotion: stash money or coupons redeemable for trips and other prizes into Coke…

Phil Hartman Sells The CD-i: Friday Followup

Who could be a better pitchman for the CD-i than perhaps the best SNL cast member of all time, Phil Hartman? Whoever wrote these ads really put Phil through the ringer, but he does more in thirty seconds than Sid and Ed did in thirty minutes. It’s also worth noting that the CD-i had dropped…

Five Things – 5.22.17 – Stories For Boys

  It’s About Time (1966) What if you had a silly TV show set in a remote jungle location and you had an idea for a second, unrelated-yet-just-as-silly TV show set in a remote jungle location and you just re-used props and sets from the first silly TV show for the second silly TV show…

Five Things – 05.15.17 – Fall Has Come To Millbrook

Nintendo Fun Club – April 1988 – Zelda II: The Adventure of Link I played the new Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, for about an hour this morning. I didn’t have a ton of time to play, so I didn’t want to get into anything too big. Instead I just collected some food and…