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…

Five Things – 4.24.17 – Coming Soon, You Angel!

1982 ABC Pac-Preview Party It’s 1982. Pac Man’s a pretty big deal. So big that they didn’t just make a Pac-Man cartoon, NBC centered its 1982 Saturday Morning Preview Special around it. Sort of. Pac-Man is the carrot that Dick Clark dangles for forty five minutes through this awful special, held on the set of…

Five Things – 4.10.17 – A Great Makeout Champion

Mazes and Monsters (1982) Tom Hanks’ first movie role wasn’t a comedy, like you’d think. It was barely a drama.  His movie debut took form in the role of Human Robbie/Cleric Pardieu in the 1982 TV Movie Dungeons & Dragons Scare-Film called Mazes and Monsters, a movie based on a hastily written book loosely based on inaccurate…

Five Things – 3.27.17 – Dough-licious

The Jim Henson Hour This 1989 experiment tried to marry the light and dark sides of Jim Henson’s work into one weekly television event.  It didn’t really take. Henson himself hosted the weekly hourlong anthology series, setting up the episode’s lineup and theme.  The first thirty minutes were called “MuppeTelevision”, hosted by Kermit and structured…

Five Things – 3.6.17 – POWER PLUS

TurboGrafx 16 Infomercial This 18-minute promotional video for the TurboGrafx 16 game system pulls a page or two from the Saved By The Bell book of video effects. Most videos like this have a terrible-yet-fun narrative angle threading the game showcases together, but outside of an awkward little kid occasionally playing unseen games we get a…

Five Things – 1.30.17 – I Guess You’d Look Like A Garden

Isaac Asimov’s Robots VHS Mystery Game This 1986 VHS game envisioned a murder mystery set in the universe of Isaac Asimov’s Robot books.  Loosely based on the book Caves of Steel, it’s an ambitious effort and carries a high production value – particularly for the mid-1980s, when so many were getting away with so much less….