Christmas Day in Rainbowland – 1985 Holiday Toys

1985! The world got some good stuff in 1985 like Cherry Coke, Classic Coke, “We Are The World”, and Back to the Future. 1985 also found society in the middle of a huge media shift to the home video market.  VCR players were finally somewhat affordable to the average Joe and this would cause the…

We Had A Near Riot – 1983 Holiday Toys

1983! What a year! Sally Ride became the first woman in space! ARPANET started using the Internet Protocol, effectively creating the internet as we know it! National Lampoon’s Vacation, Trading Places, and Return of the Jedi came out in theaters! The Police released “Every Breath You Take”! Motorola released the first consumer mobile phones! (Also the video…

Thanksgiving Is Tomorrow – The Facts of Life Reunion (2001)

I don’t normally push into the 2000’s here, but I guess it was just a matter of time.  And technically you could argue that this movie’s a reunion of a show from the ’80s so that makes it an ’80s thing. Also it’s almost Thanksgiving here in the US and Thanksgiving happens in this movie,…

Oh, Your Concert Was Fantastic – Alvin and the Chipmunks Toys (1980s)

Alvin and the Chipmunks is one of the few franchises that seems to effortlessly skate from generation to generation without much fuss from society about the differences between iterations. It’s a pretty charmed life – how many other franchises enjoy the same sort of hall pass? With Alvin it seems that as long as the main…

All At Once – Red Devil Infomercial (1990s)

It has long been my position that the half-hour “Magic Bullet” commercial is the gold standard of infomercials. It hits all of the right notes of an infomercial: the hosts are enthusiastic to the point that you suspect they’re on an adjacent level of reality to the rest of us, there’s a strained attempt at…

A House That Has Not Been Built – 1991 Virtual Reality Report

I’ve been on a tight schedule lately but I wanted to take a minute to share this Primetime Live report from 1991 featuring virtual reality. There’s nothing really laughable or off-base about the report, which in itself is impressive; most of these ‘official’ reports of emerging technologies are the clunky equivalents of the chaperones dancing…

Terrified of Buttons – Kim Komando Infomercial (1990s)

Can you believe that there was a time when computers weren’t just not in our pockets, they weren’t even in our houses? Around the late 1980s these CRT behemoths, previously relegated to those eggheads on their college campuses, started making their way into homes across America – a transition which delighted children and befuddled adults…

You Didn’t Predict This – Psychic Friends Network (1990s)

Grammy-winning singer Dionne Warwick is probably as famous for her involvement with the Psychic Friends Network as she is for her singing and her philanthropy.  The Psychic Friends Network was a 1-900 number service that, for $3.99 a minute, connected a person with their personal psychic consultant in an ongoing ‘future-therapy’ session that helped that…

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…