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…

Making It Great – Pizza Hut Training Video (1988)

This video’s been a bit of a sleeper hit around my house. On the surface it seems sort of unremarkable given the other fast-food training videos of the era like “Grill Skills” and “Clean It”, but something about it has infected us.  Maybe it’s Julie’s enthusiasm. Maybe it’s her brown-plaid-on-brown-on-brown uniform. Maybe it’s the painful…

Meltdown – Nightline Chernobyl Accident Report (1980s)

On April 26, 1986, a late night safety test at the Chernobyl nuclear plant went horribly wrong and led to the most disastrous nuclear power plant accident in history.  The world found out two days later, when Russian state news broadcasted a four-sentence report on the event.This episode of Nightline, ABC’s late night news program,…

Words Have Power – Read All About It (1979)!

There’s something really beautiful about kids’ public television in the 1970s and 1980s.  With government funding and then-still-high public enthusiasm about TV’s use as a teaching tool, the floodgates seemed to be open for production on all sorts of ideas at the national and local level.  These decades saw some really creative programming developed all…

All Those Ghosts Turn Blue – Pac Man Ads (1980s)

Readers of this blog are already aware of my distinct fondness for video game box art, particularly from the early 1980s. The disparity between the elaborate imagery on game boxes and in marketing materials and what players saw on the screen with the actual gameplay isn’t too surprising given the limited technology of the time,…

The Monster In Your Living Room – Anti-Pay-TV PSA (1970)

While not an apples-to-apples situation, there’s still a strong psychic tie between this 1970 PSA against the oncoming Pay TV juggernaut and our modern-day Net Neutrality fight.  The dawn of Pay TV was an undeniable game changer for just about everyone on Earth, and we’re still seeing the ripple effects of that shift in a…

Christmas, 1982 – The Wing Broke Off And I Ate It

1982 brought a lot of cool things into the world. E.T. was released, as was the Commodore 64.  Sony launched its first CD Player, Disney opened EPCOT Center, and Michael Jackson released Thriller.  Atari blessed the world with Pitfall!, and the 1982 World’s Fair introduced us to the Sunsphere (or Wigsphere, depending on which narrative you adopt).  Here’s…

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,…

The Angry Red Planet – Total Recall (NES) (1991)

I’m  always only ever an inch away from starting a Total Recall blog.  For better or worse, it’s probably my favorite movie of all time.  There’s a surprising amount of stuff to unpack with Total Recall too – the would-be Cronenberg treatment, the Piers Anthony novelization that took severe liberties with the story, the spin-off…