Tag Archives: magazine ads

Five Things – 01.23.17 – Hit The Play Button And Go Blow Up Some Spaceships

Pioneer LaserActive Infomercial

In 1993 Pioneer released a sort of megadevice that combined CDs, Laserdiscs, video games, and  interactive karaoke CDs.  Called “LaserActive”, it retailed for just under $1000 and in a result that shocked nobody, was largely unsuccessful.

This 1993 “issue” of Zoom, the “Video Magazine” (what?) features the ins-and-outs of the LaserActive.  It’s a showcase of the technology itself, the software featured, and an awkward technical section that describes how to set the thing up.  Not sure that last part is “video magazine”-worthy but hey, I’m not a “video magazine” editor.

This video is about 40% content and 60% stock ’90s introspective flash and graphics. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The LaserActive software is impressive; games like Pyramid Patrol, Quiz Econosaurus, and I Will demonstrate the different types of game options available, and the quality of the (then) high technology is evident.

Here’s the thing: it’s actually a pretty impressive machine. In the early-to-mid nineties, in the aftermath of the VHS/Beta war, in the middle of the CD/Laserdisc/VHS landscape, and on the cusp of DVD’s entry into the foray (not to mention minidiscs and mp3s), a device that could do it all was a pretty novel idea.  And in that light, $970’s actually a value.  Still, that’s a high price point to rationalize.

An interesting experiment, albeit a failed one.  What do you think? Here’s the “video magazine”.

 

Cinnamon Crunch

In my day, Cap’n Crunch battled the Soggies. These white, wet embodiments of too much milk goofily tried to thwart the Cap’n and his child companions, to no success.  In the 1970s, though, the Cap’ns nemesis was a fellow pirate named Jean LaFoote. He had his own cereal, Cinnamon Crunch, years before Wendell and the bakers would come along and stake a claim on cinnamon-flavored cereal with their Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Here’s LaFoote’s finest hour.

 

EPCOT Horizons Commercial

It’s not often that I come across something about Horizons that’s new to me, so I’m excited to share this sedate 1980s EPCOT commercial focused entirely on Horizons.  Everything about it is great, but for some reason the music doesn’t feel like a total match.  Still, so good!

 

Mason Shoe Recruitment

This ad ran in men’s magazines in the 1960s, recruiting would-be door-to-door salesmen across the country.

 

1940s Band-Aid Commercial

This commercial features a fascinating and unsettling proof-of-concept, testing the band-aid’s adhesiveness on an egg. That glue is way too powerful.

Way too powerful. Man was not meant for this level of adhesion.

-ds

Five Things – 09.26.16 – Find The Future And Touch Tomorrow

1984 EPCOT Video Brochure

It’s been a minute since I scratched the EPCOT itch here, but this video brochure from 1984 certainly makes up for lost time.

epcot universe-of-energyhorizons

The focus of this extended commercial, as usual, skews more toward the World Showcase than it does on Future World, a strategy that always baffled me.  Were/are people really that interested in the World Showcase? As a kid it felt like a waste of half of the park and while I don’t feel that strongly as an adult I still wonder about it.  I think this shot from the Mexico pavilion has been in every piece of EPCOT promotional material from the ’80s that I’ve ever seen:

mexico

They don’t miss the chance to tell you that you can drink booze at EPCOT, either.  There’s also a strange interlude with a stuffy elderly woman and a mime who go on a date?

world-showcase-uk mime

The back (less-than) half of the video focuses on Future World, with some great glimpses of the attractions that aren’t there anymore.  The entire layout of the park just makes more sense with Horizons poking up.  Lousy sinkholes.

smrt-1 communicore

fountain

Also a little love for the oft-neglected World of Motion attraction.

world-of-motion

This video probably captures “old” EPCOT better than any other I’ve seen. It doesn’t go into a ton of detail and it doesn’t need to – it’s just a big promo, after all. The wide shots of the park, the carefully staged in-attraction shots, and the elements of the World Showcase they included really paint the picture of a day that’s gone by. For better or worse.

For worse.

Here’s the video. So good.

 

Mighty Marvel Cookbook

Last week we looked at the DC Superhero Cookbook. Marvel beat them to the punch in 1977 with their cookbook, but it wasn’t really aimed at being healthy or anything. It was still a cute idea, and the art is great.

marvel-superheroes-cookbook desserts clobbered-omelet

I’m usually more of a Marvel guy, but I gotta give the win to DC on the cookbook front.

 

Star Trek: TNG Makeup Test

Watch the core cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation hold poses for an awkward amount of time.  Did anyone other than Geordi wear a visor in the show? It’s strange to see other characters here wearing one.

Of course Riker can’t hold his pose.

 

Super Bomberman 2 Commercials

This collection of Japanese commercials for 1994’s Super Bomberman 2 is an assault on the senses; there’s no shame if you can’t make it all the way through.  The live action Bomberman costumes are pretty great.

 

What Kind Of Man Owns His Own Computer?

Kind of crazy to imagine a time in which this question needed to be asked and answered.

apple-1979-ad

 

 

-ds

Five Things – 05.30.16 – And The Wind Would Carry Your Light To The Skies

Kid’s Court

Court shows are the connective tissue of the daytime TV schedule.  They seem to be necessary components for local TV stations to function. They’re everywhere and have been everywhere for decades.  Perhaps I have rose-colored nostalgia glasses on (I have several pairs), but I feel like the court shows of the 1980s were a little more level-headed and not the dramatic scream-fests that they are today.  Wapner wouldn’t tolerate that sort of behavior.  Nickelodeon’s kid-centric version of The People’s Court was a good show – not necessarily in the sense that it was fun to watch so much as that it did a great job of taking that dispute drama and putting it into a forum that worked for children audiences.  Also, it was pretty fun to watch.

Kid's Court Title

Kid’s Court featured comedian Paul Provenza as the host but not the judge. Every episode’s case was taken from a kid’s letter sent to the show, and the plaintiff and defendant were kids acting out whatever beef was in the letter.

Kid's Court 1

Sarah Stinks

It is unknown whether these kids were given clothes to wear or whether this kid picked this outfit out on his own:

Fashion

The majority of the show is Provenza going around the room getting the jury’s (the audience’s) take on the situation, and as more details of the case are revealed the kids in the room can see how their opinions change. At the end of the episode two audience members are chosen to make their final cases for the plaintiff and the defendent, and as with actual legal cases the result is determined by who more people in the courtroom clapped for.  Enter the judge, whose only role is to measure the applause.

Judge O Meter

Kid’s Court ran from 1988 to 1994, ending two years before Judge Judy came along and set a new bar for how loud court shows needed to be. Here’s an episode.

 

Rax Ads

Here’s some ads for Rax restaurants.  This one features their spokesman in the 1980s, musician Big Al Anderson.  Big Guy likes fast food.  Trust Big Guy.

Prepare your OWN sandwiches from a salad bar? I’ll stay at home, thanks!

Then there’s Pasta Man. You know, Pasta Man. Big Al’s in there, too!

You want to turn my Rax into an Olive Garden? I’ll stay at home, thanks!

 

Shel Silverstein on the Johnny Cash Show

A magical segment from the Johnny Cash show where Shel Silverstein shows up to play “A Boy Named Sue” with Cash, followed by a solo “Daddy What If” that yanks my heart out.

 

Oodles

How do you one-up those creepy Kewpie dolls? Make them slightly smaller and harder and shinier and sell them to young girls as charms to be worn around the neck. Large charms. Oodles!

 

Wheelee Board

Finally, an ad for the only skateboard you’ll ever need.

Wheelie

 

-ds

Five Things – 7.20.15 – Newies But Gooeys

1. Betamax Salesman Training Video – You might look at something titled “Betamax Salesman Training Video” and think, snoozefest.  You might be right! But not this time.

Sales PitchThere’s a lot to love about this video – the fashion and set design of the era, the trumped-up abilities of the video tape recorder and, most of all, the smug salesman pitch that makes me happy I was never on a 1977 showroom floor.

Role PlayThe video encourages salesmen to roleplay their sales pitch to each other, and the tension that appears between the two example salesmen  when figuring out who’s going to be the pitch-man is a little awkward and…romantic?

awkwardHere it is, every talking point of the beautiful Betamax console unit in 6 short minutes.

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Five Things – 2.16.15

1.  Space Shuttle: A Journey Into Space – This 1983 Atari 2600 and 5200 title is pretty serious business.  It’s a flight-sim program for the Space Shuttle that might be the deepest title released for these Atari systems.

Space Shuttle BoxSpace Shuttle: A Journey into Space tasked players with piloting the shuttle to a satellite, docking, and returning home, requiring them to use not just the joystick but the switches on the console itself as command inputs.  If you could successfully dock four times and return with a certain amount of fuel left you could send a photograph to Activision and receive a Patch for your achievement.

The marketing was gorgeous – all of the box art and design of these stands above the already-high bar set for videogame box art of the time:

Space Shuttle Ad

As you could guess, this game wasn’t for the normal Atari customer.  It stands as less of a nostalgic gameplay experience and more of a testament to what the Atari was capable of. Not bad!

Here’s some gameplay – it’s gorgeous and serene, not an easy thing to pull off in those days! The serenity is probably a necessity, given how many hours of frustration you’d probably rack up with this thing!


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Five Things – 12.15.14

1.  The Hilarious House of Frightenstein – Canadian kid’s television is its own sort of weird, beautiful monster.   There’s not really a better example of that fact than The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, a 1971 sketch comedy show that incorporated familiar horror and pop culture elements to make something that was truly unique.

Frightenstein

The show was hosted by Count Frightenstein, an exiled descendent of Dracula who was tasked with animating a monster named Brucie, Frankenstein-style.  If he was able to do that, he’d be accepted back into Transylvania.  At least, that’s how Vincent Price lays it out in the show intro.

The Count’s task was the backbone of the series, but there were tons of other elements in there too. Like a Wolfman DJ that played top-40 hits of the day, Wolfman Jack style:

The show also took the opportunity to teach kids about things like grammar, animals, and science with regularly occurring segments for each.  There were a ton of side characters on the show, most played by Billy Van who played the Count.  130 episodes were produced over 9 months (wow!) and the syndication run lasted quite awhile.  There’s a chance you could still see them today!

Here’s a full ep.

Another fun fact: Vincent Price recorded all of his bits for the show (400 in all) over 4 days!

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