Five Things – 5.1.17 – Halfway to Hades

Nearly Departed

This 1989 NBC show features a married couple who die in an accident, yet their ghosts live on in their house and they have to live with/around the living family that moved into their house after they died and only one member of the family can see them and it’s not Beetlejuice and somehow they still got away with it.

In the spirit of fairness, there are a few adjustments to the formula.  Ghost Husband Grant (played by Eric Idle) was a professor in life, and his hoity-toity ways conflict with Living Husband Mike who’s an unrefined plumber.

The person who can see the ghost family is not the youngest member of the family (Derek, the super cool teenage babe-hound) but the oldest – curmudgeonly Grandpa Jack.

Jack hates Living Husband Mike, too, so he and Grant have some common ground. Also the Ghost couple can apparently leave the house without being devoured by sandworms.

Nearly Departed lasted all of four episodes before being cancelled.  Two went unaired. Perhaps it was the too-obvious Beetlejuice draft, but I doubt it.  It also directly claimed inspiration from the 1937 Cary Grant film Topper, so there’s at least some admission of its derivative nature.  Instead, I think it’s that it just wasn’t very good. Eric Idle’s fine in it, and there are some good bits, but it’s just not very unique in any aspect. The plot lines are typical sitcom tropes and the premise doesn’t do anything to elevate the stories.

Also, why would this family have a bed that fit four people and cram into one side of it if they weren’t aware that there was a ghost family next to them? And why would Mike hug Grant and find something tangible at all?

Here’s an episode where Grandpa is tasked with babysitting babe-hound Derek, but instead goes off to play poker and leaves the ghosts in charge… hilarity!

 

 

Quick Fast

This 1979 PSA instructs kids how to make a quick breakfast – a “quick fast”, if you will.  I’m on board with the idea, but toast with cheese AND peanut butter? That’s weird, right?

Also, where does that bowling part fit in to all of this?

 

Pink Panther Flakes (1971)

I’ll take a piece of toast with cheese and peanut butter over whatever this garbage is supposed to be. It’s pretty bad when the commercial won’t even show you the cereal.

The vocal on the verse is pretty amazing, though.

 

Silent Running Trailer

They don’t make trailers like this any more.  There’s something charming about the combination of the uneventful font, the deadpan narration, the blatant ‘this is what the movie is’ nature of the clips and the progression of the trailer’s narrative, and the circus-ringleader copy playing up the robots and Joan Baez.

 

MST3k Season 2 Promos

In honor of the recent release of Mystery Science Theater 3000  season 11(!) on Netflix, here are some promos announcing season 2. It’s pretty neat to see the promos reference TV’s Frank as the “new villain”.  It’s also neat to see some of the Comedy Channel’s look and feel.

 

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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 facts about the disappearance of a teenager who was interested in D&D.

The movie starts out with a flash-forward to a crime scene – someone’s in trouble and we don’t know who. We’re told that the incident involved a role-playing game called Mazes and Monsters and not much more.

Flashing back to the true start of the movie, we’re introduced to a bunch of priveleged kids who attend school together. There’s JJ, the eccentric party boy who wears a rotating lineup of goofy hats.

Then there’s Kate, the beautiful collegiate who is way-too-fashionable to be a Dungeons and Dragons fan in the 1980s.

Boring Daniel wants to be a videogame designer, but doesn’t have his parents support.

And finally  Robbie, played by Tom Hanks.  Kicked out of one school as a result of his obsession with Mazes and Monsters, he transfers to the school that JJ, Kate, and Daniel attend with the promise that he won’t play again.

That promise lasts about five minutes, as Robbie falls in with the gang and the foursome become best friends over sessions of Mazes and Monsters. Turns out Robbie’s got a pretty rad character from his obsessive other-college campaign.

Robbie and Kate become an item. Robbie confides to Kate that his little brother ran away when he was younger and he hasn’t seen him since, a strange thing to bring up.  JJ gets isolated from the group due to their relationship, and plans his suicide in a nearby cavern.  He then quickly changes his mind on this plan, for some reason, and decides to create a Mazes and Monsters campaign in the caverns for his friends to enjoy instead.

The group goes out for their first session in the cavern and have a pretty good time. Robbie, however, has an episode where fiction and reality become blurred, and a switch ‘flips’ inside of him.  He sees an actual monster, and fights it.

From that point on Robbie more or less becomes his character,  the healer Pardieu.  He abruptly breaks off his relationship with Kate, has dreams of his missing younger brother, designs elaborate maps referencing “The Two Towers” and “The Great Hall”, and eventually disappears completely.

While the gang tries to find details of his whereabouts, the police get involved as well.  The police learn that Robbie had a history with Mazes and Monsters, and the gang hides their involvement so as not to be implicated.  The police somehow learn of the cavern campaign, and a detective poses to Daniel the theory that one of Robbie’s fellow gamers killed him in the cavern.

Daniel says, “That’s pretty far out.”

The detective replies, “Mazes and Monsters is a far out game.”

Solid line.

The gang realizes that Robbie’s mentions of “The Great Hall” are referring not to a place but to his missing brother who was also named Hall.  We see Robbie in New York City, still in character, looking for The Great Hall.  He’s chased by some local toughs and ends up in an alleyway. Reality and Fiction fall on top of each other and he accidentally kills one of them.

He calls Kate in a panic, who tells him to head to JJ’s family’s house in the City to wait for them.  Robbie doesn’t follow this advice and continues to amble around. The friends arrive in New York and quickly realize that “The Two Towers” refers to the World Trade Center, and that Robbie is heading there to jump off and join his brother, “The Great Hall”.

They all run into each other on the roof of the World Trade Center and, in character, talk Robbie down. JJ uses his authority as dungeon master to convince Robbie that this is a game, and Robbie snaps back to reality. And gives the first of what will be many classic Tom Hanks sad faces.

Epilogue: three months later. Kate is basically writing Mazes and Monsters: the book of the TV Movie. The gang visits Robbie at his family’s house, where he is taking time off of school to get his head straight. They meet him in the backyard and prepare for a special reunion….only to learn that Robbie is still trapped in his character.  They play the game one last time.

This whole movie seems like it was written by somebody who read the sensationalist headlines of the day regarding the dangers of Dungeons and Dragons and not much more. It’s an interesting interpretation of the form that someone’s concerns about losing a child to D&D might have taken in the 1980s.  It’s also interesting because, despite the hokey story, Tom Hanks is actually pretty good in this. He makes it worth watching.

Roll for initiative and see for yourself.

 

SEGA Game Gear Commercials

How do you sell your superior handheld device if you’re not Nintendo? Throw a bunch of jabs at Nintendo! These ’90s SEGA Game Gear commercials are quick to push their full color  and game library, but don’t necessarily bring up their four-minute battery life.

 

Moonstones Cereal

An alien race called the Moonbeams are mining moonstones from our Moon. The Moonbums are trying to steal the recipe for the moonstones.  Do you need recipes for things that are mined? This is a really complicated cereal.

 

Watch Out For The Munchies

I could use this ’80s anti-snacking PSA’s reminders on a half-hourly basis.

 

Gingervating

A truly horrifying Canada Dry ad.

 

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Five Things – 1.2.17 – Sure, Mac, Sure

Connections: AT&T’s Vision Of The Future

AT&T’s got a record of anticipating future trends and technologies that extends almost as far back as they do. They kind of have to; that’s their business.  This 1993 video, Connections, takes the emerging technologies of the internet and mobile phones and imagines a future that combines the two. And, despite a few silly overreaches, pretty much nails it.

Connections starts off with a trans-continental phone call between a woman, her fiancee, and the owner of the rug store in which the couple met.  This call auto-translates the three languages to suit each participant – a translation in the actual voice of the speaker. 

The next scene features (what we will find out later is) the girl’s Dad, a land developer using a tablet PC to imagine changes to a building project and then receiving a voice call. Look familiar?

Cut to the family’s Son, playing a VR game online with his buddies, during which he receives a video message from mom reminding him not to turn off the VR system but instead to switch over to the homework module.

Mom and Dad pick Daughter up at the airport, who rushes to a public phone booth to call her finance. Of course it’s a video call, with a voice-activated sign-in that can instantly access the caller’s contacts.

Mom, a doctor, then engages in a remote consultation for a patient.

She then shops for wedding dresses with Daughter, over the internet. The online store uses models of Daughter to explore different customization options.

There are two plotlines threaded through this showcase: the Daughter’s wedding plans and the Dad’s development plans.  The development plans are controversial as they would mean the loss of a community center. A concerned citizen appeals to Dad, showing him the appeals of the electronic classroom – a classroom filled with terminals that “connect to the Education Center in Washington” and provide virtual lessons customized to each student.

Speaking of, there’s a Siri/Alexa component that is apparently customizable. There’s a bit where Dad questions Mom’s use of a handsome digital personal assistant. Gulp!

Anyway, the education classroom visit forces Dad to grow a conscience and he confronts his boss in a futuristic office that belongs in an episode of 1995’s The Outer Limits reboot, in an episode that takes place on Coruscant.  No future tech in this scene, just some old guys arguing.

The storylines wrap up predictably in a way that makes everybody happy. The boss finds a way to make the development they want to make and incorporate a Community Center as well. Daughter gets married and has a baby. The rug salesman is conferenced in to meet the baby. The end.

It really is remarkable how right this video gets the application of the technology. It’s one thing to say that mobile communication and the internet will merge and define our lifestyles, but there are still dozens of ways that could happen.  Just about everything in this video exists now, 20-plus years later.  Except, I hope, that we’re a little less cheesy than these guys.  I don’t know.  Maybe we should be. There’s a lot of hope in this video.

K.C. Munchkin

The Odyssey 2’s answer to Pac-Man was, well, Pac-Man.

This ripoff of Pac-Man was actually available a year for home entertainment a year before any Pac-Man ports were, so in a sense it was actually the first to that specific market.  It was Pac-Man, though, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone arguing otherwise with a straight face.  That said, there were some interesting additions to the Pac-Man formula. On some levels the map would become invisible, forcing you to remember the layout. On others the box where the ghosts respawn would change location. Little things that, while not admissible in court as grounds for a unique product, do impact the gameplay experience significantly. Still, total ripoff.

The marketing was pretty good, though, and the box art is as on point as most video game box art was at the time.

Sure, Mac, Sure

This bizarre 1970s PSA dispels the myth that eating food makes it okay to drive drunk.  I think it also serves a secondary function as a cautionary tale about drinking seventeen different types of alcohol and then getting in a car.

 

John Berkey 1975 Otis Ad

This ad for the Otis Elevator Company, illustrated by famed Sci-Fi and Space artist John Berkey, depicts an indoor vertical storage solution. Maybe that sounds a little dry, but this is the future for me.

 

Sugar Free 7-Up

The illustration! The font! I love it!

 

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Five Things – 10.24.16 – That Robot is Jeremy

Trilogy of Terror

First aired as the ABC Movie of the Week in 1975, Trilogy of Terror is an anthology of short horror stories starring Karen Black of B-Movie horror fame.  All three stories push the envelope of what was considered ‘proper’ 1970s television.

trilogy-of-terror

The first, “Julie” features a student whose infatuation with his teacher goes to questionable extremes. Turns out (p.s. I’m going to spoil these for you, so skip to the video if you want to watch unspoiled) she was controlling him all along….and then murders him.

teacher-student

The second, “Millicent and Therese” features two sisters at polar opposites to each other; Millicent the straight-laced brunette and Therese a blonde-haired wild child.  After some mild antagonism, Millicent decides that Therese needs to be killed.  She succeeds. SPOILER; they are the same woman. Spooky!

millicent

The third story, “Amelia”, is probably the most memorable of the lot. It’s your basic creepy-doll-is-actually-alive story, but it goes a little bit further in the gore department than you’d probably expect for a show in the ’70s.  Just a little bit, though.

creepy-doll

posessed

Here’s the whole batch together – it’s definitely worth a watch. Again it’s pretty tame by modern day standards, but there are probably a few moments that will make you more uncomfortable than you were expecting.

 

1985 Halloween Safety PSA

halloween-safety

This overlong PSA from 1985 helps kids make good choices on Halloween, from pumpkin carving to costume selection to safe behavior in the dark.  Also it’s hosted by a gentle, animated Jack-O-Lantern.  The costumes, color, and “action” sequences are fantastic.

masks

And, of couse, it wouldn’t be an ’80s Halloween PSA without some good old scares about candy that’s been tampered with by injecting medicines and razor blades.  Here’s the PSA.

 

Monster Party

This 1989 Bandai game for the NES features a “batter” named Mark who’s been enlisted by a Gargoyle named Bert to travel to his land and defeat every well-known monster in the universe.  Bert fuses himself to Mark to give him supernatural abilities on top of his amazing “batting” skills.

monster_party_box

Ridiculousness aside, that’s a pretty awesome premise. Bonus points for the cat boss that throws kittens as weapons. Enjoy this playthrough.

 

1988 McDonalds Halloween Certificates

McDonalds had an idea in the 1980s where you’d buy a book of certificates for free ice cream and other treats and give THOSE out instead of candy.  It was a medium decent idea.  Then they added a confusing layer about a voucher for a Roger Rabbit doll when you bought the VHS of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and it got too complicated. That guy in the Roger Rabbit costume looks pretty depressed.

 

Crazy Crabs

Nothing to do with Halloween, but those crabs are crazy!

crazy-crabs

 

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Five Things – 10.3.16 – This Is My Door

Jim Henson’s The Cube

In the late 1960s, NBC had a short-lived Sunday afternoon anthology show titled NBC Experiment in Television. From what I can tell the show seems like a general-audience-aimed The Outer Limits, with an expectation for the audience to cut the NBC some slack if episodes strayed from traditional themes and formats.  In 1968, Jim Henson took a break from Muppet-ing to produce The Cube, an hour-long teleplay that aired on Experiment in Television in February of 1969.

the-cube

title

The Cube opens with the central character, The Man, upon his arrival and realization at his current situation.  He’s inside of a cube, presumably trapped, with nothing but white on the walls.  Throughout the hour he encounters several different people, who help him put together who and where he is; some arrive to assist him, others appear to test him, and still others show up to harass him.  All cause him to doubt both himself and the world around him.

opening family-visitors tv-professor-2

Each character enters and exits through doors that appear in The Cube, doors that vanish once that character leaves. Although he is told he is free to leave if he chooses, emphasis is placed on the doors that appear being that character’s door, and not The Man’s door.  Items appear and disappear as well, relating to the visitor’s need for it.  The Man increasingly feels like he’s on the outside of a colossal inside joke.

guitar religion

The episode does a pretty good job of setting both The Man and the audience’s expectations of these visitors intents and then turning those expectations over.  Each visitor embodies a theme of 20th-century life. Some are more blatant in their theme than others.

coffin

I won’t tell you how it ends; that feels cheap.  It only aired twice, once in 1969 and then in a replay in 1970.  To my knowledge it’s not available anywhere but on archive.org – there are no high-quality copies to be found.  It’s a fun watch, but I have to admit that I don’t know how I’d feel about this if I didn’t know that Jim Henson was behind it.  There’s a very college-psych-101-meets-drama-club vibe to it and while the acting and technical execution is great there’s still a whiff of something we’ve seen before in less-competent venues.

Definitely worth watching, though.  Here it is.

Intellivision Demo

If there’s a dryer way to deliver what was at the time an amazing piece of technology, I don’t think I’ve seen it.  The imagery and that early-’80s background music are fantastic, though.

 

 

Computer Criminals

I have no idea what this is from but I want to live in this hacker’s house.

computer-criminals

Choose

A 1989 anti-marijuana scare film, starring pre-Beverly-Hills-90210 Kathleen Robertson!

The best part is how it ends with the usual 1980s advice to give anyone who suggests using drugs “crazy” and “edgy” insulting excuses like, “I can’t today, I’m basket weaving!”.

 

Sweet Stalkin’

I mean, look at this.

sweet-stalkin

 

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Five Things – 08.22.16 – Hasta Luigi, Baby

Nintendo 1993 Holiday Demonstration Tutorial

This is the Poochie of corporate training videos.

Nintendo Training Video

Sent to game retailers before the 1993 holiday season, this demo employs a Bill S. Preston/Jeff Spicoli/Zack Morris hybrid being to take employees through the steps of acting properly as a Nintendo representative.  It tries so hard (and fails) to be cool that it doesn’t really accomplish anything else.

Nintendo Dancing

This guy hangs out on the couch for the majority of the tape, in varying levels of splay.

Using a blend of sharp graphics, blaring rock music, grating ‘attitude’ and roleplayed scenarios, employees learn about the differences between the NES, the Super NES, the Game Boy, the advantages Nintendo has over the competition, and how to set up and maintain the various display systems.  There are also some heavily stylized interludes of kids playing video games that make no sense.

Nintendo Rock Out

I really can’t overstate how hard this video tries to be cool.  Its attempts at being playfully subversive results in it not being clear who this is actually targeted at. I can’t imagine a retail employee getting anything out of this video and a consumer would see right through it.  It’s a pretty good example of how corporations viewed kids in the early ’90s, though, so at least it’s worth that. Check it out.

 

Captain Lou Albano Anti Drug PSA

A good message in this 1980s anti-drug PSA, but a strange one once the religious blanket gets draped over it.

 

Manhunt Board Game

A group of players travel around a board gathering clues to eliminate suspects of a crime. Sounds like Clue, right? No – it’s much more complicated.

Manhunt Box

In Manhunt the players are all detectives.  A crime is agreed upon by all players at the beginning of the game and entered into the Clue Scanner.  As players move through the game they are given the chance to insert probes into the Clue Scanner which gives more information to the nature of the crime. This information can be used by the players to whittle down their list of suspects and ultimately determine who done it, winning the game.

Manhunt Board

So, Clue.  But with a Crime Computer, a Clue Scanner, a Probe, a Detective Handbook, and some other stuff to complicate it up.  Still, it’s got a great look and if I had seen this game as a kid I’d have been all over it with all of the devices. Now, a game based on the PS2 game Manhunt? Take my money, please.

First Color Videotaping

In 1958, NBC recorded and rebroadcast the first color videotaping, a speech by President Eisenhower. This video starts in black and white and NBC president Robert Sarnoff flips the switch to color a few minutes in. A pretty great capture of a pretty amazing moment, and the movement in the video looks so snappy for 1958.

 

Rowntree’s Ad

There’s something in 1940s ad for Rowntree’s Fruit Gums that really grabs me.

Rowntree's Ad

 

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Five Things – 08.01.16 – To Un-Bore You

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future

It’s a pretty generic title, but the show itself is actually somewhat ambitious.

Captain Power

This 1987 Canadian Sci-Fi show centers around the conveniently named Jonathan Power.  His team, the Soldiers of the Future, are some of the last humans left alive after the Metal War, your basic man vs. cyborg conflict.  Powers’ late dad, Doctor Powers (seriously), developed a system called Overmind to put a stop to the cyborg uprising but Doctor Powers’ friend took control of the system and integrated himself with the system and turned evil and called himself Lord Dread and… yeah.  So now, fifteen years later, the world is a mess and Lord Dread and his mechs are seeking out the last remnants of humanity in order to wipe it out.  The Soldiers of the Future aim to stop that, with a variety of power suits and weapons that are as distinct as the SKUs that make up their shelf space.

Attack

It’s a toy show, to be sure, but the toys were ambitious as well.  Several of them interacted with the episodes, encouraging kids to play while watching the show and sometimes even shoot the bad guys on the screen themselves.  As you can imagine, this combined with the fact that it was live action didn’t go over too well with parents.  Even without that component, it’s a pretty violent show for Saturday Morning.

The show tried to strike a balance between kiddy action sequences and adult-themed storylines.  The choice to go with live action and the ambitious effects for a late-’80s television show demonstrate that they’re trying to deliver on something more than just another toy show, but ultimately it comes across as a pretty bad toy show.  In a lot of ways it feels reverse-engineered from the toy line that Mattel probably already had in mind, but there is a somewhat original story there.  It’s a shame that the rest of the show doesn’t hold it up.

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future was cancelled after one season.  It’s tough to make a solid call one way or the other on this show – there’s a nugget of a good idea in there, but so much gets in the way of it actually being a good show.  Given a choice between this and, say, Power Rangers, though, I’d probably go with Captain Power.  Check out an episode.

 

 

Texas Instruments Sales Video

It’s Cos, back when you would still take his advice on purchases! Here’s Bill Cosby convincing Texas Instruments salesmen to buy more products from Texas Instruments in order to have more stock to sell their customers.  These appear to be the wraparounds to a longer video. We’re probably lucky that we were spared the rest.

He kind of does an impersonation of himself there toward the end.

 

Bar Guide

The cover to this 1950s Bar Guide is pretty fantastic.

Bar Guide

 

Canadian Anti-Drug PSA

The last Canadian Anti Drug PSA was over-the-top ’90s but this one is just..strange.  Did they drug test the people who made these things?

 

The Prologue and the Promise

This mural by Robert T. McCall never fails to inspire.  It was part of the EPCOT ride Horizons, one of the more influential rides/experiences of my childhood.

Prologue and the Promise

 

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Five Things – 07.25.16 – World’s Tiniest Engineers

Ghostbusters

No, not that one.

In 1975 Filmation had a live-action series about a couple of guys and a gorilla who hunted ghosts.  It was about as different from the 1984 movie that would come as you could imagine; it was aimed directly at children and focused on slapstick rather than actual paranormal enthusiasm for its comedic value.  It was pretty hokey, and it died on the vine after only fifteen episodes.

Obviously, after the mega-success of the 1984 film, there was interest in making a television series.  After an unsuccessful attempt to work with Columbia Pictures to produce a cartoon that tied in with the movie, Filmation chose instead to resurrect the original series in animated form.  Because Filmation owned the rights to the title, they were able to come to the table with a cartoon simply titled Ghostbusters – tricking second graders all over the country into watching their show.  Myself included.  Columbia Pictures, whose cartoon actually did relate to the film, had the ante-upped title The Real Ghostbusters.  Columbia Pictures had the superior series, but Filmation’s effort wasn’t without its charm.

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters featured the sons of the 1975 series’ protagonists, Jake Kong Jr. and Eddie Spencer Jr.  Tracy the gorilla was the bridge between the two generations, working with both teams.  Rounding out the team are Belfrey, a pink talking bat, and Skellevision, a skeleton television.  While there were gadgets involved in detecting and catching ghosts, the show on the whole was consciously low-tech but also high concept; the characters rode around in an old haunted jalopy named Ghost Buggy that could also fly.  This was a pretty big point of distinction between this series and The Real Ghostbusters.

Skull Phone Ghost Buggy

Sixty-five episodes were produced for daytime syndication, and a toy line followed.  It fared better than you’d think it would but it was really no match for our Ghostbusters – either on screen or in the marketplace.  Still, there’s something fun about it – it celebrates the supernatural in a sweet, goofy way that you saw less and less of in the ’80s, and still less today.  Plus, it’s gorgeous. Check it out.

 

How You Can Help Win The War

Here’s an interesting wartime pamphlet about things civilians and laborers can do to help win the war.  It’s interesting to see things like “drive carefully” and “don’t get hurt” included with the more obvious “don’t blab what you know”.

How You Can Help Win The War

 

1991 Canadian Anti-Drug PSA

This 1991 Canadian anti-drug PSA plays like a Tim and Eric sketch.  To say it didn’t age well is an understatement – would this have resonated with kids even back in 1991 when it was made?

That “COOL” gets me every time.

 

Frustration 1973 Box Art

I love the painting of the family on this 1973 Frustration (known as “Trouble” here in the U.S.) box art.  Particularly because it looks like that kid is in some serious pain.

Frustration

 

Exciting Ant Farm

From the “Always Wanted, Never Had” files…

Exciting Ant Farm

 

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Five Things – 7.11.16 – Real Sick, Real Quick

Man From The 25th Century

This 1968 Irwin Allen production never got off the ground, and it’s kind of a shame.

25th Century

Tomo was abducted from his 1951 Earth life and given combat and telekinesis training on a distant planet 500 years in the future by alien beings, his ultimate mission being to return to 1951 and destroy an Earth defense project named Project Delphi.  Weird, right? He’s given a final review by the alien board and his skills are found wanting, but they’re out of time.  They need to send him 500 years back in time right now. I can only assume that’s due to some limitation of time travel that my 21st century brain can’t comprehend.

Council

Saucer

Tomo returns to 20th century Earth as Robert Prentice, a man on his way to start working at Project Delphi.  That was easy! On the way there, the Project takes control of his car and drives him the rest of the way.

25th Century

He’s given a tour of the facilities and quickly tries to blow it all up. He’s captured and exposed as a traveler from the future.  The aliens who sent him decide that he’s too knowledgeable to let live, so they send a spacecraft to destroy him… and a bunch of innocent people. Tomo/Prentice is shocked that he was working for the wrong team and works with the 20th century Earthlings to repel the attack.

Delphi Defense 2

They successfully beat the aliens back, for now.  We never find out what happened after that, because the pilot never made it to series.  Like I said, kind of a shame – there was something there.  It’s rough and there are some gaps of logic but it’s still a lot of fun. Check it out.

 

Don’t Put It In Your Mouth

This 1993 Canadian PSA answers the ‘why’ of that age old command not to put just anything in your mouth – in nightmarish fashion.  And then tacks on a message about not taking anything from strangers. Or putting an item taken from strangers into your mouth.

 

Wartime Kraft Cheese Ad

I don’t know what bugs me specifically about this wartime ad for Kraft cheeses. Maybe because I’m not sure I associate Philadelphia Cream Cheese part of a wartime-thrift diet? I still love the design and the audacity of the effort, though.

Kraft Wartime

 

World’s Finest Victory Garden

Now THIS is a wartime effort I can get behind!

Victory Garden Worlds Finest

 

Merlin Commercial

This 1980s commercial for Parker Brothers’ Merlin electronic game doesn’t do much to sell me on it.  I remember this thing being confounding and confusing even back then when we were harder up for entertainment. I wonder if anyone would have the patience for it now.

 

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Five Things – 06.27.16 – All Seven Functions

The Diamond Head Game

Despite being shot on location in beautiful 1975 Hawaii, this very short lived game show didn’t accomplish much beyond giving host Bob Eubanks a chance to get a tan.

Diamond Head Game

The Diamond Head Game featured four mini-rounds consisting of basic trivia with contestants pulled from what can only be referred to in this post-Arsenio era as a Dog Pound. These contestants are also the entire audience, presumably given the restrictions of the location, and they’re really happy to be there.

Dog Pound

Once all four first rounds are done, the climb up the mountain begins.  The four winners of the first round are pitted against each other to remember a list of nouns and recall them one after another.  This is as mind-numbing to watch as it sounds.

Final Four

Once a winner emerges from the mountain climb the final round begins: the money volcano.  Or, a wind chamber with flying tickets.

Volcano

The contestant is given one last chance to trade their haul for a secret prize and, if they decline, are given each ticket they collected one at a time. The tickets have dollar values or prizes on them, but if a contestant pulls a one dollar bill they lose it all.  They’re given the chance to bow out and keep their winnings after each ticket is revealed.

Trade

Here’s the show – it’s actually really worth watching for the novelty of a mid-70’s game show shot outdoors in a beautiful location but not for much past that.  For every element in the game there’s a show that did it better.

Also, the theme song was another Alan Thicke joint, too. That guy is made of theme songs.

 

RCA Remote Control

This 1960s introduction film for the remote control is pretty charming. While it’s definitely impressive and I can appreciate the waves this thing made at the time, I imagine somebody in the future will look at a how-to video for a Harmony remote or Homekit integration with the same smug appreciation.

 

Kite PSA

In which a mime performs a terrifying death before two children to illustrate the dangers of retrieving kites from power lines.  Canadian film and television was painted with a really special brush back in the ’80s.

How about that appearance?

Mime

 

Color Computer 3

Love this commercial for the Tandy Color Computer 3.

And an accompanying print ad.

Color Computer 3

Just plug it into your TV!

 

Florida Oranges

Keep a pitcher cold and handy!

Florida Oranges

 

-ds