1. Shamrock Shake – It’s that time of year again, the time when McDonalds opens its Snack Vault and lets one of its temporary treats out to briefly stretch its legs before being locked away again for a year. There’s a few items on the menu that suffer this fate, but one of the more notable and long-running offerings is the Shamrock Shake.
A green-dyed mint milkshake that’s been on the roster since the ’80s, the Shamrock Shake has spawned a slew of “DIY” recipes that include both faithful recreations of the drink and boozy, adult versions. In the McDonaldland lore Grimace is the master of shakes, so it’s only appropriate that the Shamrock Shake go to one of his ilk. McDonalds chose to introduce Uncle O’Grimacey, a pretty horrifying creation:
Not sure what creeps me out so much about the last one, but it is not okay!
2. Back to the Future NES – We’ve been on a Back to the Future kick at the Timid Futures household lately. I remember as a kid how painful the four-year wait was between parts 1 and 2, and when LJN released a game for BTTF I was beside myself with excitement. Unfortunately, it turned out to kind of stink.
Released in 1989, the same year as BTTF 2, this was a game that had just about everything going for it: a tie-in to a movie that was immensely popular, action and chase scenes that were easily translatable into a game format, and iconic music. Turns out that instead, LJN thought it’d be a good idea for Marty to run around collecting clocks, dodging bees (?), repelling kisses from his mother, and defeating Biff’s gang in a Tapper-style minigame.
The game was pretty poorly regarded by everyone, including Bob Gale who wrote the movie’s screenplay. Apparently in interviews he even encouraged people not to buy it. Too bad I didn’t read those interviews when I was 10.
Here’s an ad that should have tipped me off – again, they had a chance to really go full-BTTF with the concept and instead opted for this generic approach instead. It’s kind of a stretch to have the family disappearing be the ONLY direct tie to the events of the movie in your commercial!
3. Sesame Street Count to 20 – This meditative, lo-fi slow count to twenty from the early years of Sesame Street is pretty mesmerizing and terrific. No way you’d see anything like this on TV these days:
4. Hostess Movie Stickers – Apparently Johnny Five didn’t just hawk stuff for his own movie, he was the spokesperson for Hostess Movie Stickers for the whole blockbuster season including The Great Outdoors and Wives! And there’s a chance at a Hollywood screen test, which is adorably ’80s.
5. How To Sell Cigarettes – This training video was aimed at convenience store owners and other store managers of places that sold cigarettes. They really wanted to use “Jump” as their song! The actual advice is so forcefully shoehorned into the structure of the song, I can’t help but wonder if they’d had more success using a different song or just writing their own. How far did they think using “Jump” was going to take them?
Also this is so evil!