- CBS 1983 Saturday Morning Preview – I love these things. I know I’m stating the obvious if you’ve read more than a few of the posts here, but it’s true. There’s something special about them – these shows that were hastily created to talk about other shows, using some of the star power leverage of whatever network is involved. The setups are usually pretty flimsy and laughable, and because of that they’re pretty charming. CBS’s 1983 preview special featured arguably their biggest star at the time, Scott Baio, and has probably one of the flimsiest, most laughable setups of them all. Let’s go to Scott’s Place.
Scott’s set up a hot nightclub in Hazzard County. Not just any hot nightclub, a hot nightclub. In Hazzard County.
This 1980’s New York City nightclub in the middle of Hazzard County is filled with young hip kids who look like city kids dancing in the background the entire time. Naturally, this catches the attention of Boss Hogg and Rosco P. Coltrane.
And Boss Hogg immediately begins working on a way to profit.
While Boss Hogg gladhands Scott Baio to get a cut of his profits, Rosco interviews a young lady about just what’s going on. The young lady, using her young lady slang, explains that Asia, Air Supply, the B-52s, ELO, and U2 are what’s “going on”, causing Rosco to somehow deduce that the US is under attack. He alerts Boss Hogg to this, which prompts Hogg to place the entire club under arrest.
This misunderstanding exists for, seriously, about ten seconds before it’s cleared up. Boss Hogg and Rosco join Baio for the remainder of the special, looking at the upcoming shows. It’s revealed at the end that the entire reason for the club’s existence in Hazzard County is because there’s a Dukes of Hazzard cartoon debuting on CBS that week!
Pretty flimsy premise to introduce a bunch of cartoons, but I’ll take it. In addition to the Dukes, the shows featured in this special are the programs that made up the Supercade – Donkey Kong, Pitfall, Frogger, Donkey Kong Jr., and Q-bert. There’s also a bit for Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Benji, Zax and the Alien Prince, and The Biskitts, which is basically The Smurfs but with puppies.
For some reason there’s a Krofft puppet narrating the entire thing, and also Scott Baio performs a song.
The one note I had at the end of this whole thing was, they couldn’t get the Duke boys to appear on the show centered around their cartoon debut? I’m guessing they thought including the bad guys was enough. Here’s the special – the Levi’s ad toward the end is actually animated pretty impressively.
2. Atari Jaguar Promotion – Atari tried to regain its foothold in the video game console market in the mid-1990s with the supercharged Jaguar system. It didn’t go so well – the system was expensive and, by most accounts, underperformed the other consoles of its generation even though it was technologically superior. It’s commonly looked at as an ugly spot of video game history, and when you take a look at the console’s promotion you can kind of see it coming.
It seems like the marketing department at Atari was given the direction to fill their promotion with “attitude”, and I guess they succeeded at that. The tone is abrasive, rude, and very ‘bro-ish’, which I recall turning me off of the system back then and only repulses me further today.
They really played up the 64-bit nature of the system. Really played it up. Like, it was the main message.
Ironic that the commercial features a class for Video Game Marketing 101, a class these guys could have used. To put the icing on the cake, here’s a 30 minute infomercial that ran on cable TV that just drips with sterotypical bro-ness. It’s really hard to watch, like a sixth grader trying to act like those people he sees on TV. It’s deliciously hard to watch.
3. Railroad Pamphlet Covers – Here are a couple of railroad timetable covers from the 1930s and 1940s that I found visually inspiring. You can catch more of at Classic Trains Magazine.
4. Do the Arches – I’m not sure what’s more offensive, that Jaguar infomercial or this cheesy, cheesy song.
5. Goofus and Gallant– And a beautiful Goofus and Gallant comic from Highlights in 1988