Fred, Old Boy – MTV Freddy Krueger Special (1988)

MTV’s support for 1998’s Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master was pretty intense. In addition to wallpapering their commercial breaks with movie ads, sponsorship tie-ins, and conveniently in-depth “MTV News” segments, the network also aired The Freddy Krueger Special, a one-hour block featuring Freddy himself. A mixture of somewhat on-theme music videos, less…

Deadtime Stories – Freddy Krueger’s 900 Number (1980s)

There would be room in the Nightmare on Elm Street-verse for a 900 number that would end up trying to kill you. That’s a very Nightmare on Elm Street way to die, and very ’80s. We got the tongue phone in the original and again in New Nightmare, but that’s more of a Freddy prank…

Don’t Be Afraid – The Bugaloos (1970)

A bunch of kids who are actually bugs who know how to play instruments and write situational Beatles-esque music and live in a bizarre forest and have an even-more-bizarre foil? That’s Sid and Marty Krofft’s answer to The Monkees, a tab of orange sunshine in a kid’s TV landscape already drenched in psychadelia. The Bugaloos…

Listen To This – Fresh Prince 900-number (1990s)

It’s not exactly surprising, but it’s still pretty tacky. Few celebrities could resist the easy one-and-done money of the 900-number concept in the ’90s, that terrible consumer experience that stretched content delivery as thin as possible in order to grab a few more dollars per minute through the low-fidelity medium. But Will Smith? OUR Will…

Putt, Putt – Pizza Hut’s First Commercial (1965)

Pizza Hut’s first commercial effort was light on pizza and heavy on antics. A full minute long, this commercial takes place entirely in fast-motion and features a tall man riding an admittedly sweet Mustang Jr. through town to pick up his pizza order. In doing so he gently irritates the townspeople that he encounters which…

Short Circuit, Boom – Dead at 21 (1994)

Dead at 21 sits right at the fulcrum of MTV’s rise as a unique music industry powerhouse and its slope into scripted and reality basic cable normalcy. When the show premiered in 1994 the network had a healthy roster of not-music-video-related shows, but most of them were some form of comedy, game show, or animation….

A VJ on MTV – Where’s The Cap’n (1985)

In 1985, Cap’n Crunch disappeared. We – the cereal-eating populace – didn’t witness this departure in a commercial, the main way of keeping track of the lives of cereal mascots. Instead, we saw through those commercials that the departure had already happened. The hunt was on at that point, a million dollars at stake. Well,…

Living Things Do Grow – Dragons, Wagons and Wax (1970s)

Dragons, Wagons and Wax is the perfect title for a medieval-themed kids show. Unfortunately, this show couldn’t be less of a medieval-themed kids show. Fortunately, what it is is pretty unique and pleasant. This breath of fresh air came out of WCET in Cincinnati in the late 1970s. Shown in schools and distributed to PBS,…

Hey Willy! ALF (Sega Master System) (1989)

The quirky, furry, wisecracking ALF had a bit of a cultural moment there in the late 1980s, enjoying a licensing spree spun out of the decently popular NBC sitcom. He got a cartoon, some toys on shelf, and a Pizza Hut hand puppet. He also had a handful of educational video games and toward the…

I’ve Got Pals Over Here – Popeye & Pals (1970s-80s)

I don’t know about you but from my end nothing enhances the enjoyment of a good block of cartoons like a bunch of kids crammed into a bleacher and loaded up with fried chicken and soda. Popeye’s Fried Chicken did this for, like, a really long time with “Popeye and Pals”, a kid’s block on…