The internet is always spitting out gems. Things that in the past you would have had to stumble upon or dig up are served up to you at the click of a button. Today, I was lucky enough to see this remarkable intro to the Nightmare On Elm Street 5 VHS Screener from 1990. This themed segment discusses the advantages of picking up the VHS version of the film to have at rental stores.
It is cheesy and well-themed. Featuring a guy in a shirt and tie, who has all the answers as to why Nightmare On Elm Street 5 is a great investment. His biggest issue is that he somehow has crossed paths with Freddy. While other people are easy to convince about marketing items and pay-per-view blackouts, Freddy is not. The Freddy in this video looks pretty good and does some zany Freddy-style gag, but the voice is pretty off. The best of his gags? Freddy wearing a Halloween Freddy mask at the 3 minute and 40 second mark.
Sure you think you are cool, but are you Freddy Krueger putting on a Freddy Krueger Halloween mask cool?
Having worked in a video store during this time period, I loved when we got videos like this. Not for the production values, but for the promise of posters and cardboard cutouts that we would possibly be getting. These things were valuable currency for a video store clerk. Sadly I was usually on the bottom of the list for such things, but I would occasionally get a gem that I could trade to a friend for something I might want.
I had not thought about these screeners in years, but watching this Nightmare On Elm Street 5 VHS Screener makes me think it might be time to start a new collection. These screeners have to be out there somewhere, time to start hitting those flea markets.
Nightmare On Elm Street 5 VHS Screener Intro
I was at the Living Computer Museum again last weekend. No surprise for people who read this blog. It is one of my favorite places to visit in Seattle. Every time I go there, I find something new that captures my imagination or educates me. Today I would like to talk about another way of experiencing this wonderful facility, as a learning library. It all started when I stumbled across this PDP 11/70 Processor Handbook that someone had left near one of the PDP machines.
I had perused the books before while visiting this museum, but to see it so close to the machine it was meant for was a different experience. Picturing myself as a brand new PDP operator in the seventies, I opened up the book and attempted to start learning. It was a challenging bit of reading at first, but I found myself quickly starting to understand some of the basics of what I would need to know.
Suddenly I was looking for other books near machines. I had seen them before, but has never attacked them with gusto. Before I knew it I found myself watching videos on YouTube and skimming the books trying to learn. Pushing myself just a little to see how each of the machines work. Computer architecture has become so homogenized for the most part, that very rarely am I challenged like I was in the past. It was refreshing and perplexing.
It also peeled back another layer on this fine museum. Will I be running out to buy a PDP because of it? No, but I can find the PDP 11/70 Processor Handbook easily on Amazon. And if I ever want to tinker, the LCM will probably have a machine for me to monkey around with. Surely with the right book and enough time I could master any machine.
Okay, maybe a whole lot of time.
When E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial hit theaters, it was a big deal. E.T. was everywhere after that. He did commercial for lots of products, including a very memorable Atari commercial. One that I always remembered was this ET Special Olympics PSA.
In it, E.T. is simply watching a child work hard on mastering the high jump. Even though the kid fails time and again, E.T. patiently watches. E.T. even pays the kid a visit to let the kid know that he believes in him. Eventually through hard work and perseverance, the kid manages to make the jump. When he does it, his parents are their to praise him, but this kid knows who really cares about him, E.T.
When I first saw this ad back in the 1980s, I was naturally attracted to it because of E.T. At some point something occurred to me that made it extra fun in my book. E.T. can make things fly. He did it with the bikes. Why didn’t he do it with this kid? Yes, I know why. He wants the kid to win by his own means. Still, this PSA would have been much more memorable if this kid suddenly started glowing and leapt twenty feet into the air. Sure, not as lesson oriented, but a hundred times more memorable.
Watch the ET Special Olympics PSA
Growing up and loving computer with little to no money was difficult. You tended to hoard your computer supplies, especially floppy disks. I would climb through dumpsters and wheel and deal with friends to get my hands on the magnetic gold. While all brands were welcome at my desk, Elephant Memory Systems floppy disks were my favorite. Not only were they premium, but they had this striking image of an elephant on the packaging and wonderful fanciful descriptions on the sleeves.
You might ask, how often did you actually read the back of your disk sleeve? The answer is very often. Back in the day, computer load times were very long. You often needed something to keep your mind occupied during that time. So if I did not have a magazine or book on hand, I would pick up a disk and just read the back. Since Elephant Memory Systems did such a good job on theirs, I found it very re-readable.
I probably had 5 of these discs in my collection over the years, but they always stood out. They were always my favorite and I reserved them as file save home for my favorite video games.
Sadly, I currently have none in my collection at home. So I was thrilled to spot this one on a recent visit to the Living Computer Museum in Seattle. The fact that discs like this are just lying around to be used, speaks volume about the quality of the collection. Everything there is a memory waiting to be remembered. Even the stuff not under glass or featured with a sign.
About Elephant Memory Systems
Elephant Memory Systems floppy disks were produced by Leading Edge in the 1980s. They got their name from the idea that an “elephant never forgets.” Which is a perfect way to promote memory. Also a perfect way to make a memorable brand. It works on so many levels! Leading Edge filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1989 and was acquired in 1989 by Daewoo shortly thereafter .
Like most people, who grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy, I was obsessed with the idea of the prequels. For a long time they were mostly rumor. But in the 1990s, they started to seem much more likely. Needless to say, I greedily consumed any details I could find. This interview where George Lucas talks Star Wars Prequels from 19982 is a perfect example of what I was looking for. I remember my Mother screaming for me from her room for me to come in and watch “the guy who made Star Wars.”
Lucas is pretty tight-lipped about his plans, but he does drop a nice overview. All of these things would be included in the inevitable prequels. He mentions the time frame, saying they take place about 40 years before A New Hope. Then mentions characters we can expect to see. Familiar names like Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and of course Mrs. Skywalker.
This interview looks like it was released as part of the laser disc release. I worked at a video store still at this time and this was by far our most popular rental from our limited laser disc inventory. Whenever it was in the store, I would watch it in the backroom while eating my lunch.
Watch George Lucas talks Star Wars Prequels on Entertainment Tonight in 1992