Autumn in New York

Remember the Autumn in New York Ad Campaign?

Ah, Autumn in New York. Crisp air and beautiful changing leaves, who wouldn’t want to visit the Empire State this time of year? Oddly Enough, a lot of people. That is why New York ran its long-running, “Autumn in New York” ad campaign.

I remember it as an adjunct to the more famous, “I Love New York” campaign, but I found them equally compelling. The campaign can easily trace its roots to the popular song of the same name. “Autumn in New York” is a jazz standard composed by Vernon Duke. It was written for the 1934 Broadway musical Thumbs Up! While originally written for that musical, a ludicrous number of covers of it have been recorded over the years. Perhaps, most famous was this cover by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

Autumn in New York covered by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

I went on a quest for the original Autumn in New York Ad Campaign commercials, but could not find it online. As a consolation prize, I was able to dig up the print ad you see above. The ad is a sneak peek of all the beautiful leaves you will find when you visit New York State in the autumn. While the ad is old, I bet you the leaves have not changed their shape.

So if you are headed to New York, or any other leafing destination, why not take it along. Everyone will marvel at how skilled you are with leaf identification. You will earn the nickname “Professor Leaf, and people will high-five you as your move through the colorful forests. Remember folks, at bars, “Professor Leaf” never has to pay for a drink. It is just one of the perks of being such an accomplished academic.

Want some retro ad campaign wonderfulness? I suggest the original “I Love New York” campaign (Broadway Edition). This one has Frank Langella as Dracula and lots of other Broadway luminaries in it!

I Love New York Ad Campaign – Broadway Edition

Remember That Rolling Stones Rice Krispies Ad From 1963? Wait, What?!

Just the other day – although it’s been on the internet for quite some time it was pointed out that the Rolling Stones recorded the jingle for a 1963 television commercial for Rice Krispies. It’s been reported that Brian Jones was the band member responsible for writing the rather jaunty tune.

[Via] The Video BeatdotCom
I also found mention that the commercial itself which was done by the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency and was a spoof on the popular music show Juke Box Jury.
Juke Box Jury
The host of the program, David Jacobs, would ask the four celebrities of the week to judge newly released records. This was apparently inspired by a show from the US entitled Jukebox Jury. In this episode from the BBC series you can hear Roy Orbinson’s Blue Angel, Lloyd Price’s Just Call Me (And I’ll Understand), The Ted Taylor Four’s M1, Nat King Cole’s Just As Much As Ever, Connie Francis’ My Heart Has A Mind Of Its’ Own, and Paul Anka’s Summer’s Gone.

[Via] Phil Glew
It’s a pretty enjoyable show and I can see why it ran from 1959 until 1967 – earning 12 million viewers every Saturday Night by the time 1962 rolled around. There was an attempt at a revival in 1979 but that only lasted for one season.

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, I Wanna Be a Kids R Us Kid!

Oh you read that right. I didn’t say “Toys R Us,” I said “Kids.”

When I was a kid, until I was thirteen years old, I was built like a beanpole, all skinny arms and legs. Funny thing was, I was the height I am now (5’4″). Not tall by any means, but when you weigh 100 pounds soaking wet (unlike now), and you’re all arms and legs, then yes, you are skinny. Shopping for me until that age must have been the human struggle of all human struggles, and I credit my mom with being able to do it sanely.

Because I was somewhat tall by that age, it was only natural that I’d be wearing clothes made for a teenager, right?


I was thirteen and still shopping in the children’s section of clothing stores for my jeans. I wore Girls’ size 16 jeans, the last size before Juniors. And shopping in the kiddie section of a clothing store doesn’t exactly allow for one to feel like a teenager. By that age, I was able to buy some stuff from the Junior section (mostly shirts), but pants were courtesy of the children’s section.

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Until I was twelve years old (and thank goodness it didn’t go longer than this!), I was shopping at a store that now seems to be relegated to the clearance bin of nostalgia – Kids “R” Us. Kids “R” Us was a children’s retail arm of Toys “R” Us – it was colorful, friendly, and inviting, but it wasn’t Toys “R” Us. And it never helped that this store was in the same shopping center as Toys “R” Us – you’re convinced you are going to buy a new toy because you behaved, and boom, clothes shopping! I never liked clothes shopping then, and I think I’ve finally figured out why…Kids “R” Us is childhood’s version of Chinese Water Torture. The same could be said of kiddie clothes shopping on any level, but when you’re convinced you are way too old to shop in a store with “Kid” in the name, you’ll just blame this store.

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When I say the store was child friendly, it was child friendly. Looking back, they had cute clothes, but some of it felt a little young by the time I’d reached say, ten years old. Blame the whole skinny thing. But in hindsight, I’m glad there was a store like this. I see stores like Justice and the similar chains of clothing stores catering to the kids whos parents shopped at Kids “R” Us only two decades earlier, and I’m convinced things went just fine. No horrible missteps, life or fashion-wise.

After all, they did have some toys. And they also had a cool machine that lit up and played music at the push of a button.

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I seriously kept assuming it was a fortune teller until I watched commercials for the store.

Kids “R” Us opened in Paramus, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York in 1983, and closed in 2003. For twenty years, it dressed kids like kids,and for that, I’m eternally grateful now, even if I wasn’t back then.

You know what else I’m grateful for?


Did you think anything less?

Sadly, You Tube isn’t exactly a treasure trove of commercials for Kids “R” Us, the way they are for Toys “R” Us. But what I did find was rooted in 1980s glory, with clothes I wore back then!

There’s this one, from the inaugural year of the retailer:

Uploaded by CommercialClassic

And this one, from 1985:

Uploaded by chris3g

I kinda feel bad for these kids. They probably thought they were doing a commercial for Toys R Us.

Allison will always be a Toys “R” Us Kid at heart. Obviously, she survived the torture of childhood clothes shopping. If you like what you’ve seen here, check out the offerings on her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and give her ?a shout out on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

Old Kids R Us

This was the Kids “R” Us where she lives now. She can’t find a picture of the one she used to shop at. (Source)

Video/VCR Test #2 – “The Land Before Time”

Previously, in an Allison Venezio-penned article:

Video/VCR Test – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie

So I logged onto my You Tube Channel, and was greeted by notifications. Now, for me, on a normal day, notifications on my You Tube Channel are usually someone +1’d a comment I made, a comment someone else made on a video I commented on, a comment someone else made within a conversation I also made a comment for, and in more rare cases, someone subscribed to me. I’m well aware that critics are around, especially among nitpickers on You Tube, so I’m always prepared for that. And spam comments. I’m always on the lookout for that. I remember having to put something about spammers on my old You Tube Channel.

But today, it was a comment, and an interesting one. It was from someone who also owed a 1990 print of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, and how he had a different type of edit that ended the Pizza Hut commercial on his video. This type of error is always intriguing, and he said he thinks it was a mistake made on the production end when the VHS was made. I guess no two copies are alike, wouldn’t you say?

When I was in my basement a two weeks ago, doing the laundry (I promise, that’s really what I was doing), one of the other tapes I grabbed from the shelf was my 1989 print of The Land Before Time. Not one of those sequels, but the original film. This was another one of those “Mommy and Daddy Take the Kids to the Movies” things, except instead of turtles with mad ninja fighting skills, it was about little dinosaurs trying to reunite with their families in the face of tragedy. Ever want to upset my entire family into silence? Watch Littlefoot’s mom die. Boom. Quiet.

That actually happened – we were watching the movie for the second time (when we got it as a birthday present for our seventh birthday in 1989), and the death of Littlefoot’s mother put the hush-hush over our living room.

And if this was a spoiler to you…where have you been since 1988? We ’80s babies all know this was that other tragic animated death, the other being the death of Optimus Prime.

Wait…you didn’t know that either? Where have you been since 1986?!

I’m not sure what it is with Don Bluth movies, but apparently he likes children (even the anthropomorphic animal kind) to suffer some kind of harsh tragedy – remember how Fivel got separated from his family in An American Tale? How about all the tragedy that happened in The Secret of NIMH? The only thing that wasn’t tragic about that film was the fact that it was so well-done, and beautifully animated despite the story and dark nature of the film. Littlefoot’s mother dying wasn’t the first tragedy to befall a Don Bluth-animated anthropomorphic animal child.

This is slowly turning into a mucho depressing piece. And we’re also getting sidetracked – let’s get to the real reason you are here, which is not to read about all the times we were emotionally scarred by Don Bluth movies and Optimus Prime dying.

Let’s shift away from all of this, and look at something we all seem to love around here – old VHS tapes!

Yes, this is much better!

The video itself is one of the original prints, and much like my copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, Pizza Hut ran a promotional campaign around the movie. Now, unlike that video, the Pizza Hut commercial on this one actually has tie-ins from this movie in the commercial.

That commercial was featured over on my blog as Throwback Thursday’s commercial pick for last week, and involves a birthday party and the practicing of good etiquette. But since this is Pizza Hut, we only have to proclaim that we used good manners, ‘cuz we’re gonna party!

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And don’t forget, “Share, share, use your silverware!”

Trust me, you read my articles for the educational value they provide!

The video reminds us to stay tuned after the feature for more previews. Which is proof that MCA Home Video was the Marvel of its time!

Then we see this…

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For a Universal-based home video label, the logo is pretty low budget…but starry! Which makes it somewhat pretty.

And if you followed the instructions and watched after the film, you were reminded of what we paid for a VHS tape back in 1989:

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I never complain about the cost of boxed sets on Blu-Ray when I know what my parents paid for me to have movies in the late 1980s-early 1990s.

So, it’s a video you want to see, is it?

Then press play, and relive 1980s home video glory!

Don’t ever complain about how much anything costs again – you saw

Allison’s videocassette collection isn’t a thing of beauty, but it sure is nostalgic. If you like what you’ve seen here, you can also find more like this on her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and she’s on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

She did not have An American Tale on VHS.

Think the World of ICI

Do you know who ICI is? Do you know all the things they can do?

Click play below to watch this colorful and musically-playful 1988 ad that introduces American television viewers to everything ICI is, all to convince you that once you know who they are, you will think the world of them!

Uploaded by Allison Venezio (yes, this is yours truly’s commercial from the archives!)

World class.

You know what else is world class? Visiting Allison over at Allison’s Written Words, following her blog on Facebook, and spotting her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut. This is just one of her many commercials from the archives (aka “The Video Collection That Collects Dust”).



Kenner’s Gun that Shoots Around the Corner

There she is, your quarry. You have hunted her from one side of the house to the other. Creeping along silently, waiting for the perfect moment to pull the trigger on your toy gun. The problem is, you sister is much larger than you. She can move more quickly and if she catches you, she will lay a sibling beating on you like you have never seen. Not only will noogies be doled out liberally, but your trusty weapon will most likely be captured in the ensuing one-sided melee. How do you buy enough time to escape her wicked clutches? You could attempt to shoot from a distance or from cover, but from a distance, she won’t feel the soft spongy ball hitting her and shooting around the corner reduces accuracy. So what do you do hotshot?

You pick up a Kenner’s Gun that Shoots Around the Corner. No longer are you a slave to lines of fire that would lead you to take dangerous chances. Now you can take the shot and in the moment of confusion, make a break for the safety of her closet, where you will hide behind that giant stuffed dog she won at the Carnival five years ago. It is a brilliant hiding place and the last place she will ever look. Just try not to giggle when she is standing around all confused as to where you went.

Remember, you are a little brother – a demon’s whisper in the dark. You were born for this work and thanks to Kenner’s Gun that Shoots Around the Corner, you are the best.