Parker Brothers video games movie theater commercial

Parker Brothers video games movie theater commercial

When commercials started showing up in movie theaters, people started freaking out. It really didn’t bother me all that much. As long as the commercial was well-made and short, I didn’t mind extending my time in the theater. Although, when a commercial was well-made and featured something I was interested in, then you could show me a dozen commercials. Sadly that rarely happened. For example, I saw this Parker Brothers video games movie theater commercial only once as a kid. Yet, I remember seeing this jeans commercial of people jumping up and down about a dozen times.

This commercial started running in 1982. I don’t think it survived 1983. By that time the games would have been outdated and the video game crash was in full swing. Still this is an amazing snapshot of the height of video game mania. It is also super-high quality. Shot in 35mm it looks great in HD, even at 1080p.

The premise for the ad is simple. The Parker Bros. games for Atari are so hot, they cause fires. So you get footage of people playing games, with smoke in the background. Pretty standard stuff. But the real magic happens when they cut to the footage of the games. Instead of the real game footage, you get animation. Here you see games like you will never see them in any other context. Some are just minor improvements over the original. Others though are MASSIVE leaps. For example, the character work on their version of Popeye is downright beautiful.

Parker Brothers video games movie theater commercial popeye

A lot of great advertising was created for that first wave of video game culture. We tend to focus on the TV and print material. But with its unique animation for the games and its cinematic release, I would say this one ranks up there with the best of them.

Watch the Parker Brothers video games movie theater commercial

Pepsi License to Chill Card

Remember the Pepsi License to Chill Card?

As the 1990s rolled around, the Cola Wars continued to rage. Coke and Pepsi would lock horns time and again. One releasing a new product and the other firing right back. It was a great time for novelty in the industry. New flavors and talking cans abounded. This was also the time that rewards cards were really taking off and Pepsi launched its Pepsi License to Chill Card.

The Pepsi License to Chill Card was an incentive and discount card that you could use to claim prizes or discounts at select stores. I had one. Sadly, I never used it, but it still filled a very important role. It added heft to my wallet when it was sorely lacking.

As you can see from the image above, the card was pretty simple. Nice clean design with a distorted Pepsi logo attached to a number that made it look extra official.

What I remember most about the card was the ad campaign. I think they localized them for regions, but I clearly remember the beach theme. These ads remind us that it is a non-stop party in Pepsi town and everyone is invited. Just follow the cool music down to the beach to join the party. Oh, and if you want to get in, don’t forget to bring your Pepsi License to Chill Card. Membership has its privileges.

The card you see above was recently posted on Imgur. I am not sure what happened to my original Pepsi License to Chill Card. I would like to say that I lost it at some epic beach party, but sadly that is not the case. More than likely it wound up in a junk drawer in our kitchen and it went in the trash during a routine cleaning. Sadly, never to Chill again.

Watch the Pepsi License to Chill Card Commercial

Ghostbusters - Cereal

1989 New Ghostbusters Movie Mystery Sweepstakes

The Real Ghostbusters animated series was pretty special. Not just because it helped expand the Ghostbusters universe. But furthermore produced a myriad offering of toys, coloring books, and of course tasty food products. Like Ecto-Cooler and the official cereal.
ghostbusters-cereal-ralston

I personally believe that the animated series helped to actually get Ghostbusters II made. The animated series ran from 1986 until 1991. While it originally started as a Saturday morning cartoon – it quickly became syndicated. Which in fact meant that every afternoon more and more children were itching to see more busting of ghosts!
the-real-ghostbusters-poster

The popularity of that vintage show – not to mention toy sales, must have helped the filmmakers decide to push ahead on a sequel. In particular in this case they probably saw the amount of money a sequel could make. I can remember how excited I was when I first saw that Ghostbusters II trailer.

[Via] Myx Movie

Ghostbusters II would have an impressive amount of tie-in products. You had Coca-Cola and Hardee’s. In addition to Ralston’s aforementioned Ghostbusters cereal. It was Ralston that came up with the idea of including a small 33 1/3 record in boxes.
Ghosbusters

It featured none other than Maurice Lamarche voicing his character from The Real Ghosbusters as Dr. Egon Spengler. In addition it also showcased Rob Paulson. The latter acted sort of as a host with Egon asking the listeners trivia questions about Ghostbusters II.
ghostbusters-ii

Bear in mind this was a sweepstakes however, so it meant some prizes were up for grabs. What were they? You could win a visit to the headquarters but in addition also meet a “Real” Ghostbuster!

[Via] Chris J

How would you like to listen to those Ghosbusters Movie Mystery Sweepstakes records?


There were two different sweepstakes records produced. One was white hued and the other had yellow-gold color. They had different questions on them but thanks to Vinnie Donadio we can listen to them right this minute.

Hair Metal Pizza

Who wouldn’t want a Hair Metal Pizza Experience?

I grew up in an area of New Jersey where pizza parlors were very common. They all had pretty decent pizza, but not one offered the Hair Metal Pizza Experience of Pony Express Pizza. This pizzeria existed in Redwood City, CA and according to some info I found online, “It was a place where garage bands made their break. …local bands playing there did also, as did those passing through.”

Having a pizza place for bands is interesting. Not something that would have happened in my hometown, but if it had, I am sure a lot of memories would have been formed there. NJ was a great state for hair metal and pizza, so I am a little sad that we were not the epicenter of Hair Metal Pizza.

A few videos of Pony Express can be found online, but I want to start by posting this commercial. It contains everything you would need to entice an impressionable hair metal/pizza fan in the door. High-pitched screeching voices, driving guitar rifts, slamming drums and of course pizza. It is an odd juxtaposition. My favorite part is the woman who is rocking out while a mysterious hand shoves a slice of pizza in her face. If I have learned one thing in my many years on this planet, it is that people love to be hand fed pizza.

Watch this amazing commercial for Pony Express Pizza

This is meant to entice you. To bring you in the door. But what did a real music experience at Pony Express look like? Oddly enough, I have not been able to find any videos featuring hair metal bands. Could this be an example of false advertising? I have seen a bunch of mentions of bands that have played there and some of those appear to be hair metalish. Maybe they just forgot to bring the family video camera to their shows.

Oh well. Here is some footage of a very non-hair metal band playing a show there back in 1988.

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

elvira-mugs-root-beer

1989 Mug Root Beer Ad Featuring Elvira!

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark – is a perfect spokeswoman for the Season. After making her debut in September of 1981 with Elvira’s Movie Macabre she quickly became an icon. For one thing I think viewers appreciated the self-depreciating humor of the character. In addition there were the puns…those wonderfully horrible puns.

[Via] karpinterodx

Furthermore by the time this particular Mug TV commercial aired – Elvira had already appeared in her 1988 movie. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark of course!
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

I am afraid the film didn’t exactly set the box office on fire with its ticket sales. In spite of attempting to do that very thing to her in the movie.

Elvira though proved you can’t keep a good ghoul down!


I doubt that way back in 1981 when Cassandra Peterson came up with the character, she ever thought that she would be featured in comic books, video games, and two Bally/Midway pinball tables.

On the other hand – her natural charm makes her the go to gal for Halloween, right? I can recall seeing this ad back in 1989. I drank a lot of Mugs Root Beer. Owing to the fact that I really wanted that chance to visit Universal Studios and see the Bates motel. The opportunity to hang out with Elvira…that was totally a cherry on top.

In spite of guzzling gallons of Mugs – I didn’t win. On the other hand we are all winners thanks to Dinosaur Dracula uploading this commercial!

Did you happen to spy The Hills Have Eyes Michael Berryman in that ad? You can see him at around the 15 second mark!
elvira-michael-berryman

paas-halloween-make-up-kits

1984 PAAS Halloween Make-Up Kits Commercial

Halloween make-up kits were rarely used in my youth. While they might have been safer – at least in terms of no costume to get tangled up in. They couldn’t compare to the majesty of dressing up as Boba Fett, Darth Vader, and Stormtroopers.
darth-vader-boba-fett-stormtrooper-halloween-costumes

I might also add that the lure to play the hero was incredibly strong during Halloween. How could a kid resist donning the garb of Superman, Wonder Woman, or even Batman?
batman-halloween-costume

At the same time there was definitely one year at least where Halloween make-up kits reigned supreme. These were the very same make-up kits that PAAS was advertising on television in 1984. I was twelve and found myself attending church related “Fall” events. After all we were not supposed to be celebrating Halloween, right?

Of course that didn’t stop a parade of Werewolves…
paas-halloween-make-up-kits-werewolf

Vampyr…
vampire-paas-halloween-make-up-kits

And even restless spirits traipsing up and down the halls filling our sacks with delicious loot.
ghost-paas-make-up-kits

Now is just so happened to be that I was invited to three different celebrations that year. Two at churches and one at school. None of them being held on Halloween itself of course. The PAAS Halloween make-up kits were available at our local grocery store and quite cheap. In the light of this discovery I was able to wear three of the four kits in this 1984 commercial!

[Via] The Creepy TarHeel

I was a veritable Lon Chaney Sr. as I proudly became a Vampire one night, Werewolf the next, and finally a Ghost! Although I have absolutely no fear of clowns they’ve never been my thing.

Halloween make-up kits had their downsides!


Now I will not argue that the make-up kits definitely made it easier to see, with no mask to obstruct your vision. But to be honest they had some problems too:

  • The chemical smell really messed with my eyes – I’m not sure if I was allergic or what. They would just start to water if a breeze or AC was blowing in my face.
  • The face paint was easy to smear and you had to be careful to make sure that obviously nothing touched your face.
  • The plastic teeth would shred your gums – to be fair this had equally the same result with any plastic teeth back in the day.

Be that as it may, the memories of those three Halloween events remain very vivid. All thanks to the PAAS Halloween make-up kits!