TV Guide Fall Preview Guide commercial

This 1979 TV Guide Fall Preview Guide commercial is spectacular

Sometimes something that is small can really help to sum up a time or place. Such is the case with this 1979 TV Guide Fall Preview Guide commercial. It is simple, but it is chock full of wonderful sounds and visual that scream late 1970s.

The commercial is more of a promo and clocks in at about 10 seconds. It consists of simple deep voiced announcer, some almost TRON-like animation and unsettling music. Each individual element is something you would see in advertising, promos and intros during that decade. In rare instances, such as this, they all came together in a magnificent package. The announcer is a timeless element. So I would like to discuss the other two elements just a little.

Read Check out the TV Guide Ad for Wizards and Warriors

The music is electronic sounding and barely qualifies as music. It is the type of stuff used in a lot of intros at the time, especially on PBS. Now I find it intriguing, but as a kid growing up and seeing this stuff in reruns, I found it very disconcerting. It has a harshness that is both compelling and problematic. I want to lower the volume, but also want to hear it all.

The animation is the stuff of my dreams. This is like some pseudo computer style work and I have always been obsessed with it. It is a bonus that the subject of the animation is the Fall Preview Guide. Which as everyone knows, is the best issue of the year for any TV guide subscriber.

Watch and enjoy this TV Guide Fall Preview Guide commercial

Some bonus footage in this video includes a 1979 radar output for Houston’s Original Radar Station. As well as the title card for the MGM film, “Indian Love Call.” This leads me to believe that this ad would have been running during a late movie. Which makes the elements of it, especially the sound, even more scary/compelling.

Last Action Hero Burger King Cups

Burger King’s Last Action Hero Cups

Last Action Hero is the type of movie that Hollywood execs would eat up. It made sense that Burger King would hawk Last Action Hero collectible soft drink cups.

The movie plot’s sees a young boy transported into his favorite movie. He meets his favorite action star and together they hunt down an evil villain. Sounds like box office gold!

Even with the big guns of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the guy who directed Die Hard (John McTiernan), Last Action Hero wasn’t a huge success.

Arnold had conquered the box office in 1992 with the success of Terminator 2. He was an unstoppable machine, but Last Action Hero was his first real box office disappointment. Released in the summer of 1993, it simply couldn’t compete with Jurassic Park. Luckily for Arnold, he teamed up with James Cameron in 1994 and bounced back with True Lies.

Collect all 4 Cups at Burger King!

While it didn’t live up to expectations, it’s a fun movie with an excellent supporting cast.

It’s filled with one-liners and Arnold never hesitates to make fun of himself or his supporting cast. There’s an amusing joke involving F. Murray Abraham’s character killing Mozart.

Charles Dance is the evil villain Benedict and has a collection of crazy glass eyes. Bridgette Wilson, Tom Noonan, and Anthony Quinn round out a star-studded cast.

Keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by an animated cat (bonus points if you recognize the actor voicing this MC Skat Kat knockoff).

The film also boasted a rockin’ soundtrack with some of the biggest bands of the day: AC/DC, Alice in Chains, Megadeth, Def Leppard, and many other hard rock acts you’ll recognize.

Have It Your Way!

Burger King was aggressively marketing to a younger generation in the early ’90s with a series of commercials starring MTV’s Dan Cortese and Debra Wilson (of MADtv fame).

Burger King spent $20 million on a marketing campaign for what they called “the biggest movie of the summer.”

For everything that went wrong with Last Action Hero’s marketing, Burger King’s tie-in with the film was pretty awesome. Collectible soft drink cups were pretty standard when it came to movie/fast food tie-ins.

But how many soft drink cups were animated? That’s right, the cup you got at Burger King actually animated a scene from the movie. Check ’em out and don’t forget to collect all four!

Super Jock Toys

Super Jock Toys made for great weapons of war

Super Jock Toys were a line of toys made by Schaper starting in the seventies. Super Jocks were sports based, hence the use of “Jock”. Each playset consisted of action figures playing sports including basketball, hockey, baseball, football and soccer. To play with them, you would press down on the toy’s head. This caused your Super Jock to either kick/throw/hit a ball or puck.

Before the ubiquity of video and electronic games, Super Jock Toys were a great way to play versions of your favorite sports. My cousin was a collector of them. We spent many a rainy afternoon in his basement playing Super Jocks basketball and football. We also figured out another fun aspect of Super Jock Toys. They made for wonderful weapons of war.

Read Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto Toys

We mostly used them with Star Wars figures, which we would set up among based made from wooden blocks. Then we would measure out a few feet, put Super Jock football player down and start plugging away. The first person to knock down all of the other players figures would be the winner. The challenge was heightened by the player having to move the Super Jock further and further away with each attack. Kids are wonderfully imaginative. Especially when it comes to making a toy more destructive.

Watch this classic commercial for Super Jock Toys

Arby's Pac-man Glasses

Pac-man Glasses from Arby’s

I love purchasing vintage collector’s glasses. If you do the same, and put them in a collectors cabinet, you should love me. Because I am the person making all of your glasses rarer. That is right, I like to use the glasses that I buy. Not only do I use them, but I use them heavily. These are not special occasion glasses, these are everyday glasses that get washed in the dishwasher. I get great joy from using them. Still, whenever I buy a new one, I get the urge to preserve. That is exactly what is happening with my new Pac-man glasses.

These glasses were sold by Arby’s in the early eighties. You could get it for just 59 cents with the purchase of a medium soft drink. It was a great deal. Unfortunately, as a youth, I was not Arby’s adjacent. Therefore no Pac-man glasses for me until now. I picked up two, one is slightly used looking, but the other is crisp and colorful. It just begs to both be put up on a shelf and filled with a cold soft drink. Right now, I am debating what to do, but I know what will happen in the end. I will use it.

Fortunately the Arby’s Pac-man glasses are still pretty affordable. You can usually find them for under 6 bucks each. Online, people will jack up the shipping. After all this is vintage glass they are putting in the mail. So if you can find a glass in person that costs a little but more, it is worth it. Another bright spot, this is a collection of one. Arby’s made just the one design. So if you pick one up, your collection is complete.

They have a commercial for the glasses. This did not run in my area or I am sure I would have remembered it. The animation is swell. Pac-man not only chases ghosts and gets chased, but chows down on some Arby’s food and their logo. This is a great gem from the golden age of video games. It is almost as good as the glasses it is promoting.

Watch the classic Arby’s Pac-man Glasses Commercial

Pee-wee Herman Store

The Pee-wee Herman Store at JCPenney and existential dread

I am not sure who put together this commercial for the Pee-wee Herman Store, but they are either a genius or quite mad. The ad itself is about 30 seconds long. 26 seconds of it is completely wordless. Featuring children dressed in Pee-wee Herman Store clothing dancing crazily to rhythmic music. They dance for so long that it borders on surreal.

There are certainly clues as to what you are watching. Especially if you are a Pee-wee Herman. The clothing has Pee-wee in it and the music and background reminds you of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. They even flash his name briefly at the start of the commercial. But what if you knew nothing of Pee-wee Herman? What might you think you are watching?

Learn all about Pee-wee Herman on the Retroist Pee-wee Herman Podcast

If you are watching it in 1989, when it was released, I imagine it would grab your attention. You would think, where is the announcer for this commercial? Wait, is this a commercial? Is something wrong with the sound on my TV? Who are these children. Is this music the music of madness? Am I alone in a cold unknowable cosmos?

Then at the 26 second mark sweet relief. As we learn that the Pee-wee Herman Store is coming to JCPenney. Suddenly it all makes sense. You turn from the TV and rest your head on the pillow. Perhaps you will dream of secret words and playhouses where childhood never ends, but alas.

All you hear is the music. Those drums! Can’t you hear them? Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Watch this classic commercial for the Pee-wee Herman Store at JCPenney