Welcome to the Retroist Christmas Commercials II Podcast. Christmas is almost here. You know what that means? Time to buy stuff! That’s why this week’s show is all about the Christmas commercials that we love. I tried this format before and people liked it. So be warned, this show has a bit of a different format from the regular podcast. It is dedicated solely to holiday commercials. I hope you enjoy it.
That’s right, Allison’s Written Words wants to team up with Retroist by – brace thyself – kicking off the holiday season with a big commercial block!
Late Saturday night/early Sunday AM, and I show you a glimpse of a recording session.
No life, I tells ya!
Allison’s Written Words and Retroist – The Joint Presentation!
It’s no secret that I love combining my world on here with the one I’ve carved out on Allison’s Written Words. I share teasers for my articles here over on my blog, create videos with mention of both sites, and affiliate myself with both anywhere and everywhere I possibly can.
I love the work I do with both sites, and I’m proud of the opportunity to continue letting my geek flag fly simultaneously.
Allison’s Written Words/Retroist Christmas Commercial Kickoff!
Last week, I worked on my first commercial block commentary, after several efforts of dipping my toes in video games and, well, “video games.” I’ve loved the opportunity to hone my “comedic” skills and show you some great nostalgia at the same time.
The commercial block I selected is from the November 28, 1998 airing of Saturday Night Live Goes Commercial, Volume 2. The tape originates from WNBC 4 New York, my former home market NBC station. The special aired as one of the prime time specials the late-night sketch show was famous for during the 1998-1999 season. It was the second one that year, and the highest-rated one. Not bad for primetime AND a holiday weekend Saturday night!
There’s a healthy mix of Christmas-themed commercials, promos, product ads, short-lived television shows, and even The More You Know. Throw in a local newscast teaser and you’ve got nostalgia AND awesomeness.
That’s right, nostalgia AND awesomeness! Because those two should always go hand-in-hand!
So go on and click play, and join me in watching some commercials!
Upload via Allison Venezio / Allison’s Written Words
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!
Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise have faced many grave dangers. Quite a few of them avoided thanks to the transporter. As well as the talents of Lieutenant commander Montgomery Scott. As I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion on The Retroist – Mr. Scott was always one of my favorites.
Equally at ease on an away mission as keeping the engine room running at peak performance.
Or even taking command of the USS Enterprise when need be.
On the other hand Scotty could take care of himself when action was called for as well. In particular with uppity Klingons mouthing off about the Enterprise.
Mr. Scott was honest and hardworking as well as loyal. These traits sum up what James Doohan brought to the character. Throughout the original series and perhaps even more so in the films – we had a chance to see the more humorous side of Scotty. Although perhaps none more so than with this 1990 TV commercial for the UK’s now defunct National Power. Check it out for yourself and see what shenanigans occur when Kirk presses Scotty for more power.
That is seriously one of the more humorous commercials I’ve had the pleasure of watching. In particular I enjoyed the reactions of the two away team members that are stranded. I would also add that it appears that both William Shatner and James Doohan had fun while shooting the ad.
Don’t you think that Kirk might behave himself better though if this transporter body mix-up were to take place…yeah…probably not.
Now that you’ve enjoyed the comedy of a transporter mishap. This is the part where I remind you…it wouldn’t be that funny in real life.
Several years back (actually, it was eight years ago), I was dating a guy who “gifted” me portions of his recorded videocassette collection. I had to give them back, but the purpose was for me to dub the material on the tapes to DVD-R discs. It sounds pointless that anyone would want to do this, but as a nostalgia hobbyist (even back then), the most mundane finds on a videocassette are fun.
I’d like to think I would have gotten more from his collection, had I not gone back to work after a winter layoff from my last job, and if we hadn’t broken up a few months after that. That second factor is the bigger reason I don’t have more than the massive collection I already have. The relationship may not have lasted, but the nostalgic gold goes on and on!
One of the tapes consisted of several May 1995 recordings of Home Improvement, a show I never particularly cared for, but what I found within the tape suited my nostalgic curiosity quite nicely. (Please don’t submit hate mail or declarations for that admission. I’ve just never been a big Tim Allen fan.)
My ex-boyfriend’s mother must have had VCR duty on one particular night, because she did something many parents did in the day (and something I’m equally guilty of having done once). In all honesty, she probably forgot she had the VCR recording, and there was a commercial on, because, this happened.
It all started off innocently enough. You’re taping a show, and a commercial comes on, but you forget you’re taping the show and decide to see what’s on another channel. Except you don’t stay on the channel, you decide “hey, what the heck? I’ll just keep clicking!”
So you do!
And then you wind up on the cable access channel…the one that shows real estate listings and plays a rockin’ 90s soundtrack. You feel like 1995 found you and embraced you like a friend.
Dionne Ferris. 1995 one-hit wonder for the win!
I’m not from the area where these houses are listed (but I’ve been through there), and I can tell you with 100% certainty that Washington Township is a nice place to live.
Then there are the real estate agents. It’s like they went to the JC Penney portrait studio and had their pictures taken on the same day.
I particularly love Tom Duffy. Jacket on, jacket slung over shoulder. No way this guy isn’t a total stud.
Jack exudes confidence as he hits on your through the television screen.
And yes, you are seeing double!
Ex-boyfriend’s mom, proving not to be idle, begins clicking around again. She eventually made her way back to Home Improvement, but she’s not done yet. Oh no, not yet.
QVC, some lady in love with mashed potatoes…
…NJN (a New Jersey local network connected to PBS), UPN, the WB, UPN again, some nature documentary (????), these people…
Whose eyes may actually look like this…
High School baseball, a Philadelphia Phillies game (shudder), random clicking, shoes on the Home Shopping Club 2 (yes, a second Home Shopping Club Channel, remember that?)…
Fifth position in heels, baby!
…that really good Michael Douglas movie Falling Down (she turned it on during the climactic scene towards the end!), then an extended stop on The Preview Guide.
Remember those days? I swear, I used to LOVE this channel, which is like TV Guide for people who hate to read TV Guide and watch movie trailers and TV promos all day long. I myself loved TV Guide (I read it for the articles). National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 (remember that?!), some guy ringing a bell, Court TV, basketball, hockey, and finally, Shirley MacLaine on Larry King Live round out this collection of channel surfing.
They wore their best for this interview. He in his suspenders, she in her…finest man’s evening wear. I don’t write this stuff, I just find it.
To be honest, Shirley MacLaine clip was longer than I let it run, but I am only looking to save your sanity. After all, you’re sitting through almost twelve minutes of an old ex-boyfriend’s mom changing channels.
But enough of me telling you about all of this, why not watch for yourself, and revel in the glory of 1990s television yourself?
Uploaded by Allison Venezio
Allison’s tape collection doesn’t jewels jewels as this, but still contains some interesting finds (as evidenced by previous articles). She displays many of these unusual jewels over at her blog, Allison’s Written Words. However, she loves saving the truly unusual for Retroist readers (you’re welcome). If you want, you can follow her blog on Facebook, and drop her a tweet @AllisonGeeksOut.
Thank you, Allison’s ex-boyfriend’s mom.
Also…if her boyfriend hadn’t stolen her heart already, he’d have some stiff competition from Tom and Jack.