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.
If you’re familiar with science fiction and have some passing knowledge of the Stargate franchise, then Amanda Tapping is a name you’ll know.
Known as Samantha “Sam” Carter, the second-in-command/astrophysicist/woman with all the technobabble is known for being the one to pave the way for all the woman who walked through the Stargate across three series and 14 years. From her beginnings as a Captain to her eventual promotion to Colonel, Samantha Carter saw her share of what the galaxy could throw at her. She also did it with a megawatt smile and a killer aim.
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Bonus points if you can put Colonel O’Neill in his place via frustration. That always means you are doing something right!
They All Make Commercials…
But before Amanda Tapping took on the role that undoubtedly pushed her career in the right direction, she appeared on different Canadian television series, and like most actors seeking out their big breaks, made commercials.
I know of three commercials in existence. One such advertisement actually aired in 1998 (after Stargate SG-1 premiered), but isn’t on You Tube anymore. However, two of those pre-SG-1 commercials are available, and yeah, they’re gold.
We All Are Tempted By Chocolate…
But does our chocolate talk to us?
Uploaded by RetroCapeBreton
It’s the unending battle of 3 pm chocolate cravings versus “Judy.” Except, in the real world, our chocolate doesn’t actually talk to us. Perhaps in our heads, but not…
Don’t judge me.
But before chocolate candy cravings, there was muffins. And Canadian doughnut shops.
And There Was That Time at Tim Horton’s…
I’m sure a few Stargate fans wanted to buy a muffin if Amanda Tapping sold it to them.
And in 1989, a delightfully Canadian man was lucky enough to!
Uploaded by robatsea2009
So much smiling and Canadian accents. And Oooht (not Oat) Bran!
I had Tim Horton’s when I was in Michigan last year, and proclaimed my status as an “Honorary Canadian.” Because why not?
Advil and a Smile
Of course, I’d love to show you the third commercial (for Advil Cold and Sinus), but it isn’t on You Tube anymore.
But that doesn’t mean screenshots of it aren’t circulating online!
She has to be the most chipper person to ever need Advil….unless this is a side effect. In that case, I’d want to know what’s in the stuff.
Everyone Starts Somewhere!
Actors pay their dues to get to the top of their craft, and if that means hocking medicine, chocolate, and Ooht Bran Muffins with a smile, then so be it.
Besides, she eventually wound up using that smile to her advantage…
I don’t think he always minded it either. Just sayin’.
Oh, and I totally met her in 2013. And that hair was inspired by her pixie cut from Stargate SG-1.
The vast landscape of sitcoms and prime time dramas has given way to reality shows, competitions, and mediocre shows at best. When something amazing does manage to find its way to television, and is worth watching, we wait and hope that networks see in it what we do…and decide not to cancel it undeservingly.
One thing the Big Three networks did away with in the 1990s was their big fall promotional commercials, which ran the length of a traditional commercial block, and promoted all the networks had to offer that season – returning favorites, new shows, it didn’t matter, and it was all featured in the commercial. The promos always involved the stars of the shows singing and dancing. All the networks did it, but ABC seemed to really know how to do it the best.
While ABC had some of the best fall promos during the 1980s and 1990s, my personal favorite was their “America’s Watching ABC” promotional campaign from 1990-1991, which used the music from their 1989-1990 campaign, but with different lyrics. It featured the stars of all of the returning and new (some short-lived) series, singing once again for you, the viewers. ABC may not have been in first place at the time, but they certainly gave us a performance worthy of first place.
This is the most incredible two minutes and twenty-three seconds, a nice slice of the past that reminds me of a time when the actors seemed to actually enjoy what they did, and not because it was in their contract to do so. Ok, maybe they were told to be in the commercial, but I’m sure they could have opted out.
I mean come on, we have:
Those kids from The Wonder Years! Kyle McLachlan, back for a second season of Twin Peaks! BobSaget! Cousin Larry and Balki! Roseanne Barr (or Arnold, whatever she was at the time) and a bunch of little girls dressed like her! Tony, Angela, and Mona! COACH! Neil Patrick Harris, proving that he’s an adept singer!
And…this show (who are these guys?)
And who the heck is this?!
URKEL?! Corky! The Seavers!!!
Neil Patrick Harris delights us with this solo effort…
It’s those Wonder Years kids again!
Father Dowling and Sister Steve!
Oh sorry, that was my head. It just exploded. Don’t mind me. (And I guess he sang, but I’m not sure).
And we know the guys from Monday Night Football…didn’t sing. Seriously, I love how they talked their way through the lyrics. But that’s fine, this is so much fun, we don’t care!
PREACH IT, Timothy Busfield!
Yes you are family too, Doogie and Vinny!
Oh hai again, Seaver family!
Beetlejuice?! You’re here too?!
All together now…
We know you’ll like the view! Well, if it was MACGYVER (!) singing this part, yes I would, but this commercial is fun, so I don’t care!
Sing it, Winslow Family!
Who are you?!
Sing it, Doogie and Vinny!
I’m wiping away a tear of nostalgia right now. Charlie Gibson and Joan Lunden. Watch us now? Oh I did, I grew up with you guys!
A- Feel the beat yeah! Oh I’m feelin’ it, Mac, the Seaver family, and…those guys! SING IT!
B- Move your feet yeah! Doogie shows us X-Rayed feet. The Monday Night Football guys…don’t have to sing. And…who is this guy?! YEAH!
C- Sing it loud now! Yes, Alyssa Milano, you do that!
Join the crowd now! That’s right, join Roseanne and the little ones for some dancing! From the heartland, from Doogie, to Larry and Balki…America is watching Mr. C…as a priest!
And these guys…who are they?!
But you all know we watched THESE guys!
The commercial then goes into a segment of new shows like…
Baby Talk! COP ROCK?! Gabriel’s Fire! Going Places! Married People! America’s Funniest…Part II. All CANCELED that season…except for America’s Funniest Home Videos. Real people doing really stupid things for real, in attempt to win real money, is still with us.
Actually, Gabriel’s Fire was revamped into a different show, Pros and Cons, for its second season. But still, NOT the same show!
And then we go into the actors singing the song ONE MORE TIME!
A, Feel the beat YEAH! B, move your feet YEAH! C, sing it loud NOW! Join the crowd NOW! From the heartland, from sea to shining sea…America is watching ABC! We are treated to all of our actors hamming it up one last time, as the logo comes into view.
And we’re mesmerized.
Number two network at the time, my bad ankle. This is a prime example of what the number one network should be capable of!
Watch it now!
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Cheesy yes, but gloriously (and epicly) cheesy. Is epicly even a word? I have no clue! I don’t care.
America was watching, second to NBC. But they’ll always be number one with promo commercials.
Allison makes it a point to geek out about nostalgia (and everything else) in her internet home, Allison’s Written Words. She’d love you to visit her there and geek out with her.
Speaking as a past movie theater employee, working my way up from concession stand to ticket taker to a projectionist, a position I held for over ten years…devouring Snickers bars were a way of life. You didn’t really have time to eat lunch due to the constant checking up on the film and equipment, so I would generally eat about three of those delicious bars a day. I still love them!
However, why didn’t they use Gremlins as a spokesman…er, spokescreature to try and sell more of them?
Stumbled across this 1967 TV ad for Bufferin yesterday. It was filmed by Jim Henson and you’ll certainly notice the voice over work for the lead actor is handled by Jim himself. The music by the way was composed and performed by none other than Raymond Scott! The photo you see up top is a behind the scenes shot from when Jim and Raymond were working on the ad.