In this edition of Five Retro TV Commercials, you’ll see everything from old ghosts to old cereal to old cheese. I know how to build excitement.
Real Ghostbusters Toys! (1986)
Here’s an early Real Ghostbusters toy commercial — possibly the first, but at least one of the first. Kenner came out swinging with this line, combining some of the best-ever action figures with some of the best-ever toy commercials.
That isn’t the nostalgia talking, either. Real Ghostbusters figures struck an impossible balance of simplicity and complexity, advanced enough even by today’s standards, but with an almost “green army man” sort of charm.
And the commercials? So good! Even this one, which lacked the awesome scale model sets seen in later RGB ads, just made the toys look like so much fun. (Course, when it comes to TV commercials featuring cans of Ecto-Plazm and the Stay Puft action figure, I’m the easiest sell on the fucking planet.) Read More…
By the time you watch the old commercials I upload, they’re just old commercials, no different from the millions of others on YouTube.
What you miss is the curation. Most of the ads I’ve put up were rescued from dusty VHS tapes, long ignored by their prior owners. Some of those tapes spent literal decades in strangers’ garages, edging so close to oblivion that it was a miracle they still played. (On that note, I’ve lost several VCRs to tape mold.)
Some of the ads were found at the ass-ends of otherwise fruitless six-hour tapes. Even with loaded tapes, I rarely know what’s going to be on them until I start scanning. It’s time-eating grunt work, but rescuing old TV commercials feels weirdly meaningful.
I know that this series of articles runs the risk of seeming like filler, but behind every commercial is a tiny adventure.
On that note: Off we go with Five Retro TV Commercials, Part 23!
Cherry Cola Slice! (1986)
Cherry Coke debuted in 1985 and immediately became a “fad food,” as popular for its hip newness as its taste. (Watch enough sitcoms reruns from the mid ‘80s, and you’re sure to spot cool teenagers ordering Cherry Cokes in diners and dives.)
Pepsi wanted to compete, naturally, but there wouldn’t be an official cherry Pepsi flavor until 1988. Instead, the sword fell to Slice — a soda brand owned by Pepsi yet otherwise distinct from it.
Cherry Cola Slice arrived in 1986, complete with an anti-Coke ad campaign. While I can’t remember trying it myself, that sure wasn’t on purpose. I loved Slice as a kid, and a cherry cola version that used real actual cherry juice was doubtlessly the best thing on the market. I want one so bad. Read More…
It’s been over four months since the last edition of Five Random Action Figures. Which is disgusting. Let’s fix that.
Marvel Super Heroes (1990)
Man, that first wave in Toy Biz’s Marvel Super Heroes line was just phenomenal. I’ve occasionally criticized Toy Biz’s lean on quantity-over-quality, but it’s not like they didn’t have the talent to make really great action figures.
Silver Surfer is my favorite figure from that wave, which is saying a lot. He’d later get re-released with a shiny chrome finish, but I much prefer the “flat” look of this version, which better reflected the Surfer’s old school comic appearances.
For me, this was one of those “transcendent” action figures — meaning I never felt particularly beholden to what the character was supposed to be. If you gave me a Spider-Man figure, he was going to be Spider-Man proper, no matter what. By contrast, the Silver Surfer was a blank canvas: I could make him good, bad, all-knowing, innocent, fiery or restrained.
I loved figures like that. Little five-inch vessels, as malleable as my own emotions. Read More…
I’m trying to avoid junk food these days, but I still pay attention to it, and there are tons of seriously great snacks out there. When the world seems depressing, just remember that this same world gave us 650 varieties of Cheez-Its.
Below are five things that you should be eating during moments of weakness. All are in stores now.
I’ve read complaints about the flavor, but when you’ve got a package that handsome, taste is immaterial. I’m not paying three bucks for the chips — I’m paying three bucks for THAT BAG. It’s Hellraiser mixed with Hypercolor and it makes me want to paint things.
The common gripe is that while Doritos Blaze pack a ton of heat, they’re otherwise devoid of flavor. I didn’t get that impression. They’re damn hot by big brand junk food standards, but I still detected traces of a smoky barbecue flavor.
Put it to you this way: I ate half the bag quickly enough to feel ashamed. By “half the bag” I probably mean “whole bag,” but I will never turn down a shot at plausible deniability.
GRADE: A. They’re not the tastiest Doritos ever, but between the bag, the concept and the fact that they’re named after that little on-fire guy from Mortal Kombat II, I cannot give them a lower grade. Read More…
Simple as it was, SLIME was perhaps my favorite of all Masters of the Universe toys. The neon green pseudosnot taught me that toy slime wasn’t just what it literally was, but also whatever we imagined it to be.
In Masters of the Universe lore, Hordak uses Slime to turn randos into zombie slaves. He’ll trap adversaries in his wretched Slime Pit, pour the junk over their bodies, and voila: Instant fealty!
Fans rarely bring up Slime without mentioning the Slime Pit, which kind of sells it short. Released in 1986, the glop was super enjoyable even when you weren’t doing weird things to action figures.
Show of hands: How many of you cared for your Slime as if it were some sick baby raccoon rescued from the side of the road? (Or maybe more accurately a potted plant from your beloved, inanimate yet so alive.)
Below are four frightening facts about Masters of the Universe Slime.
Note: None are actually frightening. Read More…
Today we celebrate Shark Bites fruit snacks. We should be doing that every day, TBH.
They’ve gotta be the most famous fruit snacks in history, right? For people in a certain age group, just hearing “Shark Bites” summons all sorts of warm fuzzies. Shark Bites made good days great, and saved bad days from being the worst days.
Here are six fin-tastic facts about the best fruit snacks ever: Read More…