Just like last time, everything in this edition of Five Retro TV Commercials comes from that tape full of 1991 Ninja Turtles cartoons.
(I’ll be putting that cassette to rest after this article, by the way. There are other commercials on it, but nothing you can’t live without seeing again. Except maybe the one where MC Hammer shilled his official doll. Since the doll was made in the precise same scale as Barbie, the crossover possibilities were pretty Kodak-worthy.)
Sprinkled Chips Ahoy! (1991)
Sure, I’ve already written a whole tribute to Sprinkled Chips Ahoy, but now you can see it with that gravel-voiced TMNT bumper as the lead-in. IMO, that’s the only way to see it!
The commercial confirms that Sprinkled Chips Ahoy debuted in 1991, when style guides were still stuck in that weird limbo between ‘80s neon and ‘90s graffiti.
Adding everyday sprinkles to Chips Ahoy cookies was hardly worth so much fuss, but at the same time, I never would’ve bothered with them without that fuss. Mountains were made out of molehills, and I spent the early ‘90s refusing to eat cookies that didn’t look like they’d been infested by rainbow bugs.
(Well, maybe not refusing, but definitely not preferring.)
Hawaiian Punch! (1991)
I’m a Kool-Aid loyalist, but if I’m being honest, there was a point when Hawaiian Punch seemed a hundred times more epic. Radioactively red and with a flavor best described as Fruit Sex, Hawaiian Punch was the king of the “event drinks.”
This commercial made a montage out of several other Hawaiian Punch commercials, which date all the way back to the ‘70s. Watch closely and you’ll spot the old school Hawaiian Punch canister, which was filled with a sandbox’s share of drink mix. Spilling the entire canister was practically a rite of passage for most kids. I can’t be the only one who wanted to turn the mess into an alien beach for my action figures.
There’s even a shot of the original Hawaiian Punch drink boxes, which were uniquely squarish and ridiculously slick. Since those juice boxes never really went away, our nostalgia is dulled by familiarity. Trust me, had they dropped dead in the early ‘90s, people like me would be writing tributes to them all the fucking time. SO GOOD.
CBS Saturday Morning Kid TV! (1991)
Here are a bunch of promos for Kid TV, which was CBS’s umbrella title for its Saturday morning block.
First up is Mother Goose and Grimm, which switched to the simpler, less-folksy title of Grimmy for its second season. Given the amount of blank stares I’ve received after bringing up this series over the years, it seems that not everyone who should remember it does. On the other hand, I know I was a regular viewer, but the literal only thing I can remember about the show is its bitchin’ theme song.
Also of note is a quick promo for the Back to the Future cartoon. I’m ashamed to admit that the series never really interested me back then, I guess because it felt too “kiddy” next to the likes of Krang and Donatello. At the same time, I loved the fact that Christopher Lloyd (in full live action Doc Brown regalia) was a canonical part of Saturday morning programming. I didn’t want to sit in Doc’s lap, but I liked being a stone’s throw away from it.
Last is a promo for Where’s Waldo?, a show that I’d completely forgotten about, and definitely never watched. The ad has a neat bit where we’re supposed to find Waldo in a sea of cartoon characters from other CBS shows, which marked the one single time when fifteen Kermit the Frogs shook hands with five Garfields while Waldo hid behind one of seven Miss Piggies. Don’t try to read that sentence twice; it can and will kill you.
Bigfoot Champions Crunch Arena! (1991)
Whatever warm feelings I had about toy trucks and cars were usually on the muted side. I could count on one hand the times when I absolutely HAD to have them, no matter how many tears, whines or ritualistic sacrifices it took. In general, I liked toys with legs more than toys with wheels.
So no, I never owned the Hot Wheels Bigfoot Champions Crunch Arena, nor am I comfortable with the amount of syllables needed to identify it. Still, I remember watching this commercial back in the ‘90s, and being *this close* to making the procurement of said Crunch Arena the absolute focal point of my entire existence.
Did any of you have this? Was it nearly as cool as it looked in the commercial? I mean, the little motorized Bigfoot truck is okay, but what really got me were all of those “junked” cars. The thought that I could continually kill and resurrect automobiles sounded so boss. Still does, actually. If eBay sellers weren’t asking $100 for the Crunch Arena, I’d be all over it.
Super Mario World! (1991)
Sorry about the rough audio on this one. Videocassettes from 25 years ago aren’t always agreeable.
I played the shit out of Super Mario World, and to this day, I don’t think I’ve invested more time into any other game. Super Mario World was utterly replayable, and never stopped being fun no matter how many times you beat it. (Hell, I used to let my SNES sit with the game set on its final map, just so I could hear that spooky music for hours on end.)
PS: Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I gotta nominate Super Mario World as the BEST GAME EVER to use with a Game Genie.
If I recall correctly, my mix of codes left Mario with endless invincibility, the ability to jump higher than the screen, and a tireless blue Yoshi for constant flying ability.
I used to set up those codes and then start from the very first level, pretending Mario was some kind of Terminator sent from the future to completely annihilate every living creature. It was a sociopathic outlet for kids who didn’t wanna burn ants.
Thanks for reading, and have an excellent holiday weekend. A rough run kept me from updating the site much this past week, but I’ll make it up to you starting on Monday. Maybe Tuesday, depending on the severity of my hangover. I’ve heard rumors of sangria.