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Before yesterdayAllison's Written Words

Discover Who We Are, And You Will Think The #FlashbackFriday Of Us!

Because you already think the world of us, why not aim smaller?

Today’s commercial was actually used in a Retroist article (long since lost to the interwebs), and is a commercial meant to inform the average American consumer of the company that is responsible for our consumer goods. From paint to carpet fibers, plastics used in automobiles, clothing dye, and pharmaceuticals, this company has a worldwide reach, but you may have not heard of them. But after this commercial, you will know who they are, and knowing will endear you to their presence.

And hey, if it doesn’t matter to you, the visuals are pretty cool.

We’re back in the magical year of 1988, filmed from a WPIX airing of Iron Eagle during a syndicated movie block called “Tri-Star Theater.” Since WPIX was known for their weekend afternoon movie airings, I’m betting this probably aired during one of those days. The most interesting commercials always aired during those movies, and on the weekends in general. In fact, WPIX always seemed to have some real gems. I mean, where else could Phil Rizzutto plug The Money Store alongside Crazy Eddie hocking electronics, Tom Carvel hocking ice cream cakes, and allow you to see what Cheers rerun was going to be on tonight at 11 pm?

Honestly, was Cheers in syndication forever?

The company seeking out awareness is the British chemical company Imperial Chemical Industries, and the companies under their large umbrella – manufacturing in over 40 countries, and selling to over 150.

But, what do you need to know about them? Well, they have one minute to pedal their wares, so this better be one hell of a pitch.

Kind of a quirky commercial, but informational in its approach, don’t you think?

Founded in 1926, Imperial Chemical Industries was a British chemical company that was the largest manufacturer in Britain for much of its history. Formed by the merger of four chemical companies, ICI manufactured general chemicals, plastics, paints, and pharmaceuticals, as well as specialty products (food ingredients, specialty polymers, electronic materials, fragrances and flavorings). In addition to Glidden in 1986, during this time period, ICI acquired Beatrice Chemical Division in 1985.

Even if you got to know ICI, and thought the world of them, the company was not long for the world, lasting 20 more years until being bought out by AkzoNobel in January 2008. These days, ICI’s products are under different companies now, but at one time, their presence in the world meant, well, the world to those that cared most.

World class!

Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!

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allisonveneziowrites

Come On Over To My #ThrowbackThursday

…we don’t have cookies, but we do have nostalgia! Which is sweet stuff for the eyes and mind!

Of course, applying today’s product near the eyes could cause undue pain, and eating it could be downright dangerous.

Of course, cookies are what got you into the mess of having to use today’s product…I guess.

I’m jumping all over the place, friends. Let’s go back in time, to 1979

Meet these two girls, who think Bob is terrific, except for this little flaw he has.

“A few pimples.”

OH NO!!!!!!

But don’t worry, because “coming over to my pad” is how Bob can get rid of those pimples.

No, it isn’t either of the two pads you’re thinking of, or an affair. It is something total different, and something you can find out when you click play!

Upload via traci0dee

That guy seems super excited about the potential reverse Three’s Company moment he’s about to have!

I guess that’s excitement? I mean, they’re going to be washing and applying acne treatment products to their faces all night, so maybe that’s why he isn’t excited?

Anyway…

Originally owned by the Bayer Corporation, Stridex (originally spelled Stri-Dex) was the first acne treatment to be available over the counter. They contain  salicylic acid (0.5–2.5%) as an active ingredient, with the Power Pads version containing benzoyl peroxide (2.5%). Both can dry out skin, and lips, eyes, nose, cuts/scrapes, burns, and mouth are to be avoided when applying.

But oooh, that clean, clear skin!

The chick who wanted Bob to “come over to her pad” is actress Amanda Wyss, who you probably remember well from her role as Lisa, Brad’s girlfriend in Fast Times At Ridgemont High (you know, the one he wanted to break up with, but she cut him loose instead?) and Tina in A Nightmare on Elm Street.

These days, Stridex is owned by Blistex, and is a part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection. Between this, Oxi, and Clearasil, kids have been relying on these products for years to treat their “oh, no! ACNE!” moments. I found them to be somewhat effective, especially on my forehead, which was the source of my breakouts as a kid (I had bangs, which are a nightmare on greasy skin!), but I usually alternated between Clearasil and Oxi.

Oxi only wanted you to “oxi-cute” them, but Stridex/Stri-Dex wants to invite you over for a night to remember.

Why doesn’t he seem more enthusiastic about this proposition?!

Have a great Throwback Thursday!

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I Wanna #FlashbackFriday Please!

If you want some fun put on a bun…you’ll need to go somewhere else. This is fun put out in words, there’s no food.

I mean, there are food commercials, but no actual physical food is here. If you want food, again, you’ll have to go somewhere else.

Like any of the fine dining establishments featured in today’s commercial block!

Or you can just enjoy a Manwich like these families do!

Today’s commercial break piggybacks off of yesterday’s block, featuring the second half of commercials that aired on Court TV during a March 2003 broadcast of the 1997 made-for-television “based on a true story” Target for Rage, which starred a pre-fame Freddie Prinze Jr., a pre-NYPD Blue Rick “Don’t Call Me Ricky Until I Say Otherwise” Schroder, and a post-Fonzie Henry Winkler, a few years before he played Freddie Prinze Jr.’s dad in one of my favorite teen movies from the early 2000s, Down To You.

They’re not featured in any of the commercials here, but products, services, and Court TV programs are featured.

You know, such gems as…

A phone that takes and sends pictures…through the WEB (!!!!), Madge and the unawareness that Spic and Span has a powder cleanser, Jan Hooks is a free spirit who loves those 10-10 numbers, the fever you’ll never mind catching, the pain relief cream you’ll never mind smelling (because you can’t smell it!), tough guys who love clean carpets (and the way he makes that happen), early 2000s cell phones, another “Sometimes When We Touch” moment, and teeth whiting solution that could potentially wash off from saliva!

Products, services, early 2000s technology, and insurance mascot love? Only on Allison’s Written Words!

I’d say only on a Flashback Friday, but Throwback Thursday has these moments too!

The commercials, as I always say, await you!

The early 2000s still had some leftover 1990s charm, which is something I notice more and more with commercials of that era. Basic cable really makes it feel a little more obvious, and sometimes, it is nice to be able to revisit it.

Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!

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allisonveneziowrites

They’re Beyond #ThrowbackThursday

And that in itself is beyond belief!

And so are the commercials!

Ah yes, the tried-and-true, much beloved commercial block. This one was a little too “giant” for just one day, so I’ve split up the 30 minutes into two healthy 15 minute portions. Both sets – part two is tomorrow – are from the March 2003 Court TV airing of the 1997 made-for-television/based on a true story movie Target for Rage (alternate title: Detention: The Siege at Johnson High), which originally aired on ABC on May 19, 1997.

The movie was a fact-based story of the school shooting/siege at Lindhurst High School (Olivehurst, Califoria) on May 1, 1992 that resulted in the deaths of four people. In this film, Ricky – er, Rick – Schroder plays Jason Copeland, a 24-year-old man who had failed out of high school several years earlier, and was living in a downward spiral. Jason decides to storm into his old high school, and take students hostage after shooting a teacher that said he was trying to help him at the time. The film also stars a pre-fame Freddie Prinze Jr. as a gifted (but lazy) student named Aaron Sullivan, who is assigned to answer the phone once the small town’s only hostage negotiator is called in, Skip Fine, played effectively by Henry Winkler (yes, that Henry Winkler!).

If you’ve never seen this movie, it is pretty standard as made-for-network-television movies airing on a weeknight in the 1990s goes. The acting certainly isn’t terrible, and the familiar faces are certainly a treat. I also like that I was able to find this on Court TV, which as we all know, hasn’t been about court procedurals since 2008, when it became TruTV.

However, it has come back as a digital over-the-air network, and has a home on Pluto TV and YouTube TV. It was the network I remember watching the O.J. Simpson trial on in the mid-1990s. By the late 1990s, the network had original series and aired movies. I remember actually recording this when I was in college, mostly because I heard about this movie (and loved Freddie Prinze Jr.), and wanted to watch a cheesy movie he made pre-fame.

But of course, this being the blog it is, the real treat is always in the space between the actual programming. And this being basic cable, you know there is the potential for local advertising to break through.

Featured in this half of the commercial block…

Relief with a great taste, that sequel to The Peanut Butter Solution (but not really), beef still being what’s for dinner, an alternative to Crest White Strips, Sometimes when we touch… (the honesty is still too much), computers in 2003 (now with Pentium 4 Processors!), one of those “White People Problems” commercials, targeting smokers, and chicken deals!

There’s programming promos, local commercials, celebrities, and regularity!

Yes, regularity!

Go on, the commercials are waiting for YOU!

Tomorrow, more products, services, promos, and food await you in March 2003, as we conclude this programming block – and the random Saturday afternoon Court TV movie broadcast.

Ricky – er, Rick – Schroder will return.

As will Henry Winkler. And Freddie Prinze Jr.

Have a great Throwback Thursday!

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allisonveneziowrites

#FlashbackFriday Is Dressed To Kill!

…and combat ready!

But mostly dressed to kill. Because seriously, when you’ve got gams like this…

The world of GI Joe-style play, mixed with Barbie-esque outfitting, and miscommunication all come together in today’s commercial from 2000 (as featured briefly in a previous Flashback Friday from April 2019), which shows the consequences of picking one of the other courier companies.

But of course, the consequence is “Dressed to KILL!” versus “Dressed to KIIIIIILL!”

So which courier was responsible for this fabulous mistake?

Find out, when you click play!

Because you absolutely, positively needed the correct clothes to be there overnight…but you were “absolutely sure” you picked the correct courier.

You thought WRONG!

Should’ve used FedEx, am I right?

Since 1971, Federal Express – er, FedEx – has been ensuring deliveries find their way around the world, wherever they need to go. With services that include air, ground, freight, and post office shipping, as well as office services (formerly called Kinko’s), FedEx’s services help with all the important facets of getting it done, and getting it shipped. Established in Little Rock, Arkansas, and based in Memphis, Tennessee, FedEx currently operates its headquarters out of Memphis International Airport.

“Be absolutely sure” was FedEx’s campaign beginning in 1998, and running until 2000. The actual name “Federal Express” was retired in 2000, and was the name of the original air division, which began operations in 1973. To be honest, this is the only FedEx commercial I remember from that particular time, mostly because of the GI Joe-esque style of advertising. Shouting kids, dolls being thrust in front of the camera, and a loud voiceover. The plot twist involving fancy clothing is hilarious.

In retrospect, the idea of boys playing with their, ahem, action figures in this fashion seems very over-the-top. However, this was the type of imagery that sold toys during the impressionable 1980s era of advertising. This commercial captures the charms of the era, with the “oh crap” element of a courier completely screwing up a toy manufacturer’s big marketing campaign.

But man, what a fabulous mistake!

Evening gown and tiara sold separately, of course.

Don’t forget to use FedEx next time…if there is a next time for Combat Rangers.

Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!

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Nobody Better Lay A Finger On My #ThrowbackThursday!

Crispety, crunchety, peanut buttery…and booby-trapped!

I contemplated giving the commercials – and myself – a week off to regroup and brainstorm…and then I remembered having today’s commercial in my collection.

Who needs a week off when one has this classic in their kitty of commercials?

Today’s commercial comes to us from the year 1994. At the time, The Simpsons were everything, and having the yellow-skinned family’s likenesses on things sold like hotcakes. Clothing, toys, fast food promotional items, arcade video games, home console video games, and candy. In the early-mid 1990s, one would be hard-pressed to not find merchandise featuring a dimwitted patriarch, his level-headed wife, and their three children – the mischievous oldest son, the brainy middle child, and the adorable pacifier-sucking toddler.

In today’s case, the attention is on father and son, one awake and scheming, the other fast asleep and dreaming (supposedly), and the other eternal struggle…the coveted Butterfinger candy bar!

There was the eternal struggle Bart made a film out of, but this, my friends, was the real eternal struggle!

Hard to resist, yet, dangerous to the touch!

I think I just found the perfect slogan for all candy!

Not really, but it is mired in reality, am I right?

Butterfinger (as covered in a previous Flashback Friday on April 26, 2019) is a candy bar packed with crispy peanut butter layers and covered in chocolate. Originally manufactured by Curtiss Candy Company beginning in 1923, the candy’s ownership has changed hands, with Standard Brands manufacturing it from 1964 until 1981, Nabisco from 1981 until 1985, RJR Nabisco from 1985 until 1988, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. from 1988 until 1990, Nestle from 1990 until 2018, and currently, Ferrero’s Ferrera Candy Company subsidiary.

Advertised as “Crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery! (among other slogans), The Simpsons served as spokescartoons for the candy from 1988 until 2001, before being phased out. In addition to their marketing of the candy bar, the family promoted Butterfinger BB’s beginning in 1992. As of 2010, the family was brought back in to pitch the candy bar with the crispiest peanut butter taste, and was even mentioned in 2017’s “Treehouse of Horror XXVIII.”

I have always liked Butterfinger, both for the flavor and the texture. I know it seems weird eating crispy (sometimes a little too crispy) peanut butter, but man, is it good! The regular-sized bars tend to be a bit much, but those fun size bars…delicious! Like all candy bars, I tend to eat them in moderation, but yeah, this one is a goodie.

Besides, that other eternal struggle is what happens when you lay a finger too many times on a Butterfinger.

Relaxed fit, my Aunt Fanny!

Have a great Throwback Thursday!

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allisonveneziowrites

Nothing Stops The #FlashbackFriday…

It keeps going, and going, and going….

When you think “advertising icon,” who immediately comes to mind?

Most would say Jolly Green Giant (and Sprout!), the Hawaiian Punch Guy, Toucan Sam, Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Snap Crackle and Pop, so on and so forth. It is a list that is dominated by colorful cartoon-type characters, whose images and catchphrases stick with us. They’re icons because they’ve been around for many years and have ingrained themselves into our culture.

Today’s advertising icon of a more modern era actually came out of a parody of the competition’s advertising, and like the aforementioned icons above, still finds himself (herself?) ingrained in our public consciousness – and current advertising – to this very day.

Like I said, it all started as a parody, and became the Pink Nightmare it is now.

The good kind of nightmare, of course. Not the bad kind. Unless you hate repetition to drive home the message of an advertisement. Then in that case…

Image: Wikipedia

The Energizer Bunny marched to the beat of his own drum when he made his debut in national advertising on October 30, 1988, parodying Duracell’s “Drumming Bunny” commercial from the 1970s.

This commercial flipped the script to show that so many drumming bunnies running on the competition’s batteries don’t stand a chance against Energizer’s sunglass-wearing, flip flop-clad drumming pink bunny.

Here’s that original commercial!

After crushing the competition at their battery-powered game, Energizer Bunny left the confines of the studio filming his commercial, finding his way through other (fake) product placements, and continuing to star in his own commercials throughout the 1990s. From 1993 until 1995, the Bunny starred in a story arc-style campaign where his main competitor was the fictional “Supervolt” battery, with a weasel mascot toting that “brand” (a sendup of Duracell’s original bunnies). The fake commercials he crashed gave way to real-brand crossovers, and more than 115 advertisements featured the Energizer Bunny.

He’s still the mascot for Energizer, he’s still pink, fluffy, and sporting shades and flip flops, and like the brand of battery in his back, he keeps going, and going, and…

Well, you know.

He totally stopped the copper top!

Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!

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allisonveneziowrites

#ThrowbackThursday For Life

…and nothing less!

Because you can never expect anything less when it comes to nostalgia! And because we love nostalgia, we love nostalgic devices. But, we need something to keep those devices running longer and better.

I have a commercial for that!

(Don’t I always?)

Today, we’re dipping our nostalgic toes into 1982 (the year of this author’s birth), and pulling out a commercial advertising the importance of our electronic devices’ power source – the batteries!

Can your battery out snap, out add, out walk, out play, out tape, outshine, or outlast the competition?

More importantly, can your battery keep the music going all night long?

If it is today’s brand…then yes! Yes it can!

Energized…FOR LIFE!

People have been saying to “Energize me!” since 1896, manufacturing batteries under their Energizer, Ray-O-Vac, Varta, and Eveready brands. Based in Town and Country, Missouri, Energizer’s foundation was in the Eveready Battery Company, which in 1980 changed the name of its Eveready Alkaline Power Cell to Energizer. The company itself has gone through some ownership changes over the years, most recently to Ralston Purina in 1986 (from Union Carbide), before being spun off by Ralston in 2000.

Energizer has also owned several popular personal care brands throughout the years – Schick, Playtex, Edge/Skintimate, Stayfree, Carefree, and o.b. in the United States, which all are under a separate holding company for personal care products.

Energizer is still going strong, as it was in the 1980s when people (including Santa!) said to “Energize me!”

Heck, Energizer even outlasted Suzie!

And to think, this wasn’t even their most memorable advertising campaign in the 1980s!

That was coming soon enough, and is a different story for a different day.

Like tomorrow!

Have a great Throwback Thursday!

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When The #FlashbackFriday of Art Is You!

Flashback Friday says…”go for style!”

Isn’t it great when we can all agree on something important? This, my friends, is one of those things that makes Fridays great – agreement! And today’s commercial certainly aligns with agreeing on something. In this case, it is “go for style!”

You see, Flashback Friday (and Allison’s Written Words), aren’t the only ones saying to “go for style,” today’s commercial pitchman is saying the same, with his line of haircare products that focus on shaping and styling.

Also agreeable? That 1986 was a great year for haircare product commercials!

So that’s where we are at, and that’s the theme we’re running with.

Anyway, who is this master of “going for style?”

Why, it’s…Alberto!

And what helps women…well…you know?

His line of…oh, just watch the commercial and see for yourself!

Contour, curve, form, and FASHION!

Man, these 1980s haircare commercials went for the gusto with their descriptions…and dramatic names!

Alberto, from what I’ve gathered, still exists in the world of haircare products, but seems to only corner the hair structure/gel/mousse market, rather than the shampoo and conditioner crowd.

Or maybe Alberto says “wash your hair,” I just don’t recall any other Alberto commercials out there!

Unlike haircare products named for their famous creators (like Paul Mitchell, for example), Alberto is a swanky heavy-accented, tuxedo-clad spokesman for products geared toward women with short hair who need their flat top to be more flat, their bangs to have more oomph, and their short haircut to look more…1950s greaser-esque.

Vidal Sassoon circa 1986 emphasized “the art” of their products, and Alberto’s styling products proclaimed their products for “when the work of art is YOU!”

And sometimes, that “work of art” doesn’t need industrial-size fans blowing hair around, just industrial-strength haircare products to hold it in place.

Does it have the same effect as this?

Well, no…but hair is an art form unto itself. With or without fans.

Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!

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allisonveneziowrites

The Art of #ThrowbackThursday

Call it art! Call it style! It’s the look and feel you only get from Throwback Thursday!

Clean, sheen, PIZZAZZ! It’s the way of haircare products in the 1980s, and the commercials that feature them!

Today, we take a trip back to 1986, a time of hairstyles that make today’s strangest styles look tame by comparison, and the products that help make them possible.

This is The Art of Vidal Sassoon, and this is the commercial that peddles Vidal Sassoon’s wares!

Vidal Sassoon haircare products have been owned by Proctor and Gamble since 1984, and are still manufactured to this day.

Aside from moose, gels, hairspray, shampoon, and conditioner, the Vidal Sassoon line of products have included professional versions of their haircare products, as well as hair accessories – hairbands, hair clips, hot roller pins, travel cases, and even a travel case/wallet listed on Etsy.

Hair commercials in the 1980s were always so fascinating – it was the days of big curls, big overly-sprayed hair, and super straight bangs.

And don’t forget industrial fans blowing all of that hair around!

This was how companies let you know your hair could stand up to a hurricane.

Hair commercials have come a long way from showing women strutting around and having their hair blown around. These days, shampoo commercials are more natural and promote more relaxed hairstyles. The days of burning off the ozone layer definitely ended with this type of marketing, but man, were these commercials going for your hairspray-needing dollars!

That, my friends, is The Art of Vidal Sassoon.

Have a great Throwback Thursday!

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#FlashbackFriday Puzzle

Take any of your photos, send it in the mail, and we’ll return your photo with today’s product!

And here’s another one for “Stuff I Saw on Nickelodeon,” filed among commercials where it just never really felt like it fit in. Because when there’s glow-in-the-dark wearable Lego-type blocks and that toy that travels on a string and picks up those cage-like balls, the non-toy commercials always just seemed so out of place.

Take today’s commercial, for instance.

The year is 1988, and some unnamed company wanted your photo with which to make an exciting family project/product…

Yes, a PUZZLE!

I’m just as excited as you are.

Isn’t that font just totally 1970s?

The idea of having a photo made as a puzzle isn’t new or novel these days, but apparently, in 1988, you could send your photo off to a specified address, and get back a Kodak quality photo puzzle for a low price in just a few days. And as amazing as this sounds, the blue screen address doesn’t indicate the company name, but instead says to send your photo and $14.95 (plus $3 shipping and handling) to “Puzzle.”

Yes, “Puzzle.” Because necessary quotations.

And was every “As Seen On Basic Cable” product easily obtainable by calling 1-800-642-4000? This number must have gone to a warehouse where all the Blue Screen Commercial products were made. This was where you could also order Popeet from! What was going on behind the scenes at this 800 number? There isn’t even any information on the number’s use these days, so to me, it must be shady and underground.

Which is why it is perfect for basic cable advertising!

But hey, $17.95 total gets you a 100-piece puzzle for the whole family. Isn’t that…picture perfect?

Yeah, I know. Cheesy!

Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!

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allisonveneziowrites

The Amazing New #ThrowbackThursday Storage System!

Because everything “As Seen On TV” is truly amazing, right?

We’re filing today’s commercial under “Things I Saw Advertised on Nickelodeon,” because I’m convinced that it was the only place you could see commercials for language learning systems, glow-in-the-dark wearable building blocks, and today’s product all in the same block of commercials.

In other words, all the weird things you never thought of purchasing or merely existing, found advertising space on a basic cable kiddie channel.

Today’s product of choice comes to us from 1987/1988, and advertises a revolutionary food and drink storage system that collapses to the size you need, has an airtight lid, creates more storage space for more containers, is dishwasher safe, and comes in several sizes.

Wow, what is this revolutionary product you ask?

Why, it’s Popeet!

Yes, Popeet!

It is quite a name, don’t you think?

Dishwasher safe, comes in several sizes, yet versatile and accordion-like?

Too cool!

Ordering a set meant getting twenty pieces of plastic accordion storage solution, which included the giant orange water bottle!

Popeet is a product of Amazing Containers of America, which was based in Verona, New Jersey. I did a search of the company, along with the city, and I wound up with a shipping container company website for Container Alliance. Nothing here indicates Popeet ever existed. Google, however, did give me a Reddit thread, and eBay gave me opportunities to buy Popeet containers, so Popeet isn’t entirely lost to the interwebs.

I’m pretty sure my brain managed to block out the existence of colorful accordion-like containers that can store stuff versatilely. Commercials like this were always advertised on basic cable, especially Nickelodeon, even when they weren’t targeted for that crowd. Children’s books, children’s records, and building blocks, sure, but storage containers? Stuff like that always seemed out of place among commercials for toys and cartoons.

But hey, if this model likes it, then it must be worth advertising on any network!

If you call the number, perhaps someone is standing by?

Just ask for incredible storage solutions that collapse like an accordion!

Have a great Throwback Thursdsay!

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Retro Rewatch: $25,000 Pyramid – Didi Conn/Richard Dean Anderson Week

Now here’s an interesting Retro Rewatch – game shows!

When I was a kid, in the days before the Game Show Network, I loved watching reruns of game shows on USA’s daytime programming block. $25,000 Pyramid, Scrabble, Press Your Luck, Supermarket Sweep, Shop Til You Drop, Concentration – I LOVED watching people win money and cool 1980s prizes. I think all of us, at one time or another, watched all of these shows. Of course, we all grew up with The Price Is Right (it was our sick day show of choice, right?), but I loved the other game shows, and I especially loved that they were reruns.

One of my favorites was “the pyramid,” which changed its top prize several times over its life. Starting out in March 1973 as the $10,000 Pyramid, it was succeeded by seven different series. In 1976, the prize was upped to $20,000. That version ran until 1980, and was revived for CBS daytime television in 1982 as The New $25,000 Pyramid. That version ran until 1988, with a $100,000 version running concurrently in primetime from 1985 until 1988. Also of note, between the first daytime series ending in 1981 and the second beginning in 1982, there was a $50,000 version in primetime. The amounts may have changed over the years, and the celebrities may have changed weekly, but the consistency of the show was in who hosted it.

Dick Clark hosted every daytime version, as well as the nighttime versions in the 1980s, with Bill Cullen hosted a nighttime $25,000 version from 1974 until 1979. Beyond the 1980s, John Davidson from Hollywood Squares hosted a revived $100,000 version in 1991, Donny Osmond hosted the simply-titled Pyramid from 2002 until 2004, and Game Show Network – er, GSN – aired a forty-episode version in 2012. And currently – since 2016 – a primetime version airing during the summer months airs on ABC, hosted by Michael Strahan.

But for me, it was all about the daytime version that aired for the first six years of my life, premiering on CBS in 1982, and airing until 1988.

I watched “the pyramid” as a kid when it was on daytime television in the mid-late 1980s, but I especially loved watching it in reruns during summer vacation. I loved watching celebrities, always from soap operas and primetime programming, dishing out and having to figure out clues relating to the topics on the pyramid board. I probably didn’t know 99% of the celebrities featured at the time, but it was still fun to watch regardless. I also remember there being a version of the series on Muppet Babies when I was little, with Baby Kermit and Baby Piggy as the “celebrities.” The reruns on USA – and later, Game Show Network – showed episodes I would have been too young for when they originally aired, or saw and wouldn’t have really understood.

Kind of like this four-part harmony of episodes from the first season of the revived daytime version in 1982. Why only four? Because the fifth one isn’t available online.

Oh well.

Recorded on October 10, 1982, these episodes of $25,000 Pyramid aired the week of November 1st through 5th of the same year. That week’s celebrity contestants were Didi Conn and Richard Dean Anderson.

At the time Didi Conn was playing Denise Stevens on the sitcom Benson (at the time early in its fourth season) and was in Grease a few years before that, while Richard Dean Anderson was fresh off General Hospital a year earlier, and then-currently on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which wouldn’t last beyond that season. He was a few years from one of the roles that would net him pop culture icon status, he just needed to survive stinky primetime dramas first.

For their week, Richard and Didi here to help contestants Jerry, Gail, Dolora, and Chris get to the top of the pyramid and the namesake prize amount.

I actually watched one of these episodes a few years ago on YouTube, and I’m happy that several more of them resurfaced, even if it isn’t the complete week. But, for the sake of keeping this short and sweet (or as short and sweet as I let my articles be), we’re going to extensively watch one episode.

This episode features returning contestant from the previous day, Chris Nagle, and newcomer Dolora Argeno, if that’s how it is actually spelled. I have no idea. Even Dick Clark can’t pronounce her last name.

So let’s play “the pyramid,” and meet our celebrities!

Also, meet their wardrobe changes! They filmed all of these in one day, so while the contestants didn’t change clothes, the celebrities did!

From Television City in Hollywood…it’s Rick and Didi, playing alongside Dolora and Chris!

After our celebrities are introduced, Dick Clark explains how the game is played (after he unties his tongue), and then introduces the contestants.

There’s newcomer Dolora Argero who owns a mail order business. She will sell Dick Clark anything he likes, since he asked. She’ll be playing alongside Didi, and there’s Chris, who was yesterday’s winner of $12,000. He’ll start out the game with RDA.

The ladies will go first, after Dick Clark introduces the categories.

Didi selects “Pay Day,” which involves clues relating to “things people pay.” Simple enough, right?

Didi and Dolora are off and running, going through the category of things people pay – they stumble on “fee,” and run out of time on “ransom.” Five out of seven, and they’re off to a good start. But the guys are up next, and ready to overtake them.

Richard Dean Anderson chooses “Hard As A Rock,” things that are hard. Hat, skull, blackboard, steel, elephant tusks, nut, and an iceberg. It is a absolute last second victory, but the guys get seven correct!

Dolora then selects “A Clothes Call,” which is things relating to clothing.

Weren’t the categories disguised as puns some of the worst category names ever? Yes, yes, A “Clothes” Call, we get it. You meant “close!”

Anyway, Dolora selected it, so she is giving the clues to Didi, and again, it is all about clothes. Zipper, cuff, wrinkles, lint, a spot, monogram, pleat – and like that, they get them all bringing them to 12.

Not content with their seven correct answers, the guys are next, and they’ve selected “Ho Hum,” or, “things you do when you’re bored.” Eating, whistling, reading, sigh, pace, doze, whine – all the way to 14!

Dolora selects “Go-ing in Style,” and will give the clues to Didi. Gorilla, Governor, Golf, Goal, Goose, Gossip, Gopher – a perfect seven points brings them to 19!

Chris selects “Barefoot in the Park,” giving the clues to Rick, dishing out descriptions for picnic, ball, carriage, swan, playground, pond, path, and a total of 20 points! They’ve won the round, and are off to the Winner’s Circle.

And they’re not ashamed that they won by default either. What someone should be ashamed of, however, is unnecessary punctuation. In this instance, it is the use of quotation marks on “winners.” Why? Why is this necessary? Why not Winners! or Winners, why “Winners.” I would never have thought twice about this watching the reruns in the 1990s, but as an adult, this just seems unnecessary.

But they’ve won, so that means it is off to the Winner’s Circle for Chris and RDA.

In the Winner’s Circle, the object is to win the most money for the day. They’ve got sixty seconds, and the categories are fast and furious in this round – Cold Things,” “What A Photographer Says,” “Kinds of Coins,” Women Named Betty,” Things in a Soap Opera, Things That Fade. They run out of time on “Things that Fade,” but Chris winds up with a nice chunk of change for his effort.

We’re now in a new round, and Chris is now paired with Didi, and RDA is paired with Dolora. It’s this moment where our celebrities plug their programs – Didi talks about being in her second season on Benson (airing on “another network”), RDA promotes Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, which was airing on CBS at the time.

After Dick gives the category names (including the “Mystery 7”), RDA and Dolora are up first. They choose “Morning Munchies,” which relates to breakfast foods. Bacon, toast, waffles, melon, omelette, honey, oatmeal, and seven points for them!

Didi chooses the “Mystery 7,” which has a prize trip to Hawaii for seven correct answers. Comb, mascara, soap, tweezers, talcum, capsule, alcohol, and unfortunately, Chris doesn’t get that last clue before the buzzer.

Back to RDA and Dolora, and their category of choice is “What’s Next?” Broker, horoscope, Howard Cosell, A Critic, Computer, and the buzzer stops them at eleven.

Back to Didi and Chris, and their choosing of The “En” Crowd. Woody Allen, Doc Severinsen, Hal Linden, Candice Bergen, Beethoven, and the buzzer stops them at ten, but not before Didi points out how many of these people she knows (Dick Clark jokes around about it afterwards). They get to go again, and choose “Shake and Bake,” which is clues for things you shake. Chris is giving the answer this time. Leg, broom, fist, pom-pom, stick, tambourine, and they’re stopped at fifteen.

RDA and Dolora now have control of the game, with their score of eleven. They need sixteen in order to win, and they choose “Spoil Sport.” This category relays things that spoil other things – RDA is delivering the answers this time.

With smog, weed (not the smoking kind), bully, termites, and hurricane, RDA is taking Dolora to the “Winner’s Circle.”

Sounds risque, doesn’t it?

In The “Winner’s Circle,” Dolora needs to beat Chris’s $750 earnings for that day, and is treated to “Movie Directors,” Medical Operations,” “Why You See a Lawyer,” “Hair Styles, “Sour Things,” and “Things That are Continued,” and with three seconds to spare, Dolora succeeds in winning $10,000!

And she gets to do what so many women would get to do at conventions many years later. And those chicks didn’t even win money to do that – they had to spend it!

And thus, the end of another day of “the pyramid.” RDA, Didi, and Dolora will be back tomorrow, but Chris…will not. However, he is going home with $12,000, which is nothing to sneeze at.

RDA looks so excited about this, doesn’t he?

I believe based on the other episodes uploaded from this week, this episode was the Tuesday episode. The rest of the episodes uploaded were Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, leaving only Chris’s first episode omitted from the lineup. But, we find out he was the holdover from the day before, so we know how he did.

And if you want to see more than just my words explaining all of this to you, the video is published on DailyMotion, courtesy of user “Jennings.”

Yes, I intend to use quotes for this one.

Jennings was also nice enough to upload the remainder of that week’s episodes.

Wednesday’s episode features Dolora going head to head with newcomer Gail, a housewife with two children six and two-and-a-half – er, Scott and Noah…

Gail succeeds Dolora and moves on to Thursday’s episode, which has her going head-to-head with Jerry!

And Gail and Jerry wraps up the week with Didi Conn and Richard Dean Anderson on Friday’s episode, where Didi talks about what she will be doing that weekend (wait till you hear about it!) and RDA feeling so much better after hearing that story.

What a story, don’t you think?

That was a fun trip down memory lane. We laughed, we cried, we were all “what the heck?” with categories laden with innuendo, and Didi’s story taking a turn, and RDA says “Minne-soh-tah!” with that charming accent he has.

I’ve enjoyed this so much, I actually thought of another game show – a kiddie one – that aired in the mid 1980s. And I’ve just got to cover it on here. It is so worthy of a Retro Rewatch.

So…another story for another time?

I think so!

Have a great day!

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Young #FlashbackFriday’s Day Camp

Ahhh, onto my neck of the woods, and MY nostalgic childhood!

Let it be said that no matter where you grew up watching television, there was always a few local commercials that aired frequently – sometimes the same one for years – and managed to stick with us, eventually going dormant in our brains, but suddenly finding their way into our consciousness.

For kids in Los Angeles, Cal Worthington and “His Dog Spot” created and earworm (“Go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal!”), and in New York and New Jersey, we had our own earworms and images burned into our consciousness.

Growing up in the New York City media market (living approximately two hours from Manhattan), my excessive television-watching youth was full of Mount Airy Lodge, Milford Plaza (the Lulla-“buy” of all Broadway!), Action Park, that one Cats commercial that ran for roughly 500 years, and today’s commercial of choice. This one was the how you knew summer was coming, because it focused on getting the New York City kids (the ones who actually lived in the five boroughs and Northern New Jersey) involved in day camp.

I mean, Action Park commercials also let you know summer was coming, but this one was the less dangerous way to enjoy summer…unless Action Park was a field trip.

And the commercial always involved this talking smiley face balloon that in no way made you think you were high.

Hi! Let me show you how Young People’s Day Camp makes fun happen! I’m definitely not a hallucination!

So he thinks.

Anyway…

Young People’s Day Camp was established in 1972 in the New York City area, giving kids between the ages of four and fourteen (the age varies by location, but originally was for kids 6-14 years old, as well as with a teen program) a fun-filled camp experience for as little as two weeks, and as many as eight weeks. Located in the five boroughs of New York City, South Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk in New York, and Northern, Central, Ocean, Monmouth, and Mercer Counties in New Jersey. The aim of Young People’s Day Camp was (and is!) to help children “grow” intellectually, physically and spiritually in a fun environment. Transportation door-to-door was included in the cost, and kids always got t-shirts, banners, and other cool goodies.

The commercial shown during the 1980s and early 1990s – the one I frequently saw as a kid watching WPIX in the afternoons – involved the balloon telling us all about the camp and what fun activities they do, while reusing the same footage for years!

That balloon, those kids in short shorts, the activities – all of this looked like so much fun. I didn’t go to day camp as a kid – we usually played with our friends, went to the lake, the movies, the mall, and had sleepovers. My brother and took swimming lessons one summer, and the summer after fifth grade, we took recreation activities through our high school’s youth program. And once in a while, I wanted to take summer dance classes. But as far as camp went, neither of us participated. Looking back, I don’t remember ever being interested in camp. But these commercials always made it look fun.

To this day, Young People’s Day Camps continue to operate, and since even this commercial aired in all its Talking Balloon Leading the Way glory, it has grown and expanded in New Jersey. I haven’t seen their commercials on television in years, but there are updated versions on YouTube, and the kids still wear those smiley face balloon t-shirts in the commercials!

I think if I didn’t remember anything else about the commercial, that balloon certainly filled in the gaps.

Just like any effective advertising mascot.

Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!

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Here’s #ThrowbackThursday, And His Dog Spot!

If you want a better buy, go see the salesman known more throughout Southern California for his commercials than what he actually sells.

While I was here in New Jersey having a very New York media market childhood, my husband was on the west coast, having a very Los Angeles media market childhood. When I originally wrote about today’s subject in a Retroist artist (lost to the interwebs in 2019), I had asked him if he remembered the topic. He said he did, and even remembered the jingle…or at least, what people thought the jingle was.

This week, Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday pay tribute to our childhoods on opposite coasts – today is his, tomorrow is mine. I was actually inspired to look at today’s subject out of reinterest in writing something new about it, as well as sharing a little tidbit of information I found out from a recent Oddity Archive episode.

After all, it was an episode of Oddity Archive a few years back that ignited my need to even research this a few years ago.

Allow me to introduce our pitchman of the day – Cal Worthington, and his dog Spot!

Sung to the tune of “If You’re Happy And You Know It,” the jingle tells you all about you could “go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal!” (or pussycow, as the kids in Southern California heard) to find a better deal on a car. Among the variations on the lyrics was “If you want a car or truck, go see Cal, if you want to save a buck, go see Cal,” though there were other versions. And “Spot” was never a dog, but many different animals, among them a tiger, a seal, a chimpanzee, goose, Killer Whale, a hippo, carabao (Water Buffalo), a skunk, rhinoceros, and a bear.

He even did this!

Forget the car pitch, I wanna watch this for five minutes!

But alas, after the jingle ended, Cal Worthington, proprietor of the Worthington Dealership Group, would tell viewers about his latest offerings in the new and used car market, in the type of pitch movies and television shows fashioned as a result of his delivery style. He always informed viewers that his dealerships were open until midnight seven days a week, all in his slick style.

And always while dressed as a California Cowboy.

Though Worthington began advertising his car dealerships prior to the 1970s, it was that decade, as well as the 1980s, where Worthington would shine. His advertisements aired predominantly in the overnight hours on four of the seven Los Angeles-area television stations. Those networks ran overnight movie marathons from midnight until six am, and Worthington bought out the airtime to peddle his new and used cars. His commercials were styled after another Los Angeles area car dealership owner, Chick Lambert, who did commercials with his dog “Storm” (actually a dog) by his side in the 1960s. When those commercials ended, Worthington picked up the slack to fill that void, keeping the “Spot” marketing ploy (also the name of Worthington’s advertising agency, which spent a whopping $15 million total on these commercials) alive until the mid-1980s.

Those post-“His Dog Spot” commercials just aren’t the same, the real gem is seeing what Spot was going to be in the next commercial you saw!

Following his service in World War II, and discharge from the Army as a Captain, Worthington got his start selling cars in a Corpus Christi, Texas post office parking lot, and later a dirt lot. He had aspired to be a commercial pilot, but couldn’t, as he didn’t have a college degree. He sold his personal car for $500 and purchased a gas station, but was unsuccessful in his first business venture, so he sold it for what he paid for it.

When he finally made the move to owning a dealership, his first was sold Hudson Motor Cars in 1949. Worthington purchased three hours of programming time on KTLA in Los Angeles every Saturday and Sunday, which allowed him to advertise his dealerships. When this model of show sponsorship became unfeasible, a trend that began happening as television became more sophisticated, Cal Worthington became a Ford dealer and settled for 30 second and 1-minute commercials, though I’ve seen ads that were longer than that.

At its peak, Worthington operated 29 dealerships in Anchorage, Alaska; Phoenix, Arizona; Carlsbad, Claremont, Folsom, Long Beach, Sacramento and South Gate, California; Reno, Nevada; Houston and Sugar Land, Texas; and Federal Way, Washington. Most of these were sold off, but the Long Beach, California dealership still operates today. As for Cal Worthington, he passed away in 2013 at the age of 92, a salesman right up until the very end.

Oh, and he never owned a car – he just borrowed the ones he had for sale. And he also hated selling cars, as he felt he got trapped into the business after the war.

But man, his legacy! He was a natural!

The legacy he left behind, especially for countless kids growing up in the Los Angeles area, is mired in his commercials. Forget the fancy pitches about cars and low down payments, the salesman who will do a stunt (it was said he would eat a bug or stand on his head for a sale) or wrestle a tiger posing as “his dog Spot” is the one that gains customers and sells cars.

Headstands help too.

Compiled for your pleasure from the archives of the YouTubes, this is an impressive playlist of Cal Worthington’s finest moments of wrestling tigers, riding carts pulled by ostriches, Killer Whales as cuddly pets named “Spot,” and even an interview with Cal himself from around his 90th birthday in 2010.

Your wife will love you all your life, all because you saw Cal.

Tomorrow, an entry from my very New York media market childhood! But until then…

Have a great Throwback Thursday!

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Can’t Taste The #FlashbackFriday, Man!

There must be Flashback Friday in here, it says so in the title!

I promise, unlike the competitor’s products lacking a certain ingredient in today’s commercial, there actually is Flashback Friday in here.

And it couldn’t be any more 1980s, or parody, for that matter.

I’ve had this commercial in my collection for years, and I’ve failed as a nostalgia archivist/curator by not unleashing this one on an unsuspecting Throwback/Flashback-reading/viewing audience. This is also the second instance of a commercial’s actors directly parodying an 80s group. The first such instance was the kids singing about how Colgate gets all the sleepyheads out of bed (a take on the Madness song “Baggy Trousers”), the second is well – four guys inspired by Talking Heads singer David Byrne.

So, while we have no doubt there is Flashback Friday in here, there must be juice in here, it says so on the can!

But they’re in fact let down by the lack of juice in their carbonated drink.

What can give them the juice they crave in their carbonated beverage? Why, the product in today’s commercial!

Why yes, Orangina! A blend of orange and tangerine, with a chaser of carbonation! It’s the soft drink with juice one can taste!

The satisfaction of this drink is felt by David Byrne impersonators and those craving juice with their soft drink since the mid 1980s!

Orangina is an orange/tangerine-flavored drink, a juice/carbonated hybrid, manufactured since 1933. The drink constitutes carbonated water, 12% citrus juice (10% from concentrated orange, 2% from a combination of concentrated lemon, concentrated mandarin, and concentrated grapefruit juices), as well as 2% orange pulp, sugar, and other natural flavors. First created by Augustin Trigo Mirallès of Algeria, and sold to French businessman Léon Beton at a trade fair in Marseille in 1936, the drink is enjoyed in Europe, especially France and Switzerland. Japan and North Africa enjoy it was well, but its presence and impact in the United States is less when compared to its consumption elsewhere.

In the United States, Orangina has been owned by Keurig Dr Pepper (formerly Dr Pepper Snapple Group) since 2006. It was introduced in the United States in 1978, and manufactured by Cadbury Schweppes. Originally called Orelia here, the name was changed to the original name, Orangina, in 1985. Product for United States/North American consumption is manufactured in Canada, but had been manufactured for a time in Hialeah, Florida.

As for the “downtrodden over lack of juice” guys, this commercial parodies Talking Heads singer David Byrne…a little too well. The dress, the mannerisms, the tone, the song…did he have input in this? It’s really that accurate!

How did I get here, you ask? I shook up a bottle of Orangina, and found “the juice!”

All they had to do was shake it…all 12% of it!

That’s even worse than the time Kool Aid boasted 20% juicetwice!

Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!

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#ThrowbackThursday Presents “Kung Food Theatre”

When good grocery store Chinese food and bad Kung Fu movies collide…you have Throwback Thursday!

Today’s commercial reminded me instantly of that one scene in Wayne’s World 2, when Wayne had to battle Cassandra’s father to prove his worthiness. I remember the idea of the whole scene dubbed over like a Chinese martial arts movie (or any Chinese/Japanese movie, for that matter), being hilarious when I was eleven years old. Twenty-seven years later, I still find that scene – and anything that parodies the concept – hilarious.

Take today’s commercial, for instance. It is stylized as a martial arts film, La Choy “Kung Food Theatre.”

Oh yes, “Kung Food.”

The year is 1986, and the wife has spent the day preparing the husband’s favorite food, La Choy, only for him to experience an interruption in his enjoyment of La Choy.

What kind of interruption, you ask?

Why, click play and find out!

Who knew dinner could be interrupted by…ninjas?

I love how the wife tells him the neighbors are coming over, and that they’ve worked up an appetite.

So…the neighbors are also ninjas?

Coined as “America’s Favorite, La Choy is a line of prepackaged Chinese foods and Chinese food ingredients. Introduced in 1962 by Dr. Ilhan New, later the founder of Yuhan Corporation in South Korea, and Wally Smith from the University of Michigan, the first La Choy product was canned Mung Bean Sprouts, and were sold in Smith’s Detroit grocery store. By the late 1930s, the company was flourishing, and created a whole line of products that included bean sprouts, soy sauce, subgum (one or more meats or seafood are mixed with vegetables and sometimes also noodles, rice, or soup), kumquats, water chestnuts, brown sauce, bamboo shoots, and chow mein noodles.

During the time of this commercial, La Choy was owned by Beatrice Foods (founded in 1894), who also owned Orville Redenbacher’s, Culligan, Arrowhead Water, and Krispy Kreme (among other notable food brands), as well as consumer goods companies Samsonite, Avis, and Playtex (again, among other companies). The 1980s were the end of the company’s life, as Beatrice Company was sold to ConAgra in 1990, effectively ending the brand until its name was revived in 2007. La Choy is currently owned by ConAgra.

I tried to find other commercials that may have fallen into this “La Choy Kung Food Theatre,” but apparently this was a one-off commercial. But man, what a one-off it is. I love the parody, since the guy reminds me of Wayne Campbell enjoying La Choy.

Zang!

Have a great Throwback Thursday!

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TV Made Fresh Daily: The Early Days of FX (or…fX)

Before it was a network that adopted the slogan/distinction of being “Fearless,” FX was a network that prided itself on being casual and “made fresh daily.” And if you were old enough to witness those days, they were truly special times.

Upon its launch on June 1, 1994, Fox sister network fX (styled as such) toted itself as a network that prided itself on a casual atmosphere, while firmly planting itself in its roots. The logo even symbolized this, with the lowercase “f” reflecting this casualness, and the “X” resembling the crossing spotlights of the 20th Century Fox logo.

Broadcasting live from an apartment in New York City’s Flatiron District, fX took on a different format, with hosts reading emails and doing live segments during commercials and between programs, original programming that was unlike anything else on television at the time, and a variety of syndicated reruns from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

The apartment looked like a fun place to hang out and watch reruns of Family Affair, Batman ’66, The Green Hornet, and Mission: Impossible. Their “newsroom” was an office – an actual home office! The hosts actually cooked during their live segments in an amazing kitchen! It was home, if your home was a mid-1990s apartment in a bustling section of New York City. There were a rotating group of housemates/hosts covering the commercial breaks, it made stars of some of its personalities, and the programming had a nice mix of original and syndicated programming.

Yes, day and night.

I remember this being the first time I ever watched Family Affair as an eleven-year-old on summer vacation. It was where I watched reruns of In Living Color, loved listening to the letters read on Backchat, and once in a while, caught the first few minutes of Sound fX before I went to bed. I even witnessed my first “fountain fight” in a rerun of Dynasty.

And I remember Okavango, even though I never watched it, I used to think the name was interesting.

Even the network-created commercials and ident bumpers during those early days were fun!

Remember Fox in its earliest days? This is the 90s version of that!

During the first three years of fX’s life, programming began its day with Breakfast Time, which was hosted by Tom Bergeron and Laurie Hibberd, and a typical programming lineup would involve shows in syndication, headlines and emails read during commercial breaks, other original shows airing in some of the time slots on the weekends, and syndicated programming airing through the evening. Sound fX usually came on at 11 pm, and the syndicated programming would carry the network into the end of its broadcasting day.

And if you were able to stay up until 2 am during the summer (like I did!), you probably saw this happen…

The network even paid tribute to how networks signed off in the days before 24-hour programming! From the whistling to the title cards, all in thirty seconds, this was so much fun. I remember seeing it one night during the summer, and reminding myself to record it after an In Living Color rerun finished at 2 am. Weirdly enough, I had the foresight in 1996 to know this was something special. I regret the amount of videos I’ve gotten rid of without preserving/digitizing them first, but I’m so happy I still had this floating around.

Following this kitschy sign-off, paid programming would carry the network, as it did many other networks at the time, through the overnight hours, only to start all over again early in the morning!

The network, like networks were in the mid-1990s, began to grow and evolve. Eventually, that evolution had it shedding its “Fun Fox Network” image, and re-focusing its demographic to the 18-49 male crowd. And like that, all of the fun original programming ended (it had been gradually leaving the lineup during 1996), reading viewer emails during commercial breaks became a part of the network’s history, and the fun and kitschy syndicated reruns eventually left the schedule. New, male-targeted original programming found a new home on the network, and TV that was “made fresh daily” became “Fox Gone Cable.”

Even the super cool apartment was vacated, as the network’s live shows were eventually dropped throughout mid-1996. Until the network’s re-launch in mid-1997, fX relied on its classic television show lineup until then. The last original show, Personal fX, remained on the refocused network until May 1, 1998, the last of the first era of fX, but by then, the early years, all two-and-a-half years of them, ended the first era of fX.

Which became FX.

How standard and “against their mission” of them.

These days, FX is a basic cable channel that functions as an extension of Fox, and was a home for NASCAR and Major League Baseball, as well as edgier original programming, but there was a magical time when an amazing apartment became the home base for a network that worked hard to break the mold and be experimental. It wanted to be something the other networks were not. Was it like Fox in its early days? Yes it was! And was it amazing and memorable? Definitely!

Incredibly, the world of fX pre-1997 is well-preserved, if my little sign-off video is any indication. I found a video of the earliest bumpers and ephemera floating around YouTube – a whole hour of goodies! Best watched in small doses, but so much fun in content and character, you’ll be reminded all over again why this was such a fun network, and not one of the cookie cutter basic cable channels it would become.

FX’s relaunch logo in its original form isn’t even on YouTube, which says a whole lot about how exciting it was.

Do you have memories of the time a network tried to break the mold, and be “made fresh daily?” Did you ever submit a letter to Backchat, have your email read by a host during a commercial break, or visit the apartment? Or do you just wish you got to visit the apartment? I’d love to know your stories and memories of Fox’s great mid-1990s experiment!

I’ve been trying to adopt more of a less structured format for my blog, keeping Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday intact, while trying to have one (maybe two) larger articles per week. Like fX in the early days, I’m trying to battle off redundancy and have a little more fun. Hopefully it works, and this little trip down memory lane brought back some good memories for you.

Have a great day!

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I’d Like To Buy The #FlashbackFriday In Black and White A Drink!

…because Flashback Friday is a swell guy, and wants to learn more about airbags!

Stick with me, you’ll find out what that means!

What do you say to clothing that’s timeless, comfortable, and has the potential to bring out the 1930s in you?

Ok, the last part doesn’t happen, but the rest is true!

Meet 1930s guy – he’s black and white in a colorful and totally 1998 world, yet cool and totally in style in pants that are the subject of today’s commercial.

In fact, all the gents are looking swell all the way around!

What is 1930s Guy’s secret? What gets him dates that earn explanations on how airbags work, and offers of drinks from women at the bar where 1930s Guy wows with his dance moves?

Why, click play and find out!

Can you blame women for wanting to buy him a drink? The man is winning at life like the swell guy he is, all in his Haggar business casual pants!

Dallas-based Haggar Clothing Co. was established in 1926, and has presence in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, keeping men clothed and looking sharp! In fact, by the end of the 1940s, they were the largest producer and marketer of slacks in the world, even manufacturing clothing for the United States military throughout World War II. By the early 1970s, their pants were number one in the world, and they became known for their “Custom Fit” suits.

They’re still very much a mainstay in the world of dressing up men, and have been endorsed by athletes in the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball. In fact, it was one of the other products Mickey Mantle endorsed.

As for 1930s Guy, he was the product of a time when Haggar was creating a line of business casual wear for men, timeless looks that channel the past while focusing on contemporary tastes, as well as the swing music fad that peaked in the late 1990s.

And man was he cool!

And as the slogan says, Cool Comes Around.

Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!

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