Monday, December 15, 2008

Fruity Pebbles Christmas Commercial

For my second cereal-related Christmas commercials post, here's an old standby that aired for several years. I'm pretty sure I was still seeing it on TV when I was well into my teens. Yes, I'm referring to the Fruity Pebbles holiday commercial.

Barney must be even more desperate for Fruity Pebbles than that rabbit is for Trix (I don't understand why. In my opinion, Cocoa Pebbles is the superior cereal of the Pebbles variety). The guy was willing to go out in the snow with no pants or shoes on, for God's sake.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Commercials: Trix, Christmas Style

Here's a Trix commercial from the early 90s that I'm pretty sure continued to air for a few years after that. Back then there were only five flavors (I think that lime was a fairly recent addition when this commercial aired) and they were all just round, instead of fruit-shaped (interesting factoid: Trix is short for "Tropical Kix").

That damn rabbit couldn't even catch a break on Christmas. Hell, even Fred Flintstone was willing to share his Fruity Pebbles during the holidays.

That blonde girl in the commercial looks like she stepped off the set of The Bloodening Village of the Damned.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Commercial: Milton Bradley Travel Games

I remember when this commercial first aired in the early 90s. It features Santa trying to get his reindeer to pass him some travel-sized games to put in the stockings, only they're too busy enjoying the gifts themselves to pay him any mind.

Maybe it's just me, but even travel-sized games seemed a little extravagant for stocking stuffers (at least the brand-name ones, like Milton Bradley). Then again, my stocking stuffers were always dollar store fare. In my family, our stockings were mostly filled with candy, those candy cane shaped pens that barely wrote, and once in awhile a box of crayons and a coloring book. The real presents were under the tree.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special

This is probably one of the most insane Christmas specials ever made - not surprising, since it's Pee Wee's Playhouse. This was so campy that John Waters would be jealous. Just look at this list of guest stars:

  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • Magic Johnson
  • Grace Jones
  • Frankie and Annette
  • Cher
  • Joan Rivers
  • The Del Rubio Triplets
  • Little Richard
  • K.D. Lang
  • Zsa Zsa Freakin' Gabor
  • Oprah, before she became the self-serving, name-dropping bitch that she is today
  • Dinah Shore
  • Charo

I'm surprised they don't air this on the Logo network. It's rife with gay icons.

This special managed to reach out to most of the demographics: they covered both the secular and religious aspects of Christmas and Hanukkah. Nobody can possibly be offended except for any uptight parents watching this after 1991.

On to the commentary:

  • When the director told those guys in the choir to look as serious as possible, they took it to the extreme. Some of them look like they're singing at a funeral.

  • I wish those two drag queens back-up singers would have made more appearances on the show.

  • "What would you put on my Christmas list if you were me?" I don't know, maybe a huge supply of porn, so you can spank it in the comfort of the playhouse, instead of whipping it out in public and getting your show pulled (no pun intended)? Sorry, still bitter over here.

  • Heh, I KNEW Chairry had a crush on Ms. Yvonne.

  • Florry totally wants to peek under Ms. Yvonne's dress.

  • "I hope it's not a fruitcake." Don't worry Pee Wee, Little Richard will be over later.

  • Grace Jones appears to be wearing the same prosthetic boobs that Marilyn Manson is wearing on the cover of Mechanical Animals.

  • Thank God Cher didn't sing.

  • I wonder how many kids actually heeded Pee Wee's advice and used coconut shavings to make snow angels. I'm sure at least one dumb kid tried to pull that crap.

  • I wonder how Little Richard felt about Morpheus Cowboy Curtis usurping his hair-do.

  • I think Penny either forgot her Ritalin or had a little too much sugar.

  • Charo was totally rocking a crimp.

  • Why didn't Joan Rivers, Dinah Shore, and Whoopi Goldberg join Ms. Renee in singing the dreidel song?

  • They had MAGIC SCREEN narrate the story of the nativity? Seriously? Couldn't they have used a character with a less grating voice?

  • Damn, I wish those workers would add a wing to my house.

  • If Pee Wee gets no presents, is it really a huge loss? He DOES have Jambi.

  • Looks like your wish has yet to come true, Pee Wee.

    Here's part one. The rest are in the uploader's profile.

Friday, December 5, 2008

7 UP Holiday Commercials

Remember Spot? The former mascot of 7UP? Sometime in the late 80s, that little red ball on the logo was anthropomorphized and his popularity exploded. He even had a few of his own video games (then again, what anthropomorphized character DIDN'T have its own video game during that era?).

I'm not sure why 7UP dropped the Spot campaign. Then again, this is what they had to say in the FAQs section of their official website (by the way, 7UP is both Kosher and gluten-free, in case you were wondering):

Q: Are you targeting 7UP to adults or children?

A: 7UP is targeted to adults 25-49 who want a great tasting carbonated soft drink without artificial flavors are preservatives.

Hmm, does this mean that I've only been old enough to drink 7UP for less than 2 months?

Spot was featured in many commercials, but the Christmas-themed ones are the most memorable. This one from the late 80s is beyond cute. The music is pretty good too:

Here's one from the early 90s, featuring the now defunct slogan "The Uncola". Not as whimsical as the other one, but cute nonetheless:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

McDonald's Ice Skating Holiday Commercial

Throughout the 80s and early 90s, McDonalds would always air this commercial around Christmas. It featured Ronald McDonald ice skating, while animated forest creatures looked on. He engages in a game of "Crack the Whip" with a bunch of kids - save for the smallest of them all who is left behind. Kid looks sad, Ronald notices, picks him up and spins him around, and the other kids finally acknowledge his existence. Hey, Ronald noticed him, so he must be worthy of their attention, right?

Here's the commercial. Animation and music-wise, this ad was pretty high-quality.

Later on, they replaced the audio track in the commercial. I think I might actually like this music better:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Eve on Sesame Street

Throughout my childhood, PBS ran 1978's Christmas Eve on Sesame Street ad nauseam throughout the month of December - and I was determined to catch every single airing. Alas, PBS has retired this special, in favor of some crappy one featuring The Monster That Ruined Sesame Street Elmo. I've been holding out hope for several years that they'll pull this out of the vault, but no such luck. Thank God for Youtube.

And now for some commentary:

  • I will always and forever associate Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad" with this special.

  • Damn, it couldn't have been easy to skate around in that Big Bird costume. Big Bird (and his costume) is 8'2"!

  • Oscar would NEVER say that Santa is "built like a dump truck" in the overly PC Sesame Street of today. Obesity is a growing epidemic, ya know.

  • Ah, Bob. Your singing voice makes me melt (shut up, you know it makes you melt too).

  • Luis who? Back in those days, Maria and David were an item.

  • Hee! I love how the subway drowned out Oscar's scathing remarks to Big Bird. It totally gave the illusion of profanity.

  • Bert and Ernie sure are crappy gifters. Oh well, it's the thought that counts.

  • I would love to know where the kids Grover and Kermit interviewed are now.

  • This special was one of the only times I was exposed to Mr. Hooper. The actor who portrayed him died in 1982 (and the episode that addressed his death aired when I was approximately 27 days old)

  • Ah what Christmas special would be complete without a Gift of the Magi (or A Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life) parody?

  • Prune cookies? Jeez Cookie Monster, you're already bulimic. Are you looking for a new way to purge?

  • Why are you bitching, Big Bird? You don't HAVE a chimney. You'll get your damn presents.

  • Heh, I almost forgot that Cookie Monster was saying "Cowabunga!" long before Michelangelo.

  • "I'll tell him where to put his toys." Pretty raunchy line for Sesame Street.

  • "Oh Ernie, what a great, superb packing job." I'M NOT TOUCHING THAT ONE!

  • Out of all the Christmas songs for Bert and Ernie to sing, they WOULD pick the one that includes the line "make the Yuletide gay" (sorry, couldn't resist).

  • Don't you have parents or some kind of guardian, Patty?

  • A half-frozen Big Bird, coupled with that SNORING was one of the most frightening images ever to three-year old me.

  • "I think my giblets are frozen." Holy innuendo, Batman! At least to my one-track mind.

  • So Patty DOES have a mom! Maybe she had a little too much eggnog that night?

  • Oscar's last line, followed by Big Bird's silent sputtering = best ending ever.

Here's part 1. I'm not about to embed all seven parts, so for the rest, just click the uploader's name.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Commercial: Lifecall (Life Alert)

If you don't remember Lifecall (now called Life Alert), chances are you will after you read this next sentence:

"I've fallen and I can't get up!"

It's unfortunate that a commercial that addresses a serious problem among the elderly is so unintentionally hilarious. I'm sure Lifecall didn't intend for this ad to become one of the biggest punchlines of the 90s. Oh well, at least it put them on the map. Mrs. Fletcher will live on forever!

Here's a remarkably high-quality version of the commercial in all its glory:

For additional hilarity, here's the REMIX!:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

This entry is different from the usual, because I didn't actually watch this when it aired. However, this show is from the early 90s, so it's not exactly off-topic. I discovered the awesomeness of The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog through my younger brothers, who watched the reruns on USA during the later half of the 90s, after new episodes were no longer being produced.

The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog was yet another cartoon series based on a popular video game. I've always had a soft spot for the old school Sonic games, so I don't know why I originally missed this.

This show was a low-budget crapfest... and that's what made it so great. It was oozing with campiness. Examples:

  • The animation was mediocre at best. Also, the colorist should have been fired.
  • The storylines were extremely slapstick and beyond corny.
  • This show gave the New Kids on the Block cartoon serious competition for the Worst Sound Effects in Animation Award.
  • Catch-phrase after catch-phrase ("Let's speed, keed!", "Gotta blow, Joe!")
  • The music was absolutely horrid, especially the cheesy rendition of In the Hall of the Mountain King that was sprinkled throughout the soundtrack.
  • Sonic was voiced by Mr. Steven Q. Urkel.
  • What late 80s/early 90s show would be complete without a PSA at the end ("Sonic Sez Says")?

    Interestingly, another Sonic cartoon aired on ABC at the same time. I got the series on DVD for my brother last Christmas, and I have to say, it was a damn good show, animation, plot, and music-wise. Unlike The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, this one obviously had a budget of more than 60 dollars.

    Here's one of the cheesier episodes that I remember. I friggin' love Scratch.

  • Here's the opening, which was cut out of the video I posted:

    Finally, heres a bonus "Sonic Sez". Sonic says that sexual harassment is NO GOOD. I love how they use that cheesy version of In the Hall of the Mountain King in the background. At least they didn't show Robotnik chasing Tails while Sonic was talking.

    Thursday, November 6, 2008

    Sesame Street Creature Feature: Marmoset

    In the 80s, Sesame Street had a segment called "Sesame Street Creature Feature", which focused on some exotic animal, along with an accompanying song. This didn't pique my interest as much as the Muppet or animated segments. However, I was always drawn to the marmoset one. It must be that chill music. It never left my head, even during my post-Sesame Street, pre-Youtube years.

    That song affects me a lot differently than it did about 20 years ago. Now I'm in the mood to make love. Or smoke a bowl. Maybe both. This sounds like something that Bob Ross would get down to while painting his happy little trees.

    Monday, October 27, 2008

    Commercials: Happy Meals - Halloween Edition

    Today marks my last entry as a 24-year old. Tomorrow's the big 2-5!

    This is my second Happy Meal entry, with a Halloween theme in honor of the season. As in the last post, I'm writing about the toys I actually owned as a child.

    This first commercial features the late, great McNuggets, all dressed up for Halloween and making horrible "mummy/mommy" puns. The toys featured in that year's (1989) Happy Meal were the McDonalds Zoo Face disguises. These "disguises" consisted of an animal snout and face paint. I had the toucan's beak. The elastic hurt my face, but I really liked how the inside of the beak smelled. Either my memory is fuzzy or I got gypped, because I certainly don't remember getting any face paint.

    This next one features the Halloween Happy Meal Pails (and the now MIA Birdie, Grimace, and Hamburglar). I had the pumpkin, but I stuck to my pillowcase for trick or treating. Those buckets couldn't hold crap.

    Friday, September 26, 2008

    Bumper: Nickelodeon - What Time Is It?

    If you thought that "Wacky Wild Kool-Aid Style" commercial I blogged about was a trip, you ain't seen nothing yet. This Nickelodeon bumper from 1990 is an amalgamation of various animated bumpers (yes, there are actually bumpers WITHIN bumpers in this one) and clips from Nick shows. It's a chaotic mess... and I love it. It definitely embodies the awesomeness that was once Nickelodeon.

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Muppet Babies

    Insomnia sucks. I can't believe I'm blogging about Muppet Babies at six in the morning.

    Muppet Babies kicked off the "babyification" craze of popular cartoon characters that was so prevalent in the 80s and early 90s. Just think, if this show never existed, we never would have seen such gems as A Pup Named Scooby Doo, The Flintstone Kids, Tom and Jerry Kids, and Yo Yogi! (I don't group Tiny Toon Adventures with these shows, because it featured a completely different group of characters instead of the originals as kids, plus, Tiny Toons was actually a good show, unlike the four mentioned above). While most of these "babyfied" shows are pretty forgettable, Muppet Babies obviously did something right, because it ran from 1984 to 1990 (plus, several characters made cameos in Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue).

    From a grown-up point of view, Muppet Babies isn't half bad. It lacks the more adult humor of Animaniacs or Tiny Toons and doesn't deliver quite as many laughs (and the voices are MUCH more grating), but there are still a number of references and parodies that adults will find amusing.

    There is one thing that bugs me about the show as an adult: the addition of Skeeter, Scooter's twin sister. Skeeter was never an original Muppet, but the writers obviously wanted another female character. I HATE it when shows add token female characters (I'm looking at you, Smurfette). It's not like Miss Piggy was the only original female Muppet. Couldn't they have just used Janice or Camilla (who actually appeared as Gonzo's stuffed toy)? And if they insisted on creating a token female, they could have at least made her less annoying. Skeeter sucked.

    I was well aware that June Cleaver moonlighted as the Muppet Babies' nanny. However, I didn't know that Mr. Deal or No Deal himself provided a few voices (although now that I think about it, Skeeter sounded exactly like Bobby Generic).

    Today's post features the very first episode, in which a member of the popo moves in next door to the Muppet Babies (I included an extra clip of the theme song, since it was cut out of the video I posted). If this particular one doesn't tickle your fancy, there are many more on Youtube.

    Sunday, September 7, 2008

    Commercials: Kool-Aid

    Tonight's episode of Family Guy inspired this entry.

    Kool-Aid has a looong history of advertising campaigns, some more memorable than others. As usual, I'll be focusing on the ads from the late 80s and early 90s. If you're looking for the more classic commercials, you're at the wrong place. I'm one month and three weeks shy of my 25th birthday, those were before my time.

    One of the ad campaigns from my childhood was "Wild and Wacky". The following commercial is a trip. It looks like a film student's first project. It embodies the cheese of the late 80s and early 90s. Kool-Aid Man busts through the wall in a pair of pink leopard print pants and a blond wig that resembles fiberglass insulation.

    Here's a low-quality commercial of my absolute favorite flavor ever: Sharkleberry Fin. Fintastic!

    Monday, September 1, 2008

    The Joy of Painting

    During my pre-school years, I stayed glued to PBS from the time I woke up in the morning until the 5:00 PM (CST) airing of Sesame Street ended and gave way to MacNeil/Lehrer. I did give the TV a rest between the 11:00 AM and 2:00PM airings of Sesame Street, because during those hours, PBS aired boring "grown-up shows", such as Sewing With Nancy. However one of these "grown-up shows" managed to capture my interest: The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.

    I'm not sure why I was so captivated by this show. Could it have been Bob's soothing voice? His salt and pepper fro? That smooth jazz theme music? Maybe it was classic phrases like "happy little trees" that drew me in. My dad, however, sang a different tune. One day, he put his foot down and refused to watch one more second of "that poofy-haired fucker".

    I had no idea that this show ran until 1995. I also didn't know that it started airing in 1983 (my birth year). Judging from Bob's fro, I always assumed that it was from the 70s. I guess I should have known better, his lapels were way too small.

    The Joy of Painting's legacy lives on to this day. Reruns still air sporadically. There's even a proposed video game based on the show. No, really. I guess the Frugal Gourmet game was a no-go.

    Ultimately, The Joy of Painting taught me a valuable life lesson that everyone should keep with them: "We don't make mistakes, we just make happy accidents."

    Here's a sampling. Be warned, Bob tends to get a little crazy with the cadmium yellow!

    BONUS! Even the writers of Doug recognized how ripe for parody this guy was.

    Friday, August 22, 2008

    Commercial: Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur

    Ah, Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur. Yet another result of the late 80s dinosaur craze. I hounded and hounded my parents for that damn game. They eventually gave in and bought it for me. I don't exactly remember what made my parents crack. It wasn't my birthday or Christmas. I think I might have done something to earn it. Either that or my parents got sick of my whining.

    I played that game a total of one time. I never really had anyone to play it with. My parents didn't have the patience to play for too long, Brother #1 was still too young to have enough of an attention span for board games, Brother #2 was taking up residence in my mother's womb, and needless to say, Brother #3 had yet to make his debut into the world. I ultimately discarded most of the game and played with the dinosaur by itself. I don't even remember the game's objective.

    Here's the commercial in all of its glory. I first saw it circa 1989 and it continued to air until about '92. I remember that catchy jingle like it was yesterday. That's probably what drew me in to begin with. But DAMN, that kid's voice is grating.

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    Commercial: Fruit Wrinkles

    What ever happened to Fruit Wrinkles? Those were the best fruit snacks ever. I definitely preferred them over Fruit Roll Ups. One day, they just up and disappeared, along with Jell-O Pudding Pops.

    Here's a cute claymation ad that I vaguely remember. The quality is pretty good, especially for a commercial. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if it's from the 80s or 90s, so I guess I'll tag it as both.

    Friday, August 1, 2008

    Magic Screen Depreciation


    For Christmas 2006, I received the first Pee Wee's Playhouse DVD box set. I found the show to be just as whimsical as I remembered. However, every rose has its thorn. For me, Magic Screen is the thorn on the rose that is Pee Wee's Playhouse.

    My irrational hatred for Magic Screen is a recent development. I don't remember disliking her as a kid. I can only offer up a few lame explanations for why she irks me so much now.

    Maybe it's the fact that I find her to be visually unappealing? Those beady eyes, metal claw hands, permanent jacked-up smile, hideous sparkly screen... ugh! What an eyesore. She's not exactly auditorally pleasing either. That whiny amplified voice sets my teeth on edge.

    Ultimately, I think my main problem with Magic Screen is her pushiness. Every time I hear "Pee Wee, it's time to play with MEEEEEE!" I want to scream at the TV. Wait your damn turn, Magic Screen! Pee Wee will play with you when he's good and ready! Even Pterry's whiny ass didn't pester him that much.

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Commercials: Showbiz Pizza

    Before Chuck E. Cheese ditched his bow tie and went all EXTREME TO THE MAX in the mid 90s, his establishment was known as Showbiz Pizza. The restaurant's basic concept might not have changed much (except for the fact that Chuck is apparently the sole animatronic left. Boo!), but the quality of their commercials has spiraled downward. They just don't have the charm that they used to. Plus in my humble opinion, "Showbiz Pizza: where a kid can be a kid" has a MUCH better ring to it than "Chuck E. Cheese's: where a kid can be a kid".

    In this first commercial, a kid laments the fact that his big brother and pals are better than him at basketball. However, upon arriving at Showbiz, he kicks Big Bro's ass at Hoop Shots™, Skee-Ball, and Whack a Mole. That's pretty unrealistic if you ask me. Sorry kids, but in real life the bigger kids most likely have the upper hand at these games too (the first two, anyway).

    In the next one, a pseudo badass kid claims that HE calls the shots when it comes to his family's choice of pizza restaurants. I guess Mom and Dad wouldn't spring for a leather jacket, so kiddo had to look "rebellious" in a denim one.

    On a final note, am I the only one who thought that the ball pits in those commercials were completely misleading? They were never that big or deep. I don't even think that the Showbiz Pizza I went to had a slide until I was too big for the ball pit.

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    Big Bird's Scary Snoring

    OK, am I the only person who was absolutely terrified of that noise Big Bird made whenever he snored? I actually had to run out of the room and cover my ears every time I heard it. It sounded like somebody was wringing a duck's neck. To my three year-old self, that was the most horrifying sound in the world.

    ...Or was I just a weird kid?

    You'll see what I'm talking about about 40 seconds into the following video. While I no longer have to cover my ears, that sound still sets my teeth on edge.

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    Lady Elaine Fairchilde: A Tribute

    Lady Elaine Fairchilde of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood fame is possibly one of the greatest characters to ever grace a children's show. Sure, she was a total bitch, appeared to have a drinking problem, and was quite possibly a drag queen, but that's what added to her awesomeness. Plus, some of her mannerisms remind me of my late grandmother (mostly when she called people "Toots").

    Lady Elaine inhabited the infamous museum-go-round, which was undoubtedly the coolest residence in the Neighborhood of Make Believe. Her museum was full of jacked items, which she referred to as a "found items exhibit".

    Lady Elaine was notorious for being a real shit disturber. Some of her finest moments include dissing Prince Tuesday's drawing of King Friday, making light of Daniel Striped Tiger's wussiness, convincing Prince Tuesday that his parents might abandon him, causing mischief with her Boomerang Toomerang Zoomerang, and just being generally pessimistic. If this show wasn't for kids, she totally would have made fun of Mr. McFeely's name.

    While the other characters bowed down to King Friday ("correct as usual, King Friday"), Lady Elaine never put up with his crap. She didn't even call him "King Friday", he was just "Friday" to her. Fight the power, Lady Elaine!

    ...Wow, it just NOW dawned on me that King Friday's full name is King Friday the Thirteenth. I can't believe it took me almost 25 years to pick up on that.

    Ohmigod, I so want this.

    To cap this entry off, here are some verbal gems from our favorite alcoholic tranny:

    "You mean you're not supposed to walk into somebody's private place and flash your flashlight around and scare them and say 'Yoo-hoo, I'm here!'"

    "I have established a blanket policy at the factory: anyone who makes a mistake gets a spanking."

    "My theory is that men can't dance."

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    PSA: The Incredible Edible Egg

    Wow, it's been awhile since my last post. I've been tapped out lately.

    I always thought those "Incredible Edible Egg" ads that aired in the 80s and early 90s. were pretty random. I didn't understand why such a fuss was being made over eggs. Some of these commercials even made it look like they were promoting a product called "The Incredible Edible Egg". It turns out that due to concerns about cholesterol levels, egg consumption had steadily fallen since the late 60s. The American Egg Board was determined to clear their name, hence the abundance of these ads.

    This commercial from the early 90s features a crudely drawn kid who insists that "eggs are TEH AWESOME!!11!!".

    Saturday, May 24, 2008

    Bumpers: HBO

    During the short period that my parents actually paid to get HBO, I didn't really watch anything on the network, except for an occasional episode of Fraggle Rock. However, the awesome bumpers they used before the movies definitely piqued my interest, possibly even more than Fraggle Rock did.

    This one from the 80s is probably among the most memorable. Yes, I'm talking about that awesome outer space one. They used this well into the 90s. To this day, I think that's the coolest thing ever. Plus, it's neat that HBO has kept the same logo after all these years. Most of the other cable networks have changed theirs at least once.

    Thursday, May 8, 2008

    A Cappella Nickelodeon Theme Songs

    This isn't an actual TV show or commercial, but it was too awesome NOT to post. In this video, the men's glee club at University of Michigan performs a medley of Nickelodeon songs. I wish we would have done something that cool back in my choir days.

    Theme songs performed include:

    Double Dare
    Salute Your Shorts

    Doug (and "Killer Tofu"!)
    Angry Beavers (which was after my time)
    Hey Dude

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    Sesame Street: Numero Comparsa and Sun Sun Babae

    In the 1980s, the legendary Celia Cruz was among the many guest stars on Sesame Street. Her songs always rocked. I only appreciate their awesomeness even more as an adult.

    "Uno, dos, tres. CUATRO."

    "Numero Comparsa" is definitely one of THE best Sesame Street songs ever. I listened to it four times before even typing this entry. I so want to add it to my playlist.

    In this next video, Ms. Cruz sings "Sun Sun Babae" with a little help from Big Bird. I used to try my damndest to sing along, but at four years old I wasn't exactly proficient in Spanish.

    Friday, May 2, 2008

    Prevue Guide

    Before the TV Guide network exploded into the flashy superficial mess that it is today, it was known as Prevue Guide. Back then, you could view TV listings without having to listen to Joan Rivers or some flaming queen screech about what Sarah Jessica Parker wore to the Oscars.

    When I was a kid and there was nothing on, I used to sit and watch Prevue Guide just to hear that catchy music. Sad, huh?

    Here's a clip of Preview Guide from 1991. Man, that music takes me back. It's cool to see all of the old TV lineups and defunct channels. A couple of notable shows I noticed on the guide in this video were David the Gnome and Zoobilee Zoo.

    Thursday, May 1, 2008


    In the late 80s, NBC aired DTV, a series of specials featuring "music videos" of Disney cartoons set to popular music. It was also used as filler material on the Disney Channel, back when there were no commercials or music videos by talentless pre-pubescent brats. Man, times have changed. It's truly disheartening that kids today would rather see Billy Ray's meal ticket Hannah Montana's horse face, instead of Mickey and Goofy.

    Just think, if DTV never existed, Youtube would save TONS of bandwidth on those annoying AMVs that plague the site.

    The clips I'm posting are from "DTV Doggone Valentine". My dad actually taped this episode for me when it first aired (in 1987!) and I continued to watch it for years. I never did find out what happened to that tape.

    This first video features "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!, "You're the One That I Want" from Grease, and "I Only Have Eyes for You" by The Flamingos.

    Since I don't want to post all six parts in one entry, I'm jumping to the end. This one features "Lets Hear it for the Boy" by Denice Williams and "Stay" by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Commercials: Burger King Kids Club

    Until 1990, Ronald McDonald and the gang dominated the kid-friendly fast food commercial racket. However, that changed when some new mascots emerged: The Burger King Kids Club Gang.

    This group of kids was even more PC than Captain Planet's Planeteers. Burger King was determined to cover every demographic. Here's a rundown:

    Boomer, the tomboy: The jock of the group, who always wielded a hockey stick and never took off her roller blades. I could make a joke about her eventually replacing her blades with Birkenstocks, but she seemed pretty enamored with Lingo in one of the commercials I posted...

    I.Q., the stereotypical nerd: Pocket protector? Check. Glasses? Check. Wild hair? Check. Huge vocabulary? Check.

    Jaws, the token black guy: His shtick was his incredible appetite. His only other memorable quality was his hightop fade.

    Lingo, the token ethnic kid: Wow, that name isn't exactly PC. Anyhoo, Lingo was probably the most three-dimensional of the Kids Club gang. He was a bilingual (English and Spanish) artist. I had a slight crush on him back in the day.

    Wheels, the token disabled kid: Yet another hilariously unfortunate naming choice. This kid had one pimp wheelchair. He probably tricked it out himself, considering that he was the mechanically inclined member of the gang.

    Snaps, the "hot" girl: Blonde, of course. Other than her interest in photography, she exhibited absolutely no personality.

    Kid Vid, the "cool" kid/leader of the pack: Most likely the Zack Morris of the group. Was into video games and techie stuff. Eventually he was the lone member of the Kids Club Gang to be used in the commercials.

    J.D., the animal mascot: Um... he was a dog.

    According to Wikipedia, Token Ethnic Kid #2 was added in the early 2000s: Jazz, an Asian musician (trumpet seems to be her instrument of choice). I had no idea that the The Kids Club Gang still existed at that point, but it's apparently still going strong in the Middle East.

    I just realized that there's one missing demographic: the token fat kid. However, from a business standpoint, the omission of such a character is understandable.

    The early commercials were pretty high quality, both animation-wise and music-wise. Here's a sampling:

    You thought that one was good? This one was featured on the promotional Ninja Turtles VHS movies that came with the kids meals:

    And finally, to make up for the lack of my beloved Lingo in the last video, here's his debut:

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    Commercials: Sprinkled Chips Ahoy

    In the late 80s and early 90s there seemed to be an ongoing trend in many commercials: a group of kids are being bored to death by a stodgy old fuddy-duddy, then one of them breaks out some sugary snack and suddenly, it's party central.

    This commercial for Sprinkled Chips Ahoy (do they even make those anymore?) is a classic example. You gotta love the generic rock music and hideous 1990 ensembles these kids are sporting. Anybody recognize the teacher? Bueller? Bueller?

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    The Letter People

    Here's an obscure one for you.

    The Letter People was a staple in my weekday morning PBS lineup. Although it first aired in the early 70s, the network (at least my local affiliate, which actually produced the show) showed sporadic reruns until right around the time I hit puberty.

    Upon surfing the web for this entry, I discovered that sometime in the 90s there was a revival. And let me tell you, it is a politically correct ABOMINATION!

    In the original version, there were only five female characters, each of whom represented the vowels. In the new version, F, J, K, L, P, S, T, V, W, and Y are now also female, although I and O have been turned male. Personally, I think that the old series had a better feminist message. After all, to make a word, one of the "female" letters is always needed (I know there are a few exceptions, but I'm not getting into that now). Hell, if they really wanted to be PC, they could have made Y into a hermaphrodite or a tranny. Y is sometimes a vowel, after all.

    It gets worse. Many of the beloved characters received name changes. All references to junk food and "negative" images are the most notable. Here are just a few examples:

    Mister C, Cotton Candy ---> Mr. C, Colossal Cap

    Mister D, Delicious Donuts ---> Mr. D, Dazzling Dance

    Mister H, Horrible Hair ---> Mr. H, Happy Hair

    Miss I, Itchy Itch ---> Mr. I, Impossible Inches (BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Sorry, one-track mind over here. Seriously, couldn't they give the character a name that doesn't sound like a bad porn?)

    Mister J, Jumbled Junk ---> Ms. J, Jingle Jangle Jacket

    Mister L, Lemon Lollipops ---> Ms. L, Longest Laugh

    Miss O, Obstinate ---> Mr. O, Opposite

    Mister X, Mixed Up ---> Mr. X, Different (what the hell? At least "mixed up" has an X in it)

    As a final slap in the face, check out just how fugly the new puppets are (not that the old ones weren't fugly in their own right).

    The "Lucky Star" song was always my favorite. Click here for the video. The uploader has TONS of Letter People episodes, so if you want more, just click on their name.

    Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    Commercials: Skip-it

    "Hey now kids come gather 'round,
    See what just skipped into town!"

    Ah, Skip-it. Every little girl of my generation's favorite recess pastime... assuming anybody was actually willing to lug the damn thing to and from school.

    As the commercial says, "the very best thing of all is the counter on the ball". That's probably the only real incentive for buying a Skip-it... that and the pretty colors. Now that I'm older, I realize just how big of a rip-off this toy is. If I ever have kids, I think I'll just spring for a jump rope instead.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    Sesame Street: Forgetful Jones Does Oklahoma

    Forgetful Jones was one of my favorite Sesame Street characters. I'm not sure why exactly, but there's just something about him. He certainly was unique.

    Hehe, my immature self laughed at this excerpt from his Wikipedia profile for about five minutes: "He 'rode in the saddle' with his girlfriend, Clementine."

    Sadly, the character was retired in 1992 after his voice actor died. Godspeed, Forgetful Jones. Sesame Street just isn't the same without you.

    The video below features undoubtedly the best Forgetful Jones moment ever. That's right I'm talking about the infamous Oklahoma parody. Classic. And how adorable is Kermit in his little director's outfit?

    Tuesday, April 1, 2008

    Bumpers: USA Cartoon Express

    Believe it or not, there was actually a time when the USA network showed something besides Law and Order reruns. Once upon a time, there was a block known as Cartoon Express. I spent many Sunday mornings watching old Hanna-Barbera cartoons (though I usually ignored the weekday afternoon block). Cartoon Express produced possibly some of the best bumpers ever.

    Here's a bumper featuring Slimer from The Real Ghostbusters:

    Here's one featuring a bunch of Hanna-Barbera characters:

    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    PSAs: Milk

    Milk: it does a body good. This slogan signifies a simpler time, before the flashy celebrity endorsed "Got milk?" ads prevailed.

    The milk ads in the late 80s are notorious and were oft-parodied back in the day. The standard formula: some pipsqueak is shunned by a bigger kid, then proceeds to go off on a tangent about how drinking milk is going to magically transform them into an Adonis. Milk might do a body good, but it sure gave these kids delusions of grandeur. And turned them into real assholes.

    The brat in this video takes the cake. She's wearing what appears to be a wedding dress and screeching at her older brother, who joked that two of her could fit in it. Jeez, overreact much? Someone must have slipped some steroids into her drink, because she practically speaks in a baritone by the time she grows up.

    This next one aired in the early 90s. I used to really dig the song. How sad is it that I can still sing it word for word?

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008


    Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!

    If you're expecting an entry about the movie, then you've come to the wrong place. I'm focusing on the awesome cartoon series.

    This is one of those cartoons that I still appreciate the sheer brilliance of as an adult. The music and animation were incredible, not to mention all of the puns and parodies. Example: Beetlejuice's skeleton friend is named Jaques LaLean, a reference I certainly didn't pick up on as a kid.

    Plus, you gotta love Lydia, one of the first whiney Goth cartoon characters.

    When I was in second grade, some kid actually claimed that he stopped brushing his teeth because he wanted to be like Beetlejuice. I don't know if he was joking or not, but thinking back, his teeth were pretty disgrossting looking for awhile.

    I truly believe that if it wasn't for this show, there would be no Nicktoons today. Beetlejuice was probably one of the first animated series to bring gross-out humor to mainstream kids' cartoons.

    Here's the intro, complete with FOX Kids bump (interestingly, the show actually aired simultaneously on two networks, FOX during the week and ABC on Saturday morning):

    Lydia summons Beetlejuice:

    A short little ditty (let me just say that I don't think that Lydia's voice actress was ever up for any Tony awards):

    Beetlejuice certainly doesn't have an Oedipus complex:

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    Sesame Street: Me Lost Me Cookie at the Disco

    I'm not in the mood for a long-winded entry today, so here's yet another Sesame Street clip from before I was born. This still aired regularly when I watched the show. My Sesame Street viewing years were during most of the 80s, when disco wasn't just passe, it was reviled. Due to this, I don't think I even knew what disco was until I watched this. I guess Sesame Street really does teach you more than just letters and numbers.

    Hmm, I wonder if "cookie" is a codeword for something else. Cookie Monster sure was jonesin'.

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    Commercials: McDonalds Happy Meals

    If anything has remained unchanged from my childhood, it's the fact that most red-blooded American kids are treated to a Happy Meal every once in awhile. And McDonalds has always been quick to pick up on the latest fads and capitalize as much as possible.

    The following videos include Happy Meal toys that I myself once owned.

    Before watching these, let's have a brief moment of silence for those characters that are no longer with us: Grimace, Birdie, the Hamburglar, the Happy Meal Guys, and the French Fry Kids.

    Here's a commercial featuring toys from Super Mario Bros. 3. I had the springy Mario. I actually remember the day I got that. We went to the park afterwards and I saw a dead frog. Pretty eventful day in the life of a six year-old.

    Fraggle Rock. I always liked it, but I didn't get to watch it as often as I liked, because if I remember correctly, it came on HBO, which my parents eventually stopped paying for. Anyhoo, I had the radish car with Red. One of my younger brothers ended up chewing the wheels up.

    I was really into The Berenstain Bears books, so I was psyched when there was a Happy meal tie-in. I had Papa, but I lost his wheelbarrow practically as soon as I took it out of the package.

    I was lucky enough to have not one, but TWO Little Mermaid toys: Ursula and Flounder.

    Friday, March 7, 2008

    Denver, the Last Dinosaur

    In the late 80s, kids seemed to go dinosaur-crazy. It most likely started with the first Land Before Time movie. Soon, the small screen decided to capitalize on this fad with the introduction of Denver, the Last Dinosaur.

    To refresh your memory, here's a summary of the show, courtesy of Wikipedia: The show revolved around the adventures that Denver, a dinosaur who was released from his dino egg by a group of multiracial modern California teens—Jeremy, Mario, Shades, Wally and Casey, along with tagalong little sister Heather. The kids taught Denver the finer points of skateboarding and other Generation X pastimes while protecting him from concert promoter Morton Fizzback. The unscrupulous concert promoter was looking to cash in on Denver’s status to make a quick buck, but the kids were always one step ahead.

    This show was typical of late 80s cartoons. Skateboarding, surfer dudes in shades, electric guitars, and if I remember correctly, one of the characters sported one of those horrid "box" haircuts. That's about all I remember about it, other than the theme song.

    "Denver the last dinosaur, he's my friend and a whole lot more." ...Yeah, getting my mind out of the gutter now.

    Unfortunately, there are virtually NO videos online, other than the theme song. Here's the opening. Very catchy. I'll be singing this all day.

    And the closing credits (same song, but with still images from the episodes):

    Thursday, March 6, 2008

    Commercials: Drug PSAs

    Anti-drug PSAs. 80s and 90s television just wouldn't be the same without them. While most were beyond cheesy, some actually got the message across pretty well. I think they have more of an impact than today's PSAs.

    After the 70s frying egg and 90s psycho bitch "this is your brain on drugs" commercials, the following is probably the most well-known and quoted. I bet you know which one I'm referring to before watching it:

    This next one actually freaked me out as a kid. I think the music sting at the end might have contributed. It still kind of creeps me out, actually:

    Here's one of those "Nobody ever says 'I want to be a junkie when I grow up'" commercials. This is the one with the runner (I wanted the ballerina one, but this video is better quality).

    Pee Wee says that crack kills. I wonder if he made this commercial before or after "the incident"?

    Wednesday, March 5, 2008

    Bumpers: ABC Saturday Morning

    The quality and quantity of Saturday morning cartoons has pretty much gone to hell. I wonder if the networks even do those "after these brief messages we'll be right back" bumpers anymore?

    Somebody on Youtube managed to capture most of the claymation bumpers that aired on ABC in the late 80s and early 90s. My favorite was always the one in which the three singers switch heads. Enjoy!

    Friday, February 29, 2008

    New Kids on the Block: The Cartoon

    I have a humiliating confession to make.

    I was a HUGE New Kids on the Block fan.

    Granted, I first got into them when I was in kindergarten and my obsession ended sometime in the second grade, but I'm still haunted by the memories to this day.

    How big of a fan was I? Big enough to loyally watch their Saturday morning cartoon every week.

    Even back then, I knew this cartoon was absolutely atrocious, but I was determined to be loyal to my beloved New Kids. I mostly watched for the interviews with the group at the beginning and the concert footage they showed at the end of each episode. I was beyond pissed when I learned that the guys didn't provide their own voices for their animated counterparts. And boy did the voice actors play up the Boston accents.

    There are so many cheesetastic things about this cartoon that I don't know where to begin:

  • Of course, they just had to make Jon's dog into a damn animal sidekick. I'm just glad that he didn't talk. He probably would have had an exaggerated Boston accent too: "Lookit the fiah hydrant onnah cawnnah!"
  • Catch phrases ("Posse up!")
  • Disguises out the wazoo
  • Musical montages and more musical montages
  • Chase scenes
  • These horribly tacky borders would sporadically pop up and surround the screen. Worst visual effect ever.
  • The sound effects! They buuuuurn!

  • Here's a full episode, broken into three parts. Oh, and if you manage to make it to the end, you might notice that the ending credits ("Step by Step") sound uncannily similar to a certain other cartoon's closing theme song (EDIT: the first video I posted had the entire credits, but it was removed and this one only has a couple of seconds of it. If you want a more in-depth comparison, here's the original version of "Step by Step"). Hmm, I wonder which came first?

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008

    Commercials: Pepsi

    Pepsi is known for having some pretty interesting commercials. In the early 90s alone there were more different Pepsi commercials than I could count, maybe even more than there are today, and they were ALWAYS on. You couldn't escape them if you tried. Maybe this is why I prefer Coke.

    Does the "Chill Out" hand gesture ring a bell? In the summer of 1991, Pepsi ran a series of "Summer Fun" commercials in which people on the beach (including Bo Jackson, Dr. Ruth, and Gilbert Gottfried) did that inane hand thing to the song "California Sun" by The Dictators (famously covered by The Ramones). My group at day camp actually used that commercial as the basis for our skit/dance type thing at Parents Night. The skit consisted of us doing typical beach activities to "California Sun". We made a giant Pepsi can and at the end, the lone boy in our group popped out of it and we all did the gesture. I think that commercial ruined "California Sun" for me. Every time I hear it, my hand stubbornly starts to "chill out".

    Whew, that was long-winded. Here's just 1/5,679 of those commercials:

    "You got the right one baby... uh-huh!" It's unfortunate that this campaign caused a generation of kids to refer to Ray Charles as "that guy in the Pepsi commercial". Pepsi sure went all out here. This was one epic ad:

    1992. The "Gotta Have It" campaign. Did anyone else have a Gotta Have It card? I got mine when they were handing them out for free at the mall. I don't recall actually using it for anything and still don't know exactly what it was for, but my eight year old self sure was psyched to have a "credit card".

    Upon searching the internet, I discovered that the card was good for discounts on Reeboks, Continental Airlines tickets, and MCI (now Verizon) long distance. Gee, what a barrel of fun.

    Here's one of the commercials, featuring Yogi Berra, Regis Philbin, Dr. Joyce Brothers, and... Brenda Walsh.

    Pepsi Crystal. Boy did that receive a lot of backlash. I drank it one time and it didn't taste too different from regular Pepsi to me. Then again, I was drinking it from a can, so maybe that ruined the effect.

    The commercial, featuring "Right Now" by Van Halen (yet another song that Pepsi managed to ruin for me):

    And for the piece de resistance, here's the infamous MC Hammer commercial. Damn, the cola wars were brutal back then.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    Sesame Street: Plants Need Water

    When I watched Sesame Street, I'm willing to bet that at least half of the segments they showed were made before I was born (it sucks that they seem to have abandoned that trend, huh?). Case in point: this little animation from the 70s. Possibly the most unintentionally (or maybe it was intentional) funny clip ever. I'm sure that wasn't the only plant those kids were growing.

    Monday, February 25, 2008

    The Baby-sitters Club: The TV Series

    Say hello to your friends...

    I was absolutely obsessed with The Baby-sitters Club book series. In fact I probably continued reading them long after I should have stopped. Naturally, I was psyched that there was a TV series based on the books. Unfortunately, it came on the Disney Channel, which was a premium channel (like HBO) back then. I had to make do with renting the videos whenever I could find them.

    Of course, there were a few things about the show that differed from the books. These little differences bugged the hell out of me, no matter how trivial they were (although to be fair, some of these didn't bug me until just now). Examples:

    • Japanese-American Claudia didn't look remotely Asian.
    • Mary Anne, who was supposed to be on the short side, towered over the others (the books ALWAYS made it a point to mention that only Kristy was shorter).
    • Dawn, whose "California girl" persona was over-emphasized in the books, had a very thick Jersey (or maybe Bostonian?) accent.
    • Stacey was supposed to be the "fashionable" one, but she looked hella frumpy at times, even by early 90s standards. And Claudia's attire wasn't nearly "wild" enough.
    • Charlotte sure acted babyish. Granted, she's a kid, but she's supposed to be smart and precocious.

    I present "The Baby-sitters Special Christmas", a holiday special and Very Special Episode rolled into one (if you pay attention, you might notice that Jackie Rodowsky is played by Little Pete Wrigley):

    And for a bonus video, Dr. JD helps Dawn save the trees!

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    The Super Mario Brothers Super Show

    Hey, pisanos! It's The Super Mario Brothers Super Show!

    Ah, this show epitomized the cheese of the late eighties and early nineties. It had a rap, canned laughter, former wrestlers posing as video game mascots, ethnic stereotypes, "celebrity" cameos, you name it.

    I remember watching this after school when I was about six. However, I dreaded Friday episodes, because there was NO trace of Mario. Stupid Legend of Zelda. I wanted my Mario, dammit!

    To this day, I refuse to call the princess "Peach". She'll always be Princess Toadstool to me, partially thanks to this cartoon.

    And now for the clips.

    The opening theme (is it just me, or does the rapper sound like Flava Flav? And what the hell is a pisano?):

    Do the Mario!

    Here's a cameo by Magic Johnson:

    Did Mario drop the f-bomb?

    And finally, a clip from the cartoon segment. After watching this, I decided that I hate Toad. With a passion.

    Friday, February 15, 2008

    Out of This World

    For the record, Out of This World is the show about the alien. Small Wonder is the one about the robot.

    I didn't watch this show as religiously as the others I've blogged about, but I feel obligated to do an entry about it, since I did one about Small Wonder and so many people tend to confuse the two.

    If you remember the theme song, you might recognize it as Bing Crosby's "Swinging on a Star". It's funny how an old standard is so often associated with a short-lived syndicated series by members of my generation. I'm sure this makes pre-Baby Boomers want to tear their hair out.

    So this story had your basic Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch formula:

    • Evie discovers she's half-alien
    • upon coming of age, Evie receives supernatural powers
    • Evie abuses said powers, all while trying to keep her identity a secret
    • wacky hijinks ensue
    The most notable of Evie's powers was the ability to stop time. To this day, if I could pick any power, that would be it.

    Evie's father (who we never saw) was voiced by none other than Bandit. Additionally, her uncle was Plucky Duck.

    Here's a full episode, split up into four parts. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Small Wonder

    For the record, Small Wonder is the show about the robot. Out of This World is the one about the alien.

    In my area, this show came on right before Disney Afternoon. Most people I knew referred to it as "that show with Vicki the Robot". Since I'm a redhead, I heard "You look like Harriet from Small Wonder/that show with Vicki the Robot!" more than once in elementary school. To make matters worse, the actress and I even have the same first name. Dammit, all redheads don't look alike! The last person I want to be compared to is Vicki the Robot's Satan-spawned neighbor.

    The Lawson family tries to pass Vicki off as their daughter. They even forge fake adoption papers for her! Illegal much? Plus, you would think that acquaintances of the family would question the fact that Vicki never changed out of that same godawful dress.

    Maybe it's just me, but the whole concept of having a slave robot that looks so much like a little girl seems... unethical somehow. I certainly wasn't so bugged by Screech's robot Kevin on Saved by the Bell. At least Kevin wasn't kept in a cabinet in Screech's bedroom.

    So it turns out that Harriet's mom was Ferris Bueller's school secretary, among other things. Oh yeah, the kid who played Jamie is NOT Billy Corgan.

    The theme song is hilariously bad. Very 1950s-esque. "She's fantastic, made of plastic, microchips here and there" is beyond campy. Since it's cut from the video of the episode I posted, here's the intro:

    Here's the pilot episode, broken into two parts:

    Monday, February 11, 2008


    Today, I thought I'd post some of my favorite commercials that aired when I was a kid.

    First, I would like to express my disappointment at not being able to find the British Knights Dymacel commercial that used to air during Double Dare. I really liked the song.

    This first one is still one of my favorites. Sing with me: "three pieces, two pieces, one pieces, Reese's Pieces."

    Because of this next commercial, the sentence "Bubble Tape: it's six feet of bubble gum for you - not them" became the bane of my parents' existence. Sheesh, that ad wasn't lying...

    And finally, I present a Whatchamacallit commercial. Catchy, n'est pas?

    Friday, February 8, 2008

    Sesame Street: Teeny Little Super Guy

    Without a doubt, "Teeny Little Super Guy" was my favorite Sesame Street skit. I think I identified with it a lot, because I used to play random little pretend games with various household objects. Yeah, I was a weird kid.

    Aside from that, it had the coolest theme song ever. I never did forget it, even during my post-Sesame Street, pre-Youtube years.

    In the following clip, Teeny Little Super Guy learns about Danger. Enjoy!

    Thursday, February 7, 2008

    Today's Special

    Until it went off the air, Today's Special was a regular part of my weekday TV viewing schedule. For the first five years of my life, I couldn't enter a Sears, Dillards, Famous Barr (which became Macy's here in the midwest a couple of years ago), or J.C. Penney's without wanting to frolic with the damn mannequins. However, doing so got me chewed out by my mom and pissed off the stores' clerks, so I quickly abandoned that behavior. I think this show also contributed to my brother's crippling fear of mannequins when he was two.

    Here's a summary, yanked from imdb: "Each night in a major city, Sam the Security Guard locks the closed department store and joins Jodie in the Children's department as she brings a special mannequin with her even as she prepares to work on a display for the next day. With some magic words, the magic hat it wears brings it to life and becomes Jeff. Together with Muffy the Mouse, this gang learn about various things to teach younger viewer, both by the themselves and with visitors to the store."

    Today's Special is yet another Canadian import that aired on Nickelodeon. However, I used to watch it on PBS, between Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and Sesame Street (they reran the show into the early 90s, which is why it was able to traumatize my aforementioned brother, who was born in 1987).

    Upon watching the various video clips, I have come to a few conclusions:
    • The puppets on this show are FUGLY, especially Sam.
    • Muffy is fecking annoying.
    • I can't believe that this show didn't scare the crap out of me as a kid, because it sure does now!

    And now for just a few of the videos I found:

    The theme song:

    Jeff comes to life for the first time:

    Sam, Muffy, and the computer:

    Nifty little HMS Pinafore parody:

    Tuesday, February 5, 2008

    Fifteen (A.K.A. Hillside)

    Fifteen was a teen drama that aired on Nickelodeon in the early nineties. I have a few vague memories of it, but other than the theme music and some minor details, most are a blur, so I decided to do a little research.

    So it turns out that Fifteen is the American title. The show's real name is Hillside and it's Canadian. And... that's about all of the information I managed to find.

    Let me tell you, the utter crappiness of this show was definitely lost on me at seven years old. It's hilariously cringeworthy. After watching the actress that plays Courtney, I understand where the creators of South Park get that Canadian flapping head stereotype.

    Here's a full episode. I did post an extra clip of the theme song, since it was cut out of the video, but it's been taken down from Youtube. Enjoy!

    Oh yeah, the kid in the striped shirt? He eventually grew up to become Van Wilder .

    Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue!

    For my first official post, I bring you nostalgic GOLD.

    Remember Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue? That was a kid's dream TV special. Where else could you see such an epic cartoon crossover? Twenty characters from ten different shows were featured, including:

    ALF (ALF: The Animated Series)
    Alvin, Simon, and Theodore (Alvin and the Chipmunks)
    Huey, Dewey, and Louie (Duck Tales)
    Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck
    Baby Kermit, Baby Piggy, and Baby Gonzo (Muppet Babies)
    Slimer (Real Ghostbusters)
    Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, and Hefty Smurf
    Michelangelo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
    Winnie the Pooh and Tigger

    If you need a refresher, here's a summary, courtesy of Voice Chasers: "Nine year old Corey is very worried about her older brother, Michael. He is using drugs and he just stole her piggy bank to buy some more. Luckily, Corey has help. TV's most popular cartoon characters, including Winnie the Pooh, Bugs Bunny, Alf, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a host of other animated all-stars, leap into action to help free her brother from the clutches of "Smoke," a deceptive and corrupting character who's leading Michael down the road to a drug-abuse dead end."

    Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue VHS: $29.99
    Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue poster: $9.99
    Hearing Winnie the Pooh and the Muppet Babies talk about crack: priceless

    Here's the episode in its entirety, sans the Ronald McDonald house ad and Daddy Bush's intro (if you want to see that part, go here). Enjoy!