Archive for the 'Ads' Category

Marvel Comics Trade Ad, 1980: ‘More Popular Than Santa?’

christmas marvel ad 1980

“Marvel Comics yearly reach an incredible 77% of all kids in the United States between 6 and 17.” I have to believe there’s some padding going on, but still, that’s a big number, and I don’t doubt it. Bringing a comic book to school would buy you a class full of friends for a day.

Knott’s Berry Farm Thanksgiving Weekend Promo (1979)

Thanksgiving 1979

Scott Baio and “special guest stars”? Did they do a variety act? Hurricane was a uniquely atrocious heavy metal band that you should experience at least once.

* * *

Happy Thanksgiving, all. I’ll be back on Monday to kick off my annual Christmas morning series. If you have a photo that you’d like me to feature, send it over!

The Sony 500U Personal Television (1968)

Sony 1968

Sony 1968-2

“But it’s the earplug that makes being alone and together, at the same time, possible…” It’s a very hollow definition of “together” that becomes hollower as the gadgets proliferate.

You see, the “smart” phone was inevitable.


TV Guide Halloween Promo for Silver Spoons and Punky Brewster (1984)

Halloween TV 1984

The Silver Spoons episode is called “A Dark and Stormy Night.” You can watch it here. Synopsis: The power goes out as the boys are watching a horror movie, and dad chides them for depending on TV when they should be using their imagination. So they gather around a candelabra and play “pass the ghost story”—which, of course, the rest of us unimaginatively watch on TV.

The Punky episode has nothing to do with Halloween, so I shall ignore it. Both shows premiered on October 28, 1984.

(Image via Nostalgic Collections/eBay)

Halloween for the Atari 2600 (Wizard Video Games, 1983)

Halloween Wizard 1983-1

Halloween Wizard 1983-2

Halloween 1983-2

Full instructions at Atari Age. Here’s the synopsis:

A homicidal maniac has escaped from a mental institution. On Halloween night, the killer returns to his home town to wreak havoc! You are babysitting for a family in a large, two story house. Somehow the vengeful murderer has gotten inside! Can you protect the children and yourself from the fury of his knife?


You control the babysitter character, and, at certain times, the child characters. As you move through the sixteen rooms of the two story house, avoid the killer when he appears. He will attempt to stab you and the children, so look for the knife with which to defend yourself.

Jack-o’-lantern icons at the top of the screen tell you how many lives you have left. Play the game at the Internet Archive.

Photon: The Ultimate Game on Planet Earth Ad and Commercials (1986)

Photon Ad 1986

There were four major reasons original laser tag was a short-lived fad, with both Photon and Lazer Tag ending production in less than 5 years. First, Lazer Tag, the more popular brand by far, came out in November 1986, and the units were drastically underproduced when demand was highest. Second, the technology may have been cleaner than paintball, but it was much less effective. Nothing pisses off a kid more than a hit that doesn’t register. Third, the units were expensive (about $50 in 1986) and playing alone was boring, so you and a friend (or, better yet, friends) had to convince the respective parental units to shell out. Four, there were very few official arenas to support team play and provide the futuristic atmosphere the game required (as played up in the commercials). By Christmas 1987, we had moved on to something much bigger and better: the NES.

One last thing. Laser tag wasn’t immune to the biggest toy gun problem of all. In 1987, a group of teenage boys was playing Lazer Tag at night in a California elementary school. A neighbor called the police, and when a sheriff’s deputy arrived, one of the kids, thinking the deputy was a player, jumped out and “tagged” him. The cop shot twice, and the kid died.

(Ad image via X-Entertainment)

The Karate Kid Action Figures Ad (Remco, 1986)

Karate Kid 1986

I had no idea. The line came out with the release of The Karate Kid, Part II and included several playsets and accessories (Break-Away Wall, Miyagi’s Fly Catching Chopsticks). I must investigate further.

(Image via Fashion Plunder/eBay)

Fisher Price Adventure People Ads (1976, 1977)

FP AP 1976

FP AP 1977

I used to put my Star Wars and G.I. Joe prisoners in that safari cage! What a great line, and we’re talking top three of all time: totally original, beautifully designed and accessorized, durable as hell, and they’re just regular people doing exciting (to kids in the ’70s) things.

(Images via the Adventure People Flickr Group)

The Dungeon Hobby Shop Ads (1976, 1979)

Dungeon Hobby Dragon #3 1976

Dungeon Hobby Dragon #22 February 1979

From The Dragon #3 (top) and #22. You can see a photo of the model dungeon adventure that “lights up!!!” right here.

Wham-O Ad, 1982: `Fantasy Series’ Frisbees

Wham-O 1982

You can’t make them out really well in the ad, but the series included Pegasus, a dragon, and, for some reason, a butterfly. How about a wizard, guys?

Here’s a close-up of the dragon. The copyright date is 1981. There’s no such thing as a D&D flying disc (“Frisbee” is a Wham-O trademark), is there? Yes, there is.

Wham-O 1982-2

(Images via eBay and eBay)




Donate Button

Join 1,103 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: