Archive for the 'Commercials' Category

Star Frontiers and Mr. T Doll Commercials (1983)

TSR’s Star Frontiers commercial is up first. The animation is impressive for 1983, and the concept is clever. As the doors to the hobby shop open, you can see the 1983 D&D Basic Set update (red box, revised by Frank Mentzer) and Fantasy Forest on display to the right. You can download the Alpha Dawn rulebook (the art is exquisite throughout), modules, character sheets, and other cool stuff at

My original objective was to post all the available TSR commercials here, but the Mr. T spot that starts at 1:03 lured me off course. Won’t you sing along?

Mr. T! He’s got legs that move, he’s twelve inches high-igh.

Mr. T! He’s got a real cool haircut and a mean, mean look in his eye-eye.

He’s got arms that move and a fistful of rings…

You can pretend that Mr. T is real tough and mean.

Mr. T!

Mr. T!

I’m currently speechless, so I’ll leave the comments to you.

(Video via Genius7277/YouTube)

Ideal’s Battling Tops (1968) and Battling Spaceships (1977)

Battling Tops 1969

I would like to play this game. Watch the commercial here. In 1977, Ideal repackaged it as Battling Spaceships for obvious reasons. A game board was added around the fighting ring, but the battling part is exactly the same. The box and commercial are below.

See more at Board Game Geek.

Battling Spaceships 1977

Battling Spaceships 1977-2

(Images via eBay; video via D Heine)

‘The 3:00 Movie’ Commercial Break, 1982

Why was there a 3:00 movie? Because that’s when we got home from school, or that’s when we huddled around the little TV in after-school daycare. I said somewhere else that my dad picked me up early a few times so I could catch assorted creature features: Frogs, Empire of the Ants, Night of the Lepus, The Swarm. Even if we did have a VCR at the time, nobody knew how to record on the damn thing.

First commercial: “Taste the Thrill of Atari at McDonald’s.” Atari worked promotions with almost every big name in the business, and I never won jack. Watch for the Atari 800 and the Atari 825 dot matrix printer. I found some of the game cards on eBay.

Atari Card 1982-2

Atari Card 1982

Atari Card 1982-3

And here’s one of the tray liners, courtesy of Peter Hirschberg, who has lots of other awesome stuff on display.

Atari Tray Liner

Second commercial: “I need well trained people” is actually progressive phrasing for a secretarial staffing company in 1982. Five years earlier it would have been, “I need well trained, well groomed women.” Notice that there’s only one guy in the spot, and he’s in the only office.

Third commercial: You recognize her, right? She’s very awkward here.

Fourth commercial: That’s one giant meatball that splats on the floor, amigos. It ain’t organic, and it ain’t made of turkey. It’s red meat, and we were too busy shoving our faces to ask any questions.

The editorial rebuttal enters the realm of surreality. A union rep on TV? In a position of authority?

(Video via FuzzyMemoriesTV)

The Women of Robotech Commercials (1985)


A few thoughts:

  1. No, Matchbox.
  2. Matchbox, no.
  3. Minmei is Asian, obviously, hence the name Minmei and the fact that, you know, she’s from Japan. I don’t think Matchbox got the memo.
  4. What’s with Rick’s hair? He looks like George Harrison.
  5. Rick is a slut.
  6. The song. I can’t get it out of my head. Stop. The song.
  7. “Isn’t she neat?”

I’ve become slightly obsessed with the Robotech toys, as you can tell. More later.

(Video via PetiteOzma/YouTube)

Atari Christmas Commercial (1983): Santa in Space!

The combination of space, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and video games is genius, and it must have cost a pretty penny to make back in the day. The spaceship looks great, and I love how everything is cold (how about those miserable but sleek-looking sleeping quarters?) and drab until Santa shows up and starts playing all those beautiful games.

This is the first and longest version of the spot. The second version is here, and the third version is here. All of them are from ’83.

(All videos via MYSATURDAYMORNINGS/YouTube)

Commodore 64 Christmas Commercials (1986)

Wow, the robot in the first commercial is super annoying. I would like to smash it into little pieces.

On the other hand, the kitten in the second spot is super cute. Having the cat play with the computer mouse was actually pretty clever. Incidentally, when’s the last time you saw a cat in a commercial that wasn’t for cat food?

My elementary/junior high school built its first computer lab when I was in 7th grade and stocked it with Commodore 64s. For the life of me, I can’t remember what we did with them.

Toys ‘R’ Us and Woolworth Halloween Commercials (1980, 1978)

Okay, those Big Bird and Yoda costumes are seriously creepy, and I don’t think they’re supposed to be.

The Wonder Woman mask with horse teeth and drug addict eyes is not very flattering, kids. And the “popular characters from Star Wars” are all the bad guys, naturally.

(Video sources: William Presley and tk421maul)

Radio Shack `Transportable Cellular Phone System’ Commercial (1989)

Friend J. strikes again. It’s just $799? Hell, I’ll take three, one for each of my DeLoreans.

The lifeguard is my favorite. First of all, how can he afford this absurdly impractical monstrosity? Second, how long is it going to last in the vicinity of all that sand and salt water? My second favorite is the Boy Scout. Dude, you cut your thumb. Do we really have to halt all the epic camping action so you can call your mommy?

J. reminds me that the price tag does not include minutes/monthly charges.

(Video source: Dell Fields)

Space Mountain Commercial (1977)

According to the source, AdamConlea, this was taken from “an old video tape of 1977 prime-time TV (KNXT in Los Angeles).” It’s pretty sweet how the passengers get on the rocket car and plunge screaming into space until they’re swallowed by a nebula and disappear forever.

Best ride ever.

1979 Sears Christmas Catalog: Play-Doh’s Fuzzy Pumper Monsters

Yes, yes, yes. Sadly, I never got to pump any fuzz back in the day, but lots of kids did. They pumped the fuzz, shaved it, rolled it up into a ball, licked it, ate it. The fuzz was good. The fuzz was salty. Just watch the kids in this commercial pump fuzz. They’re happy as hell. If adults pumped this much fuzz, we’d have world peace in a week.

(Image source: WishbookWeb)

(Video source: BlytheWorld1972)




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