Fictional Ad Agencies: A TV History of Mad Men

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 23, 2010 in Television

Mad Men on AMC

Don Draper from Mad MenThe latest season highly anticipated season of Mad Men is set to open this weekend so we decided to take a look at the time honored tradition working at a fictional ad agency. Once upon a time ad agencies didn’t have much of a place in pop culture but the book that changed all of that was Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy in 1963. The year before Ogilvy got on the cover of Time magazine and as the 60s progressed so did the golden age of advertising agencies. And television shows picked up on this new career path for the smart set: Read more…

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Tacky Cartoon Jammies of the 80s

Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr 27, 2010 in Animation, Hobbies and Collections

Tacky Cartoon Pajamas from 1987

What you’re looking at is page 48 from the 1987 JCPenny catalog which showcases many popular cartoons from the era! The first two on the top are characters from Brave Starr (Marshall and Tex-Hex), in the middle row we’ve got Thundercats and on the bottom are the Transformers. And the the robes on the right all glow in the dark! Nope it doesn’t get any more tacky than this… Read more…

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Samurai Cats Love Their Space Heaters

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 26, 2010 in Animation, Japanese TV

The quality of this Dainichi stop motion animation commercial for Blue Heaters from 1987 is amazing — keep in mind that this was done several years before Tim Burton did The Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993. And what blows me away is that the entire commercial had to have been done without any computer help, not to mention is that it looks like they’re using a replacement technique similar to George Pál with his Puppetoons. Yet for all technique the advert is funny and fluid — it makes me wish that I knew the studio and could give proper credits. Read more…

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Contra: The Rebirth of a Ramboesque Retro Game

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 9, 2009 in Videogames

The 1988 NES game Contra

The 1988 NES game Contra

Contra Rebirth is a WiiWare title that’s based on the 1987 Konami arcade game Contra ((魂斗羅) where you get to play an mutant killing commando (as a game the plot owed a great deal to the popular films of that era like Predator). The original game did so well that it was ported to NES in 1988 and has a well deserved rep of being the toughest game to beat. I’m really glad that we’re starting to see the market for retro games move out of the hobbyist era and into something more mainstream. Here are some screenshots: Read more…

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It’s the 80s and Max Headroom is Flamboyantly Fighting the Cola Wars

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 2, 2009 in Television

Max Headroom for Coke: A vintage plastic cup and a promotional poster

As a television series Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future was one of my favorite shows from the 80s. Of course the character of Max pre-dates that series — he got his start with a talk show in England in 1985 which in many ways inspired Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. When Coke launched their new formula they made the bold move of picking Max as their spokesperson using the tagline “Catch the Wave!” Folks loved Max but not the new Coke and the old Coke was bought back with the label “Classic Coke” (which was just recently dropped). Read more…

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The Sharp X68000: The Retro Japanese Sister of the Mac and Amiga

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 14, 2008 in Tech

In my final year of art school (which was 1987) I had a friend from Japan who owned the Sharp X68000 — in fact the computer was only ever sold in Japan. As you can see in the commercial above this machine was very friendly for folks who liked to work with video and graphics, and that wasn’t by accident as the box was powered by a Motorola 68000 CPU which was the same family of chips that powered the other artist friendly machines of that era which were the Macintosh and the Amiga. The first model of this system ran at 10 MHz, had 1 meg of of RAM and no built in hard drive, so it’s sort of amazing just how much this system could do. It’s also interesting to note that many game designers in Japan created arcade games using the X68000 and today you can find emulators for the system. Read more…

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