Milk: It Does the 80s Good!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 26, 2009 in Animation, Television

I could be wrong but I think this amazing 1986 ad for milk may have been done by Colossal Pictures, which was a San Francisco production company that did a great deal of amazing work back in the day (tons of work for MTV and the like which would always feature a collage of live action and animation). Read more…

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Teddy Ruxpin: Because Animatronic Talking Bears are Your Friends

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 25, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

This vintage 1986 commercial shows off the education values of the then new Teddy Ruxpin Adventure Series. Teddy was first produced just a year before this spot aired and was a marketing powerhouse: Created by Ken Forsse the bear would move his mouth while reading stories which were recorded on audio cassette tapes. The toy would do so well that by 1987 an animated series The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin would run for another two years: Read more…

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Nerfuls: It’s Like a Nerf, but Kitbashed with Muppet Babies

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 24, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

Marketed by Parker Brothers in 1970 the original Nerf was designed to be the first “indoor safe” ball, and years later millions of them are still be sold much to the delight of children and board office dwellers. But in the 80s they couldn’t leave well enough alone: In 1984 the animated series Muppet Babies took the world by storms, and suddenly everything needed to be cute. And thus in the 80s Parker Brothers introduced Nerfuls — which have since become a cult collectors item. Read more…

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Pound Purries: Kid of Like Pound Puppies, But for Cat People!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 22, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

Nothing could be more cute than a well deserving Pound Puppy toy in the 80s looking a caring child to be an owner: But what if your child is a cat person? Well that’s where the spin off Pound Purries came in (as shown in this advert from 1986). While not as a popular as their dog friends from the other side of the pound these little wonders featured and for just $3.50 more you could get a name tag, stickers and an owners certificate! Read more…

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Look Out Jem: It’s Barbie & the Rockers!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 19, 2009 in Animation, Hobbies and Collections

This video shows two things: The first is how a show like Jem can come out of nowhere and give a well established brand like a Barbie a run for the money — and the second thing is just how much cultural mindspace MTV owned back in the 80s when it was new. Inspired by MTV Jem and the Holograms went on the air in 1985 and suddenly Barbie who had been around since 1959 seemed slightly old fashioned. Read more…

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Toy Store Commercials of the 80s

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 17, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections, Television

Both of these spots are from 1986 and solve the unique challenge that while toy ads sell to kids, toy store ads must sell to adults. The Toys R Us ad does a nice job of this as it’s appealing to the kid inside all of us, I especially the oversized robot which comes in about 5 seconds into the spot. The Lionel Playworld spot takes more of a Footlose approach to the problem, but for all the shoulder pads and singing you don’t get the feeling that they’re really having a good time of it: Read more…

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Sweet Secrets: Transformers for Fashionable Girls

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 15, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

Introduced in 1984 by Galoob Sweet Secrets were purse shape toys which would transform into dolls — this 1986 spot shows them turning into a puppy, teddy bear and a girl with long blond hair. There was also a related line of jewelry that would transform into a panda, a koala and a “pretty friend”: Read more…

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You Might as Well Face It: You’re Addicted to VHS

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 8, 2009 in Tech

This Panasonic VHS deck commercial from 1986 opens up with the Robert Palmer hit Addicted to Love from just a year before in 1985 — also the animated wiggles and zig zags are lifted from the Dire Straits video Money for Nothing (which was also produced in ’85 as well). Although what’s funny about video was that if you were well to do in the 80s you’d be watching MTV on cable which was still a slightly expensive treat back then. Although I would have my friends tape blocks of programming on VHS which I would then replay in my lower budget household. Read more…

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Leonardo’s Presentation: Could Dr. Who Have Saved Xerox?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 20, 2009 in Tech

I came across this commercial for the Xerox Publishing System from 1986 and it got me to thinking: It’s commonly accepted wisdom that Xerox did too little too late with the innovations that were generated at their PARC research facility (user interface, ethernet and laser printing) which is why Apple was able to have their breakthrough. Looking back on it that’s true, but I think the missing lesson is price point as much as speed to market. 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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Gene Roddenberry and the Lost Social Consciousness of Star Trek

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 26, 2008 in Star Trek

The above interview with Gene Roddenberry was from Good Morning America in 1986 (I believe that’s Joan Lunden with her big 80s hair asking the questions). Roddenberry came to my mind because he brought the series to life, but sadly was shoved to the side even during the original run of the series which as he points out wasn’t a success during its original run. In fact even after the movies brought the show back to life he was pushed over after the first film.

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