Month: July 2012

Vintage VHS Commercial Bonanza, Part 3 (Kal Kan, Diners Club, Miller Lite, Ashford & Simpson)

Vintage VHS Commercial Bonanza, Part 3 (Kal Kan, Diners Club, Miller Lite, Ashford & Simpson)

Retrotisements
The Von Ryan's Express of vintage 1982 TV commercials rolls on! This is the first half of the third ad break for the movie -- broadcast by WABC-TV on June 19, 1982 -- and it features spots for Kal Kan Mealtime, Diners Club, Miller Lite, and Ashford & Simpson. (Here are the first and second installments in case you missed them.) Of the four spots, my favorites are easily the Miller Lite and Ashford & Simpson one. The first is from Miller Lite's all-time great "Less Filling/Tastes Great" campaign that ran for many years and featured a host of sports legends. This one stars Ben Davidson, the great Oakland Raiders defensive lineman who also dabbled in film acting. He played Rexor, Thulsa Doom's second-in-command, in the 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger classic Conan the Barbari...
Music from the Worst Album Covers — Ken, By Request Only

Music from the Worst Album Covers — Ken, By Request Only

Album Cover of the Week, Music
While opinions vary as to what the worst album covers of all-time are, By Request Only invariably shows up on just about every top 10 list. To be honest I don't really see why. Sure, it's kind of cheesy and good for a cheap laugh -- but is it really bad? I don't think so, but I'm just one man. Regardless, I made it my mission to track down this album -- issued only under the mysterious name "Ken" -- and check it out. So here's what you need to know. Ken is actually Ken Snyder, and By Request Only is a fairly typical contemporary Christian music album from the mid '70s. That is to say it's basically traditional gospel infused with contemporary country and even a little bit of rhythm and blues. The first track, "He Loves Me So," gives you a good idea of what you're in for on the rest ...
Sunday Jazz: Let’s Talk About the PolCat Album

Sunday Jazz: Let’s Talk About the PolCat Album

Music, Sunday Jazz
I see at least half a dozen PR emails a day concerning albums and projects I have little interest in. So it figures that I missed the February release of PolCat, the debut album from a project featuring Chris Poland, one of my all-time favorite guitarists. The name, I'm certain, comes from Poland and tenor saxophonist Frank Catalano, who make up half of this astoundingly talented quartet. How I stumbled upon this album is not important -- I'm just glad I did. It's one of the freshest, most enjoyable releases of any genre I've heard this year, and hopefully points the way to more output from this group. I haven't heard much of anything from Catalano prior to this album, but his sax playing is agile and tuneful. Likewise, the rhythm section of bassist Sean O’Bryan Smith and drummer
Saturday Serials: “Eight Steps Down” (Batman 1943, Chapter 13)

Saturday Serials: “Eight Steps Down” (Batman 1943, Chapter 13)

Movies
And just like that, it's Saturday again, which can mean only one thing -- it's time for another edition of Saturday Serials, currently showing the 1943 Columbia Pictures Batman feature starring Lewis Wilson as the Caped Crusader. Today we look at the thirteenth chapter in our saga, "Eight Steps Down." After completely failing to rescue Linda Page in the last chapter, Batman does some legit detective work to track her down. I love the quaintness of Batman having to stop by a call box on the street to talk to the police. Ah, simpler days. We also get a lesson in etiquette, as Daka informs Linda that you should address people from Japan as "Nipponese" and not "Jap." So what does that "Eight Steps Down" mean anyway? Well I'm not sure, even after watching this. But I can say that the c...
Retrotisements — 1960 Ford Motor Company New Car Lineup

Retrotisements — 1960 Ford Motor Company New Car Lineup

Featured Posts, Retrotisements
Print advertisements, brochures, and TV commercials help give us a glimpse into the automotive past. Today’s ad collection shines a spotlight on the 1960 Ford Motor Company domestic American car lineup, which featured four main models — the brand-new, compact Falcon, full-size Fairlane and Galaxie, and the second-generation, luxury Thunderbird -- as well as the usual assortment of wagons and trucks. 1960 was a fairly significant year for Ford in terms of change. On the consumer front, the recently introduced Galaxie was completely remodeled, while the Falcon made its debut. The Falcon represented Ford's entry into the compact car market, and its development was spearheaded by company president Robert S. McNamara -- who in 1961 became United States Secretary of Defense under Presiden
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 5 — 1950s Family Nuclear Fallout Shelter

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 5 — 1950s Family Nuclear Fallout Shelter

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Here's a totally fascinating and somewhat disturbing image from the early days of the Atomic Age and the Cold War (click for a larger copy). As you might be able to guess, this is a family nuclear fallout shelter, made out of steel and full of all the home comforts of 1950.  I spot two board games -- Life and Chutes & Ladders, a Reader's Digest book, a box of macaroni dinner, a block of Velveeta, some Ajax cleaner, and assorted other sundries. Why, in the event the Soviet Union ever drops the Big One I would expect to live comfortably in this thing for at least a week before going insane. (Source -- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center) Related articles July 16, 1945: Trinity Blast Opens Atomic Age (wired.com) Dinosaurs of the Atomic Age! (
A Parent Reviews Children’s Television: Bubble Guppies

A Parent Reviews Children’s Television: Bubble Guppies

TV & Radio
My son likes to watch kids' shows on TV, which means I have to watch kids' shows on TV. I've had plenty of time to form opinions on these shows, and now you get to read them. Today: Bubble Guppies. (Previous entry: Thomas & Friends) Some kids' shows are tolerable. You can get through them but wouldn't ever seek them out on your own. Others are painful to watch (I'm looking at you, Dora the Explorer). You suffer through because you love your children. And some are enjoyable in their own right. You gladly watch them with your kids, and you may even tune in after they've gone to sleep for the night. I think that out of all the shows I get to (have to) watch because of my son, Nick Jr.'s Bubble Guppies is my current favorite. It's a cousin of sorts of another Nick Jr. show, Th
Vintage VHS Commercial Bonanza, Part 2 (Kool-Aid, Eastern Airlines, and More!)

Vintage VHS Commercial Bonanza, Part 2 (Kool-Aid, Eastern Airlines, and More!)

Retrotisements
Following up on the last installment, here's another group of vintage TV ads from a June 19/20, 1982 recording of Von Ryan's Express on WABC-7. This is the second commercial break, and it contains spots for Kool-Aid, Eastern Airlines (featuring a pre-Webster Emmanuel Lewis), Mobil Detergent Gasoline, and 9 Lives featuring Morris. If you want to see more awesome retro commercials, subscribe to my YouTube channel now! Related articles Vintage VHS Commercial Bonanza, Part 1 (grayflannelsuit.net)
Saturday Serials: “Embers of Evil” (Batman 1943, Chapter 12)

Saturday Serials: “Embers of Evil” (Batman 1943, Chapter 12)

Movies
We're so close! After this week, there are only three chapters left in the 1943 Batman serial film! Sadly, Daka's henchmen still haven't figured out that blowing up a building is a less than effective way to kill Batman and Robin. That's lucky for us I suppose, since otherwise this series would've ended weeks ago. One of the shortcomings of the serial format is fairly clear to me now. There really are only so many ways to end each segment with a cliffhanger putting the hero's life in danger. This is at least the second or third time Batman's been trapped in a burning building or wreck in this series. It does start to feel worn out at a certain point. I don't know, maybe it felt fresher 70 years ago. Related articles Saturday Serials: "A Nipponese Trap" (Batman 1943, Chapter