Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Unusual McDonald's Commercials

Let me confess--I'm fat. Not morbidly obese mind you, but I do have to make an effort to see my feet when I look down. One of the reasons for that--McDonald's. I'm addicted to the stuff. My favorite meal is the No. 2 Extra Value Meal: that's a Quarter Pounder, fries, and Coke.

I'm far from alone in my love for the chain. After all, "billions and billions" of burgers have been sold. Popularity is sustained in part through the chain's heavy and creative advertising, most notably through the use of Ronald McDonald and his friends (no wonder kids are fatter than ever). But as iconic as he is today, his debut years were very, well, weird.

See his first appearance here. Quite a different look and sound from the Ronald we know today. Everything about this first incarnation, his voice, look, and personality, was created by the first actor who plays him here--former Today Show weatherman Willard Scott!

Around 1970-1972, McDonald's expanded Ronald's mythology by creating not only friends for him, but an entire place for him, McDonaldland. These first series of commericals were very strange indeed! Then again, that may be because the characters and ideas were knock-offs of the style of the Kroft Brothers "H.R. PufnStuff." McDonald's approached the Krofts about having H.R. promote their product, but the Krofts said no. So the chain went ahead and copped their style, leading the Krofts to launch a successful lawsuit against McDonald's.

Take a look. Rip-off or not, these are some freaky commercials!

Finally, just from a couple of years ago, the Japanese subsidiary of McDonald's took a much more contemporary, yet still unorthodox, approach to advertising their food. Ronald never looked quite like this!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Soupy Sales Show

As mentioned previously, here is everything you'd want to know about The Soupy Sales Show--because you asked for it! Well actually, no one asked for it, but I'm giving it to you anyway.

Soupy was a nightclub comedian and radio host in various places, but he got his break hosting local and national versions of his children's TV show. The original ran throughout the 60s and was revived briefly in the late 70s (which is the version that I grew up with). Although aimed at children on the surface, the show clearly had an adult sense of self-awareness (note the frequent and uninhibited laughter from stagehands in several clips).

The following links will provide his story more clearly:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soupy_Sales

TV Party: http://www.tvparty.com/soupy.html

Soupy Sales on DVD: http://www.amazon.com/Soupy-Sales-Collection-Whole-Gang/dp/B000DZ95NK

Here is an entire episode from 1965:

Finally, here is Soupy in a commercial for the famed Gino's resaurants (Gino's--hmm. That could be a post in and of itself).

Ther's plenty more of Soupy on YouTube, just enter his name in the search field to find him. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

General Internet Weirdness

Sometimes while trolling the 'Net you come across things that almost defy description. Below are two such examples.

A coworker recently made me aware of this , um, interesting clip, a psychedelic edit of a slightly obscure Four Seasons hit from the late 60s, "Beggin'."

Next, I found this unusual clip courtesy of Internet legend Odd Todd, whose awesome site can be found in my links section. I highly recommend you visit. Please enjoy this clip from the 70s version of The Soupy Sales Show featuring guest star Alice Cooper. Perhaps for the benefit of you youngin's out there who don't know who Soupy Sales is, I'll give the show it's own post soon.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Raymond Briggs' "When the Wind Blows"

As promised from my post last month regarding author Raymond Briggs' book-turned-animated film The Snowman, here is more from Briggs, and it is another animated adaptation. When the Wind Blows is both charming and heartbreaking simultaneously, as it follows the efforts of a retired English couple to survive a nuclear holocaust according to the suggestions of the government. Such Cold War-era subject matter may seem dated--or maybe not.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Best of 2007

Hello everyone, and I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to post again. This is the longest I've gone without posting since my blog's inception. It's taken me longer than expected to get back in the swing of things after the holidays (technically, I'm still not completely there), but I want to get back on track.

Perhaps I'm too late to get into the "let's look back at the previous year" routine, as most of you have finished looking back and are moving forward into the new year. But if you would humor me, I'd appreciate it.

I love lists, especially best-of lists, and especially best-of-the-year lists. I'd like to hear yours. Unfortunately, I can't reciprocate, as I usually don't see/listen to/read enough stuff to warrant creating one myself. I think I've seen three movies in 2007: Spider-Man 3 (what a disappointment), I Now Pronouce You Chuck and Larry (it was OK), and License to Wed (don't ask). That's it!

As for music, my only purchase: Paul McCartney's Memory Almost Full, which I enjoyed quite a bit (almost as much as his 2005 release, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard).

And books--what are they?

I hope your exposure to what was new in 2007 was more expansive than mine. Let me know in the comments section. Also, don't limit your mentions to movies/music/books. You can include TV shows, Web sites, blogs (ahem), whatever you'd like. Thanks!