Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Remember When I Used to Post McDonalds Commercials?

McDonald's material used to be a mainstay here at the blog, but Mac Tonight aside, I haven't done too much the last year or so.  They've proven popular in the past, so let's give it a (sesame seed) roll!

For my first entry, I have just four words to say: "Quack quack waddle waddle!"

In this one, when the dad brings home dinner for everyone, it's his way of saying, "Your new babysitter is also your new second mommy.  Don't worry, your first mommy isn't going anywhere; we'll be one big happy family!"

Happy Meal flying saucers were awesome!

Finally, this clip proves that Beethoven was the first McDonalds jingle writer.

You deserve a break today!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: No Ordinary Family

It's time once again to focus on a forgotten/neglected/overlooked feast for the eyes and ears, as is proper for a Tuesday.  My selection today, I believe, certainly qualifies, even though it's a TV series that is technically still on the air--if only for one more week.

No Ordinary Family is an ABC network series starring Michael Chiklis (The Commish, The Shield) and Julie Benz (Desperate Housewives, Dexter) as Jim and Stephanie Powell, two earnest parents of teen daughter Daphne and son J.J.  As the series opens, the family is growing apart and in a state of malaise, until a trip to Brazil for Stephanie's scientific research job bestows super powers to the entire brood.  Jim gets super stength and invulnerability, Stephanie super speed, Daphne the ability to read minds, and J.J. becomes super smart. In a series about super heroes, however, there are bound to be super villians, who seem to come out of nowhere, until the mystery as to their origin becomes clearer as the season progresses.

Ratings for the season started out OK, at least well enough that ABC ordered a full 22-episode season early on.  However, tough competition from NCIS, American Idol, and The Biggest Loser wore the ratings down, and the season was shortened from 22 to 20 episodes.  Although there is no official word on the future of the series from ABC, signs all but confirm the show's demise.  Chiklis and Benz are already signed on to pilots for CBS (although they have the option to back out if Family is picked up), and the most recent first-run episode aired this past Saturday night at 10, a funeral knell if there ever was one for a show's cancellation.

I find it a shame that the series couldn't last beyond the first season.  Although the writing wasn't perfect (scripts sometimes took awkward turns to advance certain plot points), the quality really kicked into high gear the last couple of months, as viewers learned more about the conspiracy behind the source of the super powers.  I'm very curious to see what they could have done going forward.  Alas, it looks not to be.

Thanks to the magic of the Internet (don't tell me it's science, it's magic, people!), you can still catch some episodes of the series on ABC's Web site in preparation of the season (series?) finale next Tuesday, April 5th.  Please give it a try if you can.

For more overlooked A/V masterpieces, click here.  Thanks!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Incredible Hulk as Pitchman

Considering the Incredible Hulk is so, well, maladjusted, you'd think he wouldn't be the first choice for a commercial product endorser.  However, you would be wrong.  Although perhaps not in the same tier as Superman and Batman when it comes to commercial appearances, he's had his share of product plugging.

Here he is for an inflatable RC-controlled figure featuring his likeness.

And also for Kid Power sneakers.

The Hulkster seems especially favored in countries other than the US.  Here he is in a strange Spanish-language commercial for a cell phone company.  That is none other than the great Lou Ferrigno reprising the role that made him famous.  If anyone can tell me what country this aired in, please let me know in the comments section.

Here is a commercial for a Dutch-made candy.  Ironically, the punchline of this commercial has come true to life in the Hulk's original medium of comic books.  Comic geeks out there know what I mean.

Here's Lou again in a Canadian commercial for financial services company AGF.  Please forgive the long intro to this clip.

Finally, here's the Hulk in...oh sorry, wrong Hulk!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NBC's One to Grow On

I've decided this blog just isn't, well, educational enough.  I should impart some life lessons for you to reflect upon throughout the day.  I'll remedy that situation right now, with help from a series of lessons called One to Grow On.

One to Grow On was a series of short public service lessons that aired interstitionally during NBC's Saturday morning children's programs during the 80s, starring various NBC primetime actors.  Take a look.  Thanks!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: The Tortellis

Cheers remains one of the most beloved and popular TV sitcoms in history, even 20 years after it's departure from the first run airwaves.  It was immediately followed by Frasier, which aired an equal number of years on NBC to critical and viewer acclaim.  It's quite possibly the most successful spinoff TV series in history.

But it wasn't the first Cheers spinoff.

That designation belongs to The Tortellis, starring longtime character actor Dan Hedaya* as Nick Tortelli, the ex-husband of Cheers barmaid Carla.  The Tortellis chronicled Nick's life in Las Vegas, with his new bride, ditzy blonde Loretta, played by Jean Kasem.  To be honest, it wasn't a great series, and the audience agreed--it only lasted 13 episodes in the fall of 1987.  Still, it's notable for being a spinoff of a series as revered as Cheers and preceding an equally revered spinoff.  Not great, but certainly forgotten.

Here is the series pilot.  Thanks!

Be sure to check out other forgotten and overlooked movies and TV here.

*I actually met Dan Hedaya back in the fall of 1996 when I was an intern at a local TV station in Philadelphia.  He wasn't exactly Mr. Sociable!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Forgotten Film Extra: Hear My Song

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!  In honor of this day and my Irish heritage, I'm discussing a Forgotten Film extra, the 1991 movie Hear My Song.

The film revolves around a young Irish man named Mickey, who runs a nightclub featuring some questionable "talent," such as a singer named Frank Cinatra--yes, Cinatra with a "C" instead of an "S". (A nightclub employee asks Mickey, "Who's next--Bing Crosby with a K?")  When he almost loses his club and his longtime girlfriend (to whom he's been noncommittal), he leaves his town on a search for a big name act that can save his club and his relationship--real life Irish tenor Josef Locke, who disappeared decades before after being charged with tax evasion.  Will Mickey find the elusive Locke, and if so, will Locke agree to save Mickey's club, and in turn his life?

The film relies a lot on the stereotypes of Irish characters with quirks and hardcore drinking habits, but they are used more as a tribute to those qualties rather than a condemnation of them.  And if you're looking for a sober look at Irish life and politics, watch The Crying Game or In The Name of the Father instead.  This movie is pure froth, and delightful froth at that.  I highly recommend this fun, romantic, funny, and sentimental film.  Watch the red band (rated R!) trailer below.  Slainte!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Back in the day,* the makers of Crest toothpaste warned us Generation Xers against the dangers of not brushing our teeth, or at least the dangers of not using their product to do it, lest we fall prey to those monstrous molar marauders--THE CAVITY CREEPS!  See for yourself.  Remember the terror!  Remember the horror!  Remember the bicuspids!

Who knew the Cavity Creeps were pilots?

Looking back, I'm impressed by the character design used in these commercials.  It's tight and detailed, much like a dramatic comic strip or Classics Illustrated comic book, as opposed to a more "cartoony" style.

The Creeps, of course, are not to be confused with ABC's "Yuck Mouth."


*(the phrase "back in the day," unless otherwise indicated, refers to the late 70s/early 80s of my youth)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: Fatso

For this week's forgotten/overlooked/underappreciated A/V, I've chosen the 1980 Dom Deluise comedy vehicle Fatso.  Dom stars as an overweight Italian-American (what a stretch) who stuggles to win the battle of the bulge after the untimely death of this even heavier cousin at a young age.  After various bad starts and missed opportunties in his diet, he meets a girl for whom he becomes infatuated; the young woman is equally smitten with him.  Will his new relationship help or hurt his weight loss efforts?

The movie costars Anne Bancroft as his older, no-nonsense sister, who is equally supportive and demonstrative of Deluise in his dieting.  Bancroft is a major force of the film; she also wrote and directed it.

This movie appeared frequently on TV in the early 80s, and I just saw it on cable last year (it's still on my DVR).  I can sympathize with Dom's struggles--I just joined Weight Watchers last week, and I just came back from my first weigh-in after joining.  I lost 4 pounds!  What a great start!
Enjoy the film's trailer below.  Thanks!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: Thursday's Game

It's that time of the week again.  We take our usual Tuesday look at forgotten media on a movie about Thursday.

Thursday's Game stars Gene Wilder and Bob Newhart (an inspired pairing) as two buddies who play with other friends in a weekly game of poker, as they have for many years.  When a heated argument amongst the other friends permanently ends the weekly ritual, Wilder and Newhart decide to keep going out on Thursdays, telling their wives that they're still playing poker with their friends; heaven forbid they stay home with their wives **shudder**.  Will the boys get caught playing hookey from their home?  Even if they don't, what does it say about the state of their marriages that they'd go this far to preserve their night out?

The film costars Ellen Burstyn, Cloris Leachman, Nancy Walker, Valerie Harper, Norman Fell, and Rob Reiner.  The film was made in 1971, but didn't see the light of day until it aired as an ABC TV-movie in 1974.

The film is out of print (I'm not sure if it was ever released on DVD), so you can either look for a used VHS in the usual places...or view the film right here on the blog!  Courtesy of, which has many old and forgotten films, TV shows, and commercials.  Enjoy!

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Look Out, It's Mac Tonight!

Staying within the nostalgic commercial theme established this week, I've noticed it's been a really long time since I've posted McDonald's commercials, something that used to be a blog staple.  I'll jump back into that fray with a look at commercials featuring the infamous character known as "Mac Tonight."

Back in 1986, McDonald's decided to plug the restaurant chain's fare as a great choice for dinnertime/nighttime dining. Thus was born a series of commercials featuing a character with a moon-shaped head singing the praises of McDonald's food lounge lizard style, who became referred to by the populace as "Mac Tonight."  The name came from the use of the song "Mack The Knife" with new words suited for the ad campaign.  Quite a number of these commercials ran for a few years afterwards, but I only have a small amount featured here.

I've heard some people say they found the character a bit creepy, but I enjoyed the commercials.  Besides, is he that much creepier than a clown with flaming red hair and his giant purple blob of a friend?  See for yourself!

McDonalds Mac tonight
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Apparently Mac was a citizen of the world:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pepperidge Farm Remembers!

Wow, look at me, posting two days in a row.  Will wonders never cease?

Today I feature classic commercials for Pepperidge Farm, makers of treats such as Milano cookies (a favorite of my mother) and Goldfish crackers (a lifelong favorite of mine) as well as many others.  Pepperidge Farm's commercials featured an old-timey spokesman (played well by radio actor Parker Fennelly, a regualr on Fred Allen's program) who dressed like a 1920s grocer and spoke with a heavy New England accent to sell the company's image as curators of old-fashioned quality and taste (as well as the company's New England roots).  At least once in every commercial, Fennelly announced the company's famous slogan, "Pepperidge Farm Remembers."

Then again, perhaps Pepperidge Farm remembers too much...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday's Forgotten Films: The Last Action Hero

After taking the week off last week, I'm back with another film, this time the Arnold Schwartzenegger vehicle The Last Action Hero.

This movie was a big disappointment box office wise when it was released in 1993, partly due to poor reviews and also because it was released on the exact same day as the year's biggest hit--Jurassic Park.  I find this unfortunate, because I saw the film in the theaters that year and found it quite enjoyable.  Of course, I knew someone who worked at a theater at the time and got in for free, but I would have felt satisfied had I paid admission.

The film, about a preteen boy who receives a magical movie ticket that allows transportation between the movie world and the "real world," is quite the meta-film.  It constantly pokes fun at the ridiculousless of action film conventions, while at the same time falling back on them to move the story along, at least to a small extent.  The satire is playful rather than scathing, and lets the audience in on the fun.  The same can be said about Schwartzenegger in particular, as he does a fine job of lampooning his onscreen persona as he shows that he can laugh at himself and his body of work.

I'll admit that the film runs too long (it could have been shortened by a half hour and still have had plenty of story and action left), and you can tell that a large body of writers had their hands in the creative till, as the story moves from one wacky situation to another seemingly for no other reason than "just because,"  but those are not reasons to avoid the movie.  If you're willing to shut off your critical brain, relax, and enjoy the ride that is The Last Action Hero, I think you'll have a good time.

And what do you know?  Throught the courtesy of Sony's video site Crackle, you can watch the movie in the comfort of your own home for free.  Check it out here!