Monday, February 9, 2015

Low Rent Cable Commercial Memories

It's hard to believe that I was so impressed with cable back in the 80s.  We only had about thirty channels, compared to today's hundreds, and most of them were full of bad World War II movies and syndicated reruns.  (It's no wonder MTV had a leg up, since they had outsiders paying all the money to create the content.)  The commercials on cable were also suitably low rent, full of all kinds of weird gadgets, doo-hickeys, and music compilations all magically priced at $19.99 plus $4.95 shipping and handling.  Many of those commercials were more memorable than the stuff I was watching at the time.  Here's a sampling.

A friend posting the link to Freedom Rock on Facebook set off this blog post.  I grew up in such an isolated place that standard classic rock music wasn't that easy to come by anymore in the late 80s-early 90s, and so this commercial's music intrigued me, even if I spent most of my time laughing hysterically at the burnout hippie characters promoting it.  Their counterculture vibe also seemed strange when compared to the album's patriotic cover motif.

Not only did cable let you buy music that you couldn't get in stores, it also sold cleaning products with miraculous powers.  If the commercials were to be believed, Didi Seven had magical qualities that no stain could ever stand up to.  I wondered if this stuff was made out of hydrochloric acid or something.

Without Zamfir, how would I ever have known about the sublime beauty of the pan flute?


Aw, Sy Sperling.  As a child of Nebraska his Nuu Yawk accent greatly amused me, as did the fact that his miracle hair grow product had its own newsletter.  Remember, he's not just the president, he's also a client.  I'm sure that gave a lot of balding men great confidence in the product.

Before Alfonso Ribeiro was Carlton, he was a break-dancing machine.  Not only did you get an instructional book and double-lp dance music compilation with your order, but a sweet breakin' pad too.  I have to admit I found this product rather tempting.

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