Every so often I get a VHS urge; I have boxes of old VHS video tapes that I’ve gotten from relatives, exes, rummage sales, and who-knows-where. Many have no labels, and many aren’t what the label says, so I put them in my VCR and fast-forward to see if there’s anything interesting. I’m always surprised at the obscure things that are already on YouTube, but for the most part I’m digitizing interesting and iconic commercials and posting them on my YouTube channel. These two caught my eye — see if you can see what they’ve got in common:
These both aired in different slots during a 1992 episode of Jeopardy! — that time period was during the oil bust, but Williston was still the “big city” to a lot of communities in the Bakken and eastern Montana.
Apparently, though, it was still small enough that the best way to tell customers how to find you is based on the Pizza Hut’s location. Of the two, I would have guessed furniture would outlive the fickle, ever-changing world of communications, but while Kotana is still around selling radios — still right behind the Pizza Hut! — Thrift House Furniture is no longer on the map; I Keating Furniture looks like they’re the current furniture shop two blocks west of Pizza Hut. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
There’s few things that make me go, “What’s that – I need one!” than when I saw this guy:
Three wheels, a space-age half-steering wheel, and a grill off a muscle car?
This is the Probe Jr., a pedal car made from the late 1960s to early 1970s. I can’t imagine it’d be very stable, being so narrow and on three wheels, but crashing is just the fun of it, right? That pressed-steel body will absorb most of the impact.
Overall, they seem pretty rare — most discussion on the internet starts with, “I found this, what the heck is it?” and there’s a few restored that show up on eBay and Etsy from time to time.
The 1980s were a golden time for cartoons: they came on at 6am, ran until you had to go to school, then as soon as you walked through the door after school, more cartoons until dinner. At least it was that way on KVRR, the UHF station that aired Fox affiliate shows in the evening but the rest of the day was a cornucopia of syndicated content.
KVRR was so devoted to children’s programming they even enlist the help of this guy: Vorr-Trexx the Defender:
For the life of me, I don’t remember the dude, who looks like he would have a fine career in pro wrestling if he hadn’t devoted his life to cartoons and other cartoon-like TV programming. He was so awesome he did in-person appearances when necessary, as documented in these three spots I found on an ancient video tape:
I hope he was well-compensated for this role; the lives of children were at stake! Or, at least it kept us out of our parents’ hair for a while, which is almost as important.
Culture Clash Records in Toledo, OH, was nearly out of business due to road construction, when the owner decided to give their roof an upgrade: he took hundreds of record albums, climbed a ladder, and screwed them into his roof:The owner says the albums immediately started melting and warping in the sun, and he loved it.
Yesterday we went to our first rummage sales of the season, then hit the thrift shops to spend the last of what cash we still had in our pockets. At the Moorhead Thrift Shop I ran across a few choice albums, including this one:
Looks like we’ve encountered a glitch in the Matrix: this young lady is holding the album…that she’s on the cover of, holding the album cover that she’s on. It goes on FOREVER!
This album also caught my eye because of the weird framing in the image: the woman’s head is really low for a ‘portrait’ — there’s an awful lot of ceiling in the picture. That’s intentional: the album is a promo for Gold Bond Ceiling Tile, as a way of selling acoustic tiles to audiophiles that live in echoy homes. I couldn’t find anything else about this product in particular, presumably because National Gypsum, the maker of Gold Bond tiles, was more interested in selling albums — heck, their advertisements focus more on this album than their product .
Ah, the cutthroat world of dog launderers. From what I can tell, this “Billy and Betty Adventure” from the April 1940 issue of True Story magazine involved a pint-sized mob extortion, probably laundering dogs used during cocaine transactions. You know, you sell a bunch of coke, get a truckload of dogs, but you can’t just spend those dogs, otherwise people will be able to track the dope back to you. So, you blackmail Billy and Betty into laundering your dogs, which clears the trail and keeps the DEA off your back. Sounds legit? Yeah, I should’ve just read the story.
Starting in the late Seventies, public access cable television in New York experienced Stairway to Stardom, a reality-TV program at its finest. People wishing to make a stab at television stardom could write in, schedule themselves to appear, pay an appearance fee, and then show up in living rooms all across Staten Island.
It’s as if American Idol auditions left out all the super-talented people and the mentally ill hopefuls, and only accepted people with moderate talent and extreme enthusiasm. (Via.)