My first computer and game console was the Commodore 64. I still remember those halcyon days with the hulking keyboard/computer assembly connected to the back of the beautiful wooden console television we got as a hand-me-down when my grandparents upgraded theirs to a new Curtis Mathes from the company store in Austell. I can close my eyes and instantly be transported back to the late-1980s, sitting crosslegged in the living room floor, turning the television dial to channel 3 with a satisfying “kaCHUNK” giving way to the unbearable roar of analog snow. With a flip of the switch from “TV” to “GAME” on the small black box dangling from the antenna connection, the snow gave way to the low hum that an old CRT emits when forced to display a static image–the one that changes pitch slightly depending on the color displayed. I had Frogger on cassette tape and it took what seemed–to a child, anyway–to be hours to load, but it was all worth it when I finally managed to beat the preset high score!
The Commodore 64 taught me more about electronics than any single device and begat a lifelong affinity for computers, games, programming, production, and tinkering that persists to this day. Without the Commodore 64, I may never have desired a world beyond Cobb County, Georgia. The gentleman in the video–microcomputing heavyweight Jim Butterfield who, let’s face it, is nearly comical in his blasé approach to the presentation (“It’s a pretty good computer”)–walks us through the entire setup and use of the C64 in a 2-hour-long celebration of the classic machine.
“In here we have the Commodore 64 User’s Guide; that’s a very useful book. You’ll need that. Don’t throw it away.”
Yes, sir, Mr. Butterfield. Yes, sir.
Teaser advert for Atlanta, Georgia’s 11 Alive News broadcast from 1988. Anti-abortion demonstrators in the state capitol, key witness testifies in child abuse case, and whales trapped in arctic ice break through to freedom.
PSA television spot from the American Heart Association.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (Jane Seymour) pleads with the public in this PSA to not discriminate against those who might be diagnosed with AIDS.
Remember once upon a time, back before Netflix and Crunchyroll, before Facebook and Wikipedia, back when there were few ways to find out about anime beyond obscure internet fora or trawling your local video store?
When I was a kid, it was a difficult–and expensive–proposition to find new anime. In west Cobb county, we didn’t have access to a hearty VHS sharing community, and the nearest Japanese shops were 30+ miles away in Gwinnett County. We did, however, have Hollywood Video on Dallas Highway and Suncoast Motion Picture Company at Town Center Mall!
Hollywood Video did manage to have a decent selection of anime for a video store in suburban Georgia in the 1990s–Macross, Fist of the North Star, and Ranma 1/2 to name but a few. Mostly older titles at the time, but it was a great introduction to the classics. Suncoast, being a retail store, stocked the latest titles being released by Bandai and Pioneer–they just happened to cost around $25 per VHS tape (a veritable fortune, considering only 2 episodes per tape). A series might cost someone upwards of $150, and you have no way to preview it!
To help sell these outrageously priced VHS tapes, Suncoast occasionally published a catalogue of upcoming titles to generate buzz. I grabbed one of these one afternoon while I was at the mall and, for some reason, held onto it these last 17 years or so. Obviously, I’ve seen a few of these titles in the intervening years, but I thought it fun to use it as a springboard to get back into anime as I haven’t really paid much attention to it since giant robots faded into obscurity. Keep an eye on this space; I’ll review each of these titles as I watch them and maybe get a little insight and reminisce about a bygone era in animation.
Clip of the ending segments of the OG Arsenio Hall Show showing the “funky dancing paiges”, Continental Airlines credit, and signoff: “I’ll see you in 23 hours….”
Man, I miss that show!
1988 closing credits from “As The World Turns” including the advertisement that put the “soap” in “soap opera”, Dan Region’s invitation for the next episode, and the Procter & Gamble Productions ident. I don’t know about you, but that theme song really sticks out in my memory. My mom watched ATWT religiously (hence the VHS recording), so this sequence conjures a weird nostalgia for me. A nostalgia for simpler times, console televisions, and syndicated cartoons.
Remember when you had to pay for long-distance telephone service?
One of AT&T’s “The Right Choice” series of advertisements from the mid-late 1980s. This one features then-director of market management Nina Aversano explaining why AT&T is the best market choice for long-distance telephone service in the deregulation era.
Nobody likes to waste money at the laundry. Thanks to 1st American Rental, nobody has to! Get a brand-new Magic Chef washer from just $16.95 a week!
15 second advert clip from TBS advertising the evening movie: 2010: The Year We Made Contact