This ad assumes you know who the guy in the picture is and why he's being quoted. But the odds are fair you weren't around in 1984, so an explanation follows: yes, the actor shown was a key figure in the series advertised and did indeed perish before that night's episode could be filmed. The granddaddy of cop dramas, "Hill Street Blues" went for as much realism as the 1980's network board would allow--and though it's commonplace now, it was unusual for this time period. Your typical TV choices in 1984 were usually along these lines:

"The mythological female warriors called 'Amazons' resurface as a contemporary cult using sinister methods to elevate women to positions of power--including the Presidency. A 1984 TV-movie thriller."

Y'think this was some kind of subtle response from right-leaning TV executives toward the women's lib movement? ....Nah.

This shebang was one of many TV movies that capitalized on Americans' deepest Cold War fears; "The Day After" being the most famous of them. Anytime something scary is a slight possibility, you can be certain some network is going to pounce on it for the sake of more "filthy lucre." As far as TV movies go, these rank among the lowest....their exploitation of fear is crass and they don't age well, except in the case of nostalgia value, or something to laugh at twenty years after its release.

Mickey Spillane was not the name of the guy who came up with the "Mike Hammer" detective movies that this is spun from, he was the name of the lead actor. It must have been an honor to be so closely associated with a character that a network would put your name in the title instead of the creator's. And it must have been a real $@&% to find that same network cast somebody else in your role anyway!

Why'd I put this here? Sorry, move on.

Why do I get the feeling this episode was going to live in infamy for a while?

That's a young Heather Locklear up there. Some of the attention-getting gimmicks in these old ads demanded overdramatic images so fanciful that they could not be accurately rendered by real life props, and thus had to be drawn. Sometimes this method worked, and was pleasing to the eye. wasn't.

If they didn't say "San Francisco, 1989" or "Los Angeles, 1994" then this was a ripoff.

This time around, I'm stayin' at home, an' things are gonna get better....
Settlin' in, lovin' my wife, but then I got that letter....

Now each day my heart is gettin' biggerrrrr!

And also he's a ninja!

Now I really, REALLY have to see Hart to Hart.
And this too, from the same page:

I realize people stuck in that profession are going to have low standards, but seriously...THIS guy?

So "they'll climb highest mountain", will they? Did they think that just because this ad would only be seen by most people for only one week, they could save a few cents of ink and not include a conjunction?

It must have been on purpose, because it happened more often than you might think:



Mr.T seems too easy to base a roast on. This is lazy, Dean.

But I guess I shouldn't talk--it also seems too easy to make fun of this program. Does he turn into a car? Yes he does. Are they really the greatest crime fighters in all of America? ....Well, the ad wouldn't say so if they weren't.....

"Golly, Luke! How we gonna get her out of that little ball?"

Peter Parker: Oh gee, wow.
MJ Watson: "Oh gee wow"?

From the There's No Way They'd Ever Let Them Do This Today Department, Atlanta, Georgia, President A. Q. Waterhagen: an ad from the tobacco company explaining why secondhand smoke is not dangerous, using dubious "facts" as argument. These days, you only see this kind of truth-washing propaganda from the other side.

Finally, take a look at these two ads by competing networks for the same time slot.

ONE of these ads is for one of the most famous and well-directed suspense thrillers of all time.

The other is an ad for a cheesy cheap TV movie.

If you knew nothing about either, and had to pick based on these two ads....which one would you end up picking?
Be honest.


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