This year, due to the Super Bowl being set very late and the Olympics being set very early, the two events are about to intersect -- and the same network is showing both! To honor this freaky event, I decided to unearth the last time the Super Bowl cris-crossed with the Olympics -- and found out that's actually never happened before. The closest I can get is 1992, when CBS had the rights to show the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, but they were separated by a couple weeks...and I already did that one.
So heck with it -- let's do 1987.
The Broncos faced the Giants in Super Bowl XXI. The National Anthem was sung by Neil Diamond, and I love the expression on this football jock's face as he's forced to watch it:
He's just not feelin' this guy.
|We're not going to be
looking at the Bowls of the 80s very often. What we've
come to expect from the Super Bowl -- a bunch of loud ads
and a musical superstar at halftime -- didn't truly
become tradition until the early 90s. The 1980s Bowls are
blander in comparison, with a lot of "Andrea Giles,
Sinus Sufferer" moments.
Less movie trailers and more investment firms. You'll be seeing the Merrill Lynch bull several times...this first one is some kind of ripoff from a famous Coke ad, but instead of "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" it's using rewritten lyrics set to the theme from the Bond picture "For Your Eyes Only." It's all over the place.
This guy coming out of a suitcase was a common sight from now through the mid-90s, selling a series of motels that all had the same logo but different names. They would later add a fourth variant, "Sleep."
|You can always tell when a movie
trailer was made by its style...they all seem to do the
same thing at the same time. These days it's "take a
peppy song and play a slow melancholy version of
it." Before that it was "make a loud
BRAUUUUMMMMM noise between fade-outs." Much, much
earlier, it was "make grandiose claims about the
movie with big captions that say how amazing your movie
is," and that's the kind of trailer McDonalds is
It was not contemporary at all....movie trailers of the 1980s were transitioning between "a narrator that gives away the whole movie" and "the whole movie is given away without a narrator at all."
|Sorry, no Bud Bowl yet. It wouldn't be
long before beer commercials would be some of the best in
the Bowl, but Bud's offerings of '87 were nothing worth
Every now and then, though, you can catch glimpses of what the Super Bowl was turning into. This Foot Locker ad is the kind of expensive thing that would be commonplace in just a few short years. It's interesting to see the kind of effects they would try to pull off without being able to use computers.
And speaking of computers, I hope that Tandy ad didn't convince anybody to buy one.
|Okay, I have to get a screenshot of
I also love how they don't explain who that cackling, hand-rubbing guy is at all. Not even an explanation as to why he'd be the subject of a movie.
|Coke and Pepsi became mainstays of the Bowl as the Cola Wars went nuclear, but this year they ceded the race to some also-rans. Slice is actually owned by Pepsi (as the fine print admits)...why Slice and not Pepsi?|
|This is the driest break yet. How am I supposed to work with material like this? Pills, investment companies, whatever a "Contel" was...Heston just ain't sellin' it. For the love of Pete, somebody throw in a talking donkey or a burping frog.|
|We already saw this spot in the 1986 Macy's Parade review, and the point I made there still stands. Why on Earth would you serve a toddler food with a tray in the shape of something he would be most likely to throw? Who in their right mind would put WHEELS on a dinner plate in the first place? This fictional mother deserves her carpet stains.|
|This Sly Stallone movie is so
over-the-top, they literally had to name it that!
Imagine products as basic as milk and cheese getting Super Bowl spots today (no, I didn't mean you guys, stay away from me with those blunt weapons of yours).
|Here's RC Cola in what was probably their only shot at a Super Bowl ad -- the standards were low enough to let them in. And even then, they had to acknowledge their lower-rung status with a "hey, some people like RC, doesn't make them weird" message.|
|No matter how optimistically McDonalds tries to frame
it, it'll always be depressing to see an old man working
there. I don't think this was a Super Bowl original
either -- it might've turned up during Macy's.
Cut from this break is a re-airing of the Seiko ad; I figured you didn't want to see it twice. (Repeats in the second quarter?? That's dire...)
|Halftime was your typical 1980s
"Hooray For Everything" spectacle. They said
the subject was Hollywood, but it could have been about
anything; 95% of it was people in costumes marching in
patterns around the field. The most interesting moment by
far was the very beginning, in which Snow White and
George Burns were for some reason paired together to
introduce the show.
This one was locally taped, but I had to wait quite a while to find that out -- CBS didn't let local stations have any breaks to themselves until halftime. Smiths Home Furnishings, an unavoidable part of daytime television in the Portland area in the 80s and 90s, landed one of the precious few spots, but I have to mention the regional Toyota ad with John Madden, as the man just recently left us. He also pulled co-host duties for this entire game. We'll miss you, John.
|This is one of those paragraphs I'm
going to have to correct later once a reader helps me
out. This Coke ad (yes, finally a major soft drink brand)
stars someone who is heavily implied to be one of the
Bond actors, but I can't tell which one because I'm
terrible with faces and the only Bond movies I've seen
are the Daniel Craig ones. To me it looks like Pierce
Brosnan, but he didn't get to be Bond until 1995! Who is
I've also never heard of
this Sheraton hotel jingle, but the ad claims it is so
iconic that anyone can play it.
|If you don't like seeing lonely dogs
in the pouring rain, you probably won't feel compelled to
buy Goodyear tires.
Also, this couple has a very weird bathroom. I initially assumed it was the shower facilities of a locker room because...wouldn't you?
|So Edison didn't really invent the light bulb per se, or at least by himself...he led a team of researchers who experimented with dozens of filaments until they found one that could sustain a glow in a vacuum for a long enough period of time. You might have known that already. But did you know he did it because he misunderstood his friend's request for a Bud Light?|
|Sorry the picture is so jumpy in this
one; this is the problem with digitizing tapes. The
auto-tracking is rarely reliable, and you can't be there all
the time to manually adjust the entire thing.
You may have heard that Superman first appeared in a Super Bowl ad in 1998....so how can he show up earlier? Well, think about it...he didn't! Clark never changes into Superman during this spot.
|I don't know why a bunch of kids are dancing with a giant robot to 50s doo-wop, but it's the first truly interesting thing that has happened this entire game, so even though it makes no sense, I'll take it.|
|See, life doesn't just suck for dogs
in Goodyear ads...people don't have it any easier either!
And they're also stuck in the pouring rain. I don't care
if they technically have happy endings -- this campaign
just doesn't work.
No, I'm not a fan of "sad" ads which is why I've disliked the recent trend of Bowl ads that deliberately go for tears.
|Okay, now I'm happy again -- they're
using a ninja to advertise a motorcycle. That makes no
sense either but I'm not choosy.
One more break left. I'm expecting it to be about an investment banker in a brown suit.
|No...wait! Who's that in
the limo? Could it be.....IT IS!
We're saved! IT'S SPUDS! IT'S SPUDS! OH HECK YES! FINALLY! I've never been so happy to see a dog with a weird spot on its face!
So Spuds Mackenzie was invented by early 1987? WHERE HAS HE BEEN THIS ENTIRE GAME? We needed him badly!
The guy who isn't a dog is Joe Isuzu, a pitchman famous for telling whoppers. It's never been easier to sell lies to people, so if Joe came back today, he could rule the world.
Don't worry -- we won't return
to the 80s for a while. Next time, I promise to cover a more
interesting year than this one. If you have any in particular
you'd like to see, let me know.
I ship them now.
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