George Lucas once said he wished he could track
down every single copy of the Star Wars Holiday Special and smash
it to pieces with a sledgehammer. Thanks to the easy breezy
modern data transfers of today, that task just got a lot harder.
A typical YouTube search turns up fifty different tapings of the
special. Thousands, maybe millions, are watching the horror at
any given time around the world. That's a lot of hard drives to
smash, George -- better get busy. And honestly, your time would
be better spent doing that than whatever you're working on.
To avoid Lucas's wrath, why don't we focus on
the Star Wars Holiday Special advertising today? It's
just as bad, just as perversely amusing, and pure-70's-insane.
When you touch each picture, it will magically come to life! To
protect your eyes, I've applied a special filter to the picture
that makes it distorted, pixelated and out of sync. Yeah, that's it....a special filter.
The first company to sponsor this
abomination was General Motors -- their first bad
decision of many. This ad is typical of the kind GM ran
for many years, profiling someone who worked there. It
was basically a tactic of putting a human face on the
company and saying "GM IS FULL OF PEOPLE! PLEASE
A robot that follows pen lines? It's
awesome! They didn't sell the Trailtracker anymore when I
was growing up. And why not? That's a cool gizmo. It
follows straight lines! Curved lines! EVEN WAVY!
I would have wanted one, and so would have every other
kid I knew. I think I want one now.
"YOU OOWWWE ME! AWWW-CHIE
YEEEAAARGH SCREEEEECH SCREEEEECH!!"
"Aw yeah? Let me tell you something Edith meathead
chomp cigar hate minorities flush toilet!"
Those weren't the days.
Where did all those pills go? 73% of
the OTC products mentioned here are either no longer in
production or just don't advertise. Are they recycled
under new names, like when "Ecto-Cooler" became
This is something you definitely
don't see today, mostly because it's so blasted cheesy.
It's the faux-patriotic Union Label song! "There
used to be more of us in the International Ladies Worker
Garment Union," says....a man.
I didn't know what this was
advertising at first because the first scene depicts a
couple giving each other the same....ceramic misshapen
donuts. Then a man who looks like he's way too old to get
a doll of Snoopy for Christmas gets a doll of Snoopy for
Christmas. But the donuts and the Snoopy doll are
actually phones! If you're thinking about the gift of a
telephone, make sure it's a weird one. And look for the
Choosy Mas Choose
Bell! Because they didn't have a choice!
In this commercial, Eeyore lectures us
about how delicious food is also often bad for you.
EXCEPT for Sugar-Free A&W Root Beer, which can extend
your life by a full decade. It's foamy!
Only one product is big and flaky
enough to satisfy that pair of legs....Hungry Jack
A CBS Cold War Newsbreak. Soviet
president Brezhnev admitted that day his country had once
tested a Neutron Bomb, but never put it into production.
As she explains, an N-Bomb kills people but leaves
buildings standing, which saves a fortune on rebuilding
costs once you invade and take over. They also caught a
young Russian spy selling American secrets. And a highly
lethal bomb code-named the CONTAC was tested at Los
Alamos. It splits in the center and drops hundreds of
little colored balls onto unsuspecting Commies. And
that's the way it is.
"HEY CBS!! WHAT'S COMIN'
ON??" It's some kind of 50's-ish TV special. There
was a lot of 50's nostalgia material produced in the 70's
and 80's -- naturally because the humans in charge grew
up during that period. They tried to leech off the
explosive popularity of the Grease musical by setting
this ad to the beat of "You're the one that I want,
hoo hoo hoo."
McDonaldland Mugs are a mugful of fun!
Add to your kitchen cabinet the classy glassy elegance of
Ronald McDonald and his friends, but only for a limited
time, and only in 1978! The Captain Crook mug was
available that week. Whoever that character was, he
vanished by 1987.
"This is TOBOR, the Telesonic
Robot, Batteries Not Included. It does four things under
the command of a remote: it goes forward, it circles,
it...uh, circles again, and it magnetically picks up a
little box, which has nothing to do with the remote but
I'm listing it as a function anyway. I have some extra
time, so I'll just mention TOBOR is ROBOT spelled
backwards, in case you didn't know. But now you do. Buy
No blush brush brushes blushier than
Revlon's blush brush. You can blush brush your cheeks
'til they blush brashly. You can blush brush your
shoulders, you can blush brush your cleavage, you can
blush anywhere! HSUBL is BLUSH spelled backwards!
My....goodness. There are sometimes
ads that have to hock an embarrassing product which
figure, "why even try to disguise what this
is?" So they go for broke and take the uncomfortable
feeling as far as they can. I would say they should have
thought of the multitudes of children watching that
night, but the part with the Wookiee watching the erotic
video had already aired, and that was WAY more
McDonalds has tried to initiate a lot
of trends, and mostly failed. They really wanted this
crazy Egg McMuffin song to catch on. There was also a
period in the 80's when they wanted everybody to start
doing a dance called "The Arch" where you
hoisted your hands over your head in a circle and started
jumping. Recently, they've wanted us to believe they're
healthy, urban-hip, or both. Now, according to a "60
Minutes" story, they're sponsoring experiments to
invent a mind-reading machine, which is beginning to
achieve some success. They won't tolerate our free will
for much longer.
Does every single thing have to be
sold with a song? Half these ads are set to a corny
backwoods tune. For the Milk Farmers of America, it
wouldn't end with the 70's. Milk ads have been tragically unhip for
ages. They always stodgically emphasized the healthy
aspects of the product, or showed somebody craving milk
at a time of day when no one ever craves milk.
It wasn't until the landmark genius "Got
Milk" campaign that they finally got it right.
People want milk with cookies. They want milk with
breakfast. You show me a guy whimpering "aaron
burr" because he can't wash down his meal, and I can
relate. You show me a singing teenager in a white-man
afro plucking a milk carton out of a convenience store
rack and gushing it down right there, and...I can't say
I've been there, farmers.
I've skipped a few commercials that
didn't inspire any comments. I don't have anything to say
about this one either, but I'm including it anyway,
because it's the Animal House trailer. Yes, the
grandmother of all frat comedies was playing around this
"It's very therapeutic,"
claims this ad for FTD Flowers. But if you were stuck in
a hospital and a stranger came into your room dressed
like that, how would you react?
Ugh, lady, PLEASE don't talk to us
about the underwear you used to buy for your children.
This was before the Mute button became widespread! It's a
wonder that, as a whole, this two hours of television
didn't kill Star Wars Mania dead before ESB could even be
made. They got lucky.
There were a TON of undergarment ads
during the Star Wars Holiday Special. And by TON I mean
NOT. Because NOT is TON spelled backwards. After more
pantyhose, there was an ad depicting stinky diapers. All
the bases were covered.
The final ad is for Star Wars toys and
narrated by C3PO. They waited clear until the very end to
make their pitch, which wasn't the wisest of decisions. I
calculate the odds of the average child successfully
navigating all those boring songs and getting to this
point at approximately 150,000,000 to one. It's a shame. That
remote-controlled R2-D2 looks a lot better than TOBOR, to
The FINAL final ad is for wine, but the toys
make a better ending point than that, OR than Carrie Fisher
slurring out lyrics to the Star Wars theme. Until next time, have
a meeeeerry Life Day, all of you.