Sunday, February 22, 2009

Old UCC Commercial

I found this ancient commercial on YouTube. As you know, the United Church of Christ has been publicizing their "All The People" campaign, celebrating its status as an inclusive church where all are welcome. However, in the 1970's, the UCC wasn't quite as market-savvy as illustrated by this kiddie commercial that ran in many local avails that weren't already taken up by spots for Lite-Brite. The animation style probably inspired those Parker and Stone fellers to do their own version... ya think? Anyway here's the spot.

Aw, here's Lite Brite. They bought time. See the comments for a nice theory on who the voiceover for this spot is.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

There's Trouble In ... Boston?

Some Boston University students performing the opening number to "The Music Man" on the T.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Globetrotters Then And Now

I grew up watching the Harlem Globetrotters during their golden era in the 1970's. Back then, it seemed the Globies were everywhere, including Saturday Mornings when they headlined no less than three different shows.

Happily, the 2009 Globetrotters, who appeared at the Izod Center today, may be different players, but they are the same in the two most important ways - their basketball skills and their wonderful regard for our children. Some of the routines are exactly the same as performed by Meadowlark and the rest of the 70s gang, but that's OK. I had a great time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Frank Buxton On The Web

Mark Evanier so graciously pointed out that Frank Buxton, closest thing we have today to a modern-day renaissance man, now has his own website. Pursuant to this website, Frank Buxton is most notably the voice of Batfink.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Shea Stadium Almost Totally Gone

Construction crews continue the dismantling of Shea Stadium. In photos taken yesterday, you can see that there is only a small section of the old ballpark still standing, and lots of rubble yet to be carted away before the business of creating the new parking lot can begin. Meanwhile, the Atlas Van Lines truck took the Mets equipment away to the spring training headquarters, in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Pitchers and catchers report this week! Are you ready for some baseball?

UPDATE: Overhead pictures from Tom Kaminski again help make the scene complete.

UPDATE #2: All gone! (via No No-Hitters)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

A Trip To The City

Tracy and I spent a wonderful evening in New York, where I got to use my birthday present from her: a ticket to see the musical "Jersey Boys", about the formation and stardom of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The music was great. Jarrod Spector played Frankie and did a great job replicating his voice.

I don't talk too much about trains or buses on my blogs any more, but Tracy was very thrilled to ride on NJ Transit's new bi-level rail cars. I don't think she was too impressed with the run-of-the-mill MCI D4500 buses we rode into the city last time. But she enjoyed the way the new cars rode. Frankly I'm glad those old Bombardier cars that smacked of the 1970's are gone.

PATH equipment - desperately in need of an upgrade! When were those cars made, anyway? The 60's?

Get Out Your Dr. Martin's Dyes...

...time for a lecture on who colored the Marvel comics of the 1950's and 1960's. Mark Evanier reveals him to be the veteran Archie comics artist Stan Goldberg.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


You know the rules... now let's get to the spots!


First off, NBC, could we please get the virtual down markers the hell off the field? It does not add to my enhancement of the game.

Break 1 - 6:39 p.m. (all times Eastern)

Bud Light "Meeting": No beer at meetings. "We need ideas," they say. Amen to that. C

Sony "Angels & Demons": Not rated, film ad

Audi "Hot Cars": Automatic F (Do Not Attempt)

Break 2 - 6:43 p.m.

Pepsi "Forever Young": It's Bob Dylan! And lots of old footage. Bruce Lee. Lots of icons in this ad. Now here's reimagining the Dylan song. Gumby, Shrek, Blues Brothers. Lots of icons. Flag waving. Lots of icons. Easily the best spot so far. B

Doritos "Contest Winner": To get Doritos, break open a vending machine. Hmmm... I think you just saved yourself a million dollars. C

UPDATE: Pay the dudes, Doritos.

Break 3 - 6:51 p.m.

Bud Light "Conan": Conan O'Brien says he doesn't do commercials. (So what's he doing in this one?) He's going to do one for Sweden for Bud Light. Of course, this is the kind of stuff Conan's fans go for. B

Sony "Year One": Movie ad, not rated

Toyota "Venza": And this is the reason why you can't buy a 2009 Solara. C

Break 4 - 7:01 p.m. (END 1st QUARTER)

Bridgestone "Mr Potato Head": Two potato heads are riding along, and have to stop short. Mrs. Potato Head loses her lips, then changes her eyes to angrier ones. Great stuff! A

Universal "Fast and the Furious": Not rated, movie ad

Castrol Edge "Monkeys": What's with the chimps? That's what I want to know. I thought we were done with simians! D

Break 5 - 7:05 p.m.

Universal "Land of the Lost": Not rated, movie ad

Doritos "Runner Up": Crunching causes women to lose their clothes and cops to disappear. More monkeys. Better than the "winning" ad! B

Go Daddy "College Dudes": Danica Patrick again, with college guys. She's taking a shower, of all things. You need to go to the website to see the end of this. We will do that later and see. Incomplete

Update: The rest of the spot, which clocks in at 1:46, merits this a B grade. This was actually quite an entertaining spot, and not as bawdy as Go Daddy would have you believe.

Break 6 - 7:09 p.m.

Pepsi Max "I'm Good": Ouch! Lots of strange violent stuff. Great that the male market is being served with its own diet cola. B

Pedigree "Get a Dog": Strange pets! Rhinos, ostriches, boars. Maybe you should get a dog. They are encouraging adoption.A

Budweiser "Fetching Clydesdales": The dalmatian can fetch, why not the Clydesdale? He does! Does the AHA monitor commercials? B

Break 7 - 7:12 p.m.

Budweiser "Daisy": Bud back to back! A white horse falls in love with one of the Clydesdales. B

Paramount "Star Trek": Movie ad, not rated

At this point, Tracy is putting together (or taking apart, as the case may be) the 3-D glasses for the big 3-D break.

Break 8 - 7:21 p.m.

G "Testimonials": Black and white footage of athletes telling us how they like Gatorade, which I guess is now called "G", much like Sunny Delight is now called Sunny D. What you bet their logo is the only color thing in the commercial? Yep. Boring. D "Confidence": Genius baby manages to date older women and has a remarkable life, but needs to use to get himself a nice car. C

Break 9 - 7:34 p.m.

Hyundai "Genesis": Germans and Japanese and other nationalities are upset over the Car of the Year sleection. Hyundai also feels the need to tell us how to pronounce their name, after over 20 years of making cars for the U.S. market. C

E-Trade "Two Babies" Two talking babies! We don't know what they're talking about, but it's still clever stuff in an absurdist sort of way. B

Break 10 - 7:38 p.m.

Disney/Pixar "Up": Not rated, movie spot

Bud Light "Skiers" - Two skiers are drawing with their fingers on ski slopes to create moguls, trees and even fake casts ("Chicks dig this"). Cute! B

Break 11 - 7:41 p.m. - TWO MINUTE WARNING

H&R Block "Death": The Grim reaper visits an accountant. I think Death was funnier on "Family Guy." Especially when Norm Macdonald was voicing him. C

Teleflora "Boxed Flowers": They talk to you. How many guys watching this game actually have a sensitive enough side to think of sending flowers? C "Fandemonium": Harry Kalas narrates the commercial for "the NFL director of fandemonium". This isn't really ratable since it's promoting a contest, which is for some sort of non-existent position with the NFL.

Break 12 - 7:46 p.m.

Cheetos "Pigeons": Girl's talking on phone, but Cheetos attaract pigeons. Which is why I avoid eating outside. Chester is getting to be a bad guy. B

Break 13 - 7:57 p.m. - THE 3-D BREAK

This would be a great time for a Rickroll. Anyone thought to do that this year?

DreamWorks Animation "Monsters vs. Aliens": Not rated, movie spot

SoBe "3D Lizards": Lesson not learned from "Lumber Jack-Rabbit": just being in 3-D doesn't automatically make it a classic. C

Halftime Show Interlude

If you're from my part of Jersey, Bruce is a religion unto itself.

The years have been kind to Bruce and the band... Patti looks gorgeous... good to see Labamba Rosenberg in the horn section. I hate to think of all these kids who are asking, "Since when does Silvio Dante play guitar?"

Sad part: Danny Federici is missing. He'd have loved this.

Soozie Tyrell is there too playing guitar. That's how they get that big sound, lots of guitars. Bruce, Miami Steve, Nils, Soozie and Patti all playing guitar. And I just spotted Love Man Pender on trumpet.

"Working On A Dream" destined to become another E Street classic.

Jerry Vivino Jr. is there too playing sax. Never met him, but played with his dad at OCC.

Best ads so far: Bridgestone and Pedigree. Let's see what the second half brings.

MEMO TO NBC: Your Thursday night comedy starring Jason Lee is called "My Name Is Earl" - NOT "Earl". What's the use in naming a TV show if you're not going to call it by its right name in promos?

Break 14 - 8:35 p.m.

Coca Cola "?": - Everyone turns into avatars when drinking Coke. Goodness, since when does a soft drink turn you into a virtual reality character? C

Bridgestone "Aliens": AUTOMATIC F - Do Not Attempt. Bridgestone got an F last year for its Richard Simmons spot. Amazing how a company that had one of the best ads this year also had perhaps the two worst in the last two years!

Denny's "Real Breakfast": Obviously aimed at IHOP and their fruity pancakes, eaten by a bunch of tough-talking guys. Was that Martin Scorsese? B If you do not get a new job, you will get crapped on by... what the heck kind of animal was that? D

Break 15 - 8:40 p.m.

Budweiser "Destiny": How the Clydesdales came to come to America. Including disastrous stints as carriage horses and racehorses. A

Disney "Race to Witch Mountain": Not rated, movie spot

Break 16 - 8:57 p.m.

DreamWorks/Paramount "Transformers" Not rated, movie spot

Career Builder "It's Time": The compounding of funny-at-first images got very annoying after the third or fourth time. C

Break 17 - 9:00 p.m.

Coca-Cola "Bugs": Ladybug lands on coke, and all-out insect warfare ensues. Prokofiev during the Super Bowl is a neat idea. B

Kellogg's Frosted Flakes "Fields": Tony the Tiger without Thurl Ravenscroft is unthinkable. Kellogg's helps build sports fields, apparently. C

Break 18 - 9:05 p.m. (END 3RD QUARTER)

NFL: Usama Young's story. (Not Rated)

The commercials following this one were local avails.

Now it's the fourth quarter. Kids are in bed. Wife is too. Just me and the spots now... may the best man win. And if Pittsburgh scores one more time, this game is ovah.

The spots at approx. 9:10 p.m. were local avails.

Break 19 - 9:16 p.m.

Hyundai "Assurance": Assurance program ensures that you can return your car without effect on your credit if you lose your job. Pretty straightforward, and that seems to be getting the job done this year. B

Coke Zero: Refry of the famous Mean Joe Greene spot. The Coke Brand Managers, a concept I just don't understand from all the other Coke Zero commercials, show up to disrupt the moment. Then it just becomes trite. D "McMahon/McHammer": Ed McMahon is just plain SAD. Hammer is just as sad. Sad all the way around. And the thought of this kind of commercial during the Super Bowl? What's next? Lefty's Pawn Shop? C

Break 20 - 9:22 p.m.

Vizio TV - Amazing how this spot wound up in Supes, especially when Samsung is the official TV of Supes. Dull, dull, dull.D

Taco Bell "Date": The girl gives a guy her digits and says, "Call me sometime." Next thing you know, he calls right away, takes her on a Taco Bell date, and meets her parents. What happens next is up to your vivid imagination. B

GE "Scarecrow": The Scarecrow from Oz (an old recording of Ray Bolger) is playing on the power lines! Of all the spots that need a "Do Not Attempt", this is one. C

Break 21 - 9:26 p.m.

Hulu "Alec Baldwin": You can watch lots of stuff on Hulu, including Alec's show. Alec's usually a funny guy but not here. C

Break 22 - 9:32 p.m.

GE "Wind Power": Kid catches air in a bottle. Goes to his house, and gives it to grandpa, who blows out all the candles. on his cake. C

Pepsi "MacGruber": This is a SNL character in a spot for Pepsi. MacGruber likes to drink Pepsi. It's official: SNL has sold out. F

Break 23 - 9:53 p.m. (TWO MINUTE WARNING)

Bud Light Lime "Summer": You drink this beer and it magically becomes summer around you. Definitely going for the Corona crowd.C

GoDaddy "Enhanced": - Is Danica Patrick enhanced? Find out at their website. Incomplete

Update: The complete 2:54 (!) version is not as sharp as the other spot, and not as titillating as the sponsor would have you believe. C

Final score: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23. And as the league's hired goon comes out on the field to hand the Steelers their hats which you can buy on the NFL website RIGHT NOW, we say good night. Pittsburgh fans, go wrap yourselves in your Terrible Towels and have a party! Thanks for reading!

Super Bowl XLIII Ads

Here are the ads that you will see tonight, with descriptions digested from the USA Today roundup. Be ready for some brutal commentary on some of these, if their descriptions are any indication.

  • Audi (:60) Hot cars
  • Bridgestone (:30) Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head
  • Budweiser (:30) Fetching Clydesdale
  • Bud Light (:30) Conan O'Brien
  • Bud Light (:30) No beer at meetings
  • Castrol (:30) Edge + animals
  • Doritos (:30) Internet submission
  • Doritos (:30) Runner-up
  • Gatorade (:30)
  • GoDaddy (:30) College fantasies
  • Pedigree (:30) Dogs rule
  • Pepsi-Cola (:60) performs
  • Pepsi Max (:30) "I'm good"
  • Sony (:30) Angels & Demons
  • Sony (:30) The Year One
  • Toyota (:30) Venza
  • Budweiser (:60) Clydesdale in love
  • Bud Light (:30) Skiers
  • (:60) Overachiever
  • (:30) Ed McMahon and MC Hammer
  • Cheetos (:30) Chester shows us the dark side
  • E-Trade (:30) Talking baby
  • Gatorade (:30)
  • Hyundai (:30) Genesis is Car of the Year
  • Teleflora (:30) Insult your Valentine
  • DreamWorks Animation (:90) Monsters vs. Aliens
  • SoBe (:60) 3-D Ballet
  • Plus added attraction, the Three Stooges in "Spooks" (jk)
  • Bridgestone (:30 3Q) Saturn
  • Budweiser (:60) How the Clydesdales came over from Scotland
  • Career Builder (:60) New job
  • Coca-Cola (:30) Monster gets glamour
  • Coca-Cola (:60) Bugs
  • Coke Zero (:30) Mean Joe Greene homage
  • Denny's (:30) Grand Slam
  • Hyundai (:30) Lose your job, lose your car
  • NFL (:60) Usama Young
  • Bud Light Lime (:30) Summer anytime
  • GE (:30) Scarecrow
  • (:30)
  • Pepsi Max (:15) "I'm good"
  • SoBe (:15) Matt Light
  • Taco Bell (:30) Date
  • H&R Block (:30) Unhappy client visits accountant
  • Hulu (TBD) Video sharing
  • Kellogg's Frosted Flakes (:30) New playground
  • United Way (:30)
  • Universal Studios (:30) Fast & Furious
  • Universal Studios (:30) Land of the Lost
  • Universal Studios Theme Park (:30)
  • Walt Disney Studios (:30) Race to Witch Mountain
  • Walt Disney Studios/Pixar (:30) Up