Watchin' Stuff: Our New Favorite Vintage Spots

Finally — we have a new way to bring you weird ‘n wild highlights from the non-stop video research avalanche here in the Cinefamily office! New material floods in daily, and quite a few of the very best bits make it into our new “video jukebox” (the gizmo in our A/V booth that now runs the video playlists of pre-show entertainment) — but there’s just some stuff that we have to put in yr. face, front ‘n center.

A friend of ours recently hipped us to a treasure trove of wacky vintage TV commercials; there’s something hypnotic about run-of-the-mill old Triscuit and deodorant ads, no doubt — but there were a few in the bunch that had us either clutching our guts in rapturous guffaws, or scratching our heads:

1) Alice Cooper – “Zipper Catches Skin” LP (1982)
Commercials for individual record albums are a complete and total thing of the past these days — and it seems that beyond the K-TEL-style “All these hits and more!…” kinds of spots, they were somewhat rare to begin with. My all-time favorite album commercial has to be the ’75 Harry Nilsson “Duit On Mon Dei” spot where he makes the half-court basketball shot as the shot clock runs out (if you can, track down that feature-length Harry Nilsson doc, cuz the version uploaded to YouTube is grainy and hard to make out.) This spot for Alice Cooper’s critically and commercially disastrous 1982 album “Zipper Catches Skin” — one which I can’t imagine ever airing on any TV station at the time — goes above and beyond to make no one want to actually buy the album. Gotta love it. Alice claims to not remember ever making this album, due to his extreme alcoholism at the time!

2) 1-900-Dial-An-Insult
I’d pretty much forgotten 1-900 numbers ever existed until this one floated past our eyes. Is that the much-ripped-off Screamers band logo guy, or just a hazy facsimile?

3) Bill Cosby’s Ode To Corn Lovers
It’s slightly unnerving to hear Bill Cosby’s voice pitching anything besides Jello pudding products — and it’s even more tweaked to hear him rambling like a hobo, saying that he’s “gonna go talk to the couch.”

4) Carvel’s “New Wave” period…
Here’s a golden oldie that originally was up on YouTube, but mysteriously vanished one day, before I was able to rip it. Luckily, we’d already ripped it on our office workstation months before. In my dreams, I often find myself contained within this same kind of neon synth-laden ice cream world. The song also reminds me of current acts like Nite Jewel or Geneva Jacuzzi —