I really wish I could think of a better title for this post, but I’d like to publish it sometime in the next three hours.

As you can see, I haven’t really been inspired to write for this blog much of late. Part of it is because I was instead motivated to work on my story for once– which is not a bad thing, it just meant putting NJ on the back burner for a while.

However, I’ve been looking at my collection of old station IDs, movie intros, and commercials, and I think it’s time I write about that stuff some more. Because I’m sure that’s the kind of thing everybody wants to read about! And please don’t complain to me about there being no pretty pictures to look at. Why do you need to look at screencaps from the video when you can just watch the damn thing?

Let’s kick things off with this clip from CBS, recorded in December 1987. I believe this was shown between A Garfield Christmas and some other holiday special, though I’m not sure which one.

Check it.

First up is a “Read More About It” segment featuring a voice over by Garfield, AKA Lorenzo Music (RIP). CBS used to show these after a program to encourage you to learn more about what you just saw by going to the library and reading books on the subject. They even recommended specific titles to you. That’s right– 20 years ago, television actually encouraged people to read. They should try doing that once in a while today. Might make a difference!

Anyway, I really dig the very old-school style TV that opens up and looks like a book. The music is catchy too. Though oddly, Garfield is looking very 80s-fluorescent there. Not sure if it’s the video compression or what, but it’s kinda freaky.

Next is a promo for two holiday specials I’ve never seen. It pains me to say it, but the Looney Tunes one probably sucks anyway, since pretty much anything Looney Tunes that was made after, say, the mid-1950s is craptacular.

After that, a “This Is CBS” ID. Does any network say “This Is ____” anymore? I kinda miss that.

Then we have this really bad Winn-Dixie commercial. I’ve never been to Winn-Dixie, because I think they were only in Oklahoma for about five minutes or not at all. But if this ad is any indication…I didn’t miss much.

For one thing, that gingerbread man is the scariest gingerbread man I’ve ever seen in my life. I sure as hell wouldn’t eat that thing. I’d be afraid that I’d vomit some kind of demon-monster-gingerbread man hybrid that would then slice me in half and steal my eternal soul. Okay…maybe it isn’t that scary, but still. Look at its poor misshapen head and face. I bet he sat all by himself in the gingerbread cafeteria at gingerbread school.

Moving along. There were some bad jingles in the 80s, but this one takes the fruitcake. I know they’re trying to be all Christmasey and stuff, but…no. Just no.

Also, the plate of food is really unappetizing. Canned peas with pearl onions? BARF. Everybody knows that canned veggies are fucking nasty and have practically no nutritional value. I think the only thing I’d eat from that plate is the turkey. Maybe.

And now, the prices. Did all supermarket sales back then have some kind of condition attached? The turkey was 59 cents a pound, but only if you bought one that was 18 pounds or bigger? And the mayo: it says “Limit 1 with $10 or more order excluding cigarettes and specials”. Dude, what the hell is that about? I bet working at a grocery store sucked even more back then than it does now because you had to deal with stupid shit like that. “I’m sorry ma’am, but I can’t sell you this mayo for 99 cents because you’re buying that pack of Marlboro Lights and an 18-pound turkey that’s on sale for 59 cents a pound.” Thank God they abandoned that sort of thing.

Next is an ad for an electronics store called Standard Brands. The cheesy graphics remind me of a now-defunct local electronics chain called Sight and Sound.

Also, more price hilarity. A camcorder for $597. Let’s see…according to this site, that would be roughly $1115 in 2007 dollars. Ouch.

As for that RCA TV…I think we had that TV. It looks awfully familiar. Anyway, converted to 2007 dollars, $244 is more like $455. And that’s the sale price. But hey, it’s cable ready and even has a remote control! Bitchin’!

The big one, though, is one of those side-by-side fridges with the water and ice in the door. In 1987, $1199. In 2007 dollars…that’s a whopping $2239. If you paid 2000 dollars for a refrigerator today, I’d hope that it would also rub your feet and make you dinner. How did anybody afford anything in the 1980s?!

Wrapping things up is a very brief station ID/holiday greeting from WTVJ 4 in Fort Lauderdale, followed by one of the most fondly remembered graphics ever: the short-but-oh-so-sweet “A CBS Special Presentation” intro. With brilliant colors and lots of bongo drums, this thing screams 1970s– as well it should, since that’s when it was made. It sent kids all over the country racing to the tube to catch Charlie Brown and Garfield until sometime in the early 1990s, when it was finally retired. Many people never forgot it, myself included. I always kinda resented the fact that my dad would never capture it on tape.

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