Thursday, June 2, 2011

Don't Touch That Dial!

I've been stuck in a time warp, yet again.

Those who've dared to view this space to see what I'm blathering about now, know that I tend to enjoy living in the past.

Well, is the present so nifty?

My latest jag is to point my browser to YouTube and start searching for old commercials---beer, food, even cigarettes.

I'm talking REALLY old commercials, circa the 1950s and '60s, mostly in black-and-white.

The commercials of those days were typically no less than 60 seconds, and sometimes longer. They weren't filled with eye-popping special effects or talking babies or scores of beautiful young people breaking into an impromptu party just because one of them popped open a cooler of light beer.

The commercials that I've been fixed on show a simpler time, when a cold beer was something enjoyed by well-dressed couples inside a spiffy tavern, served by well-dressed waiters and drawn by well-dressed bartenders.

It was a time when little kids ran home to partake in Beefaroni or Spaghetti-O's or a new thing called Pop-Tarts.



"Mabel!! Another Black Label!"



But mainly the commercials portrayed what had to have been a much less stressful world, because when I view them now it's almost like comfort food for the soul.

And there were the jingles. Oh, the jingles. Some weren't just jingles; they were entire songs, practically.

Remember the Oscar Meyer theme? The "Have it Your Way" diddy for Burger King?

Or how about the ads for Cracker Jack, featuring grandfatherly Jack Gilford and various young children, enjoying some of the caramel corn/peanut mix together---and marveling at the prize inside the box?

Always 60 seconds, and always selling a story in addition to selling a product.

The ones I particularly get a kick out of are the ads that ran during the intermissions at the drive-in theater decades ago. The visuals are priceless---the way they make popcorn, hot dogs and a fudge bar look absolutely delectable and a must-have, right NOW!

The narration back then was beautifully succinct and almost newsreel-like, voiced over by unknown studio announcers, not the actors we hear today hawking everything from cars to the do-it-yourself stores.

Sometimes it was tough to tell the difference between a TV commercial voice-over and the start of the evening news.

But I like that, for whatever reason.

We use the word "cozy" a lot around our house. We're big fans of cozy things. I find the old-time TV ads wonderfully cozy. They make me feel better, in a world where it's tough to feel good for too long a time, it seems.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

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