POSTED BY JOSEF ADALIAN
Until about 15 years ago, TV junkies like myself were in nirvana around this time of the year. That's because August and September meant the networks were filling their airwaves with the most gloriously cheesy form of advertising known to man: The image spot.
Think Mr. T pointing his finger right through the TV screen, sternly telling America to "Be There," or the casts of "The Cosby Show" and "The Golden Girls" dancing around a soundstage wearing top hats and tuxes. Or maybe you preferred ABC, which one year sent the stars of "Happy Days" up into the skies via hot air balloons, as the song made sure we knew the net was "Still the One."
There's been talk lately of some of the nets bringing back the mondo campaigns (you know you want to, Ben Silverman). ABC actually has a slogan this year for the first time in several years, though it's not very fun ("Start Here").
YouTube is like crack for folks who dig these old promos. You can find all the great ones of the 1970s and 80s, from "Just Watch Us Now" (NBC) to "We've Got the Touch" (CBS).
Harder to find are the campaigns from the 1960s. But today I stumbled upon this gem from 1969, in which ABC touts such newcomers as "Room 222" and a little-known show called "The New People." Watch the clip, and if you don't instantly see some spooky parallels between it and a current ABC hit, then you don't watch much TV.
Whet your appetite? Check out the first five minutes of the pilot. There's even talk of "the others"!
On the Air isn't the first to discover the "Lost"-"New People" connection. In fact, one of the show's producers even denies knowledge of the show in this 2004 Entertainment Weekly item. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,732990,00.html
Still, given the fact that "The New People" was created by Rod Serling, and "Lost" co-creator J.J. Abrams is a monster Sterling guy...it's hard to believe there wasn't at least some inspiration.
Meanwhile, if you've got some time to kill, here are a few other pretty cool TV-related YouTube clips dug up recently.
Here's a much-circulated compilation of cheesy production company animations from the 1970s and 80s:
And this is a quick way to kill a half-hour: A reel of title sequences from 1980s cartoons. The "Super Mario Bros. Show" rap is priceless, yo.
Somebody really loves NBC:
Ditto this person. Love the funky 70s score: