So much to say about this montage of local and national advertising that ran on then-independent Milwaukee TV station WVTV (despite what the heading says, it was never an ABC affiliate, although it’s presently the CW) on May 5, 1979. I was too young (age 4) to remember seeing this firsthand, although a couple of these lingered long into the ’80s.
0:56 – TACOTACOTACO BELL! (also, “The Fresh Food Place”, eh?)
1:06 – It’s like every single key pressed on this primitive calculator emits a stab of agonizing pain.
2:27 – Whoa, lady! Bar soap scintillating enough to induce cartwheels.
2:47 – TAKEALOOKAT THOSE GINORMOUS CANS. Sorry, but Jolly Good just wasn’t as great a local generic soda as Graf’s.
3:43 – It’s not so much the claymation Jimmy Durante (who wasn’t even dead yet – did he approve this abomination?) but the demented grin Larry Balistreri makes as he picks up the little figurine that translates into Nightmare Fuel.
5:29 – First Wisconsin Bank presents: A Cornucopia of Authentic Wisconsin (sorry, “Wes-cahn-sin”) Accents!
7:38 – I swear True Value commercials looked and sounded exactly like this well into the ’90s.
8:55 – “Laz-o-curve Thrusters” (Thank you, Star Wars.)
9:38 – Woolworths (celebrating its centennial) and Mickey Mantle! Both will be dead in less than 20 years!
10:49 – Nice to know Don Ameche (he’s from Kenosha, don’t ya know) would go on to win an Oscar for Cocoon years after appearing in these sorts of ads.
13:12 – The Ernie von Schledorn jingle! I’ve been scouring YouTube for this for years. Loses points for not including Ernie’s spoken coda, “Who do you know vants to buy a car?”
16:31 – It’s Bon Iver’s dad! (“Ah… milk!”)
18:02 (and 21:08) – I’m old enough to faintly remember when Marc’s Big Boys looked like this (heck, I’m old enough to remember Marc’s Big Boy.) Also, there’s something positively Christopher Guest-like about these interviews.
19:03 – Let’s go back when commercials could reasonably look like they cost twenty bucks to produce (“Brother John’s, next to Gene’s…”)
20:38 – Mel Frickin’ Schlesinger (and his annoying little bird)! In my mind, I auto-associated the word “Schlesinger” with cars well into my twenties.