Saturday, November 19, 2011
Vintage TV Guide Ads: Awesome 80s, Tough Guys, TV & Terror Part 3
As much as I have always detested the WWF and their four ring circus act, the 1980s wouldn't be the same without Hulk Hogan. He pretty much stank as a wrestler as far as I was concerned (he was certainly no Nature Boy--as in Flair), but he was an integral part of the decade and had oodles of charisma oozing off of his 24 inch pythons as he liked to say back in the day. Wrestling was on TV almost all day till past midnight down my way. McMahon Jr. could never stand anybody beating him, or being any sort of competition so one of his many entrepreneurial cash cows was this Saturday Night show for his big money carnival act.
An awesomely underrated and riotously raunchy R rated 1980 comedy starring Kurt Russell, Jack Warden (in a dual role), Gerrit Graham and Frank McRae. The film had an incredible pedigree behind the camera including director Robert Zemeckis and producer Steven Spielberg. The film failed to find an audience, but has since become a cult item, and deservedly so. It's one of the funniest comedies of the 1980s in my opinion. There was an unacknowledged remake in the form of the tirelessly unfunny THE GOODS: LIVE HARD, SELL HARD from 2009.
Seagram's 7 was still popular in the 1980s, but check out the Pac Man arcade game in the background! A choice bit of product placement for the product, wouldn't you say?
Here's the ad for the TV premiere for the semi exploitationer, BORN TO BE SOLD starring WONDER WOMAN Lynda Carter as a social worker attempting to bust open a baby broker ring. Directed by Bruce Brinckerhoff who was behind the bloody killer animal flick, DOGS (1976). In 1994 there was a similar TV movie entitled BABY BROKERS starring Cybil Shepherd.
This 1981 TV movie about the life of Playboy model, Dorothy Stratten starred Jamie Lee Curtis as the tragic title character. In 1983 a theatrical movie was released on the subject called STAR 80 which featured Mariel Hemingway as Stratten.
Here's an ad from my favorite television station as a kid, WGGT 48. They showed lots of monster movies, kung fu flicks, cartoons, Roller Derby and all kinds of great drive in style movies. The film in question is CABOBLANCO (1980) starring Charles Bronson, a sort of remake of CASABLANCA from 1942. This was one of many collaborations between Bronson and director J. Lee Thompson.
These things are extinct now. We've all gotten so used to our more efficient and faster computers, that if we were to go back to typewriters, it'd be like living in the stone age.
More Eastwood, this time some classic Clint from Italy with Sergio Leone's FISTFUL OF DOLLARS from 1964. Without his international success in three Eur-oaters, it's debatable if Clint's career would have turned out the way it did.
GIMME A BREAK premiered the week before this ad here. I remember really liking this series a lot, especially the plentiful charisma of the "well rounded" Nell Carter. She was a pleasure to watch on TV and a wonderful comedienne.
Bond has his hands(?) full in OCTOPUSSY (1983) in this ad heralding its Network Television Premiere. Connery may have been first, but Roger Moore will always be the best Bond to me and this is one of his best films under the guise of the British secret agent.
Another 80s staple were these things--Cabbage Patch Kids. I much preferred Garbage Pail Kids, but these happier looking, but no less grotesque dolls were big sellers back in the day.
Even more Clint and yet another ad for EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE (1978). This one here is from a 1983 airing. The artist rendition is really cute with Ruth Gordon putting the headlock on Clyde; something she never gets to do in either of the two movies.
KILLING AT HELL'S GATE (1981) was a TV movie variant of the backwoods hillbilly sub genre. It shared some similarities with movies like DELIVERANCE (1972) and SOUTHERN COMFORT (1981). Robert Urich and Deborah Raffin star in this Jerry Jameson movie who also directed BRUTE CORPS (1972) and THE BAT PEOPLE (1974).
If any ladies are reading this, I'm sure you remember THE CARE BEARS from back in the mid 1980s.
STREET HAWK was another short lived action-sci fi series. It was about a guy who was a police officer by day and a vigilante by night. He zipped around in a hi tech and hi powered motorcycle to fight crime and do what the police couldn't do. A box set containing the entire series came out in 2010.
A rich, white NY businessman adopts two orphaned black brothers after their mother--his former maid--dies. This once popular series lasted for eight seasons and helped make a media darling out of the cherubic cuteness of Gary Coleman, an actor who also made a splash in theatrical features such as THE KID WITH THE BROKEN HALO (1982) and THE KID WITH THE 2000 IQ (1983). Yet another famous 80s catchphrase was coined with the utterance of little Arnold's, "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
MAKO THE JAWS OF DEATH (1976) is possibly the weirdest of the killer shark movies. It follows the pattern of other killer animal-revenge movies such as WILLARD (1971), STANLEY (1972), KISS OF THE TARANTULA (1972) and KILLER SNAKES (1973). Richard Jaekel plays a typical shark loving guy who is given the telepathic ability to control the sharp toothed fishies to get revenge on those who've wronged him. I don't recall watching it on TV, but do remember my dad renting it from the video store and it not making much of an impression on me as a kid.
I was never all that fond of THE JERK, but the image featured in the ad above is about the only thing I remember about it. Bernadette Peters was also a featured attraction in the exploding testosterone actioner VIGILANTE FORCE (1976).
Phones have certainly come a long way since these dinosaur days. What some of us wouldn't do to go back, though!
Brandon Lee didn't necessarily want to be a KUNG FU guy wandering in the shadow of his famous father, but he made the most of it during his equally short career. His first was this Made For TV outing from 1986, KUNG FU: THE MOVIE that starred David Carradine. I haven't seen it since it premiered, but I remember it being pretty decent.
It's Clint again as Dirty Harry in 1976's THE ENFORCER wherein the DIRTY one goes after a terrorist organization made up of vengeful Vietnam vets. Tyne Daly of the popular lady lawmen series CAGNEY & LACEY co-stars.
One of the best (and one of my favorites) Charles Bronson movies is his version of WALKING TALL (1973). Charlie just wants to get his melon crop in but local mobsters just won't leave him alone. One thing you don't do is piss Charlie off. But if the bad guys didn't do that, we'd have no movie.
And finally, another revenge thriller--William Devane ignited the screen in the gritty Vietnam action thriller, ROLLING THUNDER (1977). That film has since went on to become a sleeper hit with the cult crowd, yet still hasn't been given the dignity of a legit special edition DVD in America outside of the recent On Demand DVD service offered my MGM. The above ad is for a similar type of thriller from 1981 entitled THE OTHER VICTIM.