Retro RePost: Memorial Day Weekend Kicks Off Nick-At-Nite's Block Party Summer

Monday, May 30, 2022

Wow, Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone already!  Technically, today, Monday the 30th, is Memorial Day, but I'm sure you have been celebrating all weekend long.  

On the other hand, I have been very busy with work and moving from one state to another.  

Since I've been so busy, and Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, I thought it would be an excellent time to RePost one of the articles I'm most proud of.  This article was also one of the major driving reasons behind this website.  I have always wanted to write this article, and I'm so glad I did. 

The Nick-At-Nite Block Party Summer meant a lot to me and was a very important part of my childhood.  It's hands down the most successful post on this blog, and I'm very proud of it.  The weeks of effort into collecting the data needed to write it were so worth it.   I hope you've read it already, but if you haven't, please check it out!  

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!  


Five 90s Kid Focused Ad Jingles You'll Still Sing Along With

Monday, May 23, 2022

On the heels of last week's infomercial post, I've been thinking about the little jingles and advertisements that float around in my brain.  Maybe you were a kid during the 90s like me, or even a teen or adult already, you probably heard these constant advertisements for toys and kids' things. Even if you don't actively remember, the weird thing about jingles is that they immediately pop back into your brain. 

Sort of like if I was to ask you to sing the lyrics to an old hit song.  You probably couldn't do it on the spot.  However, if I pressed play on the music, the lyrics would immediately come back to you, and you'd be able to sing right along.

The human brain is an amazing thing.

There are a ton of these little jingles from the 90s (and before).  I picked 5 that stuck out in my brain that I repeatedly heard as a kid for this list.  I also narrowed it down to just songs or jingles from commercials, but I could have easily included the frequent slogans or other things we often heard.  Maybe you remember the bumpers before commercial breaks on ABC's Saturday morning cartoons that went "After these messages... we'll be right back!"  

Even little things take up space in my brain.  For instance, the old Blow Pops lollipop commercial that ended with a kid whispering, "Say it's from Charms!"  or the fast talking Micro Machines guy.

Without further ado, let's look back at Five 90s Kid Focused Ad Jingles!

15 Totally Awesome 90s Infomercial Products

Monday, May 16, 2022

I think it's been pretty well established that I think of the 90s as the best decade.  I think it's also been pretty well established that I watched A LOT of television during that time.  As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure we all did.  After all, what else did we have to do?  The internet was in its infancy.  It was slow and expensive, and not everyone had in-home access yet.  So, we watched television during our free time more in the 90s than we do today.  

Back to the earliest point I can remember, cable only had a handful of channels.  It's expanded over the years, but there wasn't much to watch on television back then, even with the few channels we had.   

And to make matters worse?  We couldn't fast forward through the commercials!  

Yes, kids... without the benefits of digitized cable, DVRs, or streaming, we couldn't skip past them with the press of a button.  I remember my Dad would record something on the VCR, and we'd excitedly fast forward through the commercials. Still, recording was a pain, and the already poor television-quality was often reduced by the VHS tape that had been recorded over four hundred times already.  

Commercials were a large part of the 90s.  Some of them became pop culture moments that had the whole nation talking.  Water cooler conversation often quoted or repeated jingles and phrases from these now-iconic commercials from the 90s.  I even have an entire series on this site dedicated to some of my favorite Commercials of YesterYear, which you can check out in the Collections section (with more on the way!) 

Remember the countless Ten-Ten-Two-Twenty or Star Six-Nine phone company commercials?  The Budweiser Wasssssup guys, or Bob Wehadababyitsaboy from Geico Direct Collect Calls?  The Taco Bell dog or the Bud Ice Penguin (Doobie Doobie Doo)?  Those were significant 90s commercials that shaped popular culture, and you remember them today because of their impact from back then.  How many commercials from today will you remember in 20 years?  Not many, I'd wager.

Back in what the kids call the day, television stations would frequently not have enough programming to air a full 24 hours.  The late-night hours became home to crazy, sometimes hours long, commercials selling the strangest products and services.  Occasionally, you'd find a shortened minute-long version of these infomercials during the day that aired so frequently you could recite them in your sleep.

I remember the commercials often had crazy gimmicks that were probably illegal, if not just downright deceptive.  They'd have counters on the screen showing the number of callers or the number of items sold, much like modern-day QVC, which could not possibly have an accurate count with a commercial airing at random times.  Or the "call within the next two minutes" with a clock counting down as if you waited three minutes, you'd miss out on the deal.  If I hadn't been a naive kid who believed everything on TV, I probably would have noticed the clocks and counters were the same every time.

Sometimes, though, we'd get hours of infomercials on a lazy weekend afternoon between the morning kid's cartoons and the evening movies.  Often referred politely to as "Paid Programming," these infomercials were selling all sorts of stuff.  Food processors, golf clubs, chef-quality knives... the list goes on.  As a matter of fact, as I type this, I'm in a hotel room watching "Paid Programming" for a leaf blower.  

This paid programming on weekend afternoons was mostly on the type of channels I loved, like WPIX, FOX 5 NY, and UPN.  These stations relied heavily on syndication and films to fill up their schedule, and it was there that I watched countless hours of infomercials while waiting for the Saturday Afternoon Movie.  These channels are responsible for stuffing my mind full of catchphrases and sales pitches for junk I never knew I needed.

In the mid-2000s, infomercials and product slinging became so mainstream that pitchman Billy Mays (of OxyClean, KaBoom, and Orange Glo cleaner fame) launched a competition game show with fellow salesman Anthony Sullivan on the Discovery Channel called "Pitch Man."  This was also the period that "Slap Chop," "Snuggie Blanket," and "Sham-Wow" became very popular commercials.

Commercials slowly got out of control over the years, and as more and more people began tuning them out, companies started finding ways to catch your attention.  Eventually, they cranked up the volume during commercial breaks to keep your interest.  After a while, the volume changes were so significant that we were all getting ready to hit the mute button the second our regular programming went to break.  

In 2009, the CALM (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation) Act was introduced and passed to marginal success.  On May 10, 2022, the author of the original CALM act, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, introduced the CALM Modernization Act, including streaming services.  That bill has not yet been passed into law.  

As our viewing habits have changed, so have commercials.  Rarely is there one that we even remember today.  Certainly, none that we discuss around whatever the modern version of the water cooler is.  There are no jingles or catchphrases, no "hey, have you seen the commercial for..." yet.  Mostly today's ads are just pharmaceuticals and other programs already on the network.  

Like many things, it just seems like it was better "back when."  That's why we nostalgia nerds love to discuss these things, and I, as the writer on this site, like to document them.  I know I've forgotten way more than I'll ever remember, and hopefully, in reading this, you too will spark a memory of where you were, or who you were with when you watched these commercials.  

Maybe you even succumbed to the advertising and purchased the product!  Did you?  Let me know in the comments, or drop me a line (on the right if you're viewing on a desktop or below on a mobile device) to let me know! 

Please click "Keep Reading" to view the list of 15 Totally Awesome 90s Infomercial Products! 

Retro Scans: 1994 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Super Pack

Monday, May 9, 2022

Go, Go, Power Rangers!

Saban's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers brand has made quite a resurgence in the past few years.  As my generation (and the one immediately following it) fondly look back on the campy children's tv show from the 90s, all sorts of nostalgia-based merchandise have recently hit the market.  It's even become cool again for grown adults to wear Power Rangers clothing and display their toys and other collectibles.  

Believe me, there was once a time that liking Power Rangers was very not-cool for kids older than 5. 

That was also the same time I discovered and really enjoyed the show.  Like a few things I enjoyed growing up, I was probably a year or two old for it when I really got into Power Rangers.  For a while, the neighbor kid I was friends with was really into the show as well.  Then one afternoon on the school bus, I talked about looking forward to getting home to catch that day's episode.  Suddenly, he announced loud enough for the other kids on the bus to hear that Power Rangers was a stupid show for little kids.  Of course, I quickly agreed with him to save face but ran home to watch the Power Rangers anyway.  I secretly watched the show and played with my Power Rangers toys for another year, despite constant teasing from my older brother.  

The Power Ranger franchise is a live-action superhero series based on the Japanese franchise Super Sentai. Initially produced by Saban Entertainment, later Saban Brands, and today SCG Power Rangers, LLC (and its parent company Hasbro), the series takes much of its footage from the Super Sentai television series.  The first entry in the American series debuted on August 28, 1993, under the title "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," on the Fox Kids programming block.  The show quickly launched a line of action figures and other toys made by Bandai, which generated over $6 billion in toy sales by 2001.

As of 2002, Power Rangers consists of 29 seasons on television, 3 theatrical films, and 21 different themed series (Power Rangers in Space, Power Rangers Turbo, Power Rangers Dino Charge, etc.).

The show was briefly owned by The Walt Disney Company from 2002 to 2010 when Haim Saban, the creator of the series, regained ownership.  Saban later sold the Saban Brands company to Hasbro in 2018.   

I'd say that I got into the show sometime in 1994, towards the end of the first season.  Shortly after getting hooked on the show, Tommy, the Green Ranger, turned into the White Ranger, which was a big deal with the kids in school.  I would have been in 5th grade when that major storyline took place.  I was captivated by the bright colors and cartoonish action and fight scenes which were pretty similar to the colorful world of pro wrestling that I loved so much back then.  

Next year, in the fall of 1995, I was in the 6th grade, which according to kids on the school bus, was too old to watch Power Rangers.   I kept watching regardless until one cold, rainy Saturday morning.  My Dad had hired a marine mechanic to come to look at the motor on the Ra-El, the family's fishing boat.  I was in the living room, minding my own business, watching a rerun of Power Rangers.  They were coming through the house when the mechanic stopped in the living room and looked at the television. 

After getting himself an eyeful of Mighty Morphin action, he looked at me and then my Dad.  Never mind the fact that it was raining outside, he said something along the lines of, "My kids watch this baby junk instead of playing outside, too," and the two continued on to the backyard.  

This man I never met before, nor ever saw again, was just one more person telling me I was too old to watch a show I enjoyed. 

I never watched another episode.

That's why I was highly interested in ripping into this pack of 1994's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Super Pack of trading cards.  This pack included a handful of beautiful POGS that I found visually appealing.  The POGS were just another reminder of the time that was the wonderful 1990s.  The bright colors in the images bounced off the cards and captured my attention right away.  My interest in the show spiked again, and I watched an old episode just for old time's sake on YouTube.  

While I enjoyed it, I can finally agree with that grumpy old boat mechanic that I am too old to watch the show now.

However, I'm not too old to enjoy this trip down memory lane... and I hope you enjoy it too!  

Click "Keep Reading" to check out the entire pack of trading cards from 1994!

This Month In YesterYear History - May

Monday, May 2, 2022

Happy May!  A brand new month brings a brand new edition of This Month in YesterYear History!  Here's a fun new topic that I thought I'd try out last month and it seemed like it was well-received so I'll continue it for the foreseeable future!  Please CLICK HERE to read last month's feature in case you missed it!

Once we have a few months of these I'll create a section on the "Collections" page where you can access them all and go back in time at your leisure.

In this series, we'll take a brief look back at the "best" or "top" of pop culture from 20 (2002), 25 (1997), and 30 (1992) years ago!    

Using film website Box Office Mojo, The Billboard Top 100 music list, and a conglomeration of television rating websites, I've pieced together a little time capsule of what was significant in life during those days.   

Hopefully, as you read these brief synopses from the past, you'll remember the who, when, and where of your memories from that time period.  That's what this site is all about, after all!

So, get into those time machines, my friends!  We're headed back to 20, 25, and 30 years ago!