Here's the commercials from '86. As a collective, from my perspective, there wasn't anywhere near as many cool things advertised during this parade. Still, these ten are just aces -- here's a look at everything from old fast food gobblers to Willie Nelson's ass. And cheap cars!
You'll have to excuse me, but I'm going to try to get through this last page quick. It's late. I'm tired. I'm all Thanksgivinged out. And I really want to make cocoa, but about two hours ago, I decided that I wasn't allowed to have cocoa until this review was done. You're slowly losing the war against cocoa, so if you notice many typos, don't blame me. Blame cocoa.
Here's a Photon commercial, starring a guy who was probably the stunt double for Christopher Lloyd's BTTF death scene. We get veiled (but still obvious) comparisons to "Lazer Tag," and yep, I've always preferred the Photon set. They were essentially the same thing, but Photon's helmets were just a wee bit cooler. The set actually came into my possession in that very year, and it was easily one of the decade's best toys. Just loads of fun, and because of all the many "cop shoots kid holding toy gun" incidents, we almost never see things like the Photon set these days. Pity.
There's lots of McDonald's commercials on this page. I think it's because I was hungry while putting this together. Regardless, these Fievel stockings were a pretty nice giveaway. I can't remember if I owned one, but if I had, I assume it spearheaded my campaign to get Mom and Dad to let me have a pet mouse. Years later, they let me get a hamster. Damn fools would never let me have a mouse, but I was allowed to have sixty hamsters and gerbils. Why the mice hate? Fievel knows best. Wait, no, he went West. Shit.
Here's a teaser for part of NBC's Saturday morning lineup, circa 1986. Cartoons included "The Smurfs," "Alvin and the Chipmunks," and "Punky Brewster." Those are basically in my order of preference, come to think of it. Yep.
Oh man, I really don't need this right now. I'm already on the verge of tears from being so tired...I really don't nee to see the sad, depressing McDonald's "old people" commercial. I'm getting all throat-lumpy just thinking about it. It's basically a minute-long ad about some exceedingly old couple, cute as can be, continuing their good ol' McDonald's tradition even after all these years. Doesn't sound bad, right? It's not. It's actually one of the best McD's commercials I've seen, at least in as far as making the restaurant seem like a nice, friendly place. So what's my problem with it? THEY'RE DEAD. THE OLD PEOPLE HAVE TO BE DEAD BY NOW. Even when I saw the ad as a child, I always wondered how long the two lovebirds had left. I mean, they're playing them up as if it's some miracle they're even able to get to a McDonald's. And here we are, almost twenty years later. There's no way....they'd be like 140 by now. It kills me to cash out on a childhood nightmare like this -- I always forced myself to divert my attention from the ad when I was a kid, as it just affected me in ways no stupid McDonald's commercial ever should. And now, here I am. The ad is right in my face. I have to write about it. And the curiosity? The worrisome wonder? Gone. Now I know they're dead. I kinda wish I was, too. :(
Not all of the McD's ads were so dreary. Here's one for MCNUGGETZZ. It's definitely an uncommon ad campaign for those things -- how often do you see shots of a regular, cooked chicken in a McNuggets commercial? It's almost like we've been conditioned to consider McNuggets some entirely new food substance -- they taste like chicken, they kind of look like chicken, but no, we just don't think of them as "chicken." Yet, there's that bird. As chickeny as a chicken could ever be. McNuggets are chicken. The "Chicken" in "Chicken McNuggets" is not a first name. It's a literal thang.
McDonald's point? They didn't just use the best chickens -- they only used the best parts from the best chickens. Ads like this can't compare to McNugget puppets that talk and leap into the very sauce that makes them more palatable to their carnivorous friends in McDonaldland, but really, few ads can.
Hey, how many of you consider Willie Nelson a sex symbol? Show of hands. Good! Good ratio! He's here to promote Wrangler jeans, and Billy -- I don't know what you be doin', but keep on doin' it you! The only thing I remember about Wrangler Jeans is the nagging notion to scribble over the "Wrangler" logo with black marker before appearing in a public setting.
More McNugget fun -- and it's my favorite McNugget commercial ever. Hell, it's the best McDonald's commercial ever, period. Even better than the one where Ronald tries out ten different hairstyles. Tis I, Sir Rhaneld. Cue clown beatbox. This is the infamous McD's "Doodlin" ad, where a boy in school drifts off into a world of semiconscious scribbling, eventually fashioning a perfectly represented box of Chicken McNuggets. For some reason, he proceeds to start picking and scratching at the paper, and what do you know! The nugget doodle has become a real Chicken McNugget! The artsy boy doesn't eat it, instead inspecting it for ten minutes like he would a moon rock. The teacher catches him, and has no idea that something magical just happened. But it did. And nobody will ever believe it. Doodleboy will go to the grave with this. Probably sooner than he thinks.
Another NBC "Tonight" teaser, this time for "Family Ties" and "The Cosby Show." We saw a similar ad during the parade in 1984, but alas, neither show was airing Thanksgiving-themed episodes this year. The holiday spirit is so fleeting. So is my interest in writing about old Family Ties commercials.
The first ad is for Coca Cola. The second ad is for a Lazer Tag promotion formulated by Coca Cola. You get both, because Thanksgiving is all about making obscure soda commercials available to the masses.
That's it, that's all. Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I would've put an exclamation point there, but it looked too stupid. Know that I say it with richness and soul. If you're new to these features, feel free to go back and check out the massive, thirteen-page review of the 1984 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, or just reread this one. Backwards. With one eye closed. While playing chess. With your dog, who must be persuaded to stay put in his chess chair without the help of leash nor chain. Can you do it? Maybe. Only one way to find out.