I know it’s pretty cliche for me to do a post on commercials. I’ve done it before and several other sites have as well. But, sometimes you find an old VHS tape recorded back in 1982. It was a Thanksgiving airing of Mary Poppins, chock full of Christmas ads. It’s funny how back in 1982 we referred to sales as “Day after Thanksgiving Sale” and not Black Friday.
CBS Special Presentation
Here’s the intro to the big event. Since Mary Poppins was airing, we missed Magnum P.I., Simon & Simon, & Knots Landing. This is a a 3 hour long block. I looked up the runtime for Mary Poppins. It’s 2 hours and 19 minutes. That means I had 41 minutes of commercial filler to comb over.
Atari – E.T. the video game
Running at a minute long, this commercials does it’s best to excite you with Christmas coming and E.T. coming to Atari. As the story goes, Atari got the rights to E.T. in late July 1982, and they took 5 weeks to complete this video game. If you’ve ever played this game, you’ll know how awful it is. It really makes no sense whatsoever. However, this commercial really sells this thing. Even today, knowing how bad the game is, I still want to play it after seeing this.
Radio Shack – Your Christmas Electronic Store
Radio Shack, you once were a fun electronic store. Then slowly they turned into a cell phone store. And then they all closed down. Did they all close down? In looking at Radio Shack’s Wiki page, they still have 495 stores open today. Back in the 80s, I remember these knock-off handheld games. There were several ripoffs of Pac-Man or Space Invaders. In this commercial, the kids freak out over “Hungry Monster“, “Hold Up“, and “Cave Man“. I don’t remember having any of these, but I had quite a few of the tiger handheld games from the late 80s.
K-Mart – Day after Thanksgiving Sale
As I said at the beginning. Remember when there was no “Black Friday”? It was just the day after Thanksgiving Sale. I think commercial they refer to the ad as a circular. Does anyone still call it a circular? Seems like an old phrase. Anyway, if you look closely at the ‘circular’, you can see a few deals. The front page has a Panasonic Clock radio for $9.97 (or maybe it’s 29.97, not sure because the first number may be covered up. Also, there’s an old Texas Instruments Speak & Spell for $42.96, Lego Sets for $7.87 – $18.89, and board games for $7.88. Not to mention remote control cars, Tonka Trucks and calculators! It’s funny not seeing any TVs taking the front page as they do today.
Target – Arcade Games
So, here’s some legit arcade games. I remember seeing these on Silver Spoons and Gremlins. Unfortunately, I never had these. Basically, these are miniaturized versions of the cabinet arcade games. Here we have Donkey Kong and Pac-Man. The graphics are just tiny LED lights, and not the ones we know of today. You can barely imagine these are actually Donkey Kong and Pac-Man. However, they are officially licensed with the cool artwork on the side. At $45 bucks on sale, I know why I was never given one of these for a Christmas present. Checking out Ebay, you can find these things anywhere from $40 – $100 bucks, which is actually surprising they haven’t gone up that much in price.
Barbie Dream House
In 1982, I was playing with Hot Wheels, GI Joe, etc. Barbie was way outside of my wheelhouse. I only had an old brother in my household, so we didn’t have any Barbies around. Running at 1 minute long, Mattel was using putting everything into Barbie. A few years earlier, Mattel had the chance to sell Star War figures, but they passed. It wasn’t until 1983 that they release the Masters of the Universe line, which changed action figure history.
Sears / Kitchen Appliances
Here’s one for Sears. I think there’s a few Sears hanging on. But, the one that was near me sits as a huge empty space at the Mall. It’s very unfortunate, I remember getting my Commodore 64 from Sears. This commercial on the other hand focuses on the kitchen. We see a really advanced Microwave (for 1982). The other products really show the age of this commercial – an electric can opener, a hot pot, peculator, toaster & popcorn popper. I feel that most of these products (except for the toaster) are products that I don’t have in my kitchen.
In 1982, we didn’t really have a Walmart (or Wal-Mart as they were known as then) near us. Well, there were a couple, but they were far away from where we lived. I think it was around the late 80s / early 90s when they started popping up all over the St. Louis area. This commercial shows Wal-Mart’s poking fun at their competitors saying that they don’t need the “Razzle Dazzle” to get people into their stores. They just have the low prices. On this commercial, they show a Polaroid Camera for $59.92. This would cost you $156.75 today. Not sure what that really says for outdated technology. But, there you go.
So, I hope you enjoy this look at sales back from Thanksgiving 1982. Have fun shopping out there.