BACK TO THE 80'S IN THE TRI-STATE AREA (VIA TV COMMERCIALS, OF COURSE)
Click on the above (or perhaps you'd be better off clicking here for mysterious reasons) and you will be treated (I guess that's the correct word) to a whole pile of New York/New Jersey regional television commercials from the early to mid 1980s. Why do these things mesmerize me? Partly I'm astonished at how well I remember a lot of them--I was able to call the cutting continuity on the 'Lullaby Of Broadway' Milford Plaza commercial literally frame by frame. And there's a certain wistful nature to how things that were once worth trumpeting with expensive advertisements ultimately fade away into literally nothing. Here you will find commercials for 'Crazy Eddie', the 'Ritz Thrift Shop', the Broadway play 'Gemini' (can you imagine paying for a commercial for a non-musical play these days? The authors parents must have had money...), Bertrand Island Park, Action Park in New Jersey, the original 'Evita' commercial...there's even a 'Million Dollar Movie' bumper, back when a million dollar movie wasn't an indie too cheap to rate distribution. And weirdly enough, all of it still remains in my brain, albeit in shards and shreds. Somehow the lack of website addresses and the carefully announced phone numbers (one of the ads still actually uses 'Circle' instead of the opening numerals--now that's pretty frigging old) make me yearn for the unconnectedness of the period...the inaccesibility of things if you didn't scratch down the information on a little piece of paper...the local nature of certain hometown businesses (which were ads you'd see on channels 5 or 11 in the pre-Fox Broadcasting years) as opposed to national ones you'd see during your dutiful prime-time TV watching of the ONLY THREE STATIONS THAT OFFERED NEW, ORIGINAL WEEKLY PROGRAMMING. And, most important of all, the very act of watching commercials because they were interrupting a program that you were watching (and presumably enjoying--or at least zoning out on) in real time, on one of the 13 channels that were available...the non-existant phrase "binge-watching"...I could go on and on and on.
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Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 3:46 PM