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Amusing promo shots from ‘Tron’ featuring Jeff Bridges and miscellaneous randos
01.22.2019
06:52 am
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Unleashed upon the world in the same year as E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and Blade Runner, the Disney production Tron may not have been the best sci-fi movie ever made, but it was certainly among the most stylish. For tweens who desperately wanted to know what it might be like to live inside the Pac-Man console down at the local “arcade”—1982 being a very big year for that particular game as well—Tron was definitely the flick for that craving.

Tron had assets aside from its production design, however. The movie may not have been designed to take particular advantage of the considerable charm of Jeff Bridges, later seen in his indelible performances as the Dude, Rooster Cogburn, and Otis “Bad” Blake, but you can’t really argue with that casting choice, and in David Warner the movie had that moment’s most deliciously malevolent baddie (also appearing as Evil itself in Time Bandits and as Jack the Ripper in Time After Time).

These promo shots and/or production stills are amusing primarily for forcing the actors involved (Bruce Boxleitner and Cindy Morgan prominently among them) to do without the blue glow of the post-production special effects, revealing them to be a passel of California actors doing that make-believe that sometimes pays so very well. Enjoy ‘em.
 

 

 

 
Tons more after the jump….....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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01.22.2019
06:52 am
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Moebius for Maxwell House, 1989
01.15.2019
09:32 am
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In 1989 Jean Giraud, or Moebius as he is universally known in the comix world, accepted an assignment from the Paris office of Young & Rubicam. The client was Maxwell House coffee, and the job called for a series of advertisements that would appear in French magazines. The images correlated roughly to what we would today call “a New Yorker cartoon” but they also overflowed with the exacting, unmistakable, visionary touch of Moebius, collaborator of Alejandro Jodorowsky, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, and Luc Besson.

Moebius completed six images for Young & Rubicam but only four were actually used in magazines. The theme of the advertisements was “Grain de Folie,” which translates to something like “a touch of madness.” The purpose of the campaign appears to have been to convince French womankind that a coffee during the daytime might be seen as a proper activity or even a reward for completed tasks, as we shall see.

The heroine of the series was “Tatiana,” a self-possessed and fashionable young woman who happens to find herself alone on a deserted jungle island or the like. Rather than display a shred of panic, unflappable Tatiana instead demurely sips her cup of Maxwell House coffee, a cup that invariably is defined as a tiny expanse of white in an otherwise completely yellow image. Tatiana is so utterly capable that even the considerable threats of the jungle are reduced (in the caption, we find) to the everyday trials of suburban domesticity. Or something.

Here are two rather grainy images of the ads more or less in action. Note that you can see a small amount of white space to indicate where the center of the image would be, in the two-page spread of a magazine. (Better images—and translations—are supplied further down, never fear.)
 

 

 
Moebius fans have been aware of these images for quite a while. In 1991, just two years after the campaign, French artist Numa Sadoul included them in a book called Mœbius: Entretiens avec Numa Sadoul. A few years later they were printed in a limited run as Coffee Dreams, the 5th issue of Ashcan Comics, a series dedicated to Moebius rarities.
 

 
That issue, which was limited to just 100 copies, fetches $500 in online auction sites today—which is true of all of the Ashcan Comics that I was able to find.

Here are better-quality pics with proper captions so that you can enjoy the full effect of these indelible Moebius images:
 

Ce petit break fut un soulangement pour Tatiana qui se lassait tant de ces blablas intellos. (The little break was a relief for Tatiana, who was sick and tired of all the intellectual blah-blah.)

 
More Moebius after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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01.15.2019
09:32 am
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Watch Mike from ‘Better Call Saul’ in a bizarre 1980s motivational video


 
Season 4 of Better Call Saul, which wrapped up a few weeks ago, is on the shortlist of my favorite seasons of television ever. The Emmy people have not shown Better Call Saul undue respect—it has never won a single Emmy for anything—but in my view the Vince Gilligan/Peter Gould creation is running rings around every other show in a bunch of different ways. It’s got the best acting, the best writing, and the best direction, for starters. Particularly in the writing arena, it’s a little preposterous that any other drama would beat Better Call Saul, at least that’s my opinion.

One of the amusing aspects of Better Call Saul is that it showcases so many different depictions of excellence in its narrative. Jimmy McGill (later to become Saul Goodman) is a world-class con artist, his brother Chuck is a genius-level attorney, Mike Ehrmantraut is an unusually gifted all-purpose security dude, Gustavo Fring is a regional/international drug kingpin of distinction, and Jimmy’s girlfriend Kim is a pretty gifted negotiator of plea deals and the like as a sideline to her regular gig of representing multinational corporations (with Jimmy, she also grifts unwitting saps for fun). The show has a deep abiding interest in professionalism and excellence in all of its forms.
 

 
As portrayed by Jonathan Banks, the utterly unflappable Mike Ehrmantraut has become the object of no small fascination. I know several people who’d swap places with him in an instant, given the option. Until he landed the role of Mike in Breaking Bad, Banks was a respected if by no means famous character actor whose notable credits had included the TV series Wiseguy and the movies Freejack and Gremlins.

One of Banks’ early credits was a bizarre self-help videotape from 1985 called You Can Win! Negotiating for Power, Love and Money. The videotape was intended to showcase the penetrating insights of a lady named Dr. Tessa Albert Warschaw. I’m guessing that You Can Win! was tolerably successful in its day—before most everyone had the ability to call up life advice on the Internet—for as recently as 2015 she was appearing at a TEDxPasadenaWomen event discussing the importance of resiliency.

In You Can Win! Banks is given the task of portraying the idealized “type” of “the Dictator,” the unpleasant, exacting prig who has precise expectations in every interaction. The video alternates between explanations from Dr. Warschaw and demonstrations of the insights by a team of NYC actors who are really not bad at all, the whole thing is really fairly good but just horribly dated. Skip through it for the bits involving Banks (who knows, you might have a use for a clip of Banks saying the words “Massage! ... ha ha ha ha ha ha, don’t be perverse”). But mainly it’s best to think of it as a highly bizarre conceptual play.
 

 
via r/ObscureMedia
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.05.2018
08:26 am
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Indie rock and new wave hits reimagined as pulpy 1950s ephemera


 
There’s a fellow out there named Todd Alcott who has put together an enchanting series of prints reimagining popular songs by some of the most vital musical artists of the 1970s through the 1990s as various graphical items mostly dating from before the rock era—e.g., pulpy paperbacks, “men’s life” mags, lurid sci-fi posters, and so on. They’re quite wonderful and you can procure them for yourself in his Etsy store. Each print will run you £19.78 (about $26) for the smallest size and prices escalate from there.

One endearing thing about Alcott’s images is that they are so clearly driven by the most beloved albums in his own collection—and his taste is excellent! So he transforms multiple songs by King Crimson, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, the Stones, David Bowie while also hitting a bunch of other faves (NIN, Nirvana, Fiona Apple) just the one time.

Alcott told Ayun Halliday of Open Culture that “these are the artists I love, I connect to their work on a deep level, and I try to make things that they would see and think ‘Yeah, this guy gets me.’”

My favorite thing about these pop culture mashups is Alcott’s insistence (usually) on working in as many of the song’s lyrics into the art as possible. That does admittedly make for busy compositions but usually in a way that is very true to the pulp novel conventions or whatnot.

According to his Etsy site, Alcott is also available for custom jobs should inspiration strike you! Here
 
More of these marvelous images after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.10.2018
08:57 am
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Cheerfully INSANE vintage Kentucky Fried Chicken TV commercials
09.17.2018
12:14 pm
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Nothing says savory, fried chicken goodness quite like a forced interrogation of Colonel Sanders, does it? At least that’s what some aspiring Don Draper convinced the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain’s iconic founder for this pretty out there TV spot: Associate your food with Cold War paranoia!

Good thing they passed up on waterboarding him, they’d have probably gotten the Colonel’s secret recipe out of him, pronto.
 

 
And then there’s this one. Does anything quite convey the notion of “Hey, relax, take it easy, save the dishes and serve the family some fried chicken tonight!” quite like air raid sirens and a finger beckoning you to get into a manhole that opens up in your kitchen? I didn’t think so.
 

 

With Alice Cooper

And of course, there’s nothing that sells chickeny goodness quite like implied nudity in the Lady Godiva-themed spot, after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.17.2018
12:14 pm
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‘I did one and I’ll never do it again’: Tom Waits’ dog food commercial
04.16.2018
11:04 am
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Tom Waits is in some sense the poster boy for the notion of willful independence from the clutches of corporations tempting musical artists with advertising moolah. Waits isn’t just known for not doing commercials, he famously filed suit against Frito-Lay and its advertising agency Tracy-Locke in 1988 after the mega-manufacturer of salty treats ran a commercial in which a man named Stephen Carter mimicked Waits’ unmistakably gravelly voice intoning the familiar patter of “Step Right Up,” only in this case adapted to alert viewers to the charms of its new product, SalsaRio Doritos.

Waits alerted his attorneys with alacrity—four years later he was rewarded with a whopping settlement of $2.6 million.

It might surprise you to learn, then, that Waits actually did voluntarily make his gravelly voice available for a large corporation for a commercial—one single, solitary time.

In 1981 Waits did the voiceover for a commercial for Purina Butcher’s Blend Dog Food. Here’s the text Waits was required to read:
 

As dog travels through the envied and often tempting world of man, there’s one thing, above all, that tempts him most…the taste of meat! And that is why Purina makes Butcher’s Blend. Butcher’s Blend is the first dry dog food with three tempting meaty tastes. Beef, liver, ‘n’ bacon. All in one bag. So c’mon, deliver your dog from the world of temptation. The world of Butcher’s Blend. The first dry dog food with three meaty tastes.

 
The gig didn’t pay $2.6 million but it surely put a spring into Waits’ step. The period right after 1980’s Heartattack and Vine was a heady one for Waits in that he not only ended his association with Asylum and joined forces with Island but he also somewhat acrimoniously dumped his manager, Herb Cohen. After making the decision to manage his own career (with his wife and artistic partner Kathleen Brennan) and also without his old label for the first time in almost a decade, it would be understandable for Waits to undergo a process of searching and also at least dip his toe into the advertising waters.
 

 
Waits has never seriously attempted to deny that the Butchers Blend commercial happened. In his book Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits, Barney Hoskyns quotes Waits as saying, “I was down on my luck. And I’ve always liked dogs.” Of Cohen, Waits said pungently that he had “gotten rid of my ex-manager and a lot of the flesh-peddlers and professional vermin I’d thrown in with.” (Captain Beefheart once said that Cohen reminded him of “a red marble in a can of lard.”)

Flush with SalsaRio Doritos simoleons, Waits could later afford to develop his (surely sincere) opposition to letting advertisers run roughshod all over musical artists. It wasn’t just Frito-Lay Waits took on, after all, not by a long shot. Waits has also tussled with the likes of Levi’s, MP3.com, and Audi whenever they threatened to use his likeness or vocal uniqueness in a manner of which Waits did not approve.

In 1999, during an interview conducted by Jonathan Valania of Magnet magazine, Waits made an oblique reference to his experience of selling his voice to Butchers Blend. Asked if he is truly “Big in Japan,” as the title of a new song (at the time) had it, Waits replied:
 

Haven’t played there in a long time. Last time I was there, I was on a bullet train, had my little porkpie hat, my pointed shoes and my skinny tie. There was a whole car of Japanese gangsters dressed like Al Capone and Cagney, really zooted. Everyone says, “Don’t go in there, don’t go in there,” but it was the only place with seats - everybody else was huddled together like cattle. And they are in this huge air-conditioned car, with tea and little cookies and six guys sitting around talking with cigars. I said, “Fuck, I’m gonna go in there and sit down.” And I did. It was like this big, heavy stand-off, then they all started laughing, we all tipped our hats and did that little bow. It was pretty funny. Then I brought my guys in and we all sat down, my mob with the Japanese mob. They always want me to do ads for underwear and cigarettes, but I never did them. I did one and I’ll never do it again. I used to see celebrities doing ads and my first reaction was, “Aw, gee he must have needed the money. That’s tough.” When somebody was on the slide, they would do an ad.

   
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.16.2018
11:04 am
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‘Milton Glaser Posters: 427 Examples from 1965 to 2017’ is a delight
04.10.2018
02:10 pm
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Milton Glaser was one of the major graphic designers of the postwar era in America and he’s still very active today, at the age of 88. He co-founded New York magazine, created one of the most iconic images of Bob Dylan, and came up with a brand identity for New York City in the 1970s that was so effective it is still recognizable and in use today.

Abrams Books recently published a marvelous overview of Glaser’s career in the poster medium, with the informative title Milton Glaser Posters: 427 Examples from 1965 to 2017. The book, which is about the size of a paperback novel, has an intuitive format with the images on the right-hand side and Glaser’s terse but candid commentary on the left. (It’s also priced to move.)

Below are some representative images from the book along with Glaser’s remarks.


Big Nudes (1966)

“Except for the Dylan poster and the ‘I Love New York’ campaign, this School of Visual Arts poster announcing a show of paintings of large nudes seems to be my best-known work. The graphic idea was to show a nude so large it couldn’t fit on the page, extending into the space beyond the poster. Later, I did a large silkscreen of the same drawing that continues to sell like hotcakes.”
 

Dylan (1967)

“This poster, included with the 1967 Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits album, is probably the best-known work of mine, with the exception of the ‘I Love New York’ identity campaign. Why certain works become iconic is not easily understood, but here the celebrity of the subject is certainly part of the story.”
 

Milton Glaser Exhibition (1976)

“This stylized nude was done for a show of my work in Belgium. Although it is limited in color, it has a powerful graphic effect. For budgetary reasons, there were only two colors available for the poster. By printing the green over the red, we created the black form––a powerful image, largely due to the limitation of color.”

More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.10.2018
02:10 pm
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Big in Japan: Cheesy vintage ads for arcade and video games from the 1980s
03.20.2018
10:49 am
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That moment in Field of Dreams when Kevin Costner hears a voice saying “If you build it, he will come” was really bad financial advice. You gotta advertise that sucker first before people will show up to hand over their hard-earned greenbacks. No matter how shitty the ad might be, the punters still gotta see what they’re getting first.

These cheesy vintage gaming ads from 1980’s Japan offered consumers a sense they were hot, sexy, in control, and (apparently) tough as fuck. Video games were a globalist wet dream. Here was a product like sport, movies, television, and pop music that created a global culture that offered the same experience to thumb-bandits in Tokyo as it did to those, in say, Moosefart, Montana. Here was the next evolutionary step from pinball machines.

History, traditional culture, and social standing were no longer the dominant forces in shaping young people’s lives. It was now about who could afford to buy a games consul and spend their money in gaming arcades. It was a revolutionary moment, unlike these ads for the likes of Nihon Bussan, Sega, and Capcom, which relied mainly on text, hot young women, muscled-up beefcake guys and dayglo bright colors to sell their shit.

 
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More vintage ads, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.20.2018
10:49 am
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Only women bleed: WEIRD advertisements for feminine hygiene products
03.14.2018
11:43 am
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Full disclosure—I’m totally obsessed with a number of things I’m about to talk about—advertising, weird bodily functions and vintage media depicting race, gender and sexuality. More specifically, I’m a huge nerd about examining the questionable ways that different types of representations have influenced our current toxic culture.

Current topic: bleeding is fucking weird. And the various contraptions that the feminine hygiene industry has come up with to “handle” it are also pretty fucking odd. I mean, at the end of the day, from pads and tampons to cups, sponges and rags, to each her own. But bleeding is still weird AF. And the culture that has arisen around it is also weird. Case in point, this Tampax ad. Ladies- do you ever get that Hunger Games-y feeling around that time of the month? Oh you do? Well, by all means…..
 

 
So if you have a penis, be grateful. I hope you are. If not, you will be by the end of this post. First of all, you never were made to feel excited about “Protecto” sanitary bloomers in the 1920s. These “reversible, snug fitting and always secure” items were made by what I assume was a company that truly cared about women—the New York-based Rubberized Sheeting & Specialty, Inc. OK, so without sarcasm, here’s my thing. I’m all about some fetishes. Ask my pals. You can get me in a set of rubber pants NO PROBLEM and I will be pleased as punch. But this is a whole other ballgame. Would this be menstruation kink? And if so, dear lord, please get this girl as much chocolate, tea and binge watching of WHATEVER SHE WANTS as she needs!
 

 
The Kotex product line is fascinating on a historical level.  Started by Kimberly-Clark in 1920 their wares were created from leftover cellucotton from WWI bandages! Because they had a brand name (Kotex, after “cotton” and “texture”) women didn’t have to ask for the ultra-embarrassing “sanitary napkins” at the counter but these pads were no party. Bulky and lacking in any holding sutures, these items had to either be fastened to your undergarments with safety pins or…worn with a goddamn belt. And that belt was no joke. If you’ve ever read Judy Blume’s wonderful book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret? there’s a great passage in there about trying to figure out the belt/pad contraption.

But let’s talk about the evolution of the belt for a second. Like many things in American culture, a person of color invented this item and was never given proper credit. In general, belts simply attached to the napkins or to pins holding the napkins and made sure everything stayed put. They must’ve felt like weird diapers.

Along comes Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner, an incredible black woman who invented a different kind of sanitary belt that had a moisture-proof pocket. While it looks (again) like something kinky, the usefulness in comparison to the straight-up belts that were being sold was enormous. When the company initially interested in Davidson’s invention found out she was black, the belt was rejected. This belt was finally put into production in the 1950s, almost thirty years after she had first pitched it. Oh and by the way? Kenner also invented the toilet paper holder in your bathroom, and if you have a mounted backwasher in your shower? You can thank her for that too. She became a florist later in life.

Belts didn’t really fade out entirely until the 1970s, when someone figured out how to put adhesive on the back of a damn pad. Apparently that idea took a lot of mental energy to come up with. Tampons were intorduced in the 1930s, but there was a litany of reasons why women stayed away. Women were scared it would make them “not a virgin.” Religious leaders railed against the use of menstrual tampons, saying that using them might lead to sexxxxxy feelingz (oh noes!). Their use increased after WWII however and grew stronger during the 1960s and soared during the 1970s. AHEM. WOMEN’S MOVEMENT. AHEM.

At this juncture, women use many different items, and may choose what they like. The information is out there. To paraphrase Virginia Slims, we’ve come a long way baby!

These first two images look at Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner’s belt (1st picture) versus the average belt in use since the 1920s.


 

 

 
Much more menstruation madness, after the jump…

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Posted by Ariel Schudson
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03.14.2018
11:43 am
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This set of erotic Japanese vintage matchbox covers is charming af
03.09.2018
09:12 am
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Information on the charming set of matchbox covers featured in this post is hard to come by. I know they’re Japanese, any idiot can see that. And I know that their date of origin is almost certainly from before 1950. They stem from a collection of matchbox “labels” that is on Flickr and that has recently become one of my favorite places on the Internet. Vintage Japanese matchbox covers are incredible.

The person who runs that set of images, who uses the Flickr username maraid, explains that the collection had been the passion of the grandfather of a friend, and also that the images date from “1920s-1940s.”

All of the covers feature an image of an unaccompanied woman in a state of undress. There is more than one woman in the series. The images have a very consistent palette of a blue, red, green, and a cream color used mainly for the skin. Sometimes the model is outdoors, but mostly she is indoors. She is never shown doing anything particularly erotic, just hanging out or fooling around with her kitties, that’s was evidently erotic enough back in the day. Some of the images derive from an artist’s studio, as can be seen in the instances in which cans of paint brushes are included.

Before public health drives to reduce smoking, before the advent of vaping, before the advent of widely available lighters (not to mention those fancy windproof lighters), matchboxes were a widely familiar medium. I quit smoking five years ago, and I’ve scarcely lit a match since then, and I don’t carry matches with me anymore (even then I preferred lighters). You’d think that marijuana legalization would do wonders for the matchbox industry, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

These images are signed, which is unusual for matchbox covers from that era—surely an indication that the artist and maybe even the manufacturer recognized these as something special. Most matchbox labels are seen as “just advertising” so there’s seldom information about who did them. Even with the signed initials, I still have no idea who did these. Hats off, in any case.
 

 

 

 
Lots more after the jump…....

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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03.09.2018
09:12 am
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