Like any American indoor kid, I grew up watching just an unconscionable amount of television. I would record my favorite shows so I could enjoy them again another day–when nothing was on but I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything productive or physically challenging. At the time, in a pre-DVR era, the commercials were my nemeses. I wanted to skip over them so much, but alas, many of the shows I recorded using a VCR timer (the original DVR), inevitably capturing every ad.
Here’s the thing, though. When I eventually returned to some of these tapes, many years later, I never even considered fast-forwarding past those ads. Of course I remember what Growing Pains and Falcon Crest looked like, so no surprises there. But I had completely forgotten the way we were advertised to in those days. The hairstyles, the voiceover inflection, the total absence of irony ushered in by David Letterman and decades of SNL commercial parodies–they were all preserved in analog amber. Prepare yourself for a similar cultural/anthropological catharsis with a batch of newly unearthed movie ads from the ’70s.
A redditor named, sigh, therealrawcookiedough just uploaded to Imgur a treasure trove of vintage movie ads he found in old newspapers buried in his father’s basement. Star Wars lives right alongside Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo and the X-Rated Sharon, and the anachronistic shock is profound. Apparently, there used to be fewer than 1,000 movie theaters in ever city. Not every movie has historically had a web address. Taglines used to be gloriously earnest like this one from The Island of Dr. Moreau:
WHAT ARE THEY?
Or something in between!
They don’t make ’em like they used to–and for several solid reasons–but it’s refreshing to look back sometimes and note the evolution of advertising and entertainment. No way will anyone be sorting through their dad’s cyber-basement in 40 years and come across dispatches from Straight Outta Compton’s twitter account and get all whimsical. (And not just because we will all probably be long gone by then.)
Have a look through more old-school movie ads in the slides above.