Wednesday, October 30

The Trivial Eye: Halloween Costumes of the '70s & '80s

by Jason Toon

For all their cheap, mass-market ubiquity, the boxed costumes of the '70s and '80s manufactured by such outfits as Ben Cooper and Collegeville were pretty avant-garde in their way. Rather than attempt versimilitude, they splashed logos across kids' torsos with total disregard for what the subject of the costume looked like, thus turning the wearer into a walking billboard in a bold commentary on the commercial nature of such commodified celebrations.

Or maybe they were just really crappy. You tell us. And tell us who these eight disturbing costumes were supposed to represent.

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Friday, September 27

Watch This First: CBS's Night Games, 1991

by Jason Toon

What happened when the network of Murder, She Wrote and Jake and the Fatman tried to get sexy? Night Games, that's what, CBS's attempt at a smuttier Love Connection. You don't have to watch all seven minutes of this clip to feel the painful impact of its unbearable smirky humor and deeply regrettable early '90s fashions.

 


Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Thursday, September 26

Watch This First: Trapper Keeper commercial, 1981

by Jason Toon

There's a lot to love in Mental Floss's excellent history of the Trapper Keeper, but nothing more than the 1981 mini-rom-com that introduced it to prime-time audiences. This Jeffrey kid knows how to make his voice crack to maximum comic effect. He should've been a star.
 


Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Monday, September 09

Watch This First: NBC Fall Previews, 1983

by Jason Toon

Most people have always thought most TV was garbage. And they've been mostly right. But if you're under any delusion that TV used to be better, take a look at this promo for some of NBC's fall lineup 30 years ago. It starts with Real People (kind of the Tosh 2.0 of its day); follows the Facts of Life girls to college; and touts the "hit show everybody's talking about" - yes, the immortal We Got It Made. And that's before we even get to the orangutan scientist, the cut-rate An Officer and a Gentleman knockoff, and the sleazy TV movie about a woman who "gives her body to any man who'll pay the price." If you think TV is any better or worse now than in 1983, take note of the last face you see in this video and ask yourself what that guy's been up to lately.
 

 

Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Friday, September 06

Watch This First: Billy Squier, "Rock Me Tonite", 1984

by Jason Toon

I had a video all picked out for today, then decided at the last minute to turn it into a whole blog post next week. So instead, let's kick off the weekend with an old favorite: Billy Squier's career-ending erotic romp featuring him stirring up the sheets and forbidden-dancing with... himself.

 

 

Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Friday, August 30

Watch This First: First Day of School, 1985

by Jason Toon

My kids start school next week, and it's not hard for me to remember that ambivalent first-day-of-school mixture of excitement and dread - especially when I watch this 1985 news report about the first day of school in Minot, North Dakota.

 
 

Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Monday, August 12

Watch This First: Styled in California, 1961

by Jason Toon

In a time when it can seem that everything used to look better, it's a relief to watch this vintage Montgomery Ward promo film and realize that even the early '60s had its own flavor of tackiness. For every sharp summertime ensemble in this clip, there are two more that would get you laughed out of the tiki bar. Take the kids at 4:55: the little girl looks great, but whoever made that poor boy wear those pants should have to register their address with local law-enforcement.


Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Friday, August 09

Watch This First: Old Man Drinks Beer, 1897

by Jason Toon

We're having a "wet breakfast" at the Watch This First bureau this Friday morning. Bend an elbow with long-dead British "comedian and arranger of pantomime harlequinades" Tom Green (not that one) as he takes a few sips that immediately go to his head. Or at least his face.
 


Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Wednesday, August 07

Watch This First: Meet the People at Public Television, 1977

by Jason Toon

I'm Jason and I live most of my life lost in the flickering fantasy corridors of YouTube, gulping down the occasional tube of sports gel only so I have the strength to keep clicking the play button. Starting today, I'll be sharing this burden with you every weekday morning, one video at a time. Today we meet the staff of WOUB-TV of Athens, Ohio in 1977. To watch it is to know that your own workplace will never be this laid-back and optimistic. I wonder if 1977 is hiring.

 

 

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Wednesday, May 08

The Trivial Eye: Chairs of the 20th Century

by Jason Toon

If you wanted to be a truly legendary designer during the 20th century, you had to make at least one great chair. The world we live in - offices, especially - is adorned with countless knockoffs of the innovative chair designs of the masters. You'll doubtless recognize the shapes and angles of these chairs - but can you name them and their designers?

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