More Motel 6 — Y2K edition

Twenty years ago, the Y2K Millenium bug weighed heavily on our collective minds. It seems so far away in 2019. The same year Star Wars Episode I: the Phantom Menace arrived in theaters. “Weird Al” Yankovic‘s Running with Scissors album told the film’s story in great detail prior to the movie’s release. Al even mentions Y2K on the record (in “It’s All About the Pentiums,” if you were curious). The album received heavy airplay on The Dr. Demento Show that year—the only year I taped every single show off of the radio, commercials and everything. This recording came from one of my tapes.

Tom Bodett is in hilarious form here. Now that the threat of Y2K is looooooooooooooong since past (well, unless you have an older GPS, but that’s a different topic altogether). Without further ado, here’s my favorite radio commercial from that time of year. Watch it below:

 

 

“It makes sense to see the light at Motel 6…before it’s too late,” intones Tom Bodett in this Motel 6 radio spot from late 1999. It is certainly a relic of its time, so it is best to simply enjoy it for what it is. Nostalgia is truly is weird, isn’t it?

Motel 6 Commercials—Save a Buck

A little over a year ago, I wrote a piece for Tedium: the Dull Side of the Internet about Tom Bodett. You can read “Leavin’ the Light On” here. For that article, not only did I interview Tom Bodett, but I also did a deep dive into my radio show collection for the Bodett-voiced Motel 6 commercials I remembered hearing in my youth. Here is the first one.

Motel 6 — Save a Buck

In this spot, Tom tells us why a deer freezes when he sees headlights (“because he’s stupid”) and why you stop at Motel 6 when you see the light (“because you’re smart”). Enjoy this down-home slice of American advertising in glorious lo-fi below:

I’m always looking for new commercials to post to our YouTube channel and talk about over here, so stay tuned.

Looking back at Radio Shack

 

NW Space Logo.jpgWelcome back to Nostalgia Ward. Things have been slow around here, but we’ve dusted off some audio equipment and prepared an update. Today’s NW features one of our favorite defunct electronics stores—Radio Shack!

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.

The famous tagline of Radio Shack was prevalent throughout the nineties. While listening to some old radio show tapes this past year, I came across this 1995 radio commercial for the brand. This spot advertises a phone sale they were having at the time. Featuring a hilarious exchange between a man called Murray and his mother, we learn they could have won a large amount of money had they only owned a better phone. Certainly a bit outdated in this area of pocket computers (that can also make phone calls!), but that doesn’t render the spot any less hilarious.

 

 

Do you have an fond memories of Radio Shack? Please feel free to share them with us. We’ll be back soon (possibly) with more retro fun. If you have any suggestions or requests, we’ll see what we can do.

Super Mario Bros. 3: Chasing airships in arcades, pizza parlors and at the movies

Many gamers’ first hands-on experience with Super Mario Bros. 3 was playing it on a friend’s NES or, for the very fortunate, ripping the shrink wrap off your very own Game Pak’s cardboard box.

Mine was actually in an arcade at Knott’s Berry Farm. It was a fleeting flirtation with a game I had, thus far, only ogled in previews on the pages of Nintendo Power magazine. I don’t think I even finished that familiar, yet warped, World 1-1 before I was dragged away to be reminded that we were on an expensive theme park vacation.

Mastering flight with the Raccoon Suit’s tail? Forget about it!

Then there was The Wizard, a movie starring Fred Savage, Beau Bridges and Christian Slater, which seemed to exist only to market Nintendo’s later generation of NES games and accessories. Our favorite video game lyricist, Brentalfloss, explains:

But despite all the movie hype, magazine previews and amusement park arcade teasers, my most vivid memories of playing Super Mario Bros. 3 don’t have anything to do with any of that, nor even taking my own life in my hands after convincing Mom to drive us to the rough side of town’s Kmart to grab the last available copy on release day.

My most indelible early recollection of SMB3 was playing the game, over and over again, at Pizza Hut.

After that California vacation where I first encountered the game in the back corner of the busy old-timey arcade, we returned home to Phoenix to find our local Pizza Hut had a Nintendo “PlayChoice” arcade machine, or something like it, containing various NES titles – and this was one of them.

Needless to say, we spent a lot of time (and quarters) at that Pizza Hut.

By the time the game came out for the NES, I had mastered Mario’s new flying ability, whistled my way to the Warp Zone, and more.

At the cusp of the last decade of the century, a time when arcades were already falling to the power of the home console, Super Mario Bros. 3 had a pixellated place in both worlds.