If you read one medium-length essay about Jim Varney and the origins and triumphs of ‘Ernest P. Worrell’, make it this one.
The tactic of creating a nationwide “regional” advertising mascot working for disparate brands still seems pretty strange — I first saw Ernest when I was a kid in goofy early 1980s TV ads for the north Texas chain of Braum’s ice cream / dairy stores and assumed that he was from around there — but they struck on a character that was lasting enough to spin off multiple movies, a TV show, a lifetime of guest appearances, future voice work…
If you’re a fan of the old Lucasfilm Games (and the kind of video game nerd that likes this sort of weird find…), don’t let your week go by without watching this internal Lucasfilm Games parody video unearthed by Mix n’ Mojo. Shots of Skywalker Ranch, Ron Gilbert, Larry Holland, jokes riffing off of the “Bo Knows” and “Spielvergnügen” (erm, Fahrvergnügen) ads, and even a song sung on the Ranch’s porch about their adventure games. It doesn’t get much more 1990 then this, folks!
(Bonus: watch for the boxed copy of King’s Quest V on the desk at around 8 minutes in — how’d that get in there??)
One of a handful of cartoons that Matt Groening created back in the late 80’s for a Macintosh ad brochure targeting new college students. Apart from Life in Hell’s Bongo, I think the other drawings are original characters? Just noticed this in the fine print on the back cover:
The characters in this brochure are fictional, and any similarities to actual persons, friends, or significant others is purely coincidental.
According to an interview cited by Cartoon Brew, an angry Walt Disney made Kimball stop contributing to the magazine, even though it was on his own time and for gratis. Thankfully these scans are cropping up on the Ward Kimball Facebook page, along with lots of other great stuff!
As Seen on TV, a tribute to doing it wrong. I love this aspect of awful informercials, and in our household we’ve even coined a specific adjective to describe it: twombly. As in “No, no, don’t use your sewing machine on the curtains while they’re still hanging! You’re doin’ it all twombly!”
A thorough set of the indentity bumpers from Nick at Nite, circa 1991. Kind of surreal (and tedious) watching these back to back, but it’s amazing how many of them I remember, and how many were done by well-known animators. This is where things were at in the early 90’s NYC animation trade. A number of these folks would later be rounded up in Atlanta to help create Cartoon Network. Sadly, all of these cable channels seem to have lost their sense of purpose, with Nick at Nite now showing ‘retro’ shows like “Just Shoot Me”, TV Land focusing on reality programming, and Cartoon Network becoming a dumping ground for kid’s live-action.