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Friday, May 6, 2016

Rad Ads - Elvira t-shirt, Kool-Aid Man video game and Raquel Welch pillow

Welcome back to Rad Ads, your place to have your senses inundated by an 80's flavored marketing bonanza. Look at those bright vibrant colors, feel the grit on your fingertips, smell that pulpy old newsprint... now tell me you don't feel like buying some crappy Atari game... just try it.

Today's piece is a special one as I'm teaming up with my good buddy Reggie. Reggie is one of the main men over at Weird Science DC Comics. He is a prolific and amazingly talented writer and reviewer. He is also my co-host (or maybe I'm his co-host) for the weekly Weird Comics History segment on the Weird Science DC Comics Podcast, and we've got some other comics-related stuff cooking as well.

Born Cassandra Peterson, Elvira Mistress of the Dark was the host of Movie Macabre on Los Angeles TV. Due to her talent and... ahem, assets, Elvira surged in popularity to the point where in 1988 she was able to write and star in her own feature film: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. The film would go on to win many awards including a Golden Raspberry for worst actress and a Stinker for worst picture. It's important to note that boobs were a lot harder to come by in the 1980s than they are today, when you can call up a plethora of boob images on your smartphone at a moment's notice.

Fun fact: Peterson was talked into pursuing Hollywood fame by none other than Elvis Presley. Yep, the King of Rock and Roll and the future-Mistress of the Dark had a sorta-kinda fling back in the 70's and he convinced her to go West.

This t-shirt definitely sends a strong message to the world that the wearer is likely a sex offender or is, at least, a Furry. The font used for "Elvira" seems to be the same as that used by the prog rock band Yes, a favorite for purveyors of candy from windowless vans and guys that wear half-tinted sunglasses without irony. Actually, looking at it a bit closer, this t-shirt seems tailored for a woman's fit, which just makes no sense at all.

Many people claim (and with good reason) that the "Great Video Game Crash of 1983" was due to the marketing having become flooded by unlicensed and low-quality games. Chase the Chuck Wagon (by Purina) was a dog-food themed game that often pops up in conversation... I think today we've found another to share in the blame.

Kool-Aid Man by Mattel was released for the Atari 2600 and the Intellivision. Just looking at the ad, you can tell this is one of the worst video games of all time. What's most interesting about this is that this game was not a simple console port... each system had their own unique game! And both were the worst video games of all time!

In the Atari 2600 version, the player appears to control a pitcher of Kool-Aid whose job it is to stop the Thirsties™ from sucking up all the delicious toxic blue goop at the bottom of the screen.

The Intellivision game, however, is a full-blown (ridiculously primitive) adventure game where you play as two children whose sole mission is to employ their powers of chemistry to make a delicious pitcher of Kool-Aid. All the while they are pursued by the T(h)errible Thirsties™... who have somehow made their way into their home.

This was a time that Kool-Aid held sway as the soda alternative. Sure, there was Tang, but that didn't have the blatant sugary taste of Kool-Aid. Nowadays you have Sunny Delight and VitaminWater and lots of drinks of dubious nutritional value.The games are listed at a $20.00 value, which I suppose is better than them trying to fleece a fifty from an unwitting 80's kid... OR you could trade in 125 Kool-Aid Proofs of Purchase. I remember having a baggie full of these as a kid... too bad all the prizes sucked! Of note... this offer doesn't expire and is good while supplies last... so if you're interested you may just be able to get in on one of these! You gotta figure Kool-Aid Korporate still has closets full of this garbage.

Finally, here's this installment's 'Wild Card': the 'Raquel Welch pillow', an ad for which was found in a 1973 issue of Action Comics. I guess maybe America is Superman, Apple Pie, and durable starlet-emblazoned inflatable pillows.

Here's a better look at the... ahem, rugged headrest.

Raquel Welch pillow. photo source:
In amazingly good condition, if I do say so... Maybe it's as durable as they say!

"Makes a great gag gift", they say. Imagine being the lunatic who gives this thing to somebody... even as a joke. I doubt anyone would be able to look at me the same way again. What's worse, imagine being the poor jerk who gets this as a joke gift. How does one react to being given a two-foot long Raquel Welch? I mean, besides sporting an instantaneous boner?

Ay yai yai, let's keep reading this thing, shall we?

"Keep her for yourself or show her to your friends."

"Livens up party when everyone sees and FEELS this great gag item."

'Feels'? 'FEELS'?!? You can't make this stuff up! I mentioned earlier about being the giver or receiver of this nightmare. Now imagine being the guy who tries to liven up a flagging party by heading into the bedroom to retrieve your voluptuous vinyl Ms. Welch!

"Hey guys, look what I got! Anybody wanna feel?"

And by "feel", I mean "hump it". Hey, it is made of vinyl! That wipes clean. I wonder if there's an unspoken hierarchy among pillow owners? Like, do blow-up doll owners look down on those who have the Racquel Welch pillow? And then do people with the vinyl pillow denigrate those who have hentai figures on body pillows? It's a burning question that I'm not sure I want the answer to.

Well, on that note... this wraps up another edition of DC in the 80's Rad Ads. As always, we hope you enjoyed. If you have anything you want to add (or if there are any ads you wanna see covered) please let me know. Keeping with the community feel of this column, if there are any ads YOU wanna chime in on, drop me a line in care of this website and we'll work something out.

Big thanks to Reggie for playing along and hanging out for this installment. Again, you should definitely check out his work on Weird Science DC Comics, as well as here on this very site. You can find him on Twitter @reggiereggie.

Thanks for reading, and if you dig the concept please consider spreading the word!


Can't wait for the next installment in this series of articles? For more of Chris Sheehan, check out his highly recommended Chris is on Infinite Earths blog.

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