By James H. Burns: It’s easy — particularly across a matter of decades! — to lose sight of the era, or milieu, in which a teleseries, or movie, first appeared. I’m intrigued by this sequence of clips someone put together of original commercials that aired during a Star Trek broadcast in 1967.
I’m reminded to ask about what remains one of the few Star Trek mysteries – why did NBC (or Desilu?) come up with that alternate series title logo — one which appeared on so much of the show’s initial merchandising and advertisements? Although no one could have known that Trek’s TYPOGRAPHY would also become near iconic, it’s odd that anyone thought that using a logo NOT featured on the series itself was a good idea!)
Also of note is this relatively recently discovered Adam West-as-Batman public service announcement for our government’s once-upon-a-time youngsters’ savings stamps/bank program:
For a stunning reason, in a way, which will become evident!
(In all my years of following “Batmania” — going back to its 1966 origins! — I don’t recall ever having seen this!)
Savings stamps? That’s one little recollection I have. I bought and pasted them in those little books. But I never traded them in for a bond. I don’t think the various schools I went to ever explained that. I recall that the effort start with WW1, and continued into the late 60’s. I don’t know if the savings stamps are being pushed anywehere today.
So simple: “According to the U.S. Treasury Department, savings stamps can be used as full or partial payment for Series EE savings bonds or redeemed for cash at face value. Local financial institutions that are issuing agents can handle the transactions.
The smallest denomination of Series EE savings bond that is available for purchase is a $50 Series EE bond, which costs $25. So you can buy a $50 Series EE bond with the $3 worth of saving stamps and $22 of your own money through participating local financial institutions.
If you are unable to find a financial institution that is willing to handle the transaction, mail an order form for Series EE savings bonds (Form PD F 5263) with the savings stamps and a check or money order for the remainder of the purchase price of the bond directly to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, P.O. Box 27622, Richmond, VA 23261. The order form for Series EE savings bonds (form PD F 5263) can be obtained at most local banks or ordered from an automated forms ordering system available on their Web site at: http://www.savingsbonds.gov/sav/savforms.htm.
Or you can submit the savings stamps to the Federal Reserve Bank for the value of the stamps. Savings stamps are worth their face value.”
(Fife and drum playing “Yankee Doodle” in the background.)
Some stamp collecters will pay more than face value to some of the series.
..and since it has over 45 years since I bought any, and I know not where the stamp folios are, or if they still exist.
My mother, on the other hand, still holds onto her show box filled with green stamps. Value: of one green stamp: one mill.
Mike: The Star Trek commercials were weirdly interesting, but do we have any idea why they were preserved? Martin
I don’t know if James has any info about the specific person who had this recording. Generally, there’s an interest in preserving commercials and recordings of other on-air artifacts for popular culture and media history studies.
While I was at Bowling Green State University taking my master’s in popular culture, I had my father, who worked at an NBC station in the video tape department, get permission to send to the PC collection the videos of commercials they were done with that otherwise would have been tossed/erased/destroyed (whatever the ad agency required).
It occurred to me, after the fact ( !), that some of the ads might have been FROM THE ERA, and not all necessarily from that 1967 telecast. It’s still, ahem, fascinating, I believe, particularly the ones that are from STAR TREK ‘s actual network sponsors. (The other ads COULD have been from the same broadcast, but from a LOCAL station’s commercial load.) If you click on the name of the feilas who put the clips together, you can get mode info about these happy vid-sters
And now I can get into the mystery that MAY HAVE BEEN SOLVED, by the Batman spot. In the 1960s, I was a very little kid, with a much older brother and sister. They were involved with the savings stamp program, and for whatever reason, I was anxious to join in. (No doubt, in my toddler’s brain, it had become one more possible portent of “growing up”!) My mom told me that when I was in elementary school, I’d also be able to join in. But when I entered first grade (in the Autumn of 1968!), the program, at my school, had been discontinued. I never knew why, and my TERRIFIC first grade teacher (in only her second or so year!), Debbie Donald (who also had the good fortune of being wonderfully lovely), didn’t have an answer.
But when I saw the Adam West PSA…
My elementary school, Howell Road (in Long Island), had its fair share of liberal staff. (Surely, I knew then and now, there were also conservatives and moderates!) But the promo made me wonder if LBJ’s administration combining the savings stamps with support for the war in Vietnam, via that card “every boy And girl would receive,” had led to the program’s being cut off in my, and perhaps other schools…
I remember “platformate” because it was the punch line of a joke in a Stan Freberg satire of the 1966 California governor’s race, “The Flackman and Reagan”.
(“What’s that little bicycle wheel on the back of the Flackmobile?”
(“I’m trying to see…how much farther I can get…on platformate!”)
“Mr. Reagan: why are you frequently seen cavorting about in blue tights, a wide yellow belt, boots, a cape, and a mask?”
“I try to blend in with the crowd on the Sunset Strip…as much as possible.”
I was surprised how well I remembered that long-ago replaced Pepsi jingle.
The Geritol commercials of that sort ran for a long time until the FDA pulled the plug on them — they just changed the wording and kept running it into the ’80s, on THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW.
Speaking of Geritol, do you remember Hadecol, or the catchphrases “Serutan is Natures spelled backwards”, or “LS/MFT–Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco”. There was a local ad when I grew up, “When your snuff’s too strong, it’s wrong: Try Tuberose, try Tuberose!” I’ve recently seen TV ads for these “electronic cigarettes” that apparently avoid the ban on tobacco product ads on TV nowadays.
And now back on track with Ray Bradbury (ducking). After the 1964 World’s Fair, in New York, was up and running; in which Bradbury had written an 18-minute script recounting the history of America for the U.S. pavilion, ending with an upbeat piece on our future in outer space he was approached to rewrite the ending to incorporate LBJ’s “Great Society.” Ray refused and it was not changed.
And late this morning, as I was lying in bed trying to decide if I felt well enough to get up and eat breakfast, I saw a television ad for a DVD set of the complete run of the Batman series, including a bonus disc of the movie, a bonus disc of commentary by Adam West, a “personal letter” from Adam West, and a script, all for the bargain price of only $100.
I restrained myself from ordering.
I remember both LS/MFT and Serutan — St. Louis fan Michael Fix parodied the latter with “Parcatola”, which is “Alotacrap” spelled backward, complete with a jingle, “Drink some Parcatola, and you’ll be a regular guy!”
He also had a bit in which Godzilla arises from the ocean in the early ’70s, but is ignored as the police and army are all busy with student demonstrations. So Godzilla reads Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book, grows a giant Afro, joins the Black Panthers, and so on.
The thing that stands out for me is that the individual commercials were longer, but the commercial breaks were shorter. Without commercials, I believe that was a 52-minute episode of Star Trek. Today, I think it would be around 45.
The FCC limit on primetime commercials in effect in the Sixties would account for the episode length. I don’t know what rules are in effect today. And for episodes aired outside of primetime, more commercials were allowed even in the old days. That’s how there came to be for sale slides and filmstrips made from footage clipped from actual prints of Star Trek episodes that were trimmed for syndicated broadcast.
It was rather amazing,Mike. I can remember timing out an episode of GET SMART! when it was running in repeats/syndication on local New York TV in the early 1970s… (In fact, establishing the true running time of a show may have been a school work assignment.)
–And the episode ran for only EIGHTEEN MINUTES.
If not less.
‘Meaning nearly a third of the story had been eliminated!
(Yes. So I missed it by that much!)
Some people have collected up a mess of TV commercials on DVD, after looking at a few, it did jog some grey cells into remembering. While I can recall many of the programs, for the most part, my mind has tuned out the advertisments.
Some purists say that the old shows should be run with the commercials. I have a collection of some of the surviving WAY OUT proigrams, with original ads. And they really get in the way. aND fAST fORWARD IS A HAPPY OPTION.
Any voice-acting fans care to take a shot at identifying the announcers on some of those Star Trek commercials? They are hauntingly familiar.
The Polaroid guy seems to be Alexander Scourby.