Tee Vee Toons: The Commercials

Various Artists

TVT Records, 1989

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


There are times when I do this job that I absolutely, positively need a break. Even though I love doing this, there are days when I don't think I can muster the energy to listen to one more album in my still-growing "to be reviewed" stack. Or outside pressures, like having to run nearly 24 hours' worth of diagnostics on my machine, get to me, and I'm ready to scream.

It's at times like these that I march into the Pierce Memorial Archives, and dust off an old friend - Tee Vee Toons: The Commercials. Think of it: over 50 little "mini-songs" that give me the chance to calm down and get myself re-focused - and, especially when they're on the food commercials, they tend to make me rather hungry. (Damn, a membership at the gym goes down the toilet.)

First, one minor complaint. Executive producer Steven Gottlieb, the king of television schmaltz, normally provides detailed liner notes about each television theme you hear on any of the Television's Greatest Hits albums. While the lyrics to the jingles are provided, there's no history about the specific commercials. (Maybe they're on the CD version; I bought the tape back when it came out in 1989.) There were some commercials I wanted more information about - like who is the singing group that performs the third of the Coca-Cola commercials. (If you know, please e-mail me and ease my tortured mind.) If there's ever a second volume to this set - and I'm honestly surprised that TVT hasn't brought one out - I hope they correct this one flaw.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Unless you've lived in a cave without television all these years, it is impossible to listen to Tee Vee Toons: The Commercials and not find yourself singing along at some point to a jingle. Spanning four decades' worth of ads for various products, there is bound to be something here that brings back memories for you. For me, that moment came just five jingles in, when they hit the commercial for Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars. It's not that I loved the candy (I hate coconut, so these were both off my list immediately when I was a kid), but it was impossible to escape the commercials for these when I'd be watching Saturday morning cartoons.

Likewise, you get not only the most familiar verse of the ad for Slinky, but you get the whole song - as well as a reminder that the company that manufactures (manufactured?) the Slinky used to have an entire product line, including the now-famous Slinky Dog. (What, you thought that toy was invented for Toy Story? My cousin had one when he was a kid back around 1976, and it was adorable.)

Oh, there are sure to be some bad memories stirred up when you hear some of these ads. If you've successfully gotten the song "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" out of your head, it will be back with a vengeance once you hear it used in the ad for Coca-Cola. (No, I don't want your flame mails telling me you can't get that damn song out of your head now. If I suffer, you all suffer. Hahahahaha!) And while I know the theme from "The Magnificent Seven" was used to sell Winston cigarettes before ads for smokes were banned from television, it sounds like this version was recorded especially for this collection.

Sometimes, it's interesting to hear the earlier ads (read: before I was born) for products like Nestle Quik, Rice-A-Roni and Sara Lee. It's also a bit weird, but fun, to hear ads I haven't heard since I was a young boy for things like Hershey's and Armour hot dogs. (Corporate America, forgive me for not showing trademark signs for all these products.) Finally, what's especially interesting is that most of these products featured are still available at your local food and drug store.

I've put Tee Vee Toons: The Commercials on at parties, and the evening turned into a nostalgia fest, where we'd talk about old times for hours. (Its playing usually was preceded by my discovery that we were fresh out of beer, and my decision that we needed a distraction.) But this is a fun listen when you want something out of the ordinary, and is still very enjoyable. I might have bought this for novelty reasons 11 years ago, but I haven't regretted it at all over the years.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of TVT Records, and is used for informational purposes only.