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Christmas Commercials

Links are to Real Player clips
by Billy (Ho Ho) Ingram

PattyPlaypal DollChristmas* is the one season where we all have something in common. Whether you celebrate the season or not, you can't avoid getting caught up in it.

The toy industry, which barely existed before TV, realized there was no better time to debut their latest creations than at Christmastime. Creepy Crawlers, Patty Playpal, Hot Wheels, a doll that talks, a doll that walks, a doll that urinates on herself - kids could point to the screen and say, "that's what I want for Christmas!"


The holiday season officially kicks off with Thanksgiving. On that day, mother and grandmother lovingly prepare a festive meal, usually turkey with stuffing, gravy and other assorted side dishes depending on that particular household's traditions.

Thanksgiving is the time when the television networks begin interrupting their regularly scheduled quality programming with a boatload of holiday specials - providing families with more opportunities for loving time gathered around the HD hearth.

The day after Thanksgiving, the nation falls under a spell and everyone rushes madly out to the big-box stores, all at the same time, to buy all the same stuff.

G.I. Joe Doll 1960sLittle Connie wants a pretty doll for Christmas. Come to think of it, little Peter also wants a doll.

The older kids yearn for the latest realistic video games and super-high tech entertainment systems while father dashes out to buy mother that brand new car trimmed with a red bow on the hood.

Grandma - well, she only desires the simple things for Christmas, merely to enjoy the spirit of the season.

That, folks, is what makes Christmas so special - that and toys for the kids!


Here are some random Holiday related commercials from the 1970s and early-1980s to enjoy.

What dad in 1975 didn't want the Schick Hot Lather Machine? It was one of the hottest selling items that year. As I remember, they didn't work for very long but I'm sure they've been perfected over the last 30 years.

McDonalds gift certificates were hot in 1975.

Suzanne Somers for Ace Hardware in the 1970s.
"Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man."
In the 1960s and early-1970s Ace Hardware stores
are where a great number of parents in rural areas
bought their kid's presents.


Polavision setThis is a commercial for a product that didn't exactly light up the Christmas tree when it was introduced in the mid-1970s.

The Polaroid Polavision Player allowed users to view their Super8mm films instantly, without sending out for processing. You shot the action with the Polavision camera then removed the cartridge which developed the film in a mere 90 seconds. You then dropped the cartridge into a special viewer/ projector to watch.

It was a huge leap forward for home filming, but the movies had no sound and the home video recorder was lurking just over the horizon. That spelled doom for Polavision.

Richard Tolleson remarks: "I remembered seeing 'Polavision' at JC Penney one Christmas. By the next Christmas, Sony had Betamax and RCA had Selectavision in the stores. For years I thought I had imagined that whole Polavision thing. It reminds me of an announcement that was made in the Spring of 1956. A blurb in Broadcasting magazine stated that ABC was ready to reveal a new method for delaying The Mickey Mouse Club for West Coast airing. That same week Ampex introduced videotape, and whatever method ABC was planning on using is lost to history (or at least I haven’t found it yet)."

Probably the most famous Christmas commercial
of the 1960s / 1970s - the Norelco Santa. Below
is a Norelco ad from 1976 - now that's classic!

Johnny Carson's monologue from a 1976 holiday season broadcast, rescued from ancient audio tapes. Even when Carson wasn't at his best (and there are plenty of lame jokes here) he's eminently entertaining.

Remember the Bicentennial Minute? During the 1980s, the USPS sponsored something similar called The Magic of Christmas, a 30 second salute to the holidays with various stars telling a Christmastime story. One starred Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek and another a young Holly Hunter.

When you think of Christmas, you can't help but think of - Skeletor. In this You Tube clip, Skeletor finds his Christmas spirit from the He-Man Christmas Special.

A Christmastime spot for Coca-Cola back in 1975. It's a salute to the American sense of humor and features (too brief) glimpses of Burns & Allen and Jackie Gleason among other comedy legends.

Also from 1975, one of the original spots for that enormous pitcher of Kool-Aid that would burst forth and terrorize the landscape.

Fruity Pebbles Christmas Commercial

You may have shopped at Zayre stores in the 1970s

Here's one from the 1980s featuring LaWanda Page,
Aunt Ester on Sanford & Son.

Here's a mashup of Christmastime ads from the 1980s:

Commercials from 1986's holiday season - look for Pee Wee Herman who had a Saturday morning show on CBS and the Doublemint Twins, a revival of an ad campaign that was popular on TV in the 1960s & early-'70s.

Kenny & Dolly : A Christmas to Remember - 1984 Full Special

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