|Caminante Nocturno |
The commercials for Hollywood Vice Squad and Night Harness Racing have the same music.
|Binro the Heretic |
When I was little, we lived in Mobile, Alabama. I loved going to Sambo's restaurant.
Those of you raised in more enlightened times may not know the story of "Little Black Sambo" which had been a popular children's book in the late 19th century. In it, a little boy named Sambo is stalked by tigers. He tries appeasing the tigers by giving them his fine coat, shoes, trousers and umbrella. The treacherous tigers, however, still pursue the boy with the intention of eating him. He runs up a tree and the tigers run in a circle around the base of the tree until they melt into golden butter. The boy collects his clothes and scoops up the butter. He goes home and has pancakes covered in the tiger butter.
Since the book was written by a white European woman living in India, little Sambo was depicted with dark chocolate skin, curly black hair and bright red lips. When the book made it to America, the insensitive stereotypical depiction of the little Indian boy was thought to be an insensitive stereotypical depiction of a little boy of African descent. "Sambo" became a racial slur against blacks. Both the slur and the storybook continued to be commonplace into the 1970s.
Sambo's restaurant chain, which started in the 1950s and was actually named for the (white) owner's nickname, used images from the children's book in the decor. As the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the accompanying ethnic sensitivity gained momentum, the old dark-skinned depictions of Sambo were replaced by a green-eyed pale-skinned child in a white turban, red jacket, blue pants and curly pointed slippers, looking more like a popular western depiction of a genie than anything else. The tigers were still there, though they seemed more intent on eating little Sambo's stack of pancakes than the boy himself.
As a six-year-old kid, I didn't know the history behind the character, even though I had a copy of the book with more ethnically sensitive modern illustrations tucked in with my Little Golden Books at home. I remember animated commercials on TV depicting Sambo running up a tree to protect his precious pancakes from a hungry tiger. The tiger would run around and around in a blur until it turned into the Sambo's logo.
I loved Sambos because the food was good, but also because of the look of the place. It had a big airy googie style interior with huge plate glass windows in the front so lots of natural light poured in. The stools and booths were done in bright tiger orange vinyl and there was shiny chrome everywhere. The walls were decked out in illuminated panels with bright colorful illustrations of Sambo and the tigers. At the checkout, there was a glass case full of Sambos souvenirs. I used to have a plastic tiger coin bank and a little Sambo doll.
Alas, the image change was too late to save the chain. They didn't survive long into the 1980s. While it saddens me a little, I can more than understand the raw feelings that would lead people to shun the restaurant.
Another place I naively loved as a kid was the Colonel Dixie, home of the "Dixie Dog." Their mascot is, I shit you not, a cartoon confederate colonel in a tall broad-brimmed felt hat with a pointed goatee and handlebar mustache. They're still in business. You can look it up on Google Maps and see a street view. I haven't been there since I was nine, even though I visit relatives over that way a few times a year.
Wow, $1.99 for a double decker burger and fries, plus a salad? Yes please.
Speaking of Olympia, the Reef just reopened so it's Artesian Well Water for everyone!
|The Mothership |
That Backwoods ad is priceless.
|Old People |
The Hollywood Vice Squad has an unusual approach to MOUT. Reminds me of a PFC in my squad who, no matter how many times we trained him to get the fuck out of the Fatal Funnel, would eventually revert to simply leaping into the breach, M16 at his hip, the way TV had taught him since childhood. Somehow he survived Iraq, and is doubtless somewhere out there training Vice Squads.
|Rodents of Unusual Size |
Nothing says cowboy like NISSAN DATSUN!
Also, 80s commercials really regard snooty white women in a respectful light, no matter how awful they are.
Rodents of Unusual Size
Oh wow, the NBC lineup cracked me up too. I really hope they did a crossover where Grizzly Adams saved 40 police officers from bees while saving a woman dangling off a rope bridge.
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