Tag Archives: 1970s

Essential DC Hostess Ads Vol. 2: Cupcakes 1979-1981

As promised in the Twinkie entry, though a week late, here is Vol. 2 in the Essential Hostess Ads series, this time centering on the Hostess Cupcakes and the DC heroes who love to use them for fighting crime and stuff.

I don’t know what it is about cupcakes, but it brought out some of the lesser-known DC heroes, at least from my perception as I never really read DC comics and I’d wager a bet that most people wouldn’t recognize characters like Red Tornado and possibly even Hawkman, though he did get his own US postage stamp so what do I know. I also think it’s kind of funny that Batman shows up three times in these ads, and I know there must be more since I found twice as many for Twinkies (so there are possibly even more starring the dark knight); so all in all Bruce Wayne is a cupcake man at heart, which is nice.

What have I learned from reading these ads? Why those cupcakes are dark, rich and creamed (not creamy.) So without any further to-do, let’s get into those creamed cakes.

1979 Hawkman Makes a Safe Landing

Okay, so we’re running out of the gate with a bang on this one. The cupcakes are so secondary to the plot here, in fact the entire plot is so…well for lack of a better idea, it’s just so much like a normal ad. Why does Hawkman even need to be in this ad? I mean the dude might as well have been able to open his chute at the last second and it would have been just as effective. I’m probably reading way too much into this considering he’s a fictional character with his back turned and all, but Hawkman just seems pissed that he had to take a break in his normal lazy afternoon soaring to catch that dweb and his damn Hostess cupcakes…

1980 Batman in Catman on the Prowl

This 1980 ad is sort of misleading, as it’s really a Robin story at heart. Robin, who through his love of his mentor and friend sacrifices his bagged lunch dessert, gets stiffed by the “big name” in the title. What a shame. Seriously though, what’s up with this first panel? Where the hell does Batman find the strength to hold up two man-eating panthers by the throats? I guess this is no worse than that shark attack scene in the Adam West Batman movie. “Robin, hand me the Bat-Shark-Repellant!”

1981 Batman in “Lights, Camera, Crime!”

Oh geez. I hope the artists and writers of this comic thought ahead enough to have their credits listed as Alan Smithee. Why pirates? Why not a giant cutting machine or some dude with a chainsaw or something. Pirates should have been in one of the Twinkie ads, I mean Golden cake and all…

1981 Batman in Hearts of Darkness

You know, Batman’s last line in this ad is probably strangely prophetic, “Sometimes good taste is a fatal flaw.” I’m sure all the great ad copywriters were thinking the same thing when their pitches for amazingly well written Hostess ads were passed over for the dregs like this one. Tell me, how in the hell do you fence a city’s oil supply?

1981 Flash in Marathon Madman

Jesus, what in the hell is Dr. Sorcery’s plan here? Does he hate competition running so much that he felt the need to use a magical stone on a bridge to stop a race? Maybe his entry was refused and this is his payback. Either way I think it’s kind of cool that the writer at least worked in both the Flash’s secret identity and job, not to mention joking around with his powers. I actually think this is probably the most well written Hostess ad so far, and that depresses me.

1981 Red Tornado in Clean Sweep

Seriously Red Tornado, take the damn credit for foiling this cantankerous cupcake caper my friend. What the hell did a Hostess cupcake ever do for you besides get you cast in an ad so your comic could get more exposure? My computer brain is telling me you’re a feeb, though a feeb with incredibly fast moving legs and a vast knowledge of criminal’s invaluable tastes.

I still have one more volume of Essential DC Hostess ads to explore, so this time next week we’ll be taking a gander at Vol. 3, Fruit Pies. I think I might even have some Marvel ads to throw in as well.

The Essential Saturday Morning Cartoon Ads, 1979-1989

So while I was spelunking though crap comic book bins at my local Book Nook looking for old Hostess ads, I kept running across other ads that I thought would be fun to share on the site. In particular I kept passing over some familiar Saturday Morning Cartoon ads, mostly for the later 80’s NBC lineup, and nothing I hadn’t seen before a million times while reading back issues of Ambush Bug and the Uncanny X-Men. Then I caught sight of an ad I’d never seen before, one for ABC in 1983, and I began to wonder if there were ads for all the big stations, ABC, CBS, and NBC, for every year.

So the search began anew, and I started digging for cartoon ads, year by year, and I managed to find a decent amount. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one for every station or for every year during the 80’s, but I’ll be damned if I can find them, and I’ve run out of cheap resources, so this’ll have to do for now. Without further ado I present the Essential Saturday Morning Cartoon Ads, Vol. 1 1979-1989.

This first ad is for ABC’s cartoon lineup form 1979. Though I was only two years old at the time, I do remember watching my fare share of both the Super Friends and the Plastic Man show. I also, of course, watched plenty of Scooby Doo, especially the Scrappy Doo episodes. I remember distinctly wanting to murderize Scrappy on many occasions. I don’t remember ever seeing any of the additional Plastic Man cartoons like Fang Face, Rickety Rocket or Mighty Man and Yukk, so I’m thinking maybe I caught Plas later when it was edited down or something. I’m dying to see some of the Spider Woman cartoon and have been since I used to stare at the one video copy my Blockbuster used to stock, though I never did rent it for some weird reason.

This CBS ad, also from 1979, is pretty much 50/50 in terms of what I remember seeing on TV as a kid. I definitely remember Mighty Mouse, Heckle and Jeckle, and, like Scooby Doo, obviously I remember watching the Looney Tunes. Scooby Doo and the Looney Tunes are pretty damn timeless though, and I think in one form or another have been playing since they were introduced in the 60’s and 30’s respectively.  That’s also the worst miss-coloring on Foghorn Leghorn I’ve ever seen.

The second half of this ad is pretty foreign to me though, at least for the time. The first Popeye show I remember watching was the Popeye and Son revamp that came a few years after this, though I’m sure I caught some of the really old stuff at one time or another. Though I do remember seeing an episode or two of Fat Albert, I want to say that it wasn’t on Saturday morning, but instead part of another show like Pinwheel, the Electric Company, or Kaptain Kangaroo or something. Bill Cosby was pretty much all over the place in the 80’s, especially on kids shows, what with Picture Pages and his appearances on the Electric Company, so I might be getting this mixed up. I didn’t discover Jason of Star Command until this past year from reading a bunch of other blogs like Bubblegum Fink. It’s definitely a show I’m dying to see because I want to see Sid Haig in a kid’s show; he’s got to be a pretty bad ass villain. As far as that bottom rung of shows, I’m completely baffled. I’ve never seen any of those and I’m surprised that there was a Batman show on ABC and CBS simultaneously.

Now in 1980, with this ABC ad, we’re getting into more familiar territory. Other than the crazy Fonz and the Happy Days Gang cartoon, I watched all of these shows. The introduction of Thundarr is pretty sweet, and goes to show that there was certainly precedent set before the Masters of the Universe toy line hit shelves 1983, much to Roger Sweet’s chagrin. Now, is that supposed to be Joni in the Happy Day’s cartoon? ‘Cause that’s a Joni that I could love like so many Chachis.

CBS’s lineup didn’t change much in 1980, but I’m really keen on some of the additions. Though I’ve never seen it, I’m really interested in the Drac Pack show. I’m curious if it’s in line with something like the Groovie Goolies? It sounds a lot more action packed, though I’m not sure how much, seeing as the rebirth of the “Action Cartoon” was still a couple years off. I also notice that Batman, Freedom Force, and Jason of Star Command were replaced by the Lone Ranger show. I don’t remember that one either, though I did have some of the toys that came out around then. I dug the hell out of the Lone Ranger toy because, if I remember correctly, his pistols would fit in his holsters, which was very uncommon for 3.75″ toys in the 80’s.

I wonder why they even bothered to throw in that bit about the 30 Minutes of news spot at 1:30. What self-respecting kid was watching news highlights on Saturday mornings?

Well, apparently NBC was in direct competition with CBS, as they both had variations on the Looney Tunes, and then NBC also introduced the Frankenstones, I assume to offset the Drac Pack. Their lineup was pretty heavily, classic Hanna Barbera laden, what with the Jetsons, the Flintstones, the Herculoids, and Space Ghost. Crazy, it was like a regular Boomerang on NBC in 1980.

Now, I couldn’t find an ABC ad for 1981, but I think the lineup stayed relatively the same, though I believe that Laverne and Shirley was added as a spin-off addition to the Happy Days cartoon much in the same way the original show was spun off of the live action Happy Days show.

CBS on the other hand dropped Heckle and Jeckle, the Drac Pack, and Tarzan in favor of some new blood including, Zorro, Blackstar (I assume to compete with ABC’s airings of Thundarr), the Trollkins, and the Kwicky Koala Show, none of which I’m all that familiar with. I had a few of the Blackstar toys, which I mentioned when I talked about the Blackstar puffy stickers, but other than that I don’t know much about these new shows. I know that Zorro, much like the Lone Ranger was at least strong enough to get one toy line release, but pretty much CBS is a mystery to me at age 4. I notice they’re still pimping the weekly news highlights though.

In 1981 NBC began to feel like more familiar ground in terms of my personal nostalgia for Saturday morning cartoons, what with the introduction of the Smurfs and Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends. I can recall associating the Spider-Man theme song, in particular, with waking up on the weekends.

Apparently, ABC was all about spinning off cartoon versions of their popular 70’s sitcoms as 1982 would see three shows, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy all with animated counterparts. Mmmm, animated Pam Dawber. ABC also dove into programming based on video games with the introduction of Pac-Man. I wonder which station was playing Q*Bert and Donkey Kong in the 80’s? Well we’ll get to that.

Not to be outdone on the sitcom-to-cartoon-conversion front, CBS introduced a Gilligan’s Island cartoon in 1982. They also ditched half of the previous years lineup including all the news shows from 1981 like Zorro, the Trollkins, and that weird Koala show. I guess they were feeling boxed in by the other networks and were focusing on competition rather than sticking with new ideas, though they did introduce two new shows, the panda themed Pandamonium, and Meatballs and Spaghetti (not familiar with either.)

I didn’t find an ad for NBC for 1982, though I believe they added the Shirt Tales to the lineup as well as an Incredible Hulk cartoon. How do I know that? Context clues.

For 1983 ABC ditched all of it’s sitcom cartoon spin-offs in favor of some new material including a show based on the Rubik’s Cube, one on the Monchhichis, an awesome Littles cartoon, and the crazy Menudo show. Can you pick out Ricky Martin from this horribly printed ad?

For 1983 NBC ditched it’s classic Hanna Barbera lineup in favor of a half and half mix between action and cutsey. With the introduction of the Mr. T cartoon, added to their Spider-Man/Hulk hour and the Thundarr cartoon, they were going pretty strong with action. This was balanced by the introduction of Alvin and the Chipmunks, which joined by the Smurfs, the Shirt Tales and the Flintstones, whoch would fill out the more cute and cuddly earlier morning hours.

Though I didn’t find a CBS ad for 1983, I can tell by this 1984 ad, prominently featuring Richard Pryor, that they were picking up the slack on the video game-to-cartoon front with their Saturday Supercade shows including Q*Bert, Space Ace, Donkey Kong and Pole Position. I freaking loved the Pole Position cartoon. I’ve also noticed that there is a similar balancing act between cute and action packed shows this year on CBS, much like the 1983 NBC lineup, including the Supercade, and Dungeons and Dragons being offset by the Muppet Babies and the Get Along Gang. I’m pretty sure my eyes were glued to CBS on Saturday mornings during 1984 because I remember all of these shows very fondly.

Of course, just as soon as I say that I was only watching CBS, here comes the 1984 NBC AD, which has just as many shows that I remember watching as well, so maybe I would switch off week to week or something. Or maybe there was a clone Shawn that I was able to siphon off the memories of. Either way, 1984 was a great year for Saturday Morning cartoons with a few more of my favorite shows getting introduced including Kidd Video, which I’ve written about before, the Snorks and the Pink Panther and Sons. Oh, to have episodes of all these shows on DVD. Man, look at David Hasselhoff’s grinning mug in that One to Grow On segment…

After 1983 I couldn’t find anymore ABC ads.  I don’t know if they stopped running them, or if they’re just super rare.

This CBS ad from 1985 shows us that Cyndi Lauper was becoming so common place in pop culture that her popular song titles were being reworked into cartoon ads. That’s all right though, because also in this ad is the introduction of Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling, yet another of my favorite shows as a kid, which featured Capt’n Lou who was a Lauper friend and mainstay. Though I was never all that into the actual wrestling shows, I dug the hell out of the cartoon, the trading cards, and those giant rubber action figures. George “the Animal” Steele anyone? Capt’n Lou was pretty awesome as well.  Yes, they were favorites of mine. Any wrestler that would pierce their cheek with rubber bands or dye their tongue green and eat turnbuckles were okay in my book.


Who in the hell are those purple monsters filming the Muppet Babies though? I don’t remember anyone other than Bunsen, Beaker, and that damn rabbit making guest appearances. This was also the last CBS ad I found, so from here on out it’s all about NBC.

I think this 1985 NBC ad is probably my favorite so far because I remember every single bit of this lineup. We get the Punky Brewster cartoon added (and even with Glomer I loved it) as well as the Gummi Bears cartoon, probably one of the best 30 minute Disney cartoons ever (at least on par with Ducktales.) Add to that Mr. T, the Smurfs, the Snorks, Kidd Video, Spider-Man and Alvin and the Chipmunks and you have a recipe for Shawn’s perfect Saturday morning.

I think it was around this time in 1986 when I began missing Saturday morning cartoons. Though I’d like to see what was on ABC or CBS to confirm this, I think I was losing interest in waking up for TV when a lot of the shows I loved were no longer on. This year NBC ditched practically every action show in favor of more cutsey fair like Kissyfur and Foofur. I mean, put ‘fur’ in every title why don’t ya? Smurfyfur, Punkyfur, Chipmunk-fur, everything was fucking furry or cute on NBC in 1986.

I think by this time I had switched my cartoon watching habits almost entirely to the syndicated fare on the weekday afternoons, stuff like G.I. Joe, the Transformers, the Silverhawks, Bravestarr, M.A.S.K., He-Man, and Turboteen.  I think I also discovered the joy of sleeping in until noon around this time as well.

Now as well as not finding any ABC or CBS ads for the later 80’s I also didn’t find many for NBC either. The only other ad I could find for Saturday mornings was this one from 1989.

Though I remember watching the Alf cartoon, all the rest of these are pretty foreign to me. I knew of these shows, but didn’t watch them, even though I was heavily into Nintendo, John Candy and the Karate Kid.

Though this is far from complete, there are at least six ads missing that I’m pretty sure are out there somewhere (NBC for 1979, ABC for 1981, NBC for 1982, CBS for 1983, ABC for 1984-85), this gives a pretty good idea of what was on Saturday Mornings through the early to mid 1980’s. Now I want these on DVD more than ever…

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Essential DC Hostess Ads Vol. 1: Twinkies 1978-1981

Recently, Savage over at his fun blog Old Man Musings posted an old Hostess Fruit Pies ad starring the Fantastic Four wherein the Four with Franklin in tow, pound and fire-blast the shit out of some falling rocks that are threatening the quintet’s lunch of luscious fruit pies. It was some sweet ass and quite extreme fruit pie rescuing I’ll tell you what.

Well, while I was sifting through some crap comic bins at a local used book store looking for some 80’s comic ads to write about I found a ton of the DC versions of these old ads, so I decided to share some of them. I’m not sure, there’s probably a booming web-ring dedicated to these ads, but I’m too lazy to look and see, so if this is redundant, too bad.

This week we’ll take a look at a myriad of ads dealing with the use of Twinkies as weapons of mass destruction, gifts of intergalactic well being, and the last sweet taste a bunch of crooks get before the bitterness of the upcoming horrors they’re sure to receive in jail. So without further ado, I present the Essential Hostess Ads Vol. 1: Twinkies.  Remember, you can click on the comics to enbiggen them for much better viewing…

1978 Batman vs. the Intergalactic Gold Eaters

I bet you didn’t know that Bruce Wayne’s keen sense of logic in crisis situations once led him to using a bag full of Twinkies as a weapon against intergalactic terror.

I know if I were a bipedal alligator-shaped alien that sustained itself with pure gold, I would gladly accept a pack of Twinkies instead. You know it was the scrumptious cream filling that kept them from eating that security guard and beating Batman senseless with his own bag of Twinkies.

1979 Batman and Professor Plutonium

It does make me wonder though, when just a year later our favorite caped crusader thwarted a hell-bent-on-blowing-up-Fort-Knox Professor Plutonium with yet another bag full of Twinkies, why the hell does Wayne keep a bag full of Twinkies with him? Is it to lure in unsuspecting new sidekicks with the succulent cream filling, or does he really just think there is no difference between gold and golden fried cakes full of creamy goodness?

1979 Green Lantern vs. Triclops, three-eyed Keeper of the Cave

At least Green Lantern isn’t Twinkies obsessed in this curious ad from 1979. Though you’ve got to wonder if those few packages of Twinkies would satiate Mr. Triclops, I mean he was bound and determined to have a three-course meal of Hal Jordan. I’m thinking that was his shrewd attempt to get those kids alone as they’d put up less of a fight. Way to go protecting the kids Jordan…

1979 Superman Meets the Orbitrons

Clark Kent must be taking lessons from Batman, as on a strange mission into the “outermost galaxies? he brought a butt load of Twinkies, either on a hunch that every villain in the universe was trolling for gold that year, or that he too is in the market for a hot young Twinkie obsessed stud for a sidekick. I bet you didn’t know that Superman is cleared to negotiate distribution contracts on Hostess’ behalf did you? Just another tool in the arsenal against intergalactic crime I suppose.

1980 Batgirl in A Matter of Good Taste

By 1980, Batgirl had learned a thing or two from her mentor when she distracts Jessie, jewel thief extraordinaire, with a well-placed bat-a-rang full of moist spongy cream filled goodness, even after Jessie managed to side step taking it on the chin. Okay that’s enough double entendres…

1980 Batman vs. the League of Assassins

Okay, this is just getting ridiculous. What self-respecting assassin would choose to eat a Twinkie instead of killing batman with it? I mean it clearly states on page 231 of the Assassin’s Handbook, that any bakery item with a creamy center is a perfect substitute for killing a man if there are no other weapons around. Sheesh.

1980 Flash in A Flash in the Dam

So whatever copyboy they had writing these Hostess ads in the early 80’s didn’t even try and work Twinkies into the plot of this one page masterpiece. Flash has already taken care of business by the time he starts shilling for Twinkie the Kid and company. I would have at least had the Destroyer try and turn the dam into gold or something vaguely in theme with the other ads. This is just sloppy. SLOPPY COPY BOY, SLOPPY!

1980 Green Lantern in The Bobsled Run

Holy Hell these are getting bad. Does Jordan really refer to himself in the third person in inner monologues? I’ve never really read any DC comics. And what’s this shit about Twinkies believing in teamwork? Twinkies don’t believe in anything.  Couldn’t the writers have at least tried to tie this into the fact that there are two cakes in every pack of Twinkies? I’d also really like to know what two bobsledders in skintight bodysuits are doing waist-deep in a sled full of Twinkies. Scratch that, I just answered that question with the astounding power of my limitless imagination. Gooey.

1980 Wonder Woman in the Borrower

So let me get this straight, if I wanted to even look at what 250 million dollars looks like all I have to do is go into a bank and ask? And how exactly did he just blend into the crowd with two tons of cash? The only thing that would save this comic for me is if the Borrower borrowed Diana’s eagle-crested top so I could borrow a glimpse of, aw, never mind. You get the point.

1981 Batman in the K-9 Caper


1981 Plastic Man in Gold for Dessert

Jesus Plas, just let the dumbass have some Twinkies for crying out loud, they were free and everything. Is there a law against being greedy? Fascist!  Hell the way I see it, the more Twinkies that flunky steals the more that dinning hall has to order, and that equals more scratch for Plastic Man man. Jeez, think these things out man.

1981 Superman in Gold Mine Rescue

Could you imagine how bad the Goonies flick would have been if all of a sudden Superman had crashed down into the well while Mouth was expounding on his lost wishes and dreams just to give all the kids some Twinkies and set them on their way? I bet that’s what would have happened if Richard Donner tried to film two Goonies films back to back like he did with Superman, and I’d bet he would have been fired off that production too.

I’ll be honest, I hold no ill will toward Donner; I’m just running out of witty things to write about these damned Twinkie ads. Maybe Supes should have drilled his way in, and then in a pissed off huff, thrown Twinkies at all the kids while yelling, “Here’s your damn gold kids! I could be saving starving kids or something with my Twinkie goodness, but NOOOO, I had to save your greedy asses…?

1981 Wonder Woman in Old Gold

I saved the biggest WTF ad for last. Okay, let me get this straight. The Borrower flew all the way to Egypt to steal some old hag’s purse? And then Wonder Woman pulled a Goldfinger on him just to hand him some Twinkies? Seriously, wtf is going on is this strip?  And who had the privilege of slapping on the gold paint, hmmm?

I do think it’s interesting that they bothered to re-use a previous villain from the other Wonder Woman strip. Was he a character in the main book I wonder?

Next week I’ll continue this little foray into the world of Hostess comics, when I delve into the Essential DC Hostess Ads Vol. 2: Cupcakes.