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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Review: TV Favorites: Classic Commercials (Madacy)

This was an impulse purchase. I dig the old commercials and I saw this two disc collection in Best Buy for $8. Even though I was very aware of Madacy's reputation as bottom of the barrel quality wise, I figured for $8 I couldn't go too wrong. Famous last words, I guess.

Let me mention the good first. Rather than trying to cram almost four hours of video on one disc, Madacy made this a two set. I didn't notice any ugly macroblocking typical of budget releases. I appreciate the fact that they grouped the commercials by theme (food, kid's stuff, celebrities, etc.) and for the most part they got it right. I didn't notice many duplicates, which is also a surprise.

When I put the disc in, I was greeted with a nice menu that looks like an old TV and plays clips from the commercials. Because of that, I though maybe the quality would be better than I was expecting. How wrong I was.

OK, I know this material wasn't exactly preserved well, nor was it designed to be. I've seen a lot of commercial tapes, and the quality is always hit or miss. In the case of this collection, it's like they started with poor material and managed to make it worse.

The stuff that was likely cribbed from Rhino's old Commercial Mania tape looks alright, but it goes down hill fast from there. It's like half of this disc is taken from tenth generation slow speed VHS dubs. Color commercials look like blobs and streaks moving around on your screen, as if Jackson Pollock did animation. Black and white clips are so dark, it's difficult to tell what, if anything, is happening.

To add insult to injury, about fifteen minutes of footage that otherwise doesn't look too bad is completely ruined by a flashing white streak that appears across the screen intermittently. It looks like someone doing the transfer had a short in a cable somewhere and they didn't bother to go back and fix it. Pathetic and lazy.

I wish I had something better to say about this collection as there are some great clips on here. Too bad most of them are unwatchable.

Here's a few of my favorites that I also found on YouTube.


Butchie said...

Awesome post. The All temp cheer Vulcan is fucking sweet. I loved the Monkees tv show when I was a kid. (And now, when I can find it)

Rob G. said...

Seriously. I want a Vulcan to do my wash, even if the "I'll be watching" is a little creepy.

Anonymous said...

Madacy's pretty infamous in home video circles for recycling its old EP mode tapes as DVD masters, hence the crappy quality of those commericals.

-Atomic Mystery Monster

Rob G. said...

That would totally sum up the "quality". It's a real dissapointment as otherwise this collection would rule the barren earth.