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1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #26

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) MTV goes to commercials and plays a promo for Michael Jackson. “He’s been bad!” says MTV Voiceover Guy, as we watch Jackson dancing in black leather and buckles. “He’s been smooth!”–a quick cut of him from “Smooth Criminal,” white fedora rakishly tilted over one eye. “Now he takes […]

posted 4 March 2014 in 1988. 3 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #25

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) Time to visit the Duke. The ads kick off with the network’s frequently deployed spot (the seventh time on a once-per-hour schedule) for their “Big Bang ’89” program (the New Year’s Eve live program playing a few hours later). I’ve noted previously that Robert Plant had the best […]

posted 31 July 2013 in 1988. 2 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #24

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) The commercial break kicks off with a time-lapse video. A shadow of the MTV logo glides across a wall. As it moves, black-clad graffiti artists paint the shadow on the wall, resulting in a mural of overlapping MTV logos. It’s a well-conceived, attention-grabbing ten-second spot. Next up: another […]

posted 10 May 2011 in 1988. no comments yet

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #23

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) MTV visits the Duke. First, the stoned intern in the control room has cued up the Bon Jovi promo again. It includes footage from the “Wanted Dead or Alive” video–and an actual lighter being held up at a concert! Only a few years later, that would feel anachronistic. […]

posted 9 February 2011 in 1988. no comments yet

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #22

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) Robert Plant’s exploding lightbulb segues elegantly into a clip of a rocket taking off, heralding the sixth appearance of the promo spot for MTV’s “Big Bang ’89.” This time through, I’m admiring the work of the network’s graphics department: crosshairs moving across maps, an animated explosives detonator, grids […]

posted 9 December 2010 in 1988. 1 comment

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #21

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) The commercial break begins with the promo for “The Year in Rock 88.” The people deemed newsworthy enough to get a quick video clip of them flashed in this spot: Chuck D. (in a Pittsburgh Pirates cap), Tracy Chapman (looking dour), Keith Richards (with cigarette), Billy Joel (playing […]

posted 22 October 2010 in 1988. 5 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #20

MTV station ID: we see the MTV logo, barely visible in outline, while a geyser of water spouts from left to right. Then white steam condenses on black rocks, again with the invisible logo–the sections in the M, the TV, and outside the logo were filmed at the same spot, but at different times. Third […]

posted 21 July 2010 in 1988. 3 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #19

Once again, we visit the Duke. For the fifth time, we see the hourly promo spot for the “Big Bang ’89” broadcast. Lots of quick video clips: Robert Plant points to the sky. Bret Michaels flails his arms around. Kip Winger bashes out a chord. Larry Blackmon rocks the codpiece. Daryl Hall grabs a handful […]

posted 10 June 2010 in 1988. 4 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #17

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) A scrap of paper isolated on a black screen has the single typed word “sexy.” It’s followed by two quick flashes of dancing bodies–a little bit of skin, and a whole lot of fringe. Then we get a closeup on a light-skinned black woman, speaking with a British […]

posted 17 February 2010 in 1988. 5 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #16

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) We head to a commercial break with a fifteen-second MTV bumper: lots of revved-up stock footage from the early twentieth century, superimposed over what appears to be flickering pages from textbooks. There’s a director with a megaphone, an old gramophone, men in hats operating film cameras, an orchestra […]

posted 2 December 2009 in 1988. no comments yet