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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 #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

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #13

(If you’re new to the countdown, you can click here to catch up.) We kick off this commercial break with the spot for MTV’s “Big Bang ’89″ broadcast that we’ve seen three times before. A lot of big hair among the featured acts: Poison, Winger, Daryl Hall, Escape Club, Vixen. But even at age 40, […]

posted 10 June 2009 in 1988. 1 comment

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #11

Onward through the 1988 MTV countdown! (If you’re just joining us and want to get up to speed, click here.) The commercial break, as usual, starts with a spot for an MTV program: in this case, “The Year in Rock 88.” “Sixty minutes that took twelve months to make,” says Voiceover Guy. We see Kurt […]

posted 7 January 2009 in 1988. 3 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #10

We see the “Big Bang ’89” promo for the third time, with close-ups on explosions and spinning clocks building up excitement for the fact that 1989 will start in only a few hours, a transition that can be enjoyed in the company of Robert Plant, Poison, Winger, Cameo, Hall and Oates, the Escape Club, Bobby […]

posted 16 October 2008 in 1988. 1 comment

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #7

The commercial break kicks off with another airing of the “Big Bang ’89″ promo, hyping the big show live later on MTV that night. Sandra Bernhard looks skinny and sexy and mean (in marked contrast to her subdued, puffy appearance on Project Runway recently–is she on some variety of steroid medications, or was it a […]

posted 12 August 2008 in 1988. no comments yet

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #5

“Time to visit the Duke,” former Sex Pistol Steve Jones often says on his (excellent) Los Angeles radio show when heading into a commercial break. I had been listening for months before any guest asked him what “the Duke” meant; I had assumed it was a euphemism for the bathroom, but it turns out Jones […]

posted 15 July 2008 in 1988. 4 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #2

Another commercial break. The first spot’s for MTV’s “Big Bang ’89,” the live party airing later that night, featuring “music and madness from New York and L.A.” (We see close-ups of those two cities on a map, in case we need some help remembering them, or maybe to help us find them in case we’re […]

posted 27 May 2008 in 1988. 1 comment