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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. 1 comment

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 #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 #18

We kick off with an MTV promo, repeating from about three hours ago, for their show Now Hear This: MTV’s Guide to New Music. “On this week’s special year-end wrap-up,” Adam Curry says in voiceover as we see the members of R.E.M. doing their “Stand” jumps, “we’ll take a look back at world premieres, the […]

posted 17 March 2010 in 1988. no comments yet

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 #14

Time to visit the Duke. MTV replays their promo for “Michael Jackson Sunday”; as you might expect, it plays very differently now than it did a few months ago. “He’s been bad,” says the MTV Voiceover Guy. (A clip from “Bad” plays.) “He’s been smooth.” (A “Smooth Criminal” clip.) “Now he takes his own image […]

posted 24 September 2009 in 1988. 3 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #12

If you’re new to the countdown: I’m plowing my way through actual videotapes of MTV’s year-end countdown broadcast on 12/31/1988. If you want to catch up from the beginning, you should probably start here. On a plate, there’s a piece of white bread in the shape of an M. It’s soon covered with a dollop […]

posted 11 February 2009 in 1988. no comments yet

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 #8

An animated MTV promo: this one’s got African-style masks in a color palette of black, white, orange, and yellow–and lots of drumming and hollering on the soundtrack. It’s just ten seconds long, but if you nodded off during the Icehouse video, it wakes you up. The “Bad to the Bone” riff announces another ad for […]

posted 11 September 2008 in 1988. 3 comments