Geico is running an ad featuring Rocky and Bullwinkle, cartoon characters who made their TV debut more than 60 years ago. I know that there have been reruns and reboots since the first series went off the air in 1964, but how familiar are they to consumers under, say, forty years old? It’s like when I hear someone on the radio referring to The Brady Bunch or Andy Of Mayberry, sitcom characters that have been in reruns for more than five decades, sure, but does anyone Gen X or younger get the references? Considering how few people of my daughter’s generation even have TVs, let alone one that airs antiques like those, I doubt it very much.
Today marks six months that we have been sheltering at home due to COVID-19. The biggest difference between now and then is we have much easier access to toilet paper. I remember going to the supermarket in late March and seeing signs limiting consumers to a single roll. To this day, I still wonder: what was that all about? Did we really believe there wouldn’t be a single ply available ever again, so we had to hoard whatever we could find?
I don’t know what it’s like for the participants, but watching the US Open over the last two weeks and the NFL’s first games this weekend was not marred one bit by the absence of fans in the stands. Television has become so good at putting us right in the action that I didn’t care at all that the stadiums were empty.
I can’t believe people still smoke cigarettes. I’m not talking about some guy in his 70s with an anchor tattoo on his forearm from his days in the Navy, who’s still sucking down three packs a days of unfiltered Camels. I’m talking about anyone born in the fifty years since tobacco advertising was banned from television and radio in the US. Come to think of it, cigarette consumption could be on the rise again because all of those people who couldn’t smoke at the office and had to step outside for a few puffs, but are now working from home, where there’s presumably no one to tell them not to light up indoors.
When I was in high school, my friend Bill Sobel and I were both media freaks. We compared notes on everything related to TV and radio, right down to the minutia. One day, we were walking along at Roosevelt Field, the huge shopping mall on Long Island, when I looked up, saw a sign in the distance, and commented, “I didn’t know there was a radio station here!” Bill looked at the sign, then started laughing at me as he pointed out that those weren’t call letters. It was just a store that sold WIGS.