The YouTube Files – 1980s American Children’s TV Adverts.

Recently on here I reviewed the 80s cartoon Jem, and I really enjoyed watching this show again. One thing that I noticed about the episodes on the DVD was that the breakbumpers had been left in. It made me wonder if there were any videos online featuring advert breaks that were recorded during Jem on American TV in the 1980s so I could see the bumpers in their original context, and also discover what kind of adverts were being shown for younger viewers in those years.

So I was very pleased when I went on YouTube and discovered a video that was about 28 minutes long featuring lots of advert breaks that were shown during various episodes of Jem recorded off a TV station called KTXH in Houston, Texas in early-1987. This was exactly what I wanted, so credit goes to the uploader “RetroCCN”. I have picked a few highlights from the adverts and trails that were shown, and I’ll add a few more facts that I have discovered about Jem since I completed the original piece. 


Jem will be right back after these messages…”

Unsurprisingly, there are lots of adverts for toys, such as My Little Pony, Pound Puppies and Sylvanian Families, along with bizarrely terrible local adverts for furniture stores and car dealers, and also a rather large amount for various rather horrible-looking breakfast cereals including Cocoa Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Circus Fun, Golden Grahams, Crispy Wheats ‘N’ Raisins, and Cheerios. vlcsnap-00336

And then… oh no… it’s an advert for Rap’Tou, the rather ludicrous kitchen device that was seemingly advertised in every advert break on daytime ITV and Channel 4 in the late-80s/early-90s. I didn’t realise that this advert was being shown as long ago as this. I imagine that a lot of people had one, and they probably only used it about once. Call now. vlcsnap-00344

We also get some trails for some of the programming that is shown on KTXH. It seems that along with Jem they were rather fond of showing endless cartoons, and on weekday mornings you can watch MASK, He-Man, The Jetsons, Dennis The Menace (no connection to the British comic character of the same name), and Scooby-Doo one after the other. And on weekday afternoons you can enjoy even more with Heathcliff, The Jetsons, Ghostbusters, Rambo, and The Transformers cartoons. That’s a lot of fun. ktxh3

Then we have an advert for a toy of the rather hairy star of the sitcom ALF. This was a show that was very popular on American TV in the late-80s, and it was also shown for a short while in Britain (he even appeared on the cover of Lookin magazine). I only remember it vaguely, and it’s definitely a show that I’d like to rediscover and review on here one day. vlcsnap-00700

Now this is something that I thought was interesting, a trail for the Jem episode “Glitter And Gold” (which was the final episode of the first series), which is voiced by the woman herself. I wonder how many extra clips were specially recorded for use in adverts and trails? Also, I was surprised to discover recently Samantha Newark who was the actress that provided Jem’s speaking voice was actually born in Wimbledon, so it turns out that she was a Londoner just like me all along! vlcsnap-00701

Then we have a trail for some of KTXH’s evening programmes including Square Pegs, Fame, and Little House On The Prairie. Another thing that I discovered about Jem recently was that the only other place it seems that it was shown on British TV beyond TV-am’s The Wide Awake Club in the late-80s was on satellite channel UK Gold early on weekend mornings around 1993/1994. I don’t think it’s been shown on TV in this country since. vlcsnap-00703

This video was definitely an interesting insight into what was advertised on American TV back in the 80s. Of course, there were also a lot of adverts made promoting the range of Jem dolls and various other merchandise, and I might review those in a separate piece soon. Hopefully I will also be able to find some adverts for Jem shown on British TV too, that would be truly outrageous!


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