Incorporated Television Company Ident, Circa 1973

The thunderous strains and spinning lozenges of this ITC ident preceded all kinds of disparate television programs from the 1960s to the early ’80s—from the surreal spy tales of The Prisoner, to the pre-Star Wars sci-fi of Space: 1999, to the beloved The Muppet Show. They were all distributed internationally by Incorporated Television Company (ITC), or ITC Entertainment, as the company was known in the States…

Death Spirals: A History of the Hypnotic Horror Film

By Brother Bill

Anguish (1986) is an obscure and overlooked horror film from Spanish director Bigas Luna, a name perhaps better known for weird and erotic art-house dramas. Zelda Rubinstein (Poltergeist and Poltergeist II) stars as the overbearing mother of adult son John (Michael Lerner, Barton Fink) who still lives at home and under her thumb. Mother has a psychic connection with her slavish son and can communicate with him over long distances, a power she will use to direct him as her instrument of revenge…

‘The Vietnam Experience’ Television Commercial, 1985

This two-minute television spot from 1985 promoted the Time-Life book series The Vietnam Experience, which was released serially from 1981 to 1988, perfectly bookending the Reagan years. Each of the 25 volumes covered subtopics about the Vietnam War from the American perspective, from military tactics to culture clashes…

Samantha Smith in ‘TV Guide’, 1983

Maine schoolgirl Samantha Smith sent a momentous letter to Yuri Andropov, then General Secretary of the USSR, in autumn of 1982. She asked the Soviet leader, “Are you going to vote to have a war or not?” and “why [do] you want to conquer the world or at least our country?”

Kool-Aid Man Television Commercials, 1978

Kool-Aid was invented in Hastings, Nebraska in 1927 in the kitchen of salesman and inventor Edwin Perkins, who took one of his fruit juice patent recipes and dehydrated it. In 1953, Perkins sold the Kool-Aid recipe to food conglomerate General Foods (which had already gobbled up prominent brands Jell-O and Maxwell House in the 1920s), and thus began Kool-Aid’s ascent to nationwide fame…

“It’s Living That’s Treacherous”: Pop Culture Reflections of Jonestown

By Michael Grasso

American society collectively shuddered in November 1978 as news of the Jonestown cult mass death began to filter home from Guyana. Jim Jones, head of the Peoples Temple, commanded the death of over 900 of his followers, as well as the murder of a U.S. Congressman, four journalists, and a defecting Temple member, in a spasm of cult violence never seen before in the modern age…