When Gary Coleman Ruled the World

Apr 18, 2009  •  Post A Comment

I am a complete and total junkie for old network promos from the 1970s and 80s. I can literally spend hours on YouTube trolling for clips from network image campaigns, from ABC’s “Still the One” (It’s Fonzie in a hot air balloon!) to CBS’s “We’ve Got the Touch” (Bruce Boxleitner in a helicopter!)
But, with all due respect to the market mavens elsewhere, during the 1980s, nobody did image campaigns better than NBC: Be there. Let’s All Be There. Come Home. Just Watch Us Now. If you don’t know the jingles associated with these slogans by heart, you didn’t watch TV in the 1980s.
The great thing about having a blog, at least as I see it, is that I can now force my love of these promos onto unsuspecting readers like yourself. You’ve been warned.
First up: A mid-1980s classic from NBC.

The first thing you’ll notice about this two-minute spot is the amazing frequency of Gary Coleman appearance. I lost count at about 10. Given how big “Diff’rent Strokes” was back in 1982, and how few hits NBC had at the time, it’s not surprising that Coleman woud pop up frequently during a Peacock promo. Still, it’s almost as if his contract with the network required Coleman to appear on-air five times for every time Todd Bridges was shown.
I also love the insistency of the tune. “Just watch us NOW,” the NBC Singers demand throughout, as if commanding viewers to turn off “Dallas” and “Happy Days” in order to check out NBC. It’s a slogan that the network could bring back today without much trouble.

One Comment

  1. I love those promos. Where else can you see Roger Mudd and Kaleena Kiff in two minutes?
    I think there were two or three short flashes of first-season “Family Ties.” Consistent with the show’s original premise where Steven and Elyse drove the action, none of them included Michael J. Fox.

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