Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

A few days ago, completely by accident as these things tend to happen on the Internet, I stumbled across an old TV ad for Rainier Beer, starring Mickey Rooney. Oh, man, did that take me back!

In the 1970s and into the early ‘80s, in the Pacific Northwest, Rainier was responsible for what I believe is the most outrageous and inventive ad campaign in the history of television. The spots were so totally, completely, bugfuck LOONEY and off the wall, it’s almost impossible to describe them. You just never had any idea what these insane folks (mostly a Seattle man named Terry Heckler) would do next.

Luckily, I don’t have to describe them. Someone has compiled 88 of them into a YouTube playlist.

I had a little trouble getting a reliable URL for this list, but I hope this link will take you to it. It should start with BONNIE ANN FOR RAINIER BEER.

Then, with any luck, you should be able to scroll through them.

What I’ve been doing is looking at five or six of them per day, so as not to get a humor burnout. (Well, one day I cheated and looked at 20, and was still smiling at the end.)

The very best? It would have to be #12 and #13. It’s Mickey Rooney and a soprano imitating Nelson Eddy and Jeanette Macdonald. Just look at Mickey’s facial expressions! THEN … about every tenth time or so, they would run #13. And people would blink their eyes rapidly, and wonder “Did I just see what I think I saw?”

Another personal favorite is #57 and #68, the R-Heads, inspired by the Coneheads, I think. Offhand, I can’t think of a more surreal TV ad, EVER.

It all just goes to show you what a creative mind can do with thirty seconds.

July 18, 2015
Vancouver, WA