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Pop Culture

This 1980 promotional video for ABC is creating waves of fun nostalgia

It's a fun little game of spot the TV star.

abc, 1980, promo video, nostalgia

Can you name these ABC stars from the 1980s?

Ah, the '80s. It was a totally tubular time for television—the sitcom still reigned supreme, dominating the time slots. In 1980, watching TV was an event—there was no DVR, no streaming. Heck, everything went off the air in the middle of the night and there weren't even infomercials for life insurance or compilation CDs (there weren't even really CDs yet!). As fall approached and the new TV season started, networks would go all out in their promotion. ABC wasn't yet the network behemoth it is now, but it was pretty close. It had some incredibly popular shows in 1980, including the whole "Happy Days" universe.



Ahead of the fall season, the station created a series of promotional videos that were used to entice people to come back and watch TV after the summer hiatus. They were so extra and over the top, but it makes sense if you remember the fact that they're promotional tools. This one from the 1980 "You and me and ABC" campaign features the network's top stars in a very of-the-moment-style dance party setting. See how many stars you can recognize.

1980 ABC PROMO You and Me!

The video has been making the rounds on Twitter, and everyone is playing the game "spot the network star." It's actually quite fun. In this one, I spotted Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams from "Laverne & Shirley," Joyce DeWitt from "Three's Company," Hal Linden from "Barney Miller," Tom Bosley and Al Molinaro from "Happy Days," Roscoe Lee Browne from "Soap" and Robert Guillaume from "Benson," among others. People on Twitter are absolutely losing their minds over how attractive Henry Winkler (still in his Fonzie days) looks with a beard. It actually took me a minute to recognize him!

There's another, longer promo video from the same season that's even more hilarious than the first one. In it, a series of ABC stars show up in a random town to paint a mural on a building to tell everyone to watch ABC that fall. Again, see which stars you can spot.

You & Me and ABC promo 1980

"STUNNING ABC promo that will never be equaled...The emotion, the tight editing, and all those ABC stars...One of a kind!" one comment on the video reads.

In a LinkedIn post from 2018, John Knox, a brand manager, tried to give some insight into why the network would put so much money into promos like these. "I strongly believe that these worked on the same premise that jingles do," he explained. "Ear-worms are damn good marketing - always. These ear-worms happened to combine visuals of fleeting glances of celebrities you know."

They don't make promos like this anymore, and it's kind of a shame. But thanks to the internet, these will live forever.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


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