For many of my fellow bloggers, our best days have long since galloped off into the sunset along with our hair and creaseless skin. Even though we may still have many years, and even decades ahead of us in this life to still make an appearance, we’ve already found out how much it sucks to get old every time our creaky back tells us to stop lifting shit that obeys the laws of gravity, or our joints remind us of Grandma’s old friend Arthur Itis. And nothing quite gives us a horrific glimpse into our future like those nonstop daytime and late night ads for products aimed at helping old people cheat the laws of physics just so they can do the simple things like sit, sleep, and take a bath.
The company that was far and away the king of modified furniture for the geriatric set was Craftmatic. The commercials for their tricked out chairs and beds have been inundating the airwaves since the 1980’s. Probably their most recognizable product is the Craftmatic Adjustable Bed, which can adjust to more different positions than are in the Kama Sutra… including such comfortable settings as “sandwich.”
For this week’s (and last week’s, and the week before’s) Retro TV Ad Tuesday, however, I’d like to focus on a commercial they aired in 1990 for another one of their fine human origami products… the Craftmatic Contour Chair!
This ad satisfies the first rule of
ripping off selling things to old people… find a spokesman who was a likeable, well-known celebrity back in the glory days of your target audience. This is a great way to win grandma’s and grandpa’s confidence while they try explaining to their grandkids just who that creepy old man is on the television trying to sell them implements of torture. While we’ve seen Ed McMahon, Dick Clark, and even The Fonz in this role over the past few decades… make no mistake that the pioneer in this form of gaining the trust of the senior set is the one and only Art Linkletter.
OK, they have the classic spokesman. Next comes the cheesy freebie, and Art Linkletter declares he will personally mail you your choice of one of these fabulous prizes!
A Panasonic color TV!
A microwave oven of unspecified brand!
Or a VCR!
And remember, this was 1990… long before they started making high tech stuff out of the same shitty plastic they use for your car’s bumper, so any one of these three items cost a pretty penny back then. And granny could bet the bottom dollar tucked away under her Craftmatic Adjustable mattress that gifts this expensive weren’t going to be given away if the chair cost anything less than what a second mortgage could afford. Oh, and Art was going to make it as difficult as fucking possible for you to receive your complimentary modern miracle of 20th century technology…
Before any viewers out there have a chance to fetch their spectacles to read the fine print from Hell, Art quickly segues to one of the Golden Girls enjoying her Craftmatic Contour chair and tells you to buy a chair for the wonderful health benefits it provides, not the cheesy allegedly free electronics that are only available in one store in the middle of Montana. We can tell the lady is relaxed as she lays back in this chair because the ad’s director makes her take a large enough breath to show off her sexy septuagenarian bosom to all of the dirty old men out there.
Art next describes some specific health ailments that the Craftmatic Contour chair will help ward off. Helpful arrows point to the parts of the old man anatomy that each of these magical chair remedies will affect. I think I transcribed the commercial faithfully here…
But just in case all this amazing shamanism wasn’t enough to convince you to call right now for your free catalog you always had to order since the internet was till a gleam in Al Gore’s eye at the time, Art comes back on to remind you of those fabulous 80’s game show consolation prize rejects you could get with your Captain Kirk chair…
Here are some real Craftmatic Contour chair
actors customers raving about the free gift they chose!
Our fifth Golden Girl chose the Panasonic 19 inch COLOR TV!
Joe Paterno’s brother took the VCR… and he’s damn fucking excited about it!!!!
This lady, who looks like my junior high vice principal, got the MI-CRO-WAVE… and you can tell by her extremely fake enthusiam she knows she got the short end of the stick from Craftmatic…
Please note from the disclaimer at the bottom of the screen that each of these scenes of crappy gift elation were a “dramatization.” Well, no fucking duh, Craftmatic! I’ve seen better acting in shadow puppet shows. To call any of these horrifically cheesy scenes dramatizations is an insult to the very genre of drama…
To round out this ripoff to end all ripoffs, Art insults the intelligence of his audience by showing them how to place a goddamn phone call to their phone bank in India
na. Remember how in the 80’s operators were always “standing by.” Did you ever wonder what that meant? Well, this long hidden secret of the made-for-TV boiler room can now be revealed as we see that “standing by” meant sitting upright, alert, looking perky, and armed with a fake grin so tight you’ll need to put Ben Gay on your face after your shift…
Sure, you may laugh at these ads today, and mock them like I have. But karma’s gonna get us eventually, and one of these days, these pimped out chairs are gonna seem like a pretty good idea the first time we throw our backs out trying to get up off the toilet. And while social security won’t be there for us, at least we can hope Craftmatic still will be. And for their slick and shady service to the generation that’s as grey as this squirrel, we at The Nest salute Craftmatic for their fine line of adjustable products that help shake out all of the kinks in our aging appendages, while also cutting loose with all that spare change we were saving up to buy a condo in Florida. It’s nice to know that thanks to Craftmatic’s Popular Science approach to home decor… when we enter our golden years we’ll be able to comfortably enjoy our Panasonic 19 inch color TV in our reverse mortgaged home! Old people need the darndest things…
Oh, my grandfather had one of the lift-chairs. He never used that function, but it was a lot of fun for me and my brother. Sit. Fall. Sit. Fall.
Know what I miss, that this post just reminded me about? The window replacement commercials during lousy Saturday afternoon movies on the UHF channels, with the constantly ringing phone. Today’s infomercials have way too many production standards.
I agree on production standards! As much as the lack thereof gives me plenty of fodder for my retro ad posts, give me these cheesy ads any day over the more polished and refined sales pitches that would even put an insomniac to sleep…
Damn, now I wish I’d have gotten a ride on the lifting chair! I remember in the ad they’d show the old lady slowly…… slowly…… slowly rising up off the floor. I always envisioned that her house was on fire and she was trying to evacuate, because that’s just the way my weird mind works!
That chair looks pretty damned comfy and I almost want to find out if I can still score a free catalog.
Sigh. I’m sofa king old…….
Well, the number’s at the end of the commercial. If Art Linkletter can make the call, then so can you!
I laughed so hard I think I threw out my hip.
Uh oh! I may have to have my readers sign a liability waiver from now on!
Laugh now, golden youth. But as your creaking joints get creakier, you too will LOVE your adjustable bed, if you are lucky enough to own one. Just don’t buy it from Craftmatic. And the recliner will be a gift from the Gods. Even if you have to buy it second hand at the Salvation Army store.
As for the lift chair, I’ve always worried if it misfired, it might shoot you right out through the picture window, causing much consternation amongst the neighbors.
I think if the lift chair were calibrated just perfectly, it could launch you right into your adjustable bed every night… saving all that wear and tear on the back and legs!
I vaguely remember those chairs. I definitely remember Art Linkletter. I think that the perfect ad campaign for that chair would have been something to the effect of: “Old People Say The Darndest Things When Sitting On Comfortable Chairs.” Missed opportunity, that one.
I think this commercial and the classic version of The Game of Life are really the only two ways I ever even knew Art Linkletter existed. Hey! That’s the guy on the $100,000 bill selling those chairs!
HaHa!! Too funny. I inherited a niagara massage chair and to buy new they cost around 12 to 15 thousand dollars. My chair cost 12 to 15 times my car did?
ps. I have studied Greek Gods, myths and legends but apparently the mean old teachers left a very interesting one out. Thank goodness I can continue my education here at the nest. Let us raise our cool aid fizzy soda pop drinks to mighty Priapism!
LOL! Priapism has become somewhat known over here due to its inclusion as a “side effect” in those Viagra and Cialis commercials. I have made a few jokes at the expense of this horrific condition in the past! 😀
Heck, may as well just sit in the car then!
Snorts…. I’m off to try to order me a lift chair. What can I say… with this growing pot belly I might need one XOXO – Bacon
Not only that… but you should hide with the remote and wait for Hemi or Mouse Girl to take a nap on the chair. Be sure to get their reaction when the chair starts “magically” lifting on video!
Does it have a fast automatic POP and take off seat? If so, I am so in for some of that action. Flying kitties – oh yes! Snorts. XOXO – Bacon
I would like to order one. but only if I will get that VCR, I found an ole video tape in the attic and I would like to know what it contents… and to have such a toilet seat would be great, when my dad spends hours there the next time :o)
I’ll take one of those Betamax (RIP) VCRs. I like a box with plenty of buttons to push.
Is that ejector chair in the last picture for getting rid of unwanted relatives?
My mom loved her lift chair. One of the arm pads would lift on hinges there was a cup holder. Often she would lift the chair forgetting about the cup and splash.
Ginsu knives are known as a icon in the marketing world. Ginsu isn’t a real word and exists in no language.