I Heartily Endorse This Chair

The elderly get all the cool toys.

The elderly get all the cool toys.

tuesday tvFor 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.

Ooooooooh, Gladys!

Ooooooooh, Gladys!

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.”

If the bed needs to be tested out by a crash dummy, I don't wanna be sleeping in it.

If the bed needs to be tested out by a crash dummy before it can go to market, I don’t wanna be sleeping in it.

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.

Old people believe the darndest things.

Old people believe the darndest things.

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!

Stop, you thieving possum!

Just put this on Mr. Linkletter’s tab, please.

A microwave oven of unspecified brand!

We gotta install microwave ovens all day for this #&@*( old man!

We gotta install microwave ovens all day for this #&@*( old man!

Or a VCR!

Only the best for Craftmatic's customers!

Only the best for Craftmatic’s customers!

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…

Wait a minute... "free certificate"!?!?  "Participating distributors"!?!?  "Make your best deal on a package price"!?!?!?!  WTF kind of Ponzi scheme is this anyway!?!?

Wait a minute… “Free certificate”!?!? “Participating distributors”!?!? “Make your best deal on a package price”!?!?!?! WTF kind of Ponzi scheme is this anyway!?!?

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.

The Craftmatic Adjustable Centerfold.

The Craftmatic Adjustable Centerfold.

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…

Squirrels do the darndest things.

Squirrels do the darndest things.

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…

Dammit, Art, you've done it again!  That's the phone that was hanging off the wall at everyone's grandparents' house back in the 80's!

Dammit, Art, you’ve done it again! That’s the phone that was hanging off the wall at everyone’s grandparents’ house back in the 80’s!

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!

Now I can watch The Three Stooges in living color!

Now I can watch The Three Stooges in living color!

Joe Paterno’s brother took the VCR… and he’s damn fucking excited about it!!!!

Me and my VCR are heading over to my girlfriend's house to watch this dirty movie on her Panasonic 19 inch color TV!

Me and my VCR are heading over to my girlfriend’s house to watch this dirty movie on her Panasonic 19 inch color TV!

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…

Now I can nuke food all day long  from the comfort of my Craftmatic Contour chair since I have nothing to watch fucking television on!

Now I can nuke food all day long from the comfort of my Craftmatic Contour chair since I have nothing to watch fucking television on!

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…

Scott Diamond knows drama.

Scott Diamond knows drama, and you don’t want no 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 Indiana.  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…

Certainly, sir.  Since I can't afford to feed my family on the $4.25 an hour I'm making answering this fucking phone all day, I currently have nothing better to do than send you our catalog and this certificate that's only good for wiping your ass.

Certainly, sir. Since I can’t afford to feed my family on the $4.25 an hour I’m making answering this fucking phone all day, I currently have nothing better to do than send you our catalog and this certificate that’s only good for wiping your ass.

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…

I wonder if they make a toilet seat like this?

I wonder if they make a toilet seat like this?

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About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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20 Responses to I Heartily Endorse This Chair

  1. NotAPunkRocker says:

    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!

  2. fanrosa says:

    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…….

  3. I laughed so hard I think I threw out my hip.

  4. 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!

  5. Ally Bean says:

    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!

  6. 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?

  7. PigLove says:

    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!

      • PigLove says:

        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

  8. 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)

  9. draliman says:

    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?

  10. calipatti says:

    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.

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